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Gap Year Abroad

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International Cake

    The patio of Clic is an incubator of friendship, especially on Mondays. Nobody has a completely saturated group of friends and I have yet to encounter someone who does not welcome a new face. Simply smiling and asking where someone is from is all that’s needed to start a conversation. After classes end, it’s easy to find those acquaintances and make plans for lunch. This Monday I went get lunch with a guy from Scotland and another from Norway. Tom, they guy from Scotland had studied in London, then worked in Berlin and is now studying in New York, but in Seville for a week to learn Spanish before he goes on a research trip to Venezuela. Jon, the guy from Norway is on the under 21 rowing team for Norway and was competing in a regatta in Seville later that week. Tom talked about how Berlin in one of his favorite cities in Europe and turns out Jon is an extremely humble world-class athlete. I would be lying if I said I expected either of them to have as interesting of backgrounds as they do. Clic offer us remarkable classes with great teachers, but perhaps its most valuable resource is the inexhaustible supply friends, stories, and foreign perspective found in the other students.

    Last semester I really missed the change of pace that international friends provide. On a semester at sea, I lived on a school ship that lacked any resemblance of diversity. We had a lot in common, but I would rather pick out facets of life that overlap between different cultures, than rattle off continuities between life in San Diego and Miami.

    Sadly the first round of friends I made at Clic said their good byes last night. A group of Australians and a Dutch friend are leaving tomorrow. We met for drinks at the Plaza Mayor and they enjoyed their last look at the skyline of Seville. The sun was symbolically setting on the day and their time in Spain. One of the Australians said a poem that went something like this:

Good byes are not forever.

Goodbyes are not the end.

They simply mean I’ll miss you.

Until we meet again.

    Although it is incredibly cheesy, I thought the poem fit the sarcastically somber mood. Beyond the message of his poem, I tried to focus on the fact that almost simultaneously, new students for the following week would be arriving. I don’t think that new friends can simply fill the place of ones who leave. That way of thinking disregards each person’s individuality. Instead, I think memories of friends will be added up, like layers on a cake. When I leave Seville in April, I’m going to have a lot of cake. 



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