As I near the end of my time in Sevilla I've been thinking about the impressions I have left on others, impressions left on me, and if perhaps anything has changed at all. I think that most people would like to feel that they had made a difference in a place were they spend five hard working months of ones' life. The feeling of not leaving anything or not having accomplished anything is quite daunting. As of now I can not account for an impression or mark that I am leaving in Sevilla. Rather, I note the mark that Sevilla and Spain has left on me. That mark is one of true humility.
Since diving into the Spanish language not only I have learned a lot about Spanish, but also volumes about humility. It is something easily learned from the persistent snickering of kids that comes with one’s mispronunciation. Or it can be found in the assignment to "act" as a group leader, but not actually be permitted to do anything because the other group leader thinks one does not understand. Expressions on people’s faces when one tries to explain something, the parenting of something that one understands completely, and the general sentiment that you are destined to be a follower in life – also all humbling. Over the past five months I spent many moments feeling like an immigrant from a third-world country; and not feeling like useful volunteer.
For all this humbling, I AM grateful. I am grateful to feel a little more, and grateful to feel for others a little more. Never again will I look at someone and assume that they should understand the words I am speaking simply because they are in an English speaking country. Neither will I falter when it comes to helping someone understand protocols and norms. I will have a special eye out to make people feel comfortable to speak their mind. Above all I will search for those who NEED a smile to remind them that we are in the game of life together.
- Maureen K.