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May 29, 2012

Republished from their personal blog with permission from the authors, we’re going to catch up with Gamecock volleyball student-athletes Cara Howley and Lindsey Craft during their trip to Spain as part of their international business program. Content may be edited from its original form. This was originally posted on May 16.

Carpe diem. Seize the day.

Before we left for Spain, a friend of ours (Katja Weitekamper), gave me a letter with the instructions “open in Spain.” As the plane landed, I tore open the note, eager to see what advice it contained. Throughout the letter, she emphasized the words “carpe diem,” encouraging us to live each day to the fullest regardless of the outcome.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion for us. We have found ourselves so bogged down with detail, forgetting to just live in the moment here. Lindsey and I joked that we were all business the first week, even forgetting to hang out like the best friends we are. We were so concerned with the good times we had heard about and were supposed to be having, that we weren’t actually living it out.

Two days ago, we ran into American students on the streets of Salamanca. They had just arrived here to study abroad and looked like lost puppies, eager to speak English and desperate for a taste of normality (our American ways). We laughed after parting from them, realizing just how much we have already grown from being here. We have also joked since being here that we are probably doing this experience all wrong. However, maybe that is the beauty in all of this. To do it all wrong, to ask embarrassing questions because you don’t understand the language, to cry a little, to run around in the rain searching for food and WiFi (typically a combination of both), to stumble across beautiful places you don’t know the names of, to make friends with perfect strangers, and to learn things in spite of it all.

We are so lucky to have friends and family who are willing to stick with us as we make these mistakes and attempt to grow up. We have realized our journey is not as much about seeing as many things as possible but stepping outside of our comfort zones and picking each other up when we fall. So, in our last two weeks in Spain, it is finally time to live each day as it comes, enduring and enjoying whatever that may incur. Carpe diem indeed.