A PRESHCO Impresh(c)on

This last blog took a long time to come to fruition, because I have been at a loss for words on concluding the fall 2018 PRESHCO blog (both metaphorically, and literally - since I feel like my English skills are deteriorating as my Spanish usage increased in the past semester). PRESHCO has been one of the most fun and rewarding semesters of my life because of the place, and mostly, as Avery (one of the preshquitas) said, “the people”. As I adapt myself to the rhythm of the new semester, I wonder how I could finish the last blog on the high note PRESHCO has left me on. Thinking back to just a couple months ago when I first landed in Madrid with a bunch of strangers, I had no idea that we were going to end up being such good friends by the 18th of December.

So, let’s start where it began, and end at the end.

 

At our welcome reception in Cordoba, Kim, our site director, said something that is still fresh in my mind. In her welcoming speech, she talked about “identities”. She said, and I paraphrase, “our identities are the combination of all the experiences we’ve been through. We come to a place with some experiences and leave with new ones, and the fragments of these experiences in turn mould who we are and what we will become.” I thought about her words throughout the semester, during my trip afterwards, up till now when I started my next program. I took note of the little things that are unique to each person that I’ve met - like my host family that always has chocolate after lunch; like that Argentinian woman that puts a pinch of cinnamon into her macaronis; like that Spanish girl that makes her toasts ON instead of IN the toaster because the slice wouldn’t fit and she doesn’t feel like buying an new one… interestingly, theses little details that I remember all take place in the kitchen, perhaps my mind is influenced by the book we read for PRESHCO’s cinema class “Como Agua Para Chocolate”.

At the ending ceremony, Kisa (a preshquita that’s in Cordoba for the full year) performed our own mashup of “Somewhere only we know” and “Someone like you”, dedicated to everyone that has made our experience so wonderful, and we hope to find “somewhere like you” in our future too. We celebrated a night of music, dance and good food, and I saw my host mom dance for the first time! My arabic professor in Salamanca told me that I’d want to visit Cordoba again after taking her class, and she’s right. I kept telling people that I’d come back to Cordoba to visit, and I wasn’t just saying it to be polite. I meant it.

I tread the ancient paths of Cordoba in 4-inch stilettos to attend the reception that day (upon my host family’s advice against it but I was stubborn) and walked home barefoot because my feet hurt so much; at the last dinner, I strutted in the same stilettos and danced in them as well. Maybe Cordoba has taught me to master the art of dancing in heels these past months, but more importantly, I walk away with joy and (some) tears of the beautiful memories I was able to create here with the amazing people. I’m still, very much, IMPREShcoed (I tried on this last pun, la intención es lo que cuenta)!

 
Stacia BIel