If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I left for and returned from Madrid just about a month ago. I actually wrote the bones for this post while on the plane (with the asshole behind me yapping on the phone–who was this guy’s long distance provider? That’s what I’d like to know. Because who needs sleep? What is jet lag? And why be a considerate human being?). I don’t think I ever fully explained to any of you why I didn’t stay in Madrid, and honestly, it feels good to write about it.
So, here I am, safe and sound on my university campus, forcing myself to remember my time in Spain in the most positive light possible. As Jane Austen once wrote, “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” While I think Austen is right–we should only think of the past as it gives us pleasure–I just don’t think that’s particularly realistic.
If I’m being 100 percent honest (as I always try to be with you guys), I don’t want to remember the physical distress that prompted and propelled me to reconsider my four-month trip abroad. I don’t want to remember the way it felt, the stomach churning nerves that prevented me from eating, the fatigue from not having eaten, the surplus of physical energy because I was too fatigued to go out and explore.
I so wanted to channel my inner Catherine Morland and seek my adventure abroad. I so wanted to be like Me Before You’s Louisa Clark and realize the fact that I need to take advantage of the life I’m able to live. But sometimes we have to accept the things about ourselves that we can’t change. I’m a homebody. I do love adventure and new cities, but I want (need) that adventure to be controlled. I like to know that, yes I can spend two weeks exploring a new country in Europe, but at the end of those two weeks, after channeling all of my most outgoing, active, adventurous self, I’ll be able to come home, curl up in my bed with a cup of tea and an episode of Vampire Diaries (which is my latest obsession. I mean, I literally cannot stop. I’m like Stefan once he starts drinking human blood again in season one.)
To be honest, I wish I could heed be a little more adventurous, a little more willing to force myself out of my comfort zone and stay there.
But then again, those feelings and sensations that I mentioned earlier brought me to make the decision that ended all of those feelings. I don’t think it’s logical that we can only look at the past as it gives us pleasure, because I’m not sure about you, but most of the things I remember most vividly do not give me any please at all. In fact, my strongest memories are downright sucky. But that’s okay. Because that’s just part of life. We need to remember the good, but we also need to remember the bad.
So I’m going to remember how kind the Spanish people were, how sweet my host mother Lola was, how peaceful it was to wander through Retiro Park and find that it just keeps going–it’s really quite enormous! But I’m also going to remember the nights spent tossing and turning, the late night phone calls to my mom and friends back in America who were only able to tell me it was going to get better, but I couldn’t see it getting any better.
To everyone’s surprise–not excluding myself–I don’t have many regrets about coming home early. I’m certainly sad I didn’t get to travel like I’d hoped and planned to. But I know that if I’m meant to go there, it’ll happen eventually. I made a friend through the university (on the FB class page) who I still have yet to meet in person, a friend I’d very much like to meet in person someday. But who knows? As my new friend says, the world is not such a big place.