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Across the Pond – The Spectator

Note: “Across the Pond” is a column in which freelance writer Grace Schutte will write about her study abroad experience in Valladolid, Spain.

Talking with my study abroad friends, we collectively agreed that the end of our stay abroad is comparable to the five stages of griefof which I can say – with the greatest confidence – that I have passed to the second level: anger.

First comer denialas always: if I just don’t think about my impending doom, it won’t bother me so much, will it?

I can’t hear the prophecy if I cover my ears and sing “Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star” loudly.

Surely all these walks have not been for nothing? All the while, I trained myself to overcome not only my problems, but time itself. Of this I am convinced and nothing will convince me otherwise.

But no matter how hard I tried to keep the days from passing, they slipped through my fingers, slipping away like a wet bar of soap, slipping away from my grip the more I tried to hold back.

This weekend was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Some friends and I went to Barcelona to spend our long weekend: we visited The Segrada Familiatook a walk Park Guell and I spent a whole day at the beach, contemplating the Mediterranean Sea enjoying perfect weather.

I was smoking with rage all the time.

The reason may seem silly, but I was having so much fun that I got angry thinking about how temporary it all was. In three short weeks, I won’t be able to absorb the beauty of not only Barcelona, ​​but also Spain, I thought.

In three short weeks, I’ll be back in the States and I’m terrified.

That’s not to say I hate the United States (or, not completely, of course), but there’s a heavy fear sitting squarely on my chest that seems to grow even heavier when I think about boarding the flight home. “at home”.

I don’t identify as a Spaniard in any way, but being welcomed into a different culture that sometimes seems so far removed from my own has been an uncomfortable but absolutely amazing experience.

The mundane, everyday acts that once seemed so difficult – like crossing the street, ordering a coffee, and taking the city bus – are now so natural and comfortable that I don’t want to give them up.

You mean, I have to wait for the sign to change to cross the street? Who the hell needs 24 ounces of coffee? Even 12 sounds too much now. How am I supposed to romanticize my life if I can’t look out the window on my way to school while listening Main character playlists?

But the fear goes further than that. How do I get straight to my three summer jobs, internships, and graduate school applications while trying to piece myself together, while searching through my suitcase for the lost American identity I packed away the day I arrived in Spain ?

I can’t begin to imagine what this next semester will be like when classes resume fully and as ruthlessly as ever – will I be well rested and ready for this final year of college, or still reeling from culture shock?

I’m not ready to find out, not quite yet.

Schutte can be reached at [email protected].

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