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Week 11- Just another week

Finally a week where there’s nothing major going on. Just another typical week in Segovia. Classes monday through thursday and going out with the group at night. I’ve spent this week going to class and hanging out with friends. What I enjoy about living in Spain is that every day is relaxing and there is always something to do. It’s really neat to be able to go for walks to the plaza mayor, the cathedral, the castle or just anywhere in Segovia. Segovia is such a great city to live in, it feels so comfortable to walk anywhere and just roam the streets.

I’m accustomed to everything around me and the live style. I’ve gotten used to the food and living here. I eat a three course meal everyday for lunch. For breakfast I always have the same thing as well. The milk and yogurt taste different here. It’s so interesting how people here buy milk in bulk and it’s not even refrigerated until it’s opened.

My breakfast everyday

My breakfast everyday

The cathedral of Segovia

The cathedral of Segovia

The Alcazar of Segovia

The Alcazar of Segovia

The Aqueduct, I walked through this every day.

The Aqueduct, I walked through this every day.

This is the building my school was in.

This is the building my school was in.

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Week 9- Andalucia

After being back from a 10 day trip we just can’t stop traveling. This weekend we had our long excursion to Andalucia the south of Spain to Cordoba and Granada. We left Segovia on Friday morning, it was going to be a long bus drive but thank goodness we had our own private bus.

I was really excited for this excursion because it was going to be our longest one and it was going to be in the south of spain where I still hadn’t traveled too. The south was beautiful. Spain just keeps getting better and better. I noticed the people here speak faster spanish, i still understand them but I can notice the difference. Spending the weekend here was packed with places to visit and places to learn all the history. It blows my mind to hear our director go on and on about all the history we find in Spain. We visited two of the major, well lots of attractions in the south in Cordoba we visited the famous Mosque that has a cathedral inside. In granada we visited the Alhambra.

The mosque-cathedral in Cordoba

The mosque-cathedral in Cordoba

Inside the Alhambra

Inside the Alhambra

View of Granada, Spain

View of Granada, Spain

I really enjoyed this excursion because as a whole group we bonded and all learned new things. I’m ready for this upcoming week to be able to relax and slow down on the traveling. One more excursion to La Granja and soon our program will be coming to an end.

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Week 13- Final Week

This week has been pretty bitter sweet. I’m beyond excited to be heading home but sad that I have to leave my friends. One friend mentiones “we will never all together again in this place” that is really crazy. I’ve grown close to lots of people on this trip and it is really sad that I have to say goodbye.

I’ve started packing my bags. It’s kind of nice to know that all i have to do is pack everything in my room and not worry about what to leave behind but with that I have acquired a big load of souvenirs and that is a problem. I don’t have all the room I need to pack everything. 2 check in bags, my backpack and my purse and I’m all set to go.

I’ve said my goodbyes and people have started leaving to the airport. This is a sad time. I took my last walk around Segovia and said my goodbyes, I will be back one day.

Saturday morning my host brother will drive me to the bus station and I will get on the bus to Madrid once in madrid i’ll hop on the metro and make my way to the airport. I’m so glad I know the metro and wont get lost on my way there especially with all of my luggage. I just have to make it to the airport and check in and I will be golden. Goodbye Segovia, until we meet again.

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Week 8- Fall Break-Italy!

This week my friend and I spent our whole week in Italy. It was a really neat experience and I loved it. We started off in Rome and I must say Rome is really great it’s filled with so much history. I really enjoy living in Europe because there is so much history background. There’s no just starting at when America was discovered but there’s so much more here! People lived here long before and it is so cool to see all the ancient buildings and things left behind. Rome I’d say was the most history filled city I’ve see with all the Romans left behind.

Colosseum in Rome

Colosseum in Rome

After Rome we headed to Milan and that wasn’t too excited other than seeing the duomo and the shopping center. Milan I feel was one of the cities I found to be least pretty, it reminded me of a suburb with not a lot of money. There was a lot of fog and smog there too. It wasn’t the prettiest of cities. After Milan we headed to Florence and I must say Florence was by far my favorite place of Italy. Florence was breathtaking! I felt Florence was the city I fell most in love with.

The Duomo in Florence

The Duomo in Florence

The view from a hill. Beautiful!

The view from a hill. Beautiful!

We’ve seen so much history and been to so many museums while in Europe it’s all been so neat. I must say the pasta is better in Italy and i fell in love with tiramisu! it was so good, i want to learn how to make it. Tiramisu is an Italian dessert kind of like cake made with a cream filling and a taste of coffee. It’s really yummy.  After Florence we headed to Venice and that too did not disappoint. It is so neat to see a city off in an island and all the different islands are connected by bridges.While I was there I heard that Venice might be under water in the future, since the water is rising.

