I never thought I’d say those words out loud: I miss Florida. I miss living half a mile from the beach, I miss hearing the daily summer afternoon thunderstorms, I miss riding bikes and feeling palm fronds brush my face. I miss home.
Last week was the first Fourth of July I have ever spent outside of the USA. Normally on this holiday, my family will buy boxes of fireworks to set off in the street and grill copious amounts of burgers, hot dogs, etc. My neighbors definitely hate us on holidays like this because we always make a lot of noise and have lights on while they are trying to sleep, but their complaints are never serious and everything is all in good fun. I like to think that they missed our party this year. It’s always fun when people walk down the street or come out of their houses to watch our show for a couple of minutes before continuing their own celebrations. But, of course, nothing is completely perfect. Every year we always have at least one near-catastrophe but no one has gotten any serious injuries yet, just a lot of laughs and video footage.
This year I was fortunate enough to be invited to The American Club of Madrid’s Fourth of July all-you-can-eat barbecue. It only cost 20 euros for two drinks, unlimited food, a raffle, American flag sunglasses, and good company. I hadn’t been around that many Americans since I came to Madrid over two months ago and made a new friend there who I am getting dinner with tomorrow! Even though it made me miss home a little more, I’m so happy that I decided to go to this event. Despite the lack of fireworks, it was overall an unforgettable experience.
To my surprise, last night I heard the chorus of cicadas as I was falling asleep. I haven’t heard this sound since I left home and now, as I’m preparing to leave Madrid, I hear them outside of my apartment. This sound will always remind me of summer in Florida, the only place I have ever called home. I can remember thinking how annoying they were and finding joy in discovering their corpses in my pool every morning and watching my cats chase them in the yard. Now, I find the sound a comforting reminder that soon I will return home. No matter how much I have enjoyed my time abroad, nothing compares to the feeling of being home.