Learning to Leave.

If you go to the About the Expat section of my blog, you’ll see that I mention that I am an avid reader. Recently, I was rereading one of my favorite books, Paper Towns, by one of my all-time favorite authors: John Green. I read this book years ago when it first came out and I hadn’t reread it since. If I loved this book before, it is now one of my top 3 favorite books. I relate to it so much more now that I’ve had this experience of living abroad. There were 2 quotes that struck me the most when I was reading the book. The first:

It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

If you are an expat, I’m sure you can relate to this quote. I was so nervous about leaving my home, friends, and family when I was getting ready to move to Spain. And then once I arrived, I realized how stupid I’d been to be so scared. I never really had horrible homesickness (luckily). I honestly didn’t start to miss home until Thanksgiving. And at that point, I only needed to hold on 3 more weeks because I knew I was visiting home for Christmas. While I am super excited to be going home for the summer and spending time with my family, I am also thrilled at the idea of returning to Spain in September and planning all my next adventures.

For all the future auxiliares (I know BEDA and the Ministry have started handing out placements), I know that it seems so insanely scary to uproot your life to another country, but just as the quote says, leaving is hard until the moment in which you finally leave. You will meet new people and make new friends. I am so grateful for my tight-knit group of friends here in Spain. Diana, Sean, and Dan are the greatest friends I could have found here. It’s rare to find people who you just “click” with and that’s what I’ve found in them. My Italy trip wouldn’t have been half as fun if I hadn’t had Diana with me. And then there is my amazing Spain family. I will never be able to thank them enough for taking me in and making me another member of their family. I’ve gone from being the baby sister in my family back home to the big sister here and I’ve loved every minute of it.

The other quote that struck me while I was reading was the following one:

Leaving feels good and pure only when you leave something important, something that mattered to you. Pulling life out by the roots. But you can’t do that until your life has grown roots.

This is so utterly and completely true. Before Spain, I had never been away from my family for longer than a few days. I went to college in-state and I saw my family every weekend. Not to mention since my mom works at a sorority at my university, I saw her during the week too. I’ve lived in Maryland my entire life. My dog is in Maryland…I know this probably seems absurd…but I realllyyyy love my dog. All of my friends are in Maryland. Maryland is my comfort zone. So completely uprooting my life to move to Spain was a big decision. But this journey wouldn’t have half of the significance if I didn’t leave all those things behind. So while I know many of the future auxiliares are likely scared shitless about this move…that’s good. That means it’ll be all the more worthwhile once you’re finally here in Spain…or wherever it is that your journey is taking you. Can’t wait to meet some of you this September 🙂

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Italia (Part 2) – Firenze. This Post is Ridiculously Long. Sorry.

Florence was definitely a highlight in the Italy trip. Now that I’ve been back a few weeks, I can say that Florence was my favorite city. It was a close tie with Rome, but something about Florence just appeals to me more. As the title mentions, this post is pretty long. I thought about breaking it up into 2 posts, but I don’t think it’s worth it.

This was the view from our hostel.

This was the view from our hostel.

After the debacle that was getting to the train station in Pisa to get to Florence, getting to the hostel we were staying at was pretty easy. I think it was probably around a 10 minute walk from the train station. We were the first people to check into the room so we got to pick our beds. We chose the bunk beds that were kind of separated from the other 2 bunk beds in the room. There was a semi-wall dividing us from the rest of the room and we liked it because, well, we weren’t sure if we’d get along with our roommates or not. After unpacking all of our stuff, we went off to venture the streets of Firenze. We ended up walking through the Market of San Lorenzo, which was about 5 minutes from our hostel. Diana and I already had our minds set that we wanted to buy leather jackets while in Florence since the city is known for having great leather products. So the market was the perfect shopping place for them. We entered one shop and liked some of the jackets, but we were put off by the salesperson who was quickly becoming much to pushy and really trying to pressure Diana and me into buying the jackets. Since it was the first store we’d gone into we didn’t feel comfortable buying the jackets and were trying to explain to the man that we wanted to look around before we made a decision. He got visibly annoyed with us so we just decided to leave. Also, this was also the man who kept telling Diana that the coat she was trying on looked “great around your boobies.” We should have just left after that. More

Italia (Part 1) – PISA

ImageFirst off, I am really sorry for my lack of blogging. There was really no way I could blog while in Italy and then I needed to get adjusted to being back at school. Now that I’m more into my groove of things, I feel like I can finally write my Italy posts. First up, Pisa!

Our trip began with a RyanAir flight straight to Pisa. This was my first time ever flying RyanAir and after all the horror stories I’d heard, I was more than a little anxious about the flight. My friend Diana ended up being in the fetal position for most of the flight since the flight attendant somehow managed to stuff Diana’s carry-on under her seat, which meant Diana had no leg room. None. I was okay for the flight until the landing. Worst landing I have ever experienced. I was fairly certain we were going to land sideways on the tarmac. Everyone was rocking side-to-side as we went down the runway. Granted, we all laughed about it afterward, but it was still scary.

Once I had my bag, Diana and I made our way to the bus we needed in order to get to our hostel. We had a slight bump finding the hostel from the bus stop because the directions we had were terrible. Would it kill people to use street names when giving directions? Once we finally made it to the hostel, we dropped off our bags and went off to find the tower. Now, let me be clear that in the entire walk from the bus stop to the hostel, Diana and I had not seen the tower. So when we left our hostel, we began walking in the direction we assumed the tower would be. This only lasted for about 3 minutes when we decided we were heading in the wrong direction and proceeded to turn around. Diana then says, “Oh my god, Yari. Look!” I had no idea what she wanted me to look at and I thought she was pointing at the car parked in front of us so I was really confused…until I looked up and saw the tower! Suffice it to say that we felt pretty damn stupid at that point. I had to take a picture to commemorate the moment we saw it: More