AVIVA KARDENER- This week marks the end of week eight in Madrid. That means we only have seven weeks left in the semester. Somehow, we have already passed the half way mark. This brings up some memories of the odd but entertaining Half Way There party Tufts throws 2nd semester Sophomores before finals. It was always hard for me to tell if commemorating this mark of time is motivating, creates more fear, or actually makes you live in the presence. Nevertheless, it is still so hard to believe, especially because I have been abroad for over four months, and am here for less than two more. How is that possible?!
At the moment, all I can think about is the large list of things I still haven´t done here that I want to do before I leave. There are almost too many opportunities here in Madrid, and it is such a challenge to find a way to take advantage of all of them. For example, I still need to go to many museums here, go to a fútbol game, find my favorite churrería (a place for churros y chocolate), get better acquainted with many of the cool barrios here, learn to make paella, go hiking in the area, and many, many more experiences.
This is where the mindfulness comes in. I am realizing more and more the importance of acknowledging levels of progress. I am trying to appreciate that in Spanish I can sometimes give people directions in the metro, I can argue with the bank until the fix a problem with my card, and I can make some sarcastic remarks that show a little more of my personality. These are the little things I am proud of and am aware of as the happen.
But, I also have to recognize the many things I have accomplished and experienced that I frequently forget about. I´ve traveled to so many different parts of Europe and learned a lot in the process. I have adjusted to a similar, yet distinct culture. I have become part of a Spanish family. I have improved my ability to speak and understand Spanish exponentially. I´ve greatly stopped translating Spanish to English in my head. A couple of days ago, I even had my first dream in Spanish, and while I don´t remember exactly what it was about, I remember waking up mid dream and thinking in Spanish about how weird it was that I had been dreaming in Spanish. I am working as an intern in a Spanish company (Apunto cooking school). I´m taking four classes completely in Spanish, only one of which is a grammar class. And, I´m enjoying it all!
Yes, I still have a bucket list and hope to check off as much as possible before I head back home and transition back into life in the United States. And yes, I am a little sad that I don´t have much time left here. But, I think I need to remember to live life in the present, and take it day by day. I know that by mid December, I will feel that I spent my time studying abroad actively living and appreciating every day of it.