Reflections After a Month in Zaragoza

Connor R. is currently a junior at SYA Spain and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. He comes to SYA from St. Paul's School in New Hampshire.

A few days ago, I was remarkably surprised when I was told that it has been nearly five weeks since my classmates and I touched down in Madrid. Although the myriad of minute adjustments to my daily routine upon arrival in Zaragoza proved to alter my perception of time during the first few days, it has been the gradual process of becoming not only a part of the lives of my friends and host family, but also becoming
familiar with Zaragoza and it’s beauty, that has occluded my sense of time.

In Spain, living in the present is emphasized. Rather than sticking to a schedule, and prioritizing efficiency above all, it is not uncommon here to spend a little more time talking around the table, walking through the park, thinking, or watching than one might need. I find this exemplified no better than the nightly conversations I have with my host family, during which we all recount what the day has brought, and wonder what the next will bring. During dinner, there are no cell phones, there is no anxiety about studies or work, and most importantly, there is no hurry. It is through genuine interactions like these that I am able to learn how to live my life to the fullest while I am here, become a member of my host family, and track my integration into Spanish life and culture.

Each coming day proves to be phenomenally different than the last. In just a mere thirty five days, I have formed close friendships with both Americans and Spaniards, sauntered through the narrow, cobblestone streets of villages that have been frozen in time, climbed the eroded steps of castles constructed centuries ago, and noticed the most rapid improvement of my Spanish speaking, comprehension, and writing that I have ever witnessed. Despite having already experienced so much, the prospects of seeing so much more excites me to no end. After all, only a month has passed of what has so far proven to be, in the immortalized words of Washington Irving, “one of the pleasantest dreams of my life."

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