Over the past few months, I’ve seen a ridiculous number of cathedrals, castles and panoramic views of cities I wasn’t sure I’d ever cared about. After a while, some of these tourist attractions begin to look the same.

My anticipation for Ireland convinced me that I was building it up to be something it wasn’t – I was ruining it by being too excited or looking too forward to it. I thought that by watching P.S. I Love You just days before takeoff was maybe a bad idea – maybe Ireland wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. But the Emerald Isle was everything and more I had hoped for. Continue reading “Ireland”

A Ridiculous Adventure

My view for an hour

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~John Lennon

Today I learned the meaning of another cliche. WARNING: this is a ridiculous story. So there’s a big park called “el rio” that stretches throughout the entire city of Valencia, kind of like Central Park. A lot of people use it as a destination point. People say, if you ever get lost, as long as you can get to the river, you’ll find your way home. Continue reading “A Ridiculous Adventure”

Month (and a half) Reflection

Barcelona!Before I left for Spain, I wondered how studying abroad would change me and what parts of my life would stay or feel the same. After being here for a little over a month, I know now that I feel completely different and completely the same all the time. I have moments where it feels like everything has changed and others where nothing really feels that different.

Living in a smaller Spanish city, I am constantly conflicted between wanting to immerse myself into the culture entirely and wanting to rebel against it by eating Doritos in my bed while watching an episode of Friends I’ve already seen 625 times. I’ve accepted that I’m going to crave an everything bagel with cream cheese every morning, but I am surviving without it. Continue reading “Month (and a half) Reflection”

¿Qué es eso?

In many of my study-abroad posts, I incorporated foreign words and phrases. Below is a list of their meanings.

ISA: International Studies Abroad, the program that I went through to study abroad in Valencia, Spain

FSU Study Center: The school where I studied in Valencia, an extension of the Florida State University campus.

Amparo: The woman who hosted me in her home from January until April 2014. She was my “host mom,” who, while cooking, cleaning and doing my laundry, also taught me the customs, language and culture of Valencia.

Paella: A Valencian rice dish that is usually made with some variation of chicken, rabbit, duck, seafood vegetables, or beans

Siesta: A short nap taken in Spain after la comida, usually around 3 p.m., when cafes, stores and schools close for a few hours

La comida: A large midday meal that is usually around 2 p.m. and is typically is the biggest meal of the day

La cena: The equivalent of an American dinner in Spain, usually taking place around 9 p.m.

Tortilla de patatas o otras verduras: One of the most brilliant things I discovered in Spain — made of eggs, potatoes and often other vegetables. Amparo cooked these often and would put them in a baguette when she packed me a lunch to bring to school.

Valenbisi: Valencia’s bike rental system to travel around the city quickly and in an environmentally-friendly manner

Intercambio: An exchange where Americans will practice their Spanish in a conversation with Spaniards practicing their English