Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Adiós Granada

Warning! The content of this post has the potential to be excessively sentimental and sappy as all get out...

     The minute I stepped of myh flight and took my first step in Spain at Madrid airport bright and early January 2nd, I never could have even begun to imagine all God had in store for me this semester abroad. I remember distinctly feeling (and let´s face looking too) like a lost puppy 1,000s of miles away from everything I knew and understood to be normal. And it was then, that I realized that Spain, such a completely unknown and very foreign country was to be my "home away from home" for the next 5 months. Truthfully, my mind had never been filled with more fears, questions, and doubts than at that very moment in Madrid airport. But as my older brother always used to remind me, "Courage, is being scared to death but saddling up anyways". And now, with only 2 days left of my study abroad experience, I´m left wondering "where did the semester go?".  I wouldn´t trade this semester for the world, and I thank God for this amazing opportunity and for His faithfulness that I have come to know in a whole new powerful way as a result of my time abroad.

    I´ll be coming back to America, it´s where I belong, but I know that the person that I arrived as on January 2nd won´t be the same as who I am now. I have never been more stretched personally, socially, academically or spiritually ( At times, to the point that I thought I would SNAP!) than I have this semester. But I have come to rely upon the powerful strengh of God and have learned that HE alone will provide for my every need. I know now, that it was only by God´s grace and His guiding of my every footsteop that this semester could have ever been possible.

 And yep, I still love this verse even more at the end of this semester... :)

    Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.                                                                                                                             -Joshua 1: 9

      With all that I have learned, experienced, and discovered this semester I know that a part of my heart will remain here in Granada forever, while I eagerly anticipate a return trip someday. As I say goodbye to Granada, memories flood my mind as I am reminded of all I will miss so much about my life I´ve come to love here in Granada.

I will miss...
  • Speaking Spanish everyday!
  • Mercedes´ welcoming greeting of ¡Hola guapa! everytime I walk in the door
  • The breathtaking view of the Sierra Nevadas Mountains I see everyday on my way to school.
  • The adorable little pastry shops and cafés (that are DANGEROUSLY cheap!) that line every street corner here.
  • Traveling the world
  • My wonderful CEA directors that went out of there way countless times to help me.
  • Studying in the Parque Garcia Lorca everyday
  • The Spanish, slow no rush rhythm of life (although it did occasionly drive this time conscientious Americana loca!) ´
  • The countless memories made with my CEA amigos
  • Long dinner conversations with my host mom that continue way after we´ve finished eating.
  • The teeny tiny streets that can easily be mistaken for sidewalks...
  • All of my wonderful Christian Spanish friends that have so kindly prayed for me and supported me this semsester.
  • The Alhambra and it´s majestic beauty.
  • All the Spanish ¡dias de las fiestas!
  • My English students. They have challenged me to be the best teacher I can ever be and have truly inspired me. Oh, and I´ll miss they´re shy but ever so correct textbook response to my "what´s up?", of "I´m fine, how are you? So cute.
  • All the international friends I have made at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas.
  • The cobblestone streets that all seem to tell stories of thier own.
  • My professors that always showed up 5+ minutes late to class and then routinely let us out early. ;)
  • All my ISU friends whose friendships I have come to know and appreciate so much more.
  • Learning how to cook Spanish recipes with Mercedes (Paella, Tortilla Española, Lentgejas, to name only a few!)
  • How traveling for only 2+ hours and all of a sudden it becomes an "international trip".
  •  And last but not least, Spanish siestas! Enough said.  :)
So thanks Granada, it´s been an experience of a life time. ¡Te extranaré un montón!


  1. I can only imagine the bittersweet mix of emotions you are experiencing (since I have them and I'm mostly just thrilled to see you in 51 hours...but who's counting)! We so look forward to seeing and hearing more of how God has already shaped you through this and then to watch the ways He'll use that growth for His glory and your enrichment throughout your life.

    Love you and waiting with open arms and heart,

  2. Thanks to yoU for giving your Tias an excuse to do some international travel to visit you in your beautiful Granada, Spain world!! Sooo looking fwd to seeing you again SOON!! love ya tons! Tia Luann

  3. It's been fun to "travel with you" by following your posts and hearing all about your many escapades. You did it! I'm so glad you were able to have this experience. It'll be close to your heart for the rest of your life, and you'll never tire of telling the many stories that start out with "When I was living in Spain..." Love you and can't wait to see you again! Bon voyage. Ooops, I mean, buen viaje ;)

  4. Can't wait to see you! I know your emotions are all mixed up, that's ok. It's great that you recognize what an awesome experience God has allowed you to participate in; One you won't forget about too quickly. Praying for a SAFE flight and smooth connections all around.

    Hugs and Kisses!
    Rick, Michelle & Brooklyn

  5. It will be so good to have you on American soil again. I was shopping today, thinking of you, so of course, I had to buy a little something :) for a remembrance of your Spain experience. My love always, and prayers for a safe trip home. Aunt Crystal

  6. Oh Julie, I am so glad you are coming home. When you left it seemed so long with Grampy sick and now to think he won't be here to welcome you home with open arms, but I will hug you for him and me.

  7. So excited to have you home! I can't wait to hear about your adventures in person. Hope you're planning to share your Spanish cuisine cooking skills. I'd love to learn! :) Praying you have safe travels back to Chicago.