Tiramisu in a cup! so good.

Tiramisu in a cup! so good.

Venice, only way to get around is by boat or walking over bridges.

Venice, only way to get around is by boat or walking over bridges.

At the end of the trip i was exhausted and we didnt get back till Sunday and unlike back home once were out of the airport we have to take public transportation back to segovia. First the metro then the hour long bus ride we were so happy to be back in segovia. We missed our home.

Some differences and similarities I found was that wherever we went to any restaurant or place they never picked up after themselves. In europe everyone eats a three course meal, even at restaurants. They always sold beer at mcdonalds which was something different and they always had a mccafe like an actual cafe, in its own area. Unlike the U.S i feel that they’re a bit more proper when eating their meals and with the alcohol part they’re just more accustomed to it, like alcohol isn’t seen as a bad thing, it’s what everyone drinks.

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Back in America

Now that I’m back in the states it’s been quite the adjustment. My biggest problem was adjusting to the time difference. I would wake up way too early at times but I would fall back asleep later. I’m really glad I get a few weeks off before heading back to school. I really need this time to adjust, get used to things, and reconnect with people I missed.

The first thing I did when I got home around 1am was shower and fall asleep but the next morning my moms delicious tamales were waiting for me. I sure missed my moms cooking so much!

I feel like i’ve had to adjust to being around all the americans and speaking english now. English is all around me and I have to get used to speaking it on a daily basis. I still get flashbacks of Spain but I don’t miss it terribly.. yet. It feels like the 3 months were a dream. I still can’t believe I was in Europe.

A lot of friends and family want to know all about my trip and it feels like I say the same thing over and over, I think i’ll make a script and repeat it to every person that asks. I really enjoy showing all the pictures I took and reminiscing on the memories.

I feel study abroad has helped me tremendously, i definitely grew as a person and experienced new things. My life will forever be marked by my study abroad experience.

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Week 12- Thanksgiving

This week we had out thanksgiving dinner AHA does for us. It was potluck style but we did have a turkey which was really good.Like any celebration people celebrate in Spain we had our lunch at a restaurant near our school. We all dressed up went to class then headed to the restaurant to eat.

The turkey!

The turkey!

How we felt when we were done.

How we felt when we were done.

Overall this week went well. Classes went well and outings with the group are always fun. I finally feel like Segovia is my second home. I’m accustomed to the culture and the living, it’s going to be different when I go home.

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Week 7- Midterms

After our last week of great excursions it was time to get back to study mode and focus because midterms were up next. Unlike back home we didn’t get a study guide to know what was going to be on the test but we did have review days which were really helpful because our professors let us know what was going to be on our tests. I was a bit nervous for these tests because they were going to be in a whole different language and although I know the language it was still nerve racking because maybe I’d forget what to say and how to write it in spanish. But just like back at WOU our tests were split up into two days, half the classes Wednesday and the other half on Thursday.

Monday and Tuesday consisted of review and lots of studying. On mondays i also have my internship at Caritas. I really enjoy volunteering there, the people are all so nice and after a few weeks we’ve had a good group of 10 people that come on a daily basis and really want to learn. We have a diverse group of people in our class we have people that have never learned any english and then we have others that know a few things and are a little better at English but they’re all learning. Pronunciation is the key thing everyone needs help with.

Caritas, The organization where I volunteered at.

Caritas, The organization where I volunteered at.

Since we all had midterms coming up we all headed to a cafe to study all together. I’ve developed a slight addiction to Cafe con Leche (Coffee with milk) it’s really good. I’ve noticed the coffee here is a lot more strong and the amount you get is way smaller. A lot of people get what looks like a shot of coffee, i dont know how they can handle that, i bet it’s really strong. After talking to one of my proffs he mentioned a lot of people here like the strong stuff and even dark chocolate is preferd more than milk chocolate. Talking about chocolate, I miss hershey’s chocolate, they dont have that here but tehy do have Kinder and Milka which I believe is chocolate from germany. Chocolate from Spain is Valor.

Cafe con leche and a piece of bread

Cafe con leche and a piece of bread

I feel midterms went well and once they were over it was time for fall break! Italy for 10 days! I’m really excited! Rome-Milan-Florence and Venice. It’s going to be quiet the trip with just my friend alison and I but i’m excited. First off is Rome we left Thursday night and arrived Friday morning. And so the Italy adventure began!

