Saturday, May 14, 2011

Some Final Thoughts

Well I have been back in America for about four days now and let me tell you there has been some culture shock for sure.  Here is a list of things I have been shocked at since since I came back from studying abroad.

  • I am still wearing my purse cross body with my hand still over it - just waiting for someone to try to pick pocket me!
  • I still talk about people as though they cannot understand me.
  • Wearing shorts and a T-shirt seems completely normal
  • There is no sales tax - I went to buy a cupcake with friends last night and it said $2.75 therefore I got $2.75 out of my wallet and then the lady told me it was $3.02 - I was shocked!
  • Water is free at restaurants with free refills.
  • People are speaking English everyone! I went to the zoo with Kelsey and Scott yesterday and EVERYONE was speaking English!! I have become so accustomed to not understanding what people are saying, and I have also become accustomed to hearing not only Spanish but a variety of different languages all at the same time.
Those are just the few things I have noticed since being back in the states for these couple of days, but I am sure there will be more thoughts as time passes.  Everyone said I would would be extremely jetlagged on my way back to the States.  Well I can say it is not as bad as everyone made it seem.  It might have helped since I only got about 3 hours of sleep on Tuesday night and then I slept for the majority of the flight - about 4 hours on the way home. When arriving home I made myself stay awake until midnight to fight the jetlag.  However, I woke up at 3:30am and could not fall back asleep for about and hour and then I woke up at 7:30 and I was up for good.  So I guess my sleep pattern was a little off.  It is becoming better and better by the day though. 

Friday afternoon I left for Saint Louis to visit friends at SLU and to meet with my adviser.  It is really weird being back at SLU - mostly because I don't have my own apartment I think.  Also everyone is studying for finals and all that jazz.  However, it is really good to see my friends that I haven't seen since last semester even if they are studying. 

Well I think this is the last or close to the last blog for my SLU-Madrid Adventure.  However, I seriously thought about starting another blog, because I think it is healthy to express my feelings - or something like that.  I haven't made the blog yet or anything, but I will post the address of the blog when I actually create it! That is all for now!

Paz y Amor.  God Bless.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I have made it back to America.  The flight was smooth - details to come.  Just wanted to update my followers that I am back in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin safe and sound.

Paz y Amor. God Bless.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

El Fin

My adventure of studying abroad was come to an end.  Tonight was my last night in Madrid, Spain.  It is currently 2:00am and I have to get up at 6:15am - good thing I have a long plane ride - only nine hours - to sleep.  However, I have to finish some packing and then get a couple hours of sleep.  I just wanted to tell you all that I am going back to America tomorrow.  I am way too tired to write even a semi-decent blog, but just know when I get home I will try to put into words the experience - wish me luck.

I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be one of the longest days.  I know just as soon as I sit on the plane and we take off I will be looking at my watch to count down the hours maybe even minutes until I am reunited with my family once again.  This past semester has been the most emotion four months of my life - highs and lows.  I would not take back a single second of anything I did in Madrid.  It has all made me into the person I am today, but we will talk more about that later.  For now it is hasta luego (see you later) Madrid and hola Wisconsin.  I cannot wait to be reunited with you tomorrow.

Paz y Amor. God Bless.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It is all coming to an end

I have finished my exams and now all that is left is to enjoy my last two days.  Today I had my art history exam and it went really well.  I absolutely loved my teacher Curra – before I left she told me what a joy it is to have me in class and to send her a picture from now and then.  She is just a very sweet teacher and loves what she does.  After my final today I had lunch with Jackie.  Jackie and I met in Spanish class freshmen year and we actually got pretty close this year and now she is transferring to Madison.  It was hard to say bye to her, but she does live in Green Bay so hopefully we will be able to see each other at some point.  Jackie and I decided to be pen-pals old school style this summer! So excited for that.  After lunch with I went to the park where I run to lay out with Elizabeth and Megan – my two best friends at SLU Madrid.  I am really going to miss those girls.  After laying out I went back home and tried to pack for home – I packed my socks and that is as far as I got – mom got a good laugh out of that.  For dinner tonight we had fried eggs! I actually looked in the refrigerator this morning and we have 131 eggs in the there! Crazy! I asked Gloria if we could have eggs for dinner! I thought we always had a lot of eggs at my house back in the States but nothing compares to 131 eggs.  Tomorrow we are have Spanish Omolete – tortilla de patata.  We had have a traditional Spanish meal for our last meal – sad.

