As the plane took off I had a full view of Barcelona one last time. Thankfully, I had 3 rows of seats to myself, so no one could see me crying like a baby as we ascended further and further away.

On my last full day in the city, I decided to complete the final thing on my list of sights to see, the Barcelona Cathedral, or Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia. In the center of the oldest part of the city, this gothic style cathedral rises up above the narrow streets with its elaborate towers.

Inside, it is dark and ancient, holding over 600 years of devotion. It is undeniably grand, but I was in for an even better surprise, when I found an elevator that took me all the way up to the rooftop of the church. Standing on scaffolding that felt like it was about to fall out from under me, I took one last look over the city and resigned myself to the fact that I would be gone in less than 24 hours.
It’s a funny feeling when you’ve been in a place for so long, and then just as you think you’ve finally adjusted, it is time to leave again. I knew I had to leave the next morning, but it just didn’t seem real and I didn’t know what to do with the time I had left. So naturally, I sat down and ate a portion of chocolate and churros fit for four people, just to mull it all over.

Coming home for the holidays was great, and my first few weeks home were full of the excitement of seeing my family and friends. But now that it is all over and I’m sitting in a tiny house in the middle of a blizzard, I find myself thinking about it a lot more.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been in contact with my host mom back in Barcelona quite a bit. It makes me miss it even more, but it’s nice to know I have another place to call home 4,000 miles away. My goal is to return before three years is up, and I know I’ll already have a place to stay.

Coming home has also made me realize the things I learned and even more of the differences in lifestyle I may not have seen before. But if there’s anything that will stick with me, I know it will be to remember to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. As cliché as that may sound, Spaniards are the masters of that and I plan on sticking to it. That and putting my cell phone down more often.

Just before my plane boarded, I realized I had left my favorite jacket behind somewhere in the airport. My black Calvin Klein trench coat; the one that had traveled with me through the streets of Barcelona, to Andorra, Paris, Venice and everywhere in between. I went to go back but quickly gave up, realizing I was already too far through the airport. But I was ok with it. I guess I had to leave something behind before I left, and I can only hope the person who found it will experience half of what I did with it on.