As I have said in previous posts, your super official Year Abroad™ is not always a magical utopia where you can pretend you can ignore your responsibilities and forget you’re in university (while still using your student card to get every discount you can).
There’s no place like home home. Your family is there, your friends are there. You know where everything is, and you can order food without having to reach into the corners of your more limited Spanish vocabulary. You can make the most of your Dad’s pizza oven, or even experience the wonders of central heating again.
However, with that comes the dreaded questions.
Why are you home? Is everything okay in Spain? Is there a half term? And my personal favourite: Why are you home when you could be travelling?
It’s okay if you want to go home. Yes, you’re only living in Spain for a year, but you can always return. Life doesn’t end when you go back to university for your final year. Sometimes there’s only so much of a crumbling flat and a lack of baked beans that you can take.
When I’m in Bilbao, I almost feel disassociated from home. My life is so different here that I can barely connect the two existences as me being the same person. I have a job here. I have to pay bills. I can travel easily. I can go to events here I would never even consider attending at home. I can go to museums, I can explore a new culture. I’ve grown and changed in a way I never would have been able to in Wales or even Chester.
When I’m home I’m safe. I can relax, I can drink wine with my mum and go to the rugby with my Dad and my brother and slip back into the comfort zone I have built up for myself over the years, and that’s okay. I can play with my tortoise Darcy and sigh with exasperation as they once again fall off the middle of the bridge, land on their back and are unable to roll over. It’s like a little bit of self-care after a long day at the office, and you shouldn’t feel guilty just because you are living abroad.
It’s okay if you want to go home, because home is where the blackcurrant squash is.