hola, buenas, chao, y hasta

June 24, 2011

Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve learned quite a lot. That is, of course, the general aim when one studies abroad, but what I’ve learned stretches far beyond the limits of an entire semester’s worth of two classes condensed into four short weeks.

I’ve grown to love a new country; I’ve gained a level of confidