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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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Home

After about seven great weeks I am home. I definitely have mixed feelings about being home, but they are good feelings. I was able to extend my trip by going to Italy with my mom and cousin, but by the end of that I was definitely ready to come home! Having them in London and then Italy reminded me of what was waiting at home, so I felt the strongest connection then to going home. My time in London was the perfect amount of time for me because I was able to experience the culture and make new friends, but it wasn’t so long that I was super homesick.

My arrival in the U.S was much more calm and relaxed. Because of my flight being so delayed arriving in London, I was exhausted, a bit stressed and definitely nervous as to what to expect. My arrival in the U.S was the total opposite-we got in early on each fight and each flight was one step closer to being home and surrounded by the familiar. Even though I am very glad to be home I definitely miss London. By the end of my visit I felt so confident getting around and I really felt like I knew what I was doing. I miss that. Home is a very nice contrast to the busy London life and I’ve had a few days to relax and get back into a normal routine. I definitely miss the afternoon tea in London and having great excursions to amazing places! I’ve learned so much, done so much, and made great friends that I know I’ll stay in touch with for years to come. Overall an amazing trip!

DSC01319 I’m definitely missing high tea!

group at chatsworth

DSC01136 New friends!

Posted in England | Tagged Arrival home | 2 Replies

Arrival Home

Coming home ended up not being as difficult as I though it would. I was thinking that we would go through customs in Mexico, not in Texas, and was concerned I might say something wrong. However, we didn’t go through customs until we made it to Texas, and we all flew through! I was so ready to be home, to see my family and friends, but now am missing all of my Mexican friends and family! There was one portion of my trip from Queretaro to Mexico City that I had a problem with. The guy at the ticket counter, when he checked my bag, gave me the wrong ticked stub, and I had a hard time getting one of my bags, because I didn’t have the “right” ticket. The guy was asking me whats something specific in you bag so I know its yours…I thought and thought but all I could think of was clothing, luckily he got busy and just handed me my bag. I was very happy. Other than that the trip was problem free! We even made it to PDX a little early. This program taught me so much and I would not trade this summer for anything. I cannot wait to return to my home away from home and see my friends and family. Queretaro will always be home to me, and the people who live there will always be close at heart. I made friendships with people in our group that will last a lifetime, and we all even talked about going back to Queretaro in a year for a reunion! As for now I am happy to be in the good ole USA, but also cannot wait to return to good ole Mexico! Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 1.44.47 PM

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Return Home!

Arriving in the US was a great experience! Being able to understand everything that was said to me was a great feeling! I didn’t have to question whether or not I heard someone right! What has been interesting to me though is that since I’ve returned back I have answered some peoples questions in Spanish. Just simple questions that I answer yes to or say thank you but it sounds funny to me.

I’m thrilled to be back in the US with my family but do miss Mexico!
voodoo   claire

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Arrival Home

I am now all settled in back home. I am sitting here happily next do my dog and cat as I write this. When I got to the airport I was so tired from my flight, but so very happy to see my boyfriend. I am almost shocked by how easy it was for me to re-adjust to being here. I didn’t even have a problem with jet lag or anything. I thought I would be absolutely exhausted since when I arrived in Portland it would have been 6 in the morning in Vienna which was the time I was acclimated to. Surprisingly I was really only a normal amount of exhausted and I went to bed at a normal time for this time zone and woke up even earlier than I normally would and still functioned just fine right away! When I arrived in Vienna I was scared and lonely and I think it was the exact opposite when I came home. It was relieving being here and everything seemed easy because I could talk to people in English, and be understood by them, if there were any problems. I was able to go straight to a motel when I got back and get rest for the night but then I had to get up the next morning and go to a leadership conference for the weekend so it was a little challenging moving straight on to something else without having a break at all or time to really let everything that had just happened sink in. Now I finally have a few days to relax and get back into the groove of my life here before I move into a new apartment and go back to work.

