I laid in my bed at Los Amigos Hostel listening to the hum of people outside my balcony on Calle de Arenal in Madrid.

Decompressing is a tough activity following the six days I spent immersed in English … in a way I never thought possible … with people I never expected to fall so deeply in love with.

I found myself craving Vadelavilla. The people. The way my heart smiled during my time there.

On the Metro earlier in the evening, all I could think about were the participants — both the Anglos and Spaniards.

I listened for Jose’s gruff voice … looked for Miguel’s mischievous smile … listened for Anthony’s infectious laugh  and Emma’s sound effects … searched for Silvia’s shoulder to lean my head … and none of them were there.

These people became my life for six intense days. I woke up with them. I ate with them. I laughed (a lot) with them. I even cried (mostly me when I said goodbye) with them.

And then … I was alone. And it felt really uncomfortable and lonely.

When I started the program, I never expected it to have such an impact. To feel such love towards complete strangers. There is an indescribable feeling knowing you have made an impact on someone’s life simply by being there. They never imagined meeting me, and I never imagined meeting them.

Yet, for some reason, all of our paths crossed. Stories were told. Friendships were made. And life changed.

A week later, I would go through the same thing again, only in Monfrague. But first, there was a week in Madrid.

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