It's been 3 months since I've been in America. European culture has taken its toll on all of us, I think. After being sick, all I've wanted to do is get a taste of America again. It'll be a relief to be able to speak English freely, to drive my own car, and to walk into a restaurant that you know will serve you a nice juicy and greasy burger with some down home French fries. You'll get ice with your water, and your refills will be free.
Corporate America aside, though, the thing that I miss the most are the people. I skyped with a friend last night who mentioned that we hadn't talked in forever. It's been that way with a lot of people from school -- and quire frankly it's been more than difficult to keep in regular contact with people. Some who I had assumed would email all the time haven't, and some who I didn't really expect to keep semi regular contact did. Things always sort of surprise you like that. It's a nice surprise, but a disappointment when the people you thought would contact you often don't.
But it's the college things that you miss. And I'm not really talking about the parties or drunken weekends. But I'm talking about the friend you go with to lift all the time; the one who keeps you straight in your routine and you in his. I'm talking about the neighbors who bake you things all the time, and the ones you invite to family dinners on Friday nights. I'm talking about the guys you go out and throw the disc with. I'm talking about the architecture kids you spend all night in studio with, or take trips to Hobby Lobby and Michael's with, or even the late night CookOut runs that you purposefully plan for just before 2am when all the bars close and you'll have plenty of drunk people to watch on the way there. I'm talking about the guys you play volleyball with, and the girls too -- whether it's Sunday night open night with the girls club team, or pickup games with Chick and Bob, taking on 6 athletic girls and beating them. It's playing in the volleyball tournaments and dodgeball tournaments. It's going to Central Spirit meetings, and painting up for games, and doing balloons at 8 in the morning in 30 degree weather.
It's the simple things, like longboarding to class, or going on a bike ride at 4am in order to get out of studio for a bit. It's sitting and having a smoke (or 2 or 3) with a close friend and talking about life for hours. It's hanging in your hammock and taking a nap with a significant other. It's walking around campus at night and realizing that it won't last forever, and that this is only one short chapter in a life full of chapters. It's grabbing lunch with a friend every day each week at the same time, just because you have the same schedules. It's meeting new people, reminiscing with old people, and eventually, passing the torch to those younger than you.
These are the things that do not exist here. While our time here may be significant, you cannot escape the fact that it is very temporary. We've been here three months, but it feels like we got here yesterday. We've done so much, but you can remember each thing in vivid detail, and I hope that sticks with me. You constantly feel like an outsider, and when you're as pale and gingery as I am, that feeling is emphasized in Spain.
Don't get me wrong, I like it here and it's exciting and new and different -- but when the time comes to get on a plane for the final time to go home, I'm going to be ready, and will embrace it with open arms.