Posted in Austria | Tagged Arrival home | 1 Reply

The Last of Beautiful Barcelona

The last month has been absolutely crazy- well make that the last two months, actually. I’m so far behind on updating the blog and I apologize! There are no shortage of photos and stories though. Below are some of the last photos of my final weeks in beautiful Barcelona. I’ve been in the states for 2 weeks now, back in Portland for one; I can already tell you I’m missing Europe and am already scheming on my next adventures! I’ve caught a bad case of the travel bug.
Below are some photos from an awesome Catalan cooking class we took in our final weeks in Barcelona. We made tradition dishes including paella, tortilla de patata (Spanish omelet made with potatoes), creme de Catalan (sort of like the French creme brulee), and a tomato-gazpacho-shot thing. I’ve taken a few cooking classes and I never leave disappointed. I love to learn & I love to cook. We had a great time and I’m excited to whip up some paella one night here when I’m feeling extra nostalgic of my days in Spain.
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On my last day of my Spanish sports class, we toured the famous FC Barcelona stadium, Camp Nou. So impressive. It was great to visit the stadium again, especially after learning about the fascinating history- the team served as Catalan symbol of perseverance and unity under the Franco dictatorship. FC Barca is arguably one of the best teams in the world so I’m glad we took advantage of the behind-the-scenes tour of Camp Nou.
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Photos below from my last day at Carmel 29- my Spanish home away from home. I can’t even stress how fortunate I was to spend the majority of my time abroad. Carmen and Teti, the two sisters who were like my 3rd and 4th grandmas, were the most fun, supportive, and interesting ladies. They went above and beyond what their “host-mom duties” called for and really make it their mission to feel all who enter their home feel like family.
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Below a photo from our “farewell dinner.”  Really fortunate to share my experience abroad with these two ladies, Lynsday & Taylor. Lynsday lives in California, Taylor in Colorado. I definitely plan on visiting them in the near future. We traveled together and we laughed together, we missed our families together… We shared some important experiences that I can’t say I’ve shared with all of my friends here at home. Very blessed.
Posted in Spain, Uncategorized | Tagged Arrival home | 4 Replies

Back in the States

When arriving in London, I was a bit nervous but I remember getting there and all my worries and stresses went away. I was surrounded by absolute beauty. And arriving back home I had mixed emotions. I was happy to see all my friends and family members but at the same time, I wasn’t ready to leave. I still felt like I had much more to see, and to learn. Although I do appreciate being able to call my family and have better connection with them in the states than I did in Europe, It was almost nice to step away from all Internet connection for a while. I feel like I was really able to appreciate where I was and now that I am back, It all just seems more real that I was actually there by looking at some of these photos.

The City of London behind me while standing on the Harry Potter Bridge

The City of London behind me while standing on the Harry Potter Bridge

The Olympics Area

The Olympics Area

Deserts at Harrods Market

Deserts at Harrods Market

The Natural Science Museum of London

The Natural Science Museum of London

Kind Henry's Castle

King Henry’s Castle

I was able to connect more to London itself with out having that connection right at hand.

I feel like I was able to grow so much in those two weeks, a piece of me is different in the way I look at things now. I defiantly appreciate being close to my family and friends, but being on my own gave me the confidence I needed to keep a straight head and continue with my goals.

I had a nice surprise by having all my sister come to the airport to pick me up, I was very happy to see them.

My three sisters and Mother

My three sisters and Mother

Jenny

Posted in England | Tagged Arrival home | 1 Reply

Meanwhile, back in Monmouth . . .

I’ve been putting off writing this last post — not sure if that’s because it represents the end of my England experience or if I’m just lazy. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve thought about it to death, trying to analyze my experience and make sense of it in the long run, how it fits into my life as a whole. It’s hard to put those ideas into words because at this point they’re still kind of vague ideas floating around in my head and I can’t catch more than one at a time. Plus, I’m still too close to see how it affected me long-term. So I guess for now, I’ll just refer back to my first posts and talk about expectations and how I’m de-adjusting, or something like that.

People ask me to tell them something interesting that happened in England, or what my favorite thing was about England. There are some things that stand out a little more (bus tours around Ireland and Scotland in particular), but really just the experience of living there was the best part for me. I’m happy that I got the chance to be emerged in the culture for more than a 2-week visit. I made friends and probably now better understand the English culture than I did before.

One of the things I’m going to miss, though it sounds silly, is being automatically more interesting because of my accent. I’ve been asked if I spoke in an English accent while I was in England (because I tend to fairly often in America), but thinking back, I didn’t really. I stuck to my American accent because I became more self-conscious of how I sounded and how others sounded. Also, it was cool that I could say something in public and strangers would turn and try to listen to me. Now that I’m back in the U.S. I sound like everyone else.

I’ll miss being the stranger, but then again, it’s nice to be back in my own country and feel like I know what’s going on. In England, I always had a slight sense of confusion and being out of place. I could ask questions about food and assignments/grading, but I often felt that I wouldn’t gain a complete understanding of things that seemed foreign in three months. Being back home, I know how things work. It’s easy to slip back into routines.

Speaking of routines, I’m back in Monmouth now, and classes start tomorrow. To tell the truth, I’m mostly not really looking forward to things going back to normal. I’ve finally moved off campus with a couple friends, and it feels very grown-up to have our own apartment — paying rent and driving cars and such. But going to back to class here means I’m really back in America. England is over. (This really isn’t as depressing as I’m making it sound.) It’s weird to think that this trip that I was looking forward to for years is now a think in my past. It happened. It’s just one of my life experiences. I don’t know if I’ll go back someday, but it won’t be for a while anyway. I’m  happy to be home. I missed it.

