As you’ve likely noticed, I write about France on a pretty regular basis. Whether it’s laughing about mistakes I made before I understood French, musing on 1900s Paris, or reminiscing about how I came to love Nutella, I always have plenty of things to say about France and its culture. But while I’ve spent a significant amount of time studying French culture, I’ve actually spent more time physically in one of France’s dear neighbors: Spain.
Though I “lived” in France for 5 weeks during college, I spent an entire semester studying in Spain. Which is why it’s a bit of a shame that, to-date, my blog posts on Spain are rather few and far between. I’ve woven in anecdotes here or there, but haven’t written much that’s explicitly about my time in Spain.
What inspired this sudden revelation? Old photos, of all things. Over Thanksgiving I started digging through family photo albums and came across a picture of me posing in a guard post in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid. The photo was from 1989, when I was still a toddler- but I immediately recognized where it was taken. Because the moment I saw the 1989 photo, I had a vivid memory of posing in that exact same place with a couple of friends back in 2008. The two pictures are sheer coincidence: before I saw this picture the other day, I didn’t even realize a 1989 version existed. So as you can imagine, I squealed with delight when I realized I had two pictures of me in the same place at two very different times in my life.
I immediately dug through my more recent Spain photos to find the more contemporary version and put the two pictures side by side. Neither photo is a particularly good one, but who cares? From toddler to college student, from tag-along trip-member to study-abroad adventure-creator. Seeing these photos reminded me of many things: how greatly I adored my time in Spain, how appreciative I am that I got to travel at a young age, and, well, how much I love posing. Let’s hope that someday I can post yet another version- perhaps in 2028?- and show you even more of my evolution as a traveler.
Naturally, I then started looking for more photos to put side-by-side. The photos below aren’t a perfect match, but they’re close enough. On the left, a photo of me at the Alhambra of Granada in 1989. On the right, the same courtyard, shot in 2008.
P.S. I have to thank my dad for these discoveries because he created meticulously-organized photo albums for every family trip we did growing up. It’s such a gift to thumb through pre-digital memories!