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Homesick in Seville, Spain

| Friday, November 3, 2023

I spent my fall break roaming the streets of Seville, Spain, and missing home.

One of my roommates has been living abroad this semester, so we decided to book a flight and spend some quality time together for the week. It was a trip filled with long conversations, insanely delicious food and long walks around a small European city that prides itself on its culture and history. The opportunity to be with my best friends and immerse myself in a new place was exactly what I needed to revive myself from the mid-semester slump that creeps up on me every single year like clockwork. 

Rainy days are far and few between in Seville, Spain, but one night we got completely drenched and had no other option but to stay in and watch a movie. After some deliberation, we landed on Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” a stop-motion comedy following the lives of a family of foxes and a handful of other talking animals. It is set in autumn during peak foliage, capturing the season in a whimsically magical way with its red, orange and yellow hues enhancing each shot and adding to the hilarious (yet thought-provoking) storyline. Watching this fall foliage on film made me long for home, despite traveling around such a gorgeous foreign country where summer never seems to end.

I’ve always been a really nostalgic person.

Change does not come easy for me, as I enjoy the comfort that familiarity brings, so the process of growing up has oftentimes felt more draining than exciting. Like many college freshmen, I caught a bad case of homesickness and almost dropped out because of it. My habit of wishing for what once was can make it hard for me to enjoy the present moment, and I can’t help but admit that there is something about this time of year that just takes these emotions to an entirely different level.

When I think of fall, I am reminded of my family and my childhood. The leaves remind me of all the piles my siblings and I jumped into. The brisk cold air takes me back to bike rides with my dad. Layering and wearing chunky sweaters evokes memories of early holiday shopping with my mom. Autumn is a time to sit alongside the beauty and pain of change and reminisce on who you’ve been, who you are and where you’re going. It’s the season for prioritizing the people and places you are homesick for. When you miss something, please welcome that eerie feeling in your stomach.

But now that I am a junior and have formed a life and routine here at Saint Mary’s College, Chicago isn’t the only home I miss anymore.

The people I have befriended in the tri-campus community are the reason I get homesick for South Bend over winter break, summer break or even on quick trips home for the weekend. My friends here have helped me realize that the people really do make the place, and one day down the line there will come a time when I long for college like my childhood. I will miss the walks to and from Notre Dame on game days with my friends. I will miss spending too much money on take-out food and watching movies and playing games on nights when there is nothing to do. I will miss all of the stupid and funny moments we’ve shared, as well as the ones that have led us to navigate this ever-changing time of life. 

As we get older and gain new experiences, homesickness will begin to make itself known more often than usual. We will all go on to live different lives, but we will always have the people and places that have shaped us to fall back on — the Notre Dame community most definitely is one of them. Homesickness is a sad but beautiful concept, as it achingly reminds us of the importance of embracing every part of life. Although moments will come and go, the love we have gained from them will always be in our back pockets to comfort us when we need it. It is a tap on the shoulder and a warm hug, telling us that we have places and people to fall back onto.

If you have good people in your life to love and to miss, that makes you the luckiest person in the world.

So with the end of the semester right around the corner and your homework pile slowly but surely reaching new heights, I encourage you to find a moment to appreciate where your feet are and be grateful for all that you do have in the present moment.

Moira Quinn is a junior at Saint Mary’s College studying communication. When she isn’t writing for The Observer, she can be found with friends, watching a good romantic comedy or missing her basset hound.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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