Where do I begin? Sevilla is a place that captured my soul from the moment I arrived there. Okay, I lied, not from the moment I arrived. I know that now anytime that I mention the city to others or daydream about it my heart skips a beat and nothing but fond memories overcome my mind. But that is not how I initially felt. When I arrived in January of 2009 it rained everyday and had nothing but gray skies and I remember having cold feet, both literally and figuratively, about moving there.
When I leeft to study abroad I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was moving to another country where I didn’t know anyone, where anything was, and only kind of knew the language and a little bit about the culture. I didn’t know where my school was, I didn’t have a job and I certainly wasn’t totally prepared to live with an older woman who would house me for the next four months. However, slowly but surely that all changed.
Most of the first few weeks of being Sevilla I was lost. I had to walk for at least 45 minutes one way to get to school. I was hungry all of the time because I was walking a good 10 miles a day and the meals were all spread out. Yes, it took a while to get used to eating dinner at 10pm. I slept little because I would go out with friends at night and had to wake up early for an 8am class.
I was lucky enough to make some great friends in school that would lead me have great times as we traveled around Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece together. But I think our best times together were on the day to day basis, when we would meet by the bridge and sit by the river. Either that, or when we would buy candy from the corner stores and giggle because of our sugar high.
I suppose the reason why I love the city so much is because that is where I invented myself. I started not knowing anyone or where anything was, I wasn’t comfortable speaking in Spanish, and I only knew a little bit about what my plan was in life. I mean, most 20 year olds don’t have everything figured out, I know I still don’t, but when I think of Sevilla I think about the life I built for myself. Many people talk about travel and studying abroad as a great and exciting experience but I feel like a lot don’t mention about how hard it is. There were days I was lost, days I didn’t sleep much, days when I longed for something or someone familiar. But it was through those experiences that I always found what I was looking for.
Sevilla, you are my place. The place that helped make me into the person I am today and led me on the path to the person I want to become. When I left you, I left a piece of me floating in the Guadalquivir, next to the Puente de Triana. And still to this day, as your city motto goes, “No8Do– No me ha dejado”… you have not abandoned me.