A year ago this past Thursday, I got on a plane to move to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for five months. After spending a few days in Madrid, we went to Santiago. I moved there. For five months. What?!
I can’t believe it.
I get kind of teary-eyed thinking about it.
Some days it almost seems surreal that I DID do it. But then I see pictures, the super fun friends on Facebook from all over the world, posts, and I remember that I got to live in SPAIN for a semester. Ahh I miss it! It’s weird to be so incredibly happy in one place (Nash) but missing another place so much (Santiago). I am so thankful I got to go.
If you are interested in learning more about my adventure, check out my Lily Goes to Spain blog here.
But time for some memories.
I think about my semester there all the time, but have been particularly mindful of it as my one year mark is here! Tomorrow marks a year since we met the dear MTW families in Madrid. Monday marks a year that Mom and I flew from Madrid to Santiago and met my family and Lola for the first time.
Before I left the States, I saw so many people near and dear to my heart. December 2013 was a very hard month because I cried most of it having to say goodbye! Saying goodbye is not fun. I worked on saying “see you soon!” instead of “well it’s been nice knowing you!” just kidding did not say that… It’s not fun hugging your dad and sisters goodbye at the airport.
I was so so so excited flying from Madrid to Santiago. Every time I flew back into Santiago after traveling I always thought of that first time. Flying over the rainy city and my heart was racing. Dr. Julseth had told us about this place about 9 months before and now here I was. I was HERE in Spain and in Santiago! I was so thankful to have my favorite mom by my side as I approached my new home. Having her close made the transition so much easier and smoother. In Madrid we mostly slept, ate, and went to the Prado museum. We were adjusting to the time zone – seven hours ahead of Nashville. Once in Santiago, we got off the plane at the airport and I could not contain all of the emotions! Excitement to finally meet my family and move into my new home. Sadness that it meant I only had a few more days with Mom. Fear that I wouldn’t know enough Spanish. Fear that I knew no one. Peace that God had promised to never leave me. I have always been very cautious and careful so I probably would have laughed if you had told me a few years ago that I would be moving by myself to Spain for a semester! As Mom and I collected our luggage and headed out to the waiting area, we knew someone from Cursos Internacionales would be waiting for us. Sure enough, there stood the adorable Lola with a sign saying “Lily Scott – Belmont University.” As she began firing off in Spanish, I was kind of in shock. When Mom and I were in Madrid, I barely used any Spanish at all. Now it was real. It was go time. The show was starting and my use of Spanish got real. The airport is about 30-40 minutes from the city. As we drove in the taxi I tried to take in all of my new surroundings. We wove through the city and I still could not believe it was actually happening. Before I knew it, we pulled up on a curb. I was mere minutes from meeting my family! We piled out of the taxi. Lily, Mom, Lola, and three suitcases and a backpack. I definitely was moving in. It was perfect – the hotel Mom had booked for herself was just a quick walk down the street. Lola pointed it out as we drove past. Now at our destination, we rolled the suitcases down the ramp and Lola led us to the apartment building door. She rang the bell and I tried to make a mental note of which button she pressed. The click sounded and the door was opening. They knew I was here! As we entered the foyer, the door up the first set of stairs on the left opened. And my dear, dear, dear host mama came out. This was my host mom! The sweet woman who would take such good care of me. Who would become one of my best friends. I immediately knew I liked her. We came into the apartment, and I think Lola left soon after we made it. I immediately felt cozy and happy in our apartment, and couldn’t believe how close and convenient it was! Sita explained that Laura and Andrés were out but would be back promptly (they had expected us a little later). She led me and Mom back to my room which soon became my own little haven. I never went “off” to college so it was weird unpacking with Mom for the first time! Sita left us to unpack which did not take very long (surprisingly!). She had left flowers, a pitcher of water with a cup, and a guidebook about Spain on my bedside table. She kept apologizing saying that the room was small but I loved it. It was perfect. After I unpacked and settled in, Mom and I ran over to her hotel for her to get settled in. Then we headed back to the house to meet Laura and Andrés and have dinner! I immediately liked my brother and sister. I told Andrés that he was the first “real” brother I’d ever had 🙂 Later in the semester, I would always tell him that he was my favorite brother. Andrés: “I’m your only brother…” Me: “But that doesn’t automatically make you my favorite!” Back to day one… Sita is a fabulous cook. I remember that she had made a delicious egg/cheese tort dish that Mom and I loved.
… to be continued…
besitos y amor,