“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.// Terry Pratchett

My bags have been unpacked for a week now, but unpacking my time abroad has yet to be completed. And as I sit here, I am not sure that it will ever be something I am fully able to unpack. Because how do you explain to those people who are apart of the “before” and “after” of an experience such as the one I had of how vivid, chaotic, trying, beautiful, all-together wonderful it was to have a ten month long adventure in Spain?

Words have been something I have stumbled and fumbled over while in Mallorca, where I fought hard to learn a new language and to be understood in the most simple of exchanges. And so to return to the USA, where I can speak freely in my native tongue without concern of being misunderstood, at least in the literal sense, I still find myself struggling to come up with the words to properly convey how much Spain meant to me, how it became a piece of me that I’ll carry with me into the years to come.

While so glad to have people who are genuinely interested in knowing how it all went, I am learning to sit with the fact that I’ll never do my time away justice when using words. I can only hope that my actions and outlook will show the shift I felt.

For I know that my return to the mitten, while still temporary this summer, carries purpose. It allows me to practice what I learned, it permits me to be refreshed in familiarity and showered with the warmest of welcomes, and to appreciate all that I have here and all that I have gained while abroad. For no adventure is taken in vain, it brings with it lessons, constant transition, simultaneous joy and mourning, and in my case, far more photos than I know what to do with.


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