Hasta Luego, Alicante

27 Dec

Where can I even begin.  I can honestly say that life has never been more bittersweet.  Anxiety. Excitement. Sadness. Nervousness. Happiness.  All these bundled into one equals an emotion I can’t even name, nor have ever felt in my life. Here I sit in the room in my Spanish home, about to leave my house for the airport within the hour—making my way back to the USA.

On August 26, 2010 I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.  I remember arriving in Spain, feeling as if I were in a dream.  Then after orientation when I moved in with my host family, the wave of culture shock hit me hard.  I felt miserable, alone, like I was in way over my head.  However, during the course of these past 4 months, somehow I grew and changed, came to accept this new culture, and even have come to call this my second home.  I came into this experience with a few goals: Make Spanish friends, learn the language, and learn the culture.  I feel that I am very happy with what I have actually accomplished.  I have some amazing Spanish friends that I am so sad to leave.  I had to overcome my fear of my lack of communication skills.  However, living in Spain has given me the ability to learn Spanish so quickly, and therefore, I have made friends with Spaniards who do not speak of word of English.  These are also the people who helped me to explore the culture even more, in ways I never could have on my own.  Something I found interesting was that learning about the Spanish culture actually helped me to reflect more on my own culture as well.  Another accomplishment is that I feel that I can confidently say that I speak two languages.  Upon arriving in Spain, when asked if I spoke Spanish, I always replied with “un poco”.  However now, it’s “si, claro”.  I may not be completely 100% fluent, but it’s a lot closer to that point than I could have ever imagined.  I love this language, and I fear so much losing what I have learned.

Now that I’m about to leave, through all the excitement somehow the fear of reverse culture shock is still sinking in.  I’ve been here living in this country for the past 4 months, and I’m almost scared to know how much my point of view of my own country has changed.  I never really understood how reverse culture shock happened, until I realized I had an anxiety about returning home.  However, I’m trying to let myself know that it’s normal, and I’m going to do my best to keep an open mind.  A part of me has also began to almost see Spain through different eyes this past week… like a breath of fresh air, like viewing something for the first time.  I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s the fact that I know I’m leaving for a while, and I’m attempting to take in everything I possibly can within these last few moments.

I feel this has to be one of the most scrambled blogs I have written, but I’m really just trying to get my emotions down.  It truly is such a strange feeling, leaving this place.  In August it seemed as if it would last forever, and here it is, coming to an end.  How do I put this experience into words, especially when I’m asked?  There’s so much that’s so hard to explain, something you just have to experience yourself.  I feel that this experience was everything I hoped for, and even more.  I believe life is what you make it, and with this study abroad opportunity I have completely yet another amazing chapter of my life.  While it’s been wonderful and I will miss Alicante, I am ready for home now.  My bags are all packed, but I’m glad that I’m taking home with me so much more than that—I have memories that will last me a lifetime, without a doubt.  Here’s to you España, I will never forget you.  Hasta luego, Alicante… nunca adios.

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2 Responses to “Hasta Luego, Alicante”

  1. Hilary Corna December 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I can completely reciprocate! I linked your site on mine where I talk about reverse culture shock coming home from three years working for Toyota in Singapore! Keep in touch! would love to hear more about what all of you do next!

    • Idolina Marie Doyka February 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

      Wow, more than a month later and I just now see your comment. Anyway, thanks! The reverse culture shock wasn’t too horrible… I ended up just being really sad from missing Alicante, really. But nevertheless, the culture shock was still there, for sure. Knowing what it’s like to have those types of feelings after just 4 months, I couldn’t even being to imagine 3 years!

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