Hello Dames and Gents,
I first want to say a quick apology to skipping two weeks in a row, but I do have a legitimate reason. April. Was. Insane. Between travel and school, Damsel with Success took a temporary back burner. However, I promise to update you on all the amazing things that have been happening this April. Because I’m obsessed with lists, here’s a list of some of the crazy things that have happened this April.
- I visited my host student from high school in Valencia, Spain.
During my senior year in high school, I had the opportunity to host a student from Spain for four months. When she left at the end of the year, I never thought I’d see her again. However, as fate would have it, I ended up coming to Spain to study, and decided to take a trip to visit her.
Ana’s time in my house was a huge part of the reason I decided to study Spanish. Before that, I saw no need for Spanish in my life. After all, I’m a Digital Communications major, which probably won’t utilize Spanish very much. However, Ana taught me to embrace new cultures and experiences, and seeing her boldness made me want to be brave like her too.
Visiting her was surreal, especially since I was now the one parsing together broken phrases, rather than her. However, it was a testament to how far I’ve come in my ability to speak Spanish, and gave me reassurance that I have improved since I arrived (an ever present fear of mine).
- I backpacked across Europe for 12 days over Spring Break.
Travel is not for the faint-hearted, especially when you’re trying to fit a lot of places into a short amount of time. I fit two weeks worth of clothes and supplies into a tiny backpack, and embarked on my trip through seven cities and five countries. We started out in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the home country of my grandmother. It was incredible to see the land my grandmother grew up in, and so fun to find out that some of my silly family traditions are actually deeply rooted in Dutch culture.
After Amsterdam, we spent two days in Belgium. We spent a day in Brugge, a fairy-tale town overrun by tourists. We arrived in Brussels that night/morning and spent our second day exploring, seeing the house of Karl Marx and Victor Hugo among many other impressive sites. After that, we spent an afternoon in Luxembourg and arrived in Paris at night. Paris was straight out of a movie screen, with spectacular views, exotic cuisine, and music drifting from the streets.
The rest of our trip was spent in Italy, where we visited Rome and Venice. Italy was definitely the highlight of the trip, probably because I’m a huge foodie. I loved the Venetian canals and the slightly salty ocean water perfume that wafted through the streets. Also, since the people were so friendly and welcoming, it was impossible not to be drawn into their romantic and idealistic perspective on life.
The trip had many bumps along the road, but I feel proud of our accomplishment. Still, I was glad to be back in Oviedo, Spain, and actually get a proper amount of sleep!
- I took a weekend trip to Mallorca, a Spanish island.
I guess ‘sleeping’ didn’t last too long, because the very next weekend after Spring break I took another trip to Mallorca. Luckily, this trip was much more relaxing, and we spent two days lazing around on the beach, soaking up the sun and napping. In Mallorca, we tried delicious food (ensaimadas are a famous pastry from Mallorca) and ate our fair share of tapas. I’m going to miss tapas and café con leche so much!
- I drowned in homework and projects (no surprise that two of my essays topics are on Spanish feminism).
I can’t make a list of all these amazing things and leave you thinking I don’t even go to class. Throughout all my travels, I’ve also been inundated with homework and projects. I have around 40 pages to write in Spanish, a 300-page book to read, a poem to memorize, homework to finish, exams to take, and a final presentation to do. Not as fun as it seemed before. At the very least, I’m focusing on projects I’m genuinely passionate about. I’m writing my final paper on feminism in Spain during the 20th century and a literature final about the effects of gender on Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. Life could definitely be worse.
It’s weird to think I have less than a month left here in Spain. It feels like I’ve been here for forever, all the while feeling like I just arrived. Still, I’m so excited to get back home and return to ‘normal life’ (if I can still call it that). I’m ready for summer weather, lazy beach days, and having more time to write (even though that will, sadly, mean less time spent traveling).
All in all it’s been an eventful month, and I can’t wait to see what May brings. See you stateside real soon!
Much love and always strive for success!