About 10 months ago I was sitting with a small group of friends, my last farewell dinner. Everybody was instructed to write a letter to me, telling me what attributes of mine have affected them, so that when I needed love and encouragement from home, I would have handwritten life boosters. I had nine of them and decided to open one on the first of every month. Each one has done something amazing for me, whether I was homesick, happy, loving life or missing friends, each card had the right words in each moment and I am so grateful for all of them. As we were sitting at the dinner and all my friends were writing I was like uhhhh what should I do? Krystal suggested that I write myself a letter… from who I was at that dinner to who I will be when I am in my last month in Spain. As I was writing it I remember thinking it would be forever until I opened it! But now the time has come, 10 months later.
Tonight, a last dinner with my best friends. A farewell of sorts. I planned to match Krystal tonight even tho she didn’t know. Heh.
Three things I value most about myself.
- My love for people – all people.
- My positive attitude towards most everything, or the ability to make it so.
- The characteristics I have to attract such incredible friends.
Things I’ll miss
- The face to face conversations with my friends.
- The comfort of my homeland.
- My baby girl, cudsy poo.
Things I love right now in this moment
- The humor and fun at the table espesh Bry’s extra whip cream!
- LOVE! So much. Not just towards me but between everyone here.
- Champagne, wine, food – salmon!
Things I wont forget
- All the memories I made with my “crew” espesh in “wine country” year.
- My customers. They’re love and support.
- Dance. Dance. Dance.
Lookin forward to.
- Meeting Sergio – 🙂
- Learning how to love, live, and be – different.
- Fear. Being uncomfortable. Uneasy. Homesick… learning who I am, breaking my walls, establishing reality, changing lives. Changing my own life.
With all the luck I’ve been given, all the love I’ve received, all the people I’ve taken with me…. I am who I am because of those around me. Now, who can I become. Me voy a ver en España.
Dear Sarah from 10 months ago,
Oh how you’ve changed… or grown rather. It makes my heart happy to know that you still value the same things you valued before but now with a different perspective. You still like to match people and with the most ridiculous things – like enormous sunglasses for example. You care less and less what people think about you and that has allowed you to really break out of a shell. You’re still so positive about most things. Sometimes when you are around negativity for too long, you feel it affecting you but its ok because you realize it and even gave up complaining for Lent. With all the stress and time that has gone into getting the visa, you have learned how to be patient knowing that it really doesn’t matter what happens. Life is set on a course and you can only change the things you can control. Knowing the Spanish Government likes to take its time, losing sleep over legalities isn’t worth it. You’ve managed to make some very good friends in Spain too. Friends for life. The cool part is instead of forcing yourself to be around people that only pointed out your negatives; you chose to be with people that wanted to make you a better person as well. With the billions of people in this world and the little time you have, you’ve learned that it’s ok to be picky. Even if that meant you had a lot of alone time… although you learned to appreciate your own company more than you ever have before. There’s a lot you can learn when you are by yourself and you allow yourself to think. Those things you thought you’d miss at home… well yeah, you definitely did. The time difference made it difficult to talk to your friends when you wanted to and there were a few days that it got you down. But that was also a learning experience for you and I think you’re much stronger now. Missing your homeland wasn’t as big of a deal because you know that it will always be there. And with the foods they import from America, you had access to almost anything you wanted. Although when the coffee, wine, tapatio sauce, and fudge came in the mail, you closed your eyes and felt what it was like to be home again. Although it was cool because no matter how much you did miss home, you never wanted to pack up and leave. You will always miss your kitty. Skype sessions with her helped a little but sleeping without her was very tough. You knew it would be, so it never made you depressed. You’re so excited to see her again!!! Even though it will only be for a couple days. When you wrote the things you loved in those moments, I think that those are things you choose to love in every moment. You thrive in humor! Laughing is something that gets you through a day… especially the hard ones. When you think about the best days in your life, most of them are full of laughter. Love. You’ve always loved love and that’s something you continue to do. When you see a mother giving 100% of her attention to her child, listening to her talk about absolutely nothing of relevance, it makes you feel so amazing because to that child, the attention they are receiving is GOLD. It’s sad when I think that it wasn’t too often you saw this back home. The love here within families, relationships, strangers, friends… it’s an incredible feeling. Appreciating the food here makes it less difficult to miss food at home. The unique cultural flavors and customs add to the experience and while you loved food before, the meals here have been one of your favorite parts. I’m sad to say you still haven’t found “the Sergio.” You’ve met a few but because the meeting never went the way you had imagined it might… whether he was a 7 yr old or my teacher or a professional footballer… I figure the right one is still out there searching for his Sarah. You’ll meet one day, don’t worry. In fact its become kind of a joke with everyone… all your classmates , teachers, and friends know about it so you all just refer to everyone’s soul mate as “their Sergio.” They say it’s hard to see how much you’ve changed unless you go home and see what you were. I’ve noticed a few things about you that are different but I think the big hit will be when you return to California in a few weeks. You’ve had a few visitors here which were incredible!! With each one though, you felt a bit of culture shock. The things they would notice about Europe and Spain were things you had gotten used to, things you had made a part of your own life. Some of them made you laugh and others reminded you of the fast paced life that you had stepped away from. Putting love first has become a rule in your life. Money carries less importance every single day. Living in a country that is experiencing a crisis but never sacrifices love or family has opened your eyes to a way of living you could only dream existed. As I write this, it’d hard to put it all into words. It’s a feeling you want everyone to be able to experience. Remember when you were looking forward to fear? To being uncomfortable? Uneasy? Homesick? It all happened! But I think you were prepared for it so in each uncomfortable moment you realized what it was so you adapted to it and grew – thrived in it. I don’t know that you’ve changed the world like you had originally wanted, but what I do know is that you’ve allowed your life to be changed. You ended your letter by saying that you are who you are because of those around you… I am going to disagree with you now. I think the people around you definitely help make you who you are. But it’s your own choice to adapt to the qualities and life lessons they teach you. You can be an amazing influence on somebody but that doesn’t make them any different. Same with you. You are who you are because God has blessed you with everything you have and the lessons and life challenges you have gone through. I’m excited to see what else is in store for you. In about six weeks you will face some serious culture shock back in America. You’ll see all your friends again and it’s possible you may not want to leave. It’s also possible that you may remember the reason you left in the first place. I encourage you to not hold it against people, the blindness of the bigger world. Like you before, most people haven’t had a chance to experience the things you have. Accept them with love and try and show them through your own love, a new way of living. Spain will be waiting for you with a new chapter in your life, new challenges, and new goals. Good luck, and never look back. ❤