I studied abroad in Madrid Spain in June 2021. I took intermediate Spanish language and culture courses at Universidad Nebrija. During my study abroad experience, not only was I working on my language proficiency but I was able to immerse myself in Spanish culture by getting to visit prominent museums and landmarks including the Retiro Park, Prado Museum, and Plaza Mayor I was also able to explore neighboring cities in Spain including Toledo, Segovia, and Barcelona. While I was in Spain, I was able to get an authentic experience by living with a host family and attending school with native Spanish speakers. The biggest takeaway from my experience was the importance of language in connecting with others. I was able to push myself to learn more than I ever did before because I realized that the more I knew the more I was able to connect with those around me.
In my country, babysitting is not a business, it is just an act of generosity and a gesture for genuine love. Mostly, young children in the family (little nephews, cousins, and sisters) are always at the forefront of this generous act. As one of the youngest children in the family, my mother has always lent me to my newlywed uncles to watch over their first children. However, this experience left me with separation anxiety issues. Part of it was that, when I was five, my mom gave me to my uncle to be watching over his newborn daughter. With me being a well-spoken 5 year-old, my uncle’s wife wasn’t aware that I was still young and incapable of performing hard chores like older babysitters. She could force me to watch over myself and punish me like an adult each time I failed to accomplish my chores. This made me feel neglected, unwanted, and forced me to reflect on how worst my life could be without a mother. Therefore, making separation from loved ones, helplessness, and inability to take charge of the situation my worst fears.
With covid19 pandemic, these feelings and memories are freshly back. Being unable to go home in this global crisis makes me afraid and anxious of what might happen to my family members. Also, with my older siblings grown with their own families and my little brother being out of the country, I could feel my mother’s anxiety and stress of being unable to protect her youngest son and daughter. However, I feel the exact opposite. I want to be her superwoman for once. To me, this is the time to reciprocate how my mother has been protective and caring. I want to be there to do grocery shopping for her, fetch water, and get anything she might need. Unfortunately, the fact that I can’t go home makes me feel useless because I am not there for people who need me the most.Continue reading