About 3 weeks ago, our “mission mentor” Carey told us to start building RAFT’s. The goal was to Reconcile broken relationships, Affirms those important to us, make time for meaningful Farewells, and prepare for Transition. The issue is that none of us wanted to realize how close we were to the end. 3 months is just not enough time, and goodbyes ended up a blur. Now, as a result, I have a list of people who will be receiving letters in the (hopefully near) future, filled with affirmation and farewells.
Spain is gone, dawn the fun. Ireland, Switzerland, and France follow suit. The only thing keeping me from the depths is knowing that the end of the week finds me skiing the French Alps with two of my best friends. Shortly after, I will spend Christmas under the lights with the woman who taught me to be thankful and inspires me every day.
There has not yet been enough time to adequately reflect on the adventure, now over, hosted by Spain. Still, here’s the quick top 10.
- Friends. Put the same people in any country doing anything at all, and the experience remains. Give me Sevilla without the people I have gotten to know, and I might as well go home. It’s unbelievable that I can say with confidence that certain people I did not know 3 months ago will be friends for life. Kellen and Simon, what I would do to spend another semester with you guys.
- ISA Staff. If you are looking for the greatest people on earth, look no further. See the video below.
- The city. After traveling much of Spain and a lot of Europe, I can say with confidence that Sevilla is the best. I’m looking forward to taking my wife back one day. The number of date ideas I came up with this semester….
- Apartments. I didn’t realize how much the U.S. suburbia system sucks. People in Spain live in constant intimacy. There are really no such things as driveways or backyards, and I like that.
- Host Moms. These people, like real moms, are unbelievable at what they do. Clara, along with every other Mom I met, has a heart of gold.
- Public Bikes and Clotheslines. Life without a car or dryer was more fun. My trip to class everyday was a 10 minute bike ride along the river. Beats a drive down Richmond road.
- Siestas. Life is best starting at 9 and ending at 3 – with a nice nap in between. No one actually naps.
- Spanish. Andalusian Spanish is not the same as Mexican Spanish. In fact, the letter “s” does not exist in Southern Spain.
- Globalization. Great word. The world is remarkably small. I was able to go to over 10 cities in five countries in 3 months and flew from Madrid to Dublin for the price of a nice hamburger.
- People. There are people worth talking to everywhere. People smarter than me, with a million different world views and experiences. You can learn a lot more from talking to people than you can from sitting in a class. My time in Sevilla proved this true.
The first chapter is over, but could be a great novel in itself. I have absolutely no idea what to expect in a month when I move into my new house in Vietnam, but am fully confident that it will be incredible. If my past 3 months are any indication, I am due for the experience of a lifetime.
P.S. Check out the galleries on each country’s page and the Flickr page (linked) to see some of the cool things I have seen. Just click the 3 bars in the top right corner!
P.P.S. Title of this post is accredited to the song by James Bay that has been steadfast playing in my head for a month now. Worth a listen.
P.P.S. Check out the video some friends and put together! Gives you an idea of the wonderful people who made everything happen for us (it’s in Spanish).