A Small Side of Tears

Yesterday, I had a mini meltdown. I cracked. In a McDonald’s. After four months away from home, the small frustrations catch up with you. It’s the little things. They build, and build, and build and then boom – you find yourself teary-eyed in the Mickey D’s bathroom stall.

From free WiFi to comfort food, McDonald’s has played a significant role in Spanish Logan’s life. I’m lovin’ it.

Each day, I hear my internal clock ticking quicker as my time in Spain nears its end. The days fly by at super speed. It’s all real now. My return to the United States? Textbook, dictionary-definition bittersweet. I’m nervous, excited, anxious, sad, relieved, stressed, and nostalgic. I dream about the comfort of snuggling in my bed beneath my cozy sheets. I fantasize about the holidays at home, the Christmas trees, and the front-porch lights. My mouth waters as I plan every lunch, breakfast, and dinner of my two-week food tour through Phoenix. And seeing my family in the airport? That’s a whole other story.

At the same time, I can’t imagine saying goodbye to Peppi. I can’t imagine the taxi ride to the airport, my last time walking the Santa Cruz cobblestones, or my final mid-afternoon coffee break. I can’t imagine leaving Sevilla behind. Thus far in college, I’ve planned my schedule, my housing, my entire four years, around studying abroad. The experience always seemed so far into the future. What happens when it’s over?

This weekend, the ATM ate my debit card (again). On Monday, I returned to the bank to retrieve my card. After waiting in line for an hour, I accepted the fact that I had to miss class. Irritated, I headed to the bank next door to try a new machine, card in hand. I needed money – my loose change wasn’t going to last much longer.

The ATM confiscated my debit card, yet again.

I attempted to explain my problem to the teller. I had no access to cash. Instead of trying to understand my broken Spanish, he acted aloof and ignored my pleas, pointing to the receipt and shooing me away. “Contact your bank for more information.” Well, duh. My frustration built. I wanted so badly to communicate but literally, remained at a loss for words. I felt helpless, flustered. Tears began to form behind my eyes and then the flood gates opened. Commence the water works.

I ran out of the bank and found comfort in the warmth of McDonald’s. The day’s language barrier tipped me over the edge of my study abroad threshold. My homesickness set in. I looked at myself in the mirror, crying underneath the golden arches of the woman’s restroom. C’mon, Logan!

After missing class, I headed to the CIEE study center to take advantage of my free time and free printing. Once inside, I decided to check the mail. To my surprise, the “P” cubbie held a letter bearing my name, in the familiar copper letterhead of my dad’s office.

Dated August 12, 2013 (a week before I left for Spain):

By the time that you receive this letter, you will already be several days into your adventure. And I will be missing you terribly. And be insanely jealous!

Enjoy yourself, and squeeze everything that you can out of this opportunity (and I know that you will). You are so well-suited to traveling abroad. Be a sponge, soak it in. Be smart. Be safe.

Please use this €5 to buy yourself a cafe con leche (sp.) or two, and when you do, think about me, your mom, your sissy, and your Gracie back in Arizona. We will be thinking of you.

You never cease to amaze me. I can’t wait to share your experience in Sevilla. I am so proud.

I love you.

I sealed the letter and headed down the street to my favorite cafe. With my newly acquired bill, I bought myself a café con leche. Suddenly, I was cured – happy and at peace.

Timing is everything.

6 thoughts on “A Small Side of Tears

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