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My freshman year of college had ended and I'd returned home to work until college began again. When I returned home, I talked to my mom about my desire to attend college in Spain. My mom listened but I never thought it would be a possibility. I will never forget the day my mom came to the perennial garden where I was working and told me she had a plan. All her research helped her realize that it was cheaper for me to travel to Spain and study for a year than it was for me to attend the university I attended. After some work, she found funding to cover the expense of my travel and the cost of my tuition. My mom learned when the school year began and had all the pieces in place for me to attend college in Spain that fall. She even purchased the plane tickets for me. In a few more weeks I'd be traveling to Spain to study Spanish.

My mom had a difficult time sending me to a country so far away but she consented, despite her worries. She knew that it would be an experience of a lifetime. It took several weeks for us to prepare but eventually, everything was finished. The day finally arrived for me to travel to the airport and board the series of airplanes that would eventually connect me to Spain. The further I traveled, the more I realized the difficulty of being in countries in which English wasn't the primary language. I was surrounded by people that spoke many different languages. This is where my adventure began. I could no longer rely on English. Soon I would be surrounded by people who only spoke Spanish. One of my professors picked me up at the airport and drove me to the dormitory where I would be living. Thankfully he knew English but after that, I had to rely on the Spanish I knew.

All my years of Spanish study didn't prepare me adequately for this experience. What people said to me went right over my head. I'll never forget when I was asked the simple question, "What is your name?" I should have known that question but it sounded so different when the Spaniards spoke it that my ears couldn't make sense of it. They'd laugh when I responded with, yes to questions that needed different answers. Everything sounded like a string of meaningless words and long paragraphs with no breaks between words. It would take weeks before I could hear the breaks and make sense of the words that were being said. Communicating with the individuals I was surrounded with took time but slowly I began acquiring the language and understanding what was said.

It's hard to believe that this experience happened thirty years ago. It truly was an adventure that shaped the remainder of my life. It helped me appreciate and value different cultures. My eyes were opened to so many things. I realized that life was totally different outside of our country. In Spain, we hand washed our laundry and dried our clothes on clotheslines. Most of the people in Spain wore their clothes for several days in a row. The food, the culture, the language, and the customs were all so different. I learned to appreciate my country, my culture and the new ideas and thoughts that I was exposed to when I lived in a foreign country. It also exposed me to Spanish, a language I continue to use. Being in a foreign country caused me to grow in so many ways. I'm thankful my mom allowed me to pursue this dream and provided a vehicle to make it a reality. This is an experience I will never forget.

We all have dreams and desires. Sometimes they seem to be impossible but when we give these things to God miracles happen, doors open, solutions occur and plans we never dreamed become possible. My prayer is that you will not give up on your dreams and desires. Maybe it will take several years before they become a reality but God has a solution and a way to allow these dreams to come true. When we give them to Him miracles happen. May God fill your dreams in His perfect way and manner.

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