I was born in Podunk, Indiana. I love my hometown, but it’s not worldly. I grew up sheltered and went to college at a small, private Christian school. After a year, I realized such an environment was counterintuitive to my own ideals. I decided to go to Indiana University Bloomington. It was a great place, full of local food, ethnic restaurants, and diversity. It was still in Indiana, but it was honestly the best place for me. I blossomed there. In the spring of 2008, I went to study abroad in Toledo, Spain.
It was a life-changing experience. I loved speaking Spanish, being on my own, experiencing new things. I admit, I was a bit homesick, a fact to which my mother can readily attest. Yet I knew there was something, however deep down the sentiment might have been.
I came back and spent my senior year thinking of my future and Spain. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I desperately wanted to improve my Spanish and learn to survive on my own. So, I decided to do an internship in Salamanca in the fall of 2009. I moved there, knowing no one, and started to work.
Unfortunately, the internship didn’t work out. But my relationship with Spain did. I met Mario. I fell in love. I got way better at Spanish. I went through an ordeal that no one should go through. I still came back. I applied for a job through the Spanish government and they said YES.
I thank you, Spain, for being a country that still accepts me, even if I try to enter without any good reason. I thank you for producing Mario. I thank you for jamón serrano. I thank you for good red wine.
I’m returning. I don’t think I’ll regret it.