I honestly do not know where these last few weeks have gone. One second I remember walking through the streets of Melbourne on a warm fall day and the next I was picking up my luggage from baggage claim at LAX.
That’s it. In what seemed like five weeks rather than five months, my semester in Spain has come to an end. Early Friday morning, I embarked on my 28-hour journey back to Honolulu. Returning home was certainly bittersweet, as I’m always thrilled indulge in my favorite Hawaiian foods and reunite with my family and friends. However, something just didn’t feel right. Although I was technically heading home, I also felt like I was leaving home behind. Seeing the skyline of Madrid one last time as my plane took off was heart-wrenching, as I really don’t know when or if I will ever return to Spain. When you live in another city for an extended period of time, it becomes a part of you. Being abroad has taught me that I can call a city other than Honolulu home, despite the major differences between the two cultures. Continue reading
With just two weeks left before I return to the United States, the academic realities of studying abroad have begun to hit as all of the “fun and games” come to an end. I can hardly believe that in the past 5 months, I’ve been to nearly every major region in Spain, and traveled to five new countries on two different continents. Now, I am currently bracing myself for my four final exams in the coming weeks that I have yet to prepare for.
This week was sadly our last week of the Community ESL program at my university. On Monday, a “graduation ceremony” was held for all of the students who enrolled in a class this semester. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I had told my boyfriend about my money troubles. With all of the traveling and unexpected costs my bank account was depleting quickly. I knew if I wanted to travel to Thailand, Sydney, Tasmania and wherever else I would need to fund most of it on my own. My parents were willing to help however it is hard to ask them for financial help when they funded most of my trip here including the program fees, flight costs, and housing. I had spoken all of my issues aloud to my boyfriend Pedro, who is one of the most caring, supportive, and loving people I have ever met. He had suggested I make a GoFundme which is a website that people use to fundraise money. However, I had this presumption that people who set these fundraisers up are likely to receive donations from family members. This was a bit complicated for me.
After writing this week’s post, I had hard time thinking about a title that would best fit it. The events that have occurred are a bit scattered, and I couldn’t find a word or phrase that could tie everything together. Nonetheless, this week has been nothing but eventful — ranging from an exuberant ESL class, visiting London, and redefining home.
This week’s theme for our ESL class focused on stereotypes about Americans and the Spanish. Alex and I both thought that this would be a great opportunity to tackle some of the common misconceptions about the United States in Spain, and vice versa. We had the class break up into small groups and make a list of all the American and Spanish stereotypes that they were aware of. Continue reading
After living in Spain for six weeks, I finally feel completely settled in. Sometimes it seems like I’ve lived in Madrid my entire life, as I now know the streets of Puerta del Sol like the back of my hand and find it bizarre to eat lunch before 2 pm. Other times, it feels like only yesterday when I stepped off the plane at Barajas International Airport and typed in “where is the baggage claim” on Google Translate.
In these six weeks, I’ve developed a fairly consistent daily routine. I’ve gotten involved in several extracurricular activities at school and as a result, have made numerous friends from all over the world. A month ago however, I didn’t think I would have fit-in so well into my new life in Spain. Not to say that my first few weeks in Spain were undoubtedly incredible – as I had fallen in love with paella (Spanish rice), viewed a beautiful Flamenco performance, and dove headfirst into a culture that has now become such an integral part of my identity. However, despite visiting some of the world’s most treasured sites and assimilating into Spanish culture, I still felt that there was something missing in my life that was a crucial element of who I was at Marymount. Continue reading
I have always wanted to move away from home and see the world although I always expected it to happen long after university. Now, I am typing this post from a city bench next to the massive Victoria State library overlooking a busy Melbourne intersection a few blocks from my apartment. Street performers play music in the distance and the familiar intoxicating smell of Thai food finds me, (like it often does). Although I am more than 10,000 miles away from home, it does not feel that way. Calling this beautiful city my home for the next 4 months sounds unreal and I am truthfully astounded to be here.