Contradictions

As each day passes I am approaching the end of my stay in this island of paradise. To say that I am feeling sentimental about this chapter of my life ending, is an understatement. I don’t know where to start because I can easily contradict what I say with another thought. For example, I am thankful for all the experiences I have had in Puerto Rico. I got lost in Old San Juan, explore and watch monkeys in a forest in Cabo Rojo,  enjoy the beautiful bioluminescent bay in Parguera, celebrate Oktoberfest in Bavaria, jump from old ship docks at Crashboat, Aguadilla, celebrate a beautiful wedding in Mayagüez, and not to mention sunbathe in various beaches. However, I was not able to travel to as many places as I would have enjoyed to go. I  failed to visit the caves, go zip lining, explore the Yunque rain forest, and see many Puerto Rican cities. It did not take many days to live here to realize that it is necessary to buy/rent a car in order go to places; because the public transportation here is non-existent and nagging your local friends only works a few times. I cannot blame them, for they have lived here their entire lives and have many more years to visit the places they have not yet seen, whereas I have until December 22 to do so. This is why I always tell myself that it is necessary to do as much as possible in a country that I am visiting because I would rather be content with what I have done than regretting the experiences that I failed to complete. Before traveling I always tell myself that this is a one in a lifetime experience, and I do not know if I would be able to return again. By convincing myself of this uncertainty, it helps my motivation to adventure as much as possible.

Being an exchange student also brings in another factor. In reality, I came here to study and perfect my Spanish. I should be giving school my first priority, not traveling. However, what is the point of doing an exchange program, if the entire time you are stuck in school or your apartment? It is a fine balance that I feel so many people struggle with when they go on exchange. As I look back on my entire semester, I can admit that there are multiple instances where I should have focused on my school career and failed to do so. Because I did come to Puerto Rico to help my knowledge in another language, I luckily do not need just a classroom to accomplish this. As I am sitting and writing this I can say that my Spanish has improved since I have been here. Sometimes it has been difficult because so many people start speaking in English because they can see that I either have difficulty speaking in Spanish or that I have said a word in the conversation because I am spending the entire time translating. I enjoy that they speak to me in English because it is a lot easier talking in my native tongue; however I did not come to Puerto Rico to do so.

Overall, Puerto Rico has treated me well. Although I cannot wait to see my family at home and see my friends I have abandoned, I will be very sad leaving this island. It will forever be a part of my life, for it has given me so much. I knew coming here I would have an experience of a lifetime, however I am pretty sure I didn’t expect it to be this great. This only makes me crave to be finished with school so I can travel even more.

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