Living the Moment

Alvaro - Brookline, Massachusetts
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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While I was taking off from Madrid to go and live in Boston for a year, I asked myself, “Where am I going?” As soon as I landed at Logan Airport, I felt lost. I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. When I saw my host family, it occurred to me that they would be like my own family, but only for a year. Although they are very nice people, nobody is like your real family. Over the last seven months I have realized that this experience away from home has made me feel stronger and I have matured a lot. I have learned to appreciate everything I have left in Spain as well as everything that I have to experience living here in America.

I believe that we have to appreciate everything we have now. My father and my mother are always appreciating all of the things they have in their lives. Although some things can appear very insignificant, they appreciate them. By “things”, I mean both materials goods, and opportunities. I like this belief because a lot of people cannot get half of the things we have. I remember the same words that my father always told me when I was young: “Alvaro, aprécialo ahora que lo tienes, no vaya a ser que lo pierdas”. These words are so powerful for me. I always keep them in mind and that’s why I am carrying them out.

This year I am studying in the United States. A lot of my friends from Spain think that I am a crazy guy because I have left my country, my family and my everything to go to another unknown world. But I have really liked this experience. First of all, I am learning a new language. I think I am not going to forget all of the embarrassing mistakes I have made during classes in the beginning. But looking on the positive side, I can now say that I can have a full conversation with an American person and I can even understand the jokes in chemistry class. I also really like this experience, because I am learning to coexist with a family who is not mine. And finally because I am making a lot of new friends who I will never forget. This is an opportunity I will remember forever and I appreciate daily all of the work that my parents have done for me to be here.

In the same way I appreciate everything that I have living here, I also appreciate everything that I have left behind in Spain. Sometimes, when I have something, I don’t realize what the value of that thing means to me until it’s no longer in my life. While in Spain, I appreciated my family, my friends, my language, my house, my bedroom, my teachers, my school… but not as much as I appreciate them now. I now especially appreciate little parts of the daily life I left behind like when my little brother asked me all of these weird questions during breakfast and I sometimes did not answer him because I thought he was annoying. Now, I know how much I appreciate him in so many ways, like playing tennis with him or watching funny TV shows, or even having dinner with him. Sometimes, when you grow used to a certain reality, you only focus on the negative things, but when you don’t have them, you focus on all of the good things you had with them.

This year I am finally fulfilling the thing I believe; I am appreciating being here in America, with wonderful people and I am trying to take advantage of all of the things that I will not live again. I will appreciate every tiny moment I will spend with my friends here until the end of June. Soon I am in Spain and I will then appreciate those pesky questions that I hope my brother will keep asking me.