I can’t sleep.  I went to Madrid this past weekend and the truth is I am extremely tired, but I just have a lot on my mind.  It’s strange because I am rarely stressed out here.  At home, I thrive on it, because the pressure and deadlines and constraints remind me what I am working towards and all the goals I have as a person and  as a hard worker.  But here, I hardly work.  So after a month and a half  I am trying to analyze myself and what I’ve learned.  Mostly what I’ve learned about me.

I realized that I’m not as patient or as flexible as I thought.  I am a woman of planning, and without set schedules and homework deadlines, I can’t seem to motivate myself to set a schedule, when in reality it’s the only way I’ll ever begin to tackle studying for mid-terms or choosing a topic for my 15 page paper on Spanish Art.  I also realized that my stressful life may be overshadowing my time in college.  Here I spend an overwhleming amount of time with friends, eating, talking, and laughing.  I can’t remember the last time I spent so little time alone, and I like it.  Sometimes I feel like a loner, and I acknowledge that as part of who I am.  But other times I realize I do things alone because it can be easier than making an effort to reach out to a new person or taking the time to cherish the friendships you have, even when you are tired and cranky.  I don’t even know if that makes sense to anyone reading, but it made a lot more sense when the emotions were swirling in my head.

I guess all of these reflections culminate in the fact that I’m going to have to mentally prepare myself for my lifestyle adjustment when I return to Northwestern.  I have no doubt that I will throw myself back into the whirlwind of stress and work and activities.  My only question is, will I still value it?  Will I still thrive off of it?  Or will I feel like I’m not really living life, now that I’ve gotten a taste of a country that is slower and more relaxed?  I’m not really sure which pace suits me better.  I guess I will just have to find that happy medium between the two if I want to retain my sanity.  Bouncing from one extreme to another has certainly challenged my physical and emotional bio-rhythms.  And even though it’s 1 AM and I need to be up by 8 AM, I know the night ahead brings an endless stream of thoughts about the future and my values for the next 2 months abroad and the next year and a half of college.


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