They told us before we left that coming back to the US after studying abroad is another big adjustment, just like going to a new country again. I didn't realize how true that statement was until I experienced it first-hand.
Obviously flying backwards over the time zones was a little weird, and so for the first few days I have been really off with my body clock. I didn't know when to be hungry, and I always seemed to be tired and could easily fall asleep no matter where or what position I was in. I'd try to stay awake during the day so I could sleep at night, and for the first three nights I woke up wide awake and hungry at 4AM (11AM Spain time). I've now been home for 5 days and my clock is pretty well adjusted. Another adjustment is the food. I'm used to eating big meals at 3pm and 10pm so that's obviously been a big change. Plus the food here is so different. The foods I'm craving I can't have, because we don't have them here. And I need to be careful with eating greasy American food because my stomach is not at all used to that.
It's also weird coming back to the USA and seeing all of the stuff we have. It's not that they don't have anything in Spain, they just live with a lot less than we do and it's kind of a nice happy medium between nothing and too much. All of the houses and buildings there are so small and here I feel like I have so much space! I can stretch out my arms in the shower again and spread out in my bed and sit up straight in the car. That's nice. It's been weird having my clothes back again though. In the last 6 weeks I've been living out of a medium-sized suitcase and had an extremely limited wardrobe. Coming back and seeing my full closet and dresser is mind-blowing! I feel like I don't need or wear half of my clothes so I'm going to dig through and find some to donate. Everyone here is so involved in their technology and everything as well.
Hearing English everywhere has also been a big change. We spoke English to each other when we were hanging out with our friends and stuff, but all of the signs and stores and people walking down the street were speaking Spanish. Everything we ever heard was Spanish so it's weird to walk down a street and hear someone else's conversation and fully comprehend it. I still think a lot in Spanish and sometimes mumble or speak to myself in Spanish while I'm doing something. It's hard to break out of that. Plus I love the Spanish language and find it beautiful, so I don't want to just stop using it now!
One last thing I just thought of that I've changed with is my phone. I got so used to not having it and not being able to use it that I don't really use it much now. I forget that I can! Haha. I leave it at home and don't think about it, or forget that I can text someone to hang out if I want to!
It's really nice to be back home in the States and be able to see everyone again. It's weird though because it feels like I've been dropped in the middle of everyone's summers and lives! Life is in the middle swing of summer here and for me it is just beginning. I also can't stand the humidity here! ICK. No me gusta. I'm slowly but surely getting around and seeing everyone, showing them pictures, and telling them all about my adventures. I need to get working on a photo book, but that just seems like so much work right now! I have tons of unpacking to do too, because I just dropped all of my dorm stuff in my room before I flew out to Spain so I have to unpack and deal with all that stuff in addition to my trip stuff.
As nice as it is to be home, I really miss Spain already! I just loved it there so much and wish I could have had a little bit more time afterwards to hang out and experience stuff without homework and school involved. A lot of the kids in our program stayed after and I kind of wish I had, just to experience more of Europe. I miss my host family, obviously, but we've kept in touch using WhatsApp and Skype. I think they really miss me because they're always sending me messages and asking me how I'm doing. I'm sure it's pretty quiet around their house without me! I also really miss my friends from our group! We spent so much time together every single day and now BOOM. I'm back here and haven't seen any of them at all. I also miss some of the food. Like rice and chocolate croissants and my host mom's lasagna and some colacao and the delicious fresh fruit. I know that I'll return to Spain one day though, because I loved it that much and want to be able to see so much more of the beautiful country!
But for the moment, I'm back in the good ole USA so if any of you want to visit me, let me know! I'd love to give you a personal account of my Avila Adventures!