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

Bilingual fly on the wall

1528511_10152824540132524_1341709040_nIn my peripheral vision I could see Valencia, but I was more focused on what Raquel, one of my study abroad group’s directors, was saying.

“After you unpack your things and your host mom has given you a set of keys, many students feel a sense of, ‘well, what now? Why am I here?’”

The thought confused me mostly because I hadn’t thought much about that moment. For the past few days of exploring Madrid and Toledo, I hadn’t worried about anything except for how I seemed to have been the only person who brought more than one suitcase to Spain. But now, after months of preparation, I was about to meet the woman who would host me in her home, make authentic Valencian meals for me and do my laundry for the next four months. I hadn’t thought about the moment where I would settle in. Is there downtime on a study abroad program? I had been going, going, going for five days – I had almost forgotten what it would be like to just sit down. Continue reading “Bilingual fly on the wall”