Anyways, I am excited to get back to SLU on Friday.  Kelsey just texted me and told me people are really excited to see me and they keep telling Kelsey that I am coming.  She keeps telling them she already knows.  However, I am going to miss Spain like crazy.  I have been thinking about a blog to sum my emotions and the experience I have had these past four months, but I just cannot seem to come up with the words.  I think it is going to take a little of time and reflecting after I leave Spain.

I have traveled to Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, Salamanca, Paris, Morocco, Granada, Malaga, Loyola, Portugal, Ávila, Roma, and Barcelona – next stop Oconomwoc, Wisconsin.  I am a world traveler for sure – how crazy it is that I traveled so many places in just a matter of four short months.  But now it is time to come home.  For one of my last blogs if I wanted to make a list of all the things I am going to miss about studying abroad and what I am not going to miss about studying abroad.  But here is the thing guys I am going to miss it all even if I don’t fully realize it know so I just decided to make a list.

·         Wondering random streets of various towns
·         Walking everywhere
·         Taking the metro
·         Walking around for hours trying to food – it was always an adventure
·         Being able to talk about people on the metro because you think they can’t understand what you are saying when I am sure they can
·         Not driving a car, but I want to drive a car
·         Hearing Spanish
·         The sunshine
·         Mango Juice
·         Madrid night life – not leaving my house until 11
·         Only having four classes
·         The time difference – both positive and negative
·         Having a real cell phone
·         **As am I writing this list I realize it doesn’t make much sense so sorry about that**
·         The alone time
·         My host mom
·         Friends that don’t go to SLU Madrid
·         Blogging
·         Sangria – just being able to order a drink at a bar

Well that is all I have for right now.  I am sure there is more, but that is all I got for right now.  Tomorrow is my last full day of being in Spain.  I am leaving my house at 7:30 in the morning on Wednesday for the airport and I will be arriving in Chicago around 2:15pm.  I can’t believe it is happening so fast.  Good luck to all my SLU friends on studying this week for finals and I will see you all on Friday

Paz y Amor. God Bless.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Last weekend in Madrid.

Well this was my last weekend in Madrid – such a crazy thought.  Everything the last couple of blogs have somewhat been crazy – just so many emotions running through me at the moment.  Anyways back to my last weekend in Madrid.  I had my history final on Friday – I studied with some friends before the exam and I thought we were all well prepared for the exam.  We were supposed to have one essay, one short answer, and identification (he gives us a word and then we explain it in a couple of sentences).  We got the exam and there actually were two essays and 10 identifications.  First the essays prompts were awful – we had to pick two of the four.  Most of the essays prompts were too broad or too specific.  One of the essays was basically to explain the broad concepts of the whole semester while another was to explain something we spent about fifteen minutes on in class.  Overall the exam was horrible, but it wasn’t easy either.  After the exam my friend Zack took me out for ice cream.  After went home I went home and had dinner and then I was supposed to go with some friends, but instead I had a nice relaxing evening and just stayed in.  I haven’t been up that late studying, but I was just exhausted from the past week.  I think it is just all the emotions that have been flowing through me from exams and the thought of my time winding down in Spain. 