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Week 15 – Farewell Barcelona

Well, the time to leave Barcelona has come and gone (Sorry about my last post being late, again). This week was really stressful and emotional for me. Bank account was going down, finals this week, and having to say good by to all my friends and leaving Barcelona. I didn’t get a chance to explore Barcelona much this week, I really had to focus on my studies to make sure I did well in all of my classes. I was surprised to find that my classes and finals were more intense here than at home (in my opinion at least).

After finals were finished we had a farewell dinner with our whole program and we all ate typical spanish food one last time and talked about our past semester here and how fast it went by. Our program director also made a video for us with all of our excursions and it made me realize how many amazing trips we all took together, and how close we’ve all gotten. Leaving this amazing group of people was one of the hardest and emotional things i’ve ever had to do. We became our own little family.

Another guy in the program actually made his on video of all of us from his point of view in Barcelona and I just wanted to watch it over and over again! I can’t believe its over. I am happy to be home, but I will always cherish my time in Barcelona and the amazing people I met during my time there. I didn’t realize how much my time here had changed me. It opened my eyes to other cultures, made me more patient, more open to taking risks, and asking for help. It’s helped shape me to be a better student, and a better person.

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Week 14 – Last full week in Barcelona

It’s hard to believe that my time here in Barcelona is coming to an end. I just have this week and then its finals week. I am almost wishing I would have decided to stay through one more weekend after finals to hangout with other people in my program. I have become to close to other students in my CISabroad program and BarcelonaSAE, It feels like i’ve know these people my whole life. Leaving them and not knowing when i’ll see them next will be one of the hardest things about leaving Barcelona.

Since I had so much homework this week I didn’t get a chance to explore Barcelona much this week, but I did find out about a local hangout and awesome view point called “Bunker del Carmel.” I had time between classes one day and decided to take the easy hike up there, and oh was it worth it. It’s the best view point i’ve seen since to date of Barcelona. It made the Sagrada Familia look small! I could see the whole entire city, and I could see all the different barrios (neighborhoods).

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I also treated myself to a “fish pedi” this week, which I think may be illegal in the US? Not quite sure, but it was one of the strangest things i’ve ever done! It felt so weird knowing fish were bitting off dead skin on my feet, It took me a minute or so to stop laughing. I also went to a local brunch restaurant called “Brunch and Cake” where they only serve bunch, and all day. It was one of the best meals i’ve had in Barcelona!

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Week 13 – Vienna, Prague, and Budapest (Last weekend of traveling!)

I finally got around to seeing Gaudi’s church or otherwise known as La Sagrada Familia, and it happens to be maybe a 10 minute walk from my apartment so I see it from the outside all the time. Seeing it from the inside was just crazy, Gaudi’s work is almost unreal. Everything is so detailed, unique, and properly placed. The stain glass windows on the inside illuminate shades of a rainbow through out the church, which just adds to its beauty. The work on the church began on 19 March 1882 from a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to carry on the works, a task that he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

Inside La Sagrada Familia

Inside La Sagrada Familia

It felt like I had just returned from Morocco when I had to turn around and repack for my next trip! Myself and two other girls in my program decided to do a “mini Eastern Europe” tour for our final weekend of traveling. We flew to Vienna from Barcelona and wow is it beautiful! Reminded me a lot of Paris, just smaller but equally as “posh.” We visited a few churches and a house that was known as the “tree house” and walked around the city. The next night we went to Prague and it was an interesting city, we walked up and thru the Prague castle, saw the John Lennon wall, and the  “old town” of the city, but didn’t get to see as much as we’d like since we only had one day.

Christmas Markets in Vienna

Christmas Markets in Vienna

St vitus cathedral in Prague

St vitus cathedral in Prague

Parliament in Budapest

Parliament in Budapest

The next two days were spent in Budapest, which was definitely my favorite of the three! Everyone we met was so nice and welcoming. The buildings/neighborhoods were beautiful, food was good, and there was a lot to do. We visited the parliament, a cave church, walked around town, and went to a bathhouse. A bathhouse can vary by definition, but the one we went to in Budapest was like a huge outdoor hot tub that people hang out in, but also a spa. We all got massages, it was so relaxing. The parliament was really fun to tour actually, we got the tour in spanish to challenge ourselves…it was still quite hard to understand. I originally didn’t plan on making this trip, mostly because I had no interest or any idea what there was to do or see in these countries/cities. I am so glad that I did go though, I saw some beautiful places and learned a lot about these countries. It also hit me that my time to leave is fast approaching, and I don’t want to leave! Three months have passed by way too fast.

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