Your application status has been changed

This morning, I received an e-mail from the Study Abroad office stating that my application status had been altered. It was, of course, referring to my commitment to the program: Yesterday afternoon, I pressed the little button that says “Commit.”

Now, this might not seem like such a big deal. I was, after all, committed already, at least in my mind. And of course there is the tiny little obstacle of $12,600 to be paid by August 1. And the $300 commitment fee due March 30. And the remaining $12,000 in tuition due January 1. That stuff. But something about clicking that little, round-edged button made it real to me. I’m going. I’m honest to God, truly, really going.

This past weekend, my mom and I sat down to plan our itinerary for the two weeks in December she and my sister are coming to visit. I’ll meet them in Madrid soon after my classes let out, spend a few days wandering the Prado and El Rastro, then catch a high-speed rail to Sevilla, where I will show them my favorite haunts and probably force-feed my mother sherry until she can’t walk straight. From there, it’s off to Granada for Christmas, where we have already reserved a room in the Parador San Francisco, located inside the Alhambra. I’ll say that again: INSIDE the ALHAMBRA. It’s wildly expensive, but we might as well go big, I suppose. Call it a Christmas present to ourselves. Following that little self-indulgence, we’ll flit up the east coast to Valencia and Barcelona to marvel at authentic paella and Gaudi’s masterpieces. And finally, Mom and Addie go back to Madrid for the flight home, while I limp south to Sevilla to prepare for the second semester. All in all, not bad.

It’s hard not to get caught up in the imagining. It’s the last day of Dead Week right now, and while I should be working on my final project for Gateway or studying for Geology, I’m staring out the window at leafless trees, trying to picture bright sun and terracotta tiles.

You certainly can’t say I’m not committed.

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