Saturday I got up and did a little studying and had breakfast as usual.  I was meeting some of my friends – well most of my friends here – at a famous tapas bar in Madrid that I hadn’t been to yet.  Most of us got mojitos and a bunch of delicious tapas :) It was really fun and Flat Stanley was there too.  Flat Stanley is from Parker, my little cousin back in the states.  Flat Stanley had a great time at the bar and then we took him to sol – the city center in Madrid.  I didn’t get home until about 6 and then I Skyped my friend Kelsey.  I cannot wait to go home and see people – and I know they are all ready to see me too!  After dinner on Saturday I took a little rest time and then got ready and met some friends and we went the Egyptian Temple and chilled for the night.  It was a really great night – very low key.  It was nice to just all hang out and not have to worry about what bar we were going to or anything like that.  Megan came a little later for her birthday! I love that girl and I am going to miss her bunches!! Here are some pictures from the day!

Flat Stanley on the metro! He loved it!

Elizabeth, Flat Stanley and I at el tigre!

Stanley eating some traditional Spanish food - paella.

Jack and I with Flat Stanley.

The girls :) I am going to miss these guys!

Flat Stanley and I hiding from the rain!

Stanley in the city center - sol!

Today was a day filled with attempted studying and a family lunch.  I was actually productive this morning and then I got distracted and just chilled until we had our family Japanese lunch.  I was really excited to have vegan Japanese meal, but it wasn’t all I had expected it to be.  We had the soup Maya has every morning for breakfast and it always had looked good to me – but it was way too salty and I could never have that for breakfast every day – I will stick with my fruit and toast and yogurt.  We had sushi and other Japanese food.  Most of which was fried which was not the best but still good.  The dessert – not a fan, pretty sure it was beans and you all know how much of a fan of beans I am. Haha.  Well I guess I will never be Japanese – it’s all good though.  Lunch lasted about two and a half hours which was a lot longer than I wanted it to.  I was just really tired and wanted to get back to reviewing for my exam.  After lunch I studied a little and then talked to my family.  I got to talk to my grandma, mom, dad, and brother.  I know they are all really excited to see me.  After Skyping I studied a little more and then we had ice cream and then said our goodbyes because it was probably one of the last times I am going to see most of the people that came over.  I like hanging out with Gloria’s family, but sometimes it feels like Maya and I are being ignored and they all speak so fast.  I had a good time.  After dinner Maya, Gloria, and I just talked – that is one of the things I am going to miss most about Madrid.  Then I studied a little more and just chilled and wrote this blog.  But it is time for me to get some sleep and be well rested for my exam tomorrow.

Paz y Amor. God Bless.


A week ago I traveled to Barcelona with a couple of friends for one last European adventure.  I had been told by just about everyone that it you are in Europe especially in Spain you must go to Barcelona.  Everyone tells me it is one of the most amazing places you will ever visit.  When being told how amazing a place is I have very high expectations for that place.  I had a good time in Barcelona, but I think I was done with the whole traveling aspect of studying abroad – I didn’t want to figure out a new city and things to do and all that jazz.  I want to make this blog short and with the most important parts of the trip.  I guess I am also getting tired with blogging and giving all the details about the trip.  Hopefully you will still be able to get the needed information of my trip.

We left early on Saturday morning – our flight was at 8:20 so we had to get on the first metro at 6 o’clock in the morning! Way too early! Once we landed in Girona we had to take a bus to Barcelona which took about an hour or so.  From the bus stop we took the metro to the hostel to meet up with our other friends and then we walked around Barcelona.  One of the people I went to Barcelona with, Kara had been to Barcelona before so she knew the places to go and all that jazz.  It was really nice that I didn’t have to make decision for most of the weekend, but I still had to make decision.  I think I am going to post some pictures and then write a little description about them – I think that is the quickest and shortest way to tell you guys about Barcelona.

On our first walk from the hostel we went to this park - a beautiful fountain is what we came across.  The water was so blue it seemed unreal.  My first thought of Barcelona was this is beautiful - I need to move here.

After the park we started to make our way to La Sagrada Familia we came across the triumph arch of Barcelona.  I didn't have any background knowledge going to Barcelona and to be honest I wasn't really that interested in learning all the information about the architecture or why something is there.  I mean I did learn a little about the sites in Barcelona.

