#31: The Blue Mosque/Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul
Sometimes I can’t even believe how fortunate I am to live the life I do. It isn’t perfect, but it’s more than I deserve. I’m sitting in a cafe in a beautiful public square here in Sevilla, doing a little bit of work and lots of people watching. Every once in a while, it really hits me that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a really precious gift, and that I’ve somehow been lucky enough to have it.
Things haven’t always been rosy, but all in all, the three months I’ve lived here have changed my life. I’ve learned patience, and lots of it, in a country where punctuality is viewed very differently than back in the states. There is always time to stop for a chat and a coffee. You say what you feel and you mean what you say. There’s no false niceties here and that’s quite refreshing. Living in another person’s home has really been an experience. My homestay this time around has at times been hellish; my host mother micromanaged everything and feels she has the right to judge just about everything everyone does. It feels shitty but ultimately it has been a learning experience.
In three months, I’ve traveled to four countries and fifteen cities, seen and felt things that I can never describe, and basically lived an incredible life. This past weekend, I spent five days in Ireland with two friends and crossed Kissing the Blarney Stone off my bucket list. I’ve never seen a place so green, so lovely, and so alive. Ireland was just like in the movies, and even better.
I’ve learned never to take your relationships for granted. People are here today and gone tomorrow and you really have to take advantage of every moment you have with them. Friends are special, but some may not be in your life forever, and that doesn’t mean their friendship is any less genuine. There are stages of life for everything. Some people come into your life to teach you an important lesson, positive or negative, and then may quietly slip away. That doesn’t mean they didn’t love you or that they weren’t important. I’m not crazy religious, but being abroad has really helped me grow spiritually and feel confident that my steps have always been guided. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, with the people I’m meant to be with, and everything has truly worked out for the best.
Some days I am a little blue, missing my friends back home and especially my parents, and just looking around my at this incredible city and thinking about just how BIG all of this is reassures me. I still have the same everyday setbacks that everyone else in the world has; feeling tired, running late for class, little mishaps with other people, and feeling overwhelmed at times is part of life and that doesn’t change here. What HAS changed is how I approach it. No problem is too big for me to deal with. I will never be dealt a hand that I can’t cope with. I think that lesson has been fundamental in my time abroad and I hope I can carry it with me for the rest of my life.
It’s corny and I think a thousand people must have said this before me, but studying abroad has changed me. I’m so happy and so full of expectancy for this life. I’m eager for the next step and even though having to leave in just over a month will be incredibly difficult, this time has been everything I had hoped for. I’m happy, healthy, and fulfilled. I’ve let go of a lot of past grudges and grown as a person and I’m thankful every moment for all of the people that have made it possible for me to be here.
Life is an exciting adventure and I’m ready to keep going.
Seeing people reblog photos of places you’ve actually been.
Like, Holy Shit, this amazing place that is so beautiful and so incredible and just so awe inspiring is somewhere that I have actually, physically, been. THAT is amazing to me.
#32: The Roman Coliseum/Colosseum
#33: The Backwaters of Kerala, India on a Kettuvallam