Alisha, outbound to Spain

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It's crazy to think that I have less than 3 months left of exchange. Thinking about having to leave this country that feels so much like home to me is the hardest thing. I am so afraid of having to say goodbye to my friends here, the other exchange students who have become like family, my city that I've gotten to know like the back of my hand, my routine here, and in general this whole experience. My gratefulness to Rotary for this experience cannot be explained with words. I have posted two more blog posts on my Wordpress blog, so below are excerpts from that.

February 8, 2017

"A few weeks ago I reached my halfway point of exchange. I can’t really believe it. Thinking about how fast time has flown by is just incomprehensible to me. A tip to any future exchange student; don’t take any moment for granted. Things are constantly changing, I am constantly changing. When I think back to how I was when I stepped on that plane, I think of all the things I hadn’t learned yet, how little of Spanish I was able to speak, all the friends and close bonds I hadn’t yet formed, I had no idea how fearless and independent I would become."
"I’m at the point where Spain feels like home–a different home for sure, but home. I really have no idea how I’m supposed to leave this place. Am I just gonna wake up in Florida one day and accept that all I have here in Spain and all the memories I made just have to be left behind? I can’t grasp that. Of course I’m so excited to go back, but I love my life here."

March 19, 2017

"I want to talk about what exchange has taught me about life.
The first and greatest thing I’ve learned is that life should be lived. Life should be lived deeply and fully. Take every aspect of life around you and take it in like there’s no tomorrow. When you’re happy, let the joy take over every part of you, smile, laugh, remember how it feels, write it down to get you through the times you feel like joy is lost. When you’re sad, don’t be afraid to feel it. Cry, run to someone for comfort, don’t hold anything in for too long. Moments of darkness are demanded to appreciate the light.
Next, take every chance you have. Do things you’re uncomfortable with. It can either go terribly wrong or be the best decision of your life, but why would you wanna risk missing that second option?
Tell everyone you care about how much they mean to you. Nearly everything in life is temporary and fleeting and you never know when someone or something you have will be out of reach. Always take a moment to think of everything in your life that brings you joy.
Live now. The next week, or day, or even hour is not promised. Being smart about the future is wise, but spending too much time dwelling on it causes us to miss so many moments. Be where you are. Enjoy every second. My months here in Spain have gone by quicker than I ever imagined possible. Because of this I’ve become the master of not taking a single second for granted. I know that when I go back home in three months I’m going to treasure every moment I spent here. And when I’m old and looking back on my youth, I will be so thankful that I didn’t waste any given moment."