NO8DO is the motto of Seville. What does it mean? The key lies in the center symbol, which is supposed to represent a skein of thread. This is called a madeja in Spanish, so then the sentence becomes no madeja do, which is equally confusing, until you realize that it sounds like no me ha dejado, she has not abandoned me. Seville has not abandoned me. I must admit that I had been looking forward to going home for several weeks before leaving. But, after being back for a week now, I know that Seville will never abandon me. It will always be there in my heart. I love the fact that the two countries I have spent a significant amount of time in both have slogans that typify the region where I was. Costa Rica’s is pura vida, pure life, and that’s truly how they live there – each day relaxed, chilled, one day at a time. Seville’s is no me ha dejado, and that is equally true. Seville has an ambiance, an aura, that is hard to forget, indeed. NO8DO exemplifies the city – it can be found on flags, buildings, buses, drainage covers, signs, and more – even tattooed onto the arms of some enamoured individuals. While it is fairly certain that I will not permanently emblazon NO8DO onto my arm, it is equally certain that NO8DO has been emblazoned onto my heart forever.
A nowhere near exhaustive list of some of the things that I will miss most about Seville include: the warm, sunny days that just beg you to come outside and explore the city. The delicate orange trees and fragrant smells that permeate the entire city. The narrow, twisty, cobblestone streets filled with the allure of romance and mystery and intrigue. The legends and stories that can be found associated with almost every street or historic building. The bustling shopping districts and tourist areas. And of course, there are the people. The men selling roasted chestnuts on almost every street corner. The gypsy women who mill around the grand Cathedral, try to give you rosemary and fortunes in exchange for money. The human statues that line the main street in the form of ghosts, flowers, and fairies. The illegal street vendors that can pack up their wares and disappear with astonishing quickness at the mere scent of a policeman. My wonderful, loving hosts parents, who bent over backwards to make me feel loved and cared for (my Señora actually recites the names of all 100+ students she has had while looking at pictures, so that she doesn’t forget any of her American children :]). The three children that I tutored, Estefanía, María, and Tulio, who surely taught me leagues more than I taught them. Justo, who showed me things that I would have never discovered on my own, is a fabulous and incredible patient teacher, and became one of my best friends in Seville. My friends from church, who brought a little bit of home and tranquility to me while I was thousands of miles away.
I could go on, but the to-do list 3 days before Christmas grows long, and I’m afraid I must draw this blog to a close. I think it is only fitting to end with a sneak preview of the possible adventures on Sinbad’s horizon in the next few years. The only concrete one is my 21st birthday, which is on January 3rd. I decided that I did not want to celebrate it by getting drunk at a bar, and the thought of being able to finally get my gun permit does not particularly appeal to me, either. So my best friend and I decided to go on a road trip down to Florida for a dance workshop weekend. I think it will be a much more productive use of my 21st birthday :). I’ve got one more semester of undergraduate education, and then I shall officially be a college graduate! If I continue on my current track, I will graduate with a BA in Spanish and a BS in Economics with a 4.0 (rounded) GPA. After graduation, I have applied to graduate school for International Relations at American University in DC, and Georgia Tech in Atlanta. I have also applied to some international programs (Rhodes and Marshall scholarships in England, and a Fulbright teaching assistantship in South Korea), as well as a fellowship position for a non-profit organization in Atlanta. I also plan on applying to some “normal” jobs next semester – although I’m taking a break from working on applications during Christmas! 🙂 So hopefully I’ll get offered something, and we shall see where God takes me! It’s exciting to think about! Thank you all for going on this journey with me; I can’t wait until Sinbad sets sail on another adventure!! 🙂