Marissa

Posted in England | Tagged Arrival home | 1 Reply

Home Sweet Home

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A picture of Mt. Hood from my flight, I’m home!

Post for August 12, 2012

I have now been back home for about two days. I still feel like I have lived an amazing dream. Things still seem surreal. Upon arriving home I felt a sense of relief. I think that may be because I felt safe and happy that everything during my entire trip went well. It was a huge difference as to when I arrived to my homestay in Barcelona because there everything was unfamiliar and new. I approached things with caution. Here I know and am comfortable with most things already that I felt a bit more at ease. That’s not to say that I didn’t like being in Barcelona though. There’s a few things I miss about it. I miss going out with the friends I made there and just exploring different parts of Barcelona or trying new foods. I miss interacting with my host family. I miss the beach and how exotic/interesting everything seemed in my eyes. I also really miss the random kindness I got to enjoy from strangers I would just talk to sometimes on the streets.

I am happy to be home though. Especially now that my brother and my mom have returned from their trip to Mexico. I feel more at home and like I truly belong. I love being able to use the kitchen and make whatever I feel like eating. I also appreciate all the commodities we have here like a fully functional washer and dryer, and consistent warm water with good pressure in the shower. I love finding it easier to relate to my family here.

The following photos are what I hope will convey how I feel being home again.

Family
Happy to be with my family celebrating my brother’s 15th birthday.

I chose to include this picture because we don’t often take pictures together and it makes me happy to see this and know that I have a family of my own to love and be a part of.

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Beautiful Oregon

I chose this photo that I took on the road from Monmouth to Salem because it shows a little bit of Oregon’s beauty with the sunset lighting and the tall trees. I think this picture carries meaning not just because it’s of the road I commonly drive on to get from home to school but because there’s a road that lies ahead and much of Oregon I have yet to see. I am happy to be back and while I was in Spain I realized that I don’t have to go far away to see new things. There’s so much of Oregon that I have never seen or even made the effort to explore and that is why one of my new goals is to set out to explore more of Oregon when I have free time.

Sincerely,

Jose

Posted in Spain | Tagged Arrival home | 1 Reply

Landing in America

Planes are interesting, because they often give you the opportunity to sit by a complete stranger that you will most likely never see again. Some people use this as a chance to become friends, like the two people behind me on the 10-hour flight from Buenos Aires to Huston, who talked loudly through the first 3 hours or so. I didn’t speak to the woman next to me very much at all, and we both fell asleep after the flight attendants had finished giving out dinner and drinks.

At this point, I had been travelling for the entire day, and I was ready to get home. But, hearing these strangers discuss things about Argentina, and their experiences, made me realize how similar we really are. I was listening to them talk about how they had eaten delicious pizza and stayed in hostels and had been amazed at the sprawling humanity of Buenos Aires, just as I had.

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People. Everywhere.

After I got off the plane in Huston, relieved that I would once again have all of my usual comforts, I began to realize that since I was back in my comfort zone, back where everything made perfect sense to me, many of the people I recognized from the plane were now in a strange land. It made me realize how similar we really all are. The woman I sat by on the plane spoke mainly Spanish, and was a native Argentinian. In the crowded security line at the airport, she was completely out of her depth. Many people were in danger of missing their connecting flights, and the TSA agents were unflinchingly rigid, insisting that there was nothing they could do. I ended up speaking to several people who had been on my flight in Spanish, because they recognized someone who may potentially be able to help them navigate their way.

That part of the trip really struck me. For once, I naturally switched into Spanish, speaking with people I didn’t know, with no encouragement from anyone else. And the people were the same as people I would’ve spoken English too. Maybe it’s something I should have known all along, but I think without going and living with another culture, without actually travelling to where you are in the minority, you cannot recognize what we do to other cultures here. And you cannot recognize how similar we all are.

It’s always interesting to look at other people’s high school yearbooks, because sometimes you look through pictures and swear that someone you’ve never seen before looks exactly like this other person you know, and maybe it’s their facial expression or just some look in their eyes. So, that was the biggest thing that I took away from Argentina. This thought, this idea, that we are all truly similar. No matter where we grew up, or what language we speak. As humans, we are greater than any individual, we are alike in more ways than we could possibly ever be different.

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And, Argentina is beautiful.

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I am extremely grateful to everyone who made this trip possible, and I cannot wait to go abroad again, and continue to study Spanish and education!  Anne

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