La Sagrada Familia is a church that was designed by Gaudi - a very famous architect with many works in Barcelona.  La Sagrada Familia was breath taking - so modern.  It is a church like you have never seen before - trust me! It made me realize this is what we need in today's world - churches that are modern and continue the Catholic tradition.  I believe it was this past year when Pope Benidict dedicated the church and now there can be mass said in the church.  However, I think I still find the older churches more impressive, but both are amazing.  This picture is from the inside of the church, I know it might not look modern but trust me on this one it was nothing like you have ever seen before.

After La Sagrada Familia we went to Parc Guell which is another place designed by Gaudi.  This man was a genius and there is no other way to explain it! There are mosaics every where, which is what the picture is above.  However, there was a lot of people at the park which made it lose its appeal a little bit.  There are two things that I believe make or break a trip: the weather and the amount of people.  Yes, there are other factors what go into making a trip wonderful, but if it is pouring rain and hundreds of people I don't think you will have the same experience if it was sunny and not crowed.

Lisa, me, and Kara at Parc Guell - it was wonderful out :)

One of the best bands I have heard - very chill and unique.

There is a famous market in Barcelona - La Boqueria on the famous street of Las Ramblas.  There was fruit, chocolate, sheep heads, and a bunch of random things.  One of the best markets I have been here since arriving in Spain.  The other markets did not have all the fresh fruit smoothies this market had.

Example of the fruit smooties - only one euro too! I have kiwi - straight up kiwi! So good!

Saturday night we were walking around Barcelona and we went to the coast and came across a random concert.  The band was singing in English and was actually pretty decent - it was a random fun time for sure.

Sunday we went to one of the most famous Gaudi houses in Barcelona.  Gaudi was my soulmate - he designed most of his works off of nature mostly off of water.  This house we visited contained no straight lines to represent water and it was just amazing to see how literally everything in the house represented water in some way.  Completely amazing.

Picture on the roof of one of Gaudi's houses.

Water :)

Lisa outside a really great sandwich shop we had for lunch before we headed to the beach on Sunday afternoon :)

Kara, me, and Lisa on the beach in Barcelona. Such a great day!

Probably one of the best pictures of the entire trip! I love Kara's face.

I went swimming alone - everyone said the water was too cold.  I braved the cold to swim in the Mediterranean Sea and I really had to pee as well so it was a double win situation.  

On the beach, Colin dug a really big hole while Kara, Lisa, and I bathed in the sun.

Kara and I with our ice cream :)

Jeff, Lisa, Colin, and I on the beach! It was a good day!

Last night in Barcelona - we had a good time... Colin was a little heavier than I thought he would be - good thing I am so strong!

I am sorry this blog is short and sweet, but it is what it is.  Barcelona was fun, but it could have been a lot better.  I wish I would have gone when I wasn't so burnt out from traveling to a bunch of other places.  I am glad I went, but I want to go back and see more of Barcelona some day!

Paz y Amor. God Bless.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Less Than a Week

Well today was my last Thursday in Spain – it is a crazy thought.  It finally hit me this morning that I am leaving Madrid so soon.  I asked Gloria what time we would be leaving for the airport and everything like that this morning and breakfast and at the end of the conversation she told Maya and me that she is going to be really sad when we leave and was starting to tear up a little – I think it was there it hit me that I really have made a home from myself in Madrid and it is going to be hard to leave.  Yes, I am excited to go home and see everyone but that doesn’t erase the fact that I am leaving a whole life behind me – once you study abroad you will completely understand what I am feeling at the present moment.

