Tuesday, April 5, 2011

And that's a wrap!

I've been home for about a month now. I've been back in school for a whole week, and have spent some time hanging out, catching up, trying to reestablish myself as a Californian rather than a girl-who-is-abroad. My birthday was a week ago. I turned 21. I went to Sea World. I spend a lot of time reading, working (because, as I'm sure you can figure, I'm broke... a little less than broke now that I've been working, but still not quite to my comfort zone), exercising, and just hanging out. My skin loves the San Diego sun, the San Diego air, and I'm hoping this weekend is nice enough for a trip to the beach.

In short, life here is great.

But there's still that part of me that misses my life in Spain.

In 7 months, I managed to see 7 countries (and many more cities than that). I lived in a world where I spoke Spanish to strangers. I encountered people of all different cultures, countries, religions, and lifestyles. I made some of the best friends I could imagine, and leaving Spain meant saying goodbye to them, some of them forever.

There is definitely an adjustment to coming home. It's not easy to wiggle your way back into everyone's lives. Getting back to work. Getting back to school work. Not traveling. Speaking English to strangers on the street.

But despite all of that, I would say that spending my time abroad was the best thing I could ever have done for myself.

It truly was the best thing I could have done for myself.

My language skills improved. I'm much more outgoing now. I'm smarter. I'm savvier. I generally value people, like my friends, even more than I did before. I pushed my limits. I gave myself a life in a place where I knew no one, the national language was not mine, where even the narrow streets were something I had only experienced in the movies.

I realized a dream.

If there is anyone out there on the fence about studying abroad, or doing anything, really, and your only reason for not doing it is because you're scared or nervous, let me tell you this:


Challenge yourself. Live the life you're dreaming of. Be the person you want to be. No one is stopping you but yourself. Live on the edge. Learn a new language. Be confident even if you feel like you shouldn't be. Even if you have doubts. Even if you are unsure. Pick the road less traveled by. Think for yourself. BE yourself.


It won't always be easy. Life is not a cakewalk. But let me tell you, doing the things that you are challenged by... those are the things that will stick out in your memory. Those are the things that will ultimately shape who you are.

Someday, this could be you, looking back and KNOWING that what you did was the right thing. You did the right thing for yourself, and every time someone asks you "Would you do it all over again, just like that?" you can answer, "I would never do anything differently."

Just go. Just do it. Just be yourself.

It's harder than it sounds.

But it is so, so, so liberating.

And I promise, you will not be sorry you did.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finishing Finals and Adventures through Spain!

It has been a while since I've updated this, but I now have a Sunday morning/afternoon to myself and figured this would be a good time to lay back and update the world on my happenings.

I took my last final a couple of weeks ago. It didn't go too badly, but I have yet to find out my grade. So I suppose we will see.

Anyway, two days after my last final, Lauren, Jim and I were off for Santander, Bilbao, and San Sebastian, three of the more popular cities in the North of Spain. All three were nothing like I expected. There seemed to be so much money in these cities. And everyone was surprisingly nice, helpful, and outgoing with tourists. They would approach us speaking English asking "What are you looking for? How many days are you here? Oh, then you absolutely MUST go see THIS too!!!" and we found our way to some amazing views because of it.

Santander is a port town right on a bay to the Atlantic Ocean. It was sunny and beautiful. There was a lighthouse on a rock that was picturesque against the crashing waves. The view was from a lush, green cliff dropping off into the ocean. It felt like something you would expect to see in Ireland, not in Spain, and I loved it. Across the bay were more lush, green mountains.

The city of Santander was much larger than I expected. And everything felt just so... new.

Bilbao was probably my favorite city in the North. The Gugenheim museum is beautiful and something of an architectural marvel. The river was beautiful and you could see little boats, yachts, sailboats, etc. floating by. The bridges were also breathtaking and modern. We took a funicular to the top of the mountain and saw the city from above, and I fell in love with it.

Even the trams felt rich. The tracks ran through parks and fields of grass. For three travelers, our hostel said that the cheapest way to get around was by cab. Although we only took about 2 while we were there, they weren't nearly as expensive as they have been in other cities.

Then, it started to rain.

It rained the whole time we were in San Sebastian, although San Sebastian was still another beautiful beach-side city. They had lots of delicious pinxtos and pastry shops (Jim's favorite thing), and we walked around as much as we could, but made sure to take as many coffee breaks as we could. By the end of our day there, we opted to waiting for a cab for a ride home because there was no way we would be able to walk back in that rain and wind. We had to fight to keep our umbrellas up and open and right-side out.

Needless to say, Jim and I got sick.

