By Wes Pyron
Simply put, I cannot last one full day without some sight, song, saying, or daydream that somehow warps itself into a memory of my time in Granada. The enthralling beauty of a Lewisburg sunset is comparable only to that of the sunset over the Alhambra; hearing “Stereo Love” while absentmindedly attempting to do homework in Seventh Street Café fuels a desire to dance like we did in El Camborio (half club, half cave, mind you). Even the Rooke Chapel bells tolling the University’s alma mater are distinctly familiar to a church I passed each afternoon walking home from class in Granada. Heck, even trips to Wal-Mart are sentimental; I can’t get past the produce section without reminiscing (Granada means pomegranate in Spanish).
My semester abroad was collectively the greatest experience of my life. To clarify, I use the term “collectively” because each day in Spain was a gem in itself. Granted, at the time, simple daily activities like walking to the post office, sprinting to a café between classes, and afternoons at Hannigan’s Pub (for the free wi-fi, obviously) seemed to be leisurely activities to speed the day along. Although the waffles in Belgium, fish-n-chips in London, gyros in Athens and pizza/pasta binges in Italy were unforgettable, it is those simple Spanish memories that I cherish the most.
Granada is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. The historical relevance is captivating, as is the city’s sense of pride in its history. Each new bit of information, each question answered and each visit to a historic building helped accumulate such a vast pool of knowledge that I often found myself wishing I had the rest of my life to wake up and experience Granada each day. (Sidenote: the Alhambra should be on your list of things to see.) This fortress is known as a “palace city” composed of a defensive perimeter, multiple palaces and El Generalife, which consists of additional palaces, gardens and orchards. The city of Granada is so culturally dynamic due partially to its diverse history of rulers. Since its establishment by the ancient Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, various Arabic dynasties, the Catholic Monarchs and Spain have all played a role in the city’s development.
Oddly, I miss the language barrier. I miss not being able to assume the ability to communicate. I miss repeating the same few key words over and over again, while simultaneously combining them with awkward finger pointing and hand motions. I miss ordering my food incorrectly and not having the bravery (or vocabulary) to correct it.
But more than anything, I miss the pace and mindset of each day. Despite severe lack of sleep for most of my time there, looking back I realize I was refreshed and spiritually content nearly every single day. The relaxed pace of the day meant that despite any upcoming exam, gypsy who felt the need to steal my iPhone, or stranger who wanted to steal my wallet in a club, today I would trade anything to be sitting along the stone wall of the Mirador de San Nicolas, waiting for that sunset over the Alhambra.