Gloria is doing everything she can to make the last week Maya and I have in Madrid is wonderful.  We have gotten to pick our favorite meals for Gloria to make one last time – I picked pasta with pesto – simple but amzing.  And the pesto is homemade.  Maya picked some rice dish.  Gloria also asked us what fruit we would like to have for our last couple days in Spain!  She is really trying her hardest to make sure Maya and I are happy.  Which leads me to my next point – I feel like a bad host daughter at some points.  Since it is finals week I have been spending the majority of my time studying in my room or at school with friends.  Finding the balance on spending enough time at home with Gloria and with all the friends I have met here is complicated.  I feel as though I am being pulled in too many directions and I don’t want to let people down – but I need to be a little selfish I think and I need to do what I need to do.  To be honest though Glo has been getting on my nerves a little bit – she just seems so helpless.  I know I should be saying this, but it is true.  As you all know she is pregnant and now she is engaged – different order but that is okay.  Anyways she just got engaged this past Saturday and everything is about the wedding already – it is going to be a VERY quick engagement.  Glo wants to get married before she becomes huge with the baby – she is not waiting until after she is pregnant which is what I thought would happen.  In her perfect little world she would be getting married at the end of this month – I think that is CRAZY!! However, Glo has been over every day since we have gotten back from Barcelona and last night at dinner she was taking about her wedding dress and it was cute to see her face light up when she talks about just purchases the dress.  Gloria has been very busy with Glo and planning the wedding already so our meals have not been the best the last couple of days, but that is okay.  Also before today we have not had fruit in the house for a couple of days, but today that all changed.

Well yesterday I had my first exam – The environment and development of Latin American.  It was seven essays that we had to answer.  Some of the questions were easy to answer while others it was hard to know what the professor was actually looking for in the answer – but overall I think it went well.  Today I had my ethics exam.  It went about the same way the first one did so I am going to predict I got about an B+ on the exam – I would very happy if I got a B or a B+ in my ethics class – philosophy in general is just not my thing.  Tomorrow I have my history exam which I was worried about at first, but I have studied a little bit everyday and I am feeling a lot more confident in the exam.  I also reviewed with a couple of friends after our last Sangria Thursday.  Once again everything is becoming very bittersweet.  I want to go home, but today I don’t feel ready to go home.  I don’t feel like I have experience everything I have wanted to since being in Madrid.  For example, most of the time I have gone out on the weekends with friends in Madrid we have gone to Sol, but there are so many other places to go in Madrid and we never really experienced them.  It is so easy to get into a routine when we are comfortable and not want to branch out and challenge yourself.  I believe a lot of people, including me, get comfortable with something and just stay with it.  However, this experience has taught me I need to branch out when I start feeling comfortable.  Remembering I love to meet people is something I need to keep in mind when I get that feeling of feeling comfortable.

Well I wrote most of this blog before dinner today and then dinner happened.  For some reason just one dinner can change your outlook well at least it changed mine on everything that has been happening lately.  It was the first dinner in a while where I felt like really talking.  First we had pesto pasta for dinner which was amazing!! One of the things we talked about during dinner was Glo and the wedding.  Gloria spent most of the day running around to find a dress for Glo and trying to get everything in order for the wedding.  The reason Glo wants to have the wedding so fast is because of her boyfriend.  He wants to get married before they have the baby – easy for him to say since he doesn’t do much for a wedding.  As of right now the wedding, if all possible the wedding is supposed to be the second of June – how crazy is that?!  Gloria is really stressed with trying to help Glo with everything and then spend time with Maya and I before we head off to the airport and all go our separate ways.  We just had nice conversation throughout the entire dinner.  Something funny that happened at dinner is we were talking about how some people are not happy in the world today and how those people need to remember the good things in life… and me being the smarty pants I am I said mango (we have mango for dessert) we all got a good laugh about that.  Gloria said she would always remember that when she is feeling sad about something.  Dinner was great tonight – it makes me really think I am going to miss Spain – even though I am beyond excited to go home. 
Well that is all for tonight.  Sorry I haven’t blogged about Barcelona – maybe I will do it this weekend or when I get home – hopefully soon.  I should be studying for my history exam tomorrow – I just have to review once or twice and then it will all be good! See you all soon!

Paz y Amor.  God Bless.

Another picture from Barcelona :)