Lauren left for Granada the next day, but Jim and I continued our way to Barcelona. It was a 7.5 hour bus ride with only one 15 minute break, but since we were both sick, we didn't mind. Jim made a game out of trying to figure out what kind of music I like. I found out I'm much pickier than I originally thought I was. I mean, I won't say I DISLIKE THIS to a lot of things, but most music is just Yea, this is alright. But overall, it wasn't too torturous of a bus ride, and we were in Barcelona!

Barcelona is off the Southeast coast of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. The most distinctive feature of the city is probably Gaudi's architecture. He's an abstract fellow, but his work really brought a unique character to the city.

We ate delicious fish and walked a TON. Parc Güell was absolutely beautiful.

Then, we spent our last night in the airport and flew to Málaga for an afternoon with Sean and Aimee before heading home to Granada.

We saw so much and did so much traveling that it's hard to give these places what they deserve in this blog. It was amazing and beautiful, and with that, I have (nearly) finished my travels throughout Spain.

This morning, I got a text from my dad saying that he made it to Germany. He will be here in 5 days or so, after his conference. How exciting! Then we will go to Sevilla, come back to Granada, then fly home.

My remaining days in Spain, in Europe, are now down to single digits. This morning marked 9 days remaining!

It's surreal to think about going home.

I feel like there is so much left to do before then.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Honorable Mention!

Let me begin by reminding everyone back home that I originally began this blog to participate in the UCEAP Spain blog contest. There was a grand prize of $150 to amazon.com to the winner and three honorable mentions awarded. There were 39 entries in total.

I just wanted to take the time to share with everyone back home (and anyone else who might be reading) that I received one of 3 honorable mentions for this contest!

I'm quite happy and honored!

Thanks to everyone for reading, and thanks to the EAP program for hosting the competition!

Also, I want to make sure you guys know that just because the contest is over doesn't mean that I'm done blogging... I only have a month left. I'm going to finish this out right.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two places at once

There is something really weird about this in-between time.

I am enjoying Granada, and I still have one final to go. But, at the same time, I'm preparing for my life back home.

I have auditioned for The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged via youtube (if you thought I would put the link here, you are sadly, sadly mistaken). I have started my application for UCSD's International House. I keep in contact with my work buddies and boss. I have started picking classes for Spring Quarter.

Life really does just move right along.

I'm thankful we have internet at home now, or else I would be spending a LOT of time in the library, which actually probably wouldn't be so bad because then at least I'd be getting out of the house daily, haha. It's okay, I got out today, but yesterday I didn't, and not even for a good reason. Just laziness.

Anyway, my point is, my life back home has already started. It has started before I'm even back on that side of the Atlantic.

Isn't it kind of funny?

Life is moving and will keep moving. For now, I'm left to enjoy my last month in Granada.

One month today until I'm home, guys! It's a short month, too!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Echaré de menos a Granada.

Hoy, tuve un examen de mi única clase sociológica. Es la clase en que conocí mis chicas franceses. Nos caemos muy bien, pero hoy, me dí cuenta que no las conocí tan mucho como puse, y por eso, estoy triste.

Es verdad que tengo buenos amigos americanos aquí. Pero también es verdad que tengo buenos amigos europeos.

Y no sé cuando (o si) pueda verlos de nuevo.

Estoy lista para regresar a los EEUU. Pero no estoy lista para decir "Adios" a mi Granada. A mis amigos europeos. A mis americanos que se quedarán aquí por el segundo cuatrimestre.

Se ha roto mi corazón hoy cuando Claire me dijo que está triste que me voy en marzo. Porque en realidad, es muy posible que será la última vez que nos vemos. Y ella me calle bien. Ella es una de las más simpáticas que he conocido en España y no puedo creer que me voy.

Será rara regresar a mi vida californiana, mi familia, mi playa, mi San Diego, y tomar clases y apuntes en inglés, y... y... Yo no sé.

En mis últimas días aquí, sólo me siento triste.

Quiero regresar... pero no quiero salir.

Se ha roto mi corazón.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011



I have internet in my apartment again!!!


My new roommate is awesome like that.

So in my late-night procrastination of surfing the net last night, I came across this gem:


So here's the plan. I land at LAX at 9:09 p.m. on March 8th.

Be there and greet me with this.


I love you.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Here are a few reasons that finals month, even though more spread out than the American finals, are more stressful.

1) We're JUST now starting finals and we started class in September. That's about 5 months of material to study and memorize.

2) We didn't have midterms. So everything will be on the final.

3) The final is worth at least 70% of the final grade.

4) The tests are in Spanish.

I just took my first final today and am hoping the professor decides to be generous. I did go to almost every class of hers and I know she recognizes me... But it wasn't the best final I've taken.

Two more this week... then one on the 15th.

Wish me luck... I need it.