And just like that, my first semester in Spain is over.
Unfortunately, my phone randomly stopped turning on about two weeks ago so I lost a lot of pictures from this month, but the holiday season is in full swing! The entire month of December has been filled with holiday related activities. In our Spanish class, we learned all about the EIGHT days of holiday fiestas in Spain (Dec 22, 24, 25, 28, 31, & Jan 1, 5, 6) and practiced some of the holiday traditions–for example, the New Year’s Eve tradition/superstition of eating a grape with each clock bell strike, leading up to midnight!
At the beginning of the month, MaryKate and I had our Christmas concert for the university choir. We’ve made so many friends of all ages through the choir and because MK is going back to Holy Cross next semester, everyone surprised her at the end of the concert by singing her a Gallego farewell song.
Later, my seven year old host cousin Nacho came over, and he, my host sister Teresa, and I decorated their Christmas tree and covered every corner of the apartment in Christmas lights. Nacho kept coming into my room, saying “Do you want me to decorate your room with this?”, and adding yet another ornament or Santa toy to the growing row on top of my dresser. 🙂
The city is all lit up for Christmas, so walking home at night now is somehow even more beautiful than usual. I don’t know where the time went, but I’ve had an amazing five months. At the beginning of this semester, there was so much unknown: I barely knew the other HC kids. I had no idea what to expect from studying at a Spanish university or living with a host family. I was frustrated by my inability to express myself/effectively communicate.
Being thrown into a foreign culture and language was daunting. But being stripped of so many of the “givens” of my life gave me the opportunity to start learning who I am without them. Coming out of first semester, I have so many great new friends from HC, a few Spanish friends, my special host parents and sisters who have made me feel so at home in Coruña, and a broader perspective on the world. I know it’s cliche, but being in Spain has reminded me of the things that are important to me and shown me that a lot of the other stuff is just background noise.
I’m so grateful that I have next semester here to continue growing and experiencing all of the fun, amazing things that Coruña and Spain have to offer. But, in the meantime, I’m about to board my flight home to the US. In a matter of hours, I’ll be at Iden Avenue’s annual Christmas party with my all of my family, neighbors, and friends– I’m more aware than ever that the world is both very big and very small.
FELIZ NAVIDAD/MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!