Savannah, outbound to Spain

Half-way through exchange already?!?! It is almost scary to think about how far I’ve come since I arrived in Murcia. So much has changed in what seems like a few short weeks. I remember being a very excited outbound preparing for my exchange. Everyone warned us about how fast the time will go, and before you know it you will be back home. However, I didn’t really listen, because I knew I’d be here for an ENTIRE 10 months. It seems like such a long amount of time when you’re looking at it from a distance. Yet, here I am, 5 months in and it seems like only last week I was getting off the plane. So, make the most of every moment and always try new things.

Now, last entry I believe I was coming down from the Holiday high that was Christmas, New Years, and Dia de los Reyes Magos. Unfortunately, I have had returned to the daily routine of school and homework. Not that school is bad, because it isn’t. My Spanish is better and I have awesome friends and teachers. However, with better language abilities comes the obligation to up my homework game. All in all it’s really helping me learn a lot and progress academically.

So far February has been a busy month. Exams to study for, projects to work on, but the exchange students have also done some really cool stuff. For starters, my Rotary club sponsored a city wide scavenger hunt. We split up into teams of three and hunted clues throughout Murcia. I was able to see a lot more of the city that I didn’t know about. Also, we were running round for about 4 hours so it was quite a workout as well.

In addition to the hunt, the Holirun finally came to Murcia! It’s a 5k color run with music and tons of cool stuff. The Murcian exchange students and some kids from Alicante all met up and did it together. It was so awesome and probably one of my favorite things I’ve done so far. I did tons of 5ks back home, but this was so different. Spaniards definitely know how to do it right when it comes to 5ks. There was a giant stage blasting music all day with about 7,000 people participating. Nobody actually ran, though. If you were there you would have seen everyone walking, dancing, stopping for beers and tapas, and most importantly playing in all the color (basically anything other than racing). Afterwards we danced at the foot of the stage with everyone else and sported our colors all over Murcia. However, this is only the start. The weekend coming up we are starting our Carnival celebrations that will last over the next two weeks. Parties, costumes, food, and tons of fun can be expected. I’m really looking forward to having one last big celebration before I have to switch families.

Speaking of, I only have about 2 more weeks left with my current family before I leave Monteagudo to live in the middle of the city. I’m pretty excited to have a new experience, but really sad to leave my family. They are so nice and have taught me so much about Spain.

I think this is the same for all exchange students. This time of year we are switching families, and coming to the startling conclusion that we are well over the half way point in exchange. It has turned into a countdown to when we have to go back home. It makes you realize that you have to take advantage of every moment left here. I’m cramming as much language as I can, going to as many places as I can, and trying not to freak out as I book return plane tickets to the U.S.

Yet, despite all of this, it makes me realize that I’ve done it. I have a family here, friends, a life. All is proof that I have assimilated into the culture and made myself at home in a place so very different from my home country. Just the other day I was rereading my personal journal from when I was preparing to leave for exchange, and I saw a huge difference in myself. The way I write, how I view the world, my ideas and thoughts, they are all changing and beginning to reflect the person I am becoming. All in all just proving what can happen in a short year. I try to remember this if I ever feel worried about leaving. I came here and did what all exchange students set out to do, and I’m so happy to even have had this amazing opportunity. I have learned, and will continue learning more about myself and the world I live in. I hope all exchange students get to feel like this, and encourage everyone to make the most of every moment they have abroad.