Ode to Valencia

*sing to the tune of “Ode to Joy”

*please don’t sing to the tune of Ode to Joy because this was not written to be sung with anything.

I’m going to miss you Valencia.

I’m going to miss your beautiful candy-colored buildings. I will miss the freshness of all the food, from the fruit off the trees outside my apartment to the chocolate. I’m going to miss outdoor seating at restaurants being the standard thing. I’m going to miss the fact that RAIN IS NOT A THING HERE. I’m going to miss using the words “gracias” and “hasta luego.” I’m going to miss my wonderful Year 4 children. I’m going to miss never tiring of taking in the beauty that surrounds me 24/7. I’m going to miss how everyone dresses nicely all the time. I will miss my new favorite foods, from patatas bravas to spanish cookies, from helado to spanish chicken. I will miss little vendors, grocery stores, and shops at every corner. I’m going to miss the Vespas (unless I steal one and take it home) that I see constantly. I’m going to miss the little cafes with amazing prices and even more amazing food. I’m going to miss walking everywhere, being able to see the city center and its history by just walking out my door. I’m going to miss my host mom, her dog, and living in her beautiful flat. I will miss my wonderful new friends, especially Michelle (she’s gonna get her own post, just wait). I will miss the palm trees, oh the palm trees. I will miss the easy access to the beach, with its clear water and its smooth sand. I will miss the beauty of this city life.

Now, I will not miss the smokers. The smokers everywhere. Trust me, I will not miss them. I will not miss having to pay for water at restaurants, eating dinner at 9 pm, and oftentimes feeling forced to eat more than I want. I will not miss having to translate my thoughts, and not being able to get my point across. I will not miss being whispered about as I walk past Spaniards (yes, I’m American). I will not miss the confusion of working in a British school. I will not miss 9 lane traffic, or cars that do whatever they please. I will not miss having restricted phone access and I will not miss only having one accessible outlet. I will not miss the lack of air conditioning, the bug bites, the extreme necessity to eat seafood here, and the pigeons that come within inches of you.

But let’s be real. I will miss all of this. Because no matter how much I don’t like it, it is what made this trip the trip I came to know and love. It made my study abroad experience the one that I have, and I could not be more thankful for that. So, you’re right, I won’t actually miss the smokers breathing their smoke in my face, but it gave me insight into a culture and a life that I have never seen before, the life of those living in Valencia.

Disclaimer: I still have ONE DAY MORE in Spain, but it’s not in Valencia. In the morning, I leave Valencia, and head to Segovia, where I will spend tomorrow. Then, Sunday morning, I board my flight back to the states. And while I’m excited for Segovia, in my mind, this trip is ending. Segovia is like limbo in between Spain and the USA for me, because Valencia was my home for a month. Valencia is my city, and leaving it means this trip has come to an end.

Don’t forget me Valencia, okay?

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