I've been going to the same pub since I arrived in Madrid. I like the people that come in and out; I like how the lighting borders on darkness; I like how they let me sit in my corner, with my Guinness, writing stories on their napkins. I've made friends here and the family I live with couldn't be more warm and gracious, but these are the times I know I'm going to remember most: alone, in my pub, in my city, is where I feel the most alive. It is here where I feel happy; it is here where I feel confused and homesick; it is here where I feel focused and ambitious. What a city. What a time in one's life to kick complacency in the head.
I worry about how I'm going to feel when I get home. Will my friends and family understand what I have just gone through? I worry that I won't be able to relate. I worry that I'll once again get caught up in the American machine and the oversized American stuff. I want to go back—of course I want to go back—but I just don't want to go back to the place I left. I don't know if that makes any sense. I want to stay changed; I need to make sure the things I'm feeling now are the same things I feel when I get back. Is there anyone out there who has finished their time abroad? How was the transition back for you?