Exchange isn’t a year in your life; it’s a life in a year

Segundo premio en la categoría Senior del I Concurso de relato corto

6th of September of 2011.

Dear diary,

Tomorrow I’m leaving home for more than a month for first time. I’m nervous, excited, exhausted. I can’t fall asleep, my heart is rumbling, as it has never done before. I feel sad but absolutely happy at the same time. I’m scared as well.

How does it look like? How are the people in there? What should I say? Oh god, so many things. I don’t want to leave home; I’m very good and safe here. I’ve got my friends, my family, my life.

However, it’s too late now. It’s too late to regrets. I’m glad I made the decision, I’m very proud of myself and I’m very looking forward to see my new place and to meet new people. All my friends asked me, ‘why would you leave?’ and I reply ‘I want a change’. That’s what every teenager should do, a change in their life, a break and meet different people, different home, school, ambient, language, costumes,..

The thing, which terrifies me most, is the language, my English skills are not very good. I’ve been going to an academy for few years but I feel that my vocabulary and my oral expression are not good enough to have a proper conversation with a Scottish girl.

As my mum always says, I’ll try my best and everything will be all right. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to try very hard.

I’m off to bed; otherwise my long new exciting day will be tiring as well.

30th of April of 2011.

Dear diary,

It has passed 8 months and 8 days so far since I came here for first time.

How quickly has the time passed. I remember my last night at home as it was yesterday.

I’m very upset at the moment, because in less than two months time all of this will be over. I have had such a great time here. I skated on an ice river, I wore Scottish kilts every Sunday and I danced Scottish dancing every Saturday night.

All the people I’ve met are very nice. I’ve made lots of new friends, actually really good friends. I’ve done lots of things that I would never done at home.

The main thing, I learnt English, I improved so much, and to be honest I feel I’m completely fluent now. I’m very happy with myself and very glad that I came here.

I’m going to miss wear skirts until my uncles every day, wake up next to my best friend every morning, go to church every single day, play sports in the snow and of course, speak English the whole time.

It’s such a shame how I’m going to leave soon; I wish I could stay longer. 8 months have passed and I still have my friends, my family and my home back in Spain. Nothing has changed for them; only one more year has passed just like another. However, for me this year has been unforgettable, fun, incredible, amazing, exiting, and most of all, SPECIAL.

Here I see, how my mind has changed, how  much my mind has opened. I’ve known different views to see life. I learnt to respect others, to differentiate what is important in life and what is not.

To appreciate what I have, and to act mature. To look at the future as it is now and enjoy every moment as it was the last one.

Now, I would not mind to go to another school in another country, or to go on my own to visit another place. I’m not scared anymore, and I want to see world because is there when you learn, and when you see with your eyes how life works.

Exchange isn’t a year in your life; it’s a life in a year.

Virginia Pérez Coll

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