by Madeline Weir

justin madeline parkJanuary 18, 2016

Ahhhh!! We’re officially half way through our bridge year abroad!! What a time to be alive! I have this app called DreamDays where I can see both how many days I have been here in Madrid (138) and how many I have to go (137)! It also lets me count down to trips and such which is really nice.

One of the most important things I’ve learned by being abroad is not to wish time away. It’s OK to acknowledge that it’s passing of course, but the most important thing is to stay focused on what’s in front of you. That way, you can enjoy every interaction and every sight you come across. You can also enjoy your emotions more because you’re not pushing them aside worrying about feelings of the future. Obviously there have been hard times here where I was thinking about the future. I have found that I love home and love my family and friends so much that being so far away is hard sometimes. But at the same time, the more I enjoy the moments here the less I miss home!

I’ve traveled a lot this first half, and I definitely plan on continuing that. I also want to try to stay in Madrid a little bit more and enjoy the city. It’s so beautiful and lively with so many people I can meet. I’m really excited about that too.

My work is amazing and I’m getting more and more involved with passing time. As relationships and trust build that naturally occurs. I love the girls I’m working with so much, it will definitely be hard to leave at the end of my time here. I’ve seen the youngest, Eva, learn to read. I’ve seen Ana accelerate in her English skills. I’ve seen Leyre come a long way in the area of respect and kindness. It’s been a journey for all of us together which makes it that much more special.

I’m so lucky to have this experience. There have moments when I’m walking across the side of a mountain and wondering at the view. There have been moments when I’m standing in front of a masterpiece that is a few centuries old. There have been laughs and smiles exchanged with all sorts of people. Each time, I’m a little bit more grateful and a little bit more in awe of my experiences.

Cheers to a second amazing half of my European adventure and service year!

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