With all the traveling I’ve been doing, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the same room as my laptop for more than 12 hours. I returned from Brussels, Belgium two days ago and am leaving for Paris in two more. So, believe it or not, this is the longest I’ve been in Valencia, with my computer, since the beginning of March. So, it has been difficult to keep up with this blog – and after a string of Viber messages from my mom begging me to update my posts, I’ve finally found the time.
During my spring break, I traveled through the southern region of Spain in Andalusia and saw some beautiful cities such as Granada, Seville and Málaga. While in Granada, my friends and I went to a Flamenco show. Flamenco is a type of Spanish folk music that originated in Andalusia; it includes singing, live guitar, dancing and clapping.
While sitting in a small flamenco bar in Spain, which was as authentic as could be, with white stone walls and small wooden tables, I was absolutely amazed by the culture and the music. It wasn’t the flamenco bar that reminded me of Maguire’s — a restaurant in my hometown of Easton, Mass. that my family and friends frequent most Friday nights — but the culture. The experience helped me to realize that I, too, come from a beautiful way of life. When you throw yourself into the unknown, you realize that there is culture everywhere — even in a small town like Easton or Amherst has a way of life that people from all over the world would feel lucky to learn about.
Part of what influenced me to study abroad was the opportunity to immerse myself into a new culture — to experience something completely different than I’m used to. Before January, I lived in the small state of Massachusetts for my entire life, but traveling abroad has helped me to recognize how many places I am actually from. I’m from the places I’ve come to know as home, whether I’ve lived there for long periods of time or just traveled there frequently. I’m from my Auntie Marcie’s old apartment in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, the houses I grew up in in Easton, my cousin’s and grandma’s homes in Sharon, I’m from Cape Cod in the summertime, Amherst, and my grandma’s condo in Delray Beach, Florida.
What I’m trying to say is this: I’ve never been ashamed of where I come from; but having the ability to breathe in a new way of life has helped me to appreciate mine that much more. I was surprised that it took seeing a Flamenco show to help me feel so proud of where I come from, because in the words of Chandler, could this bar BE any more different from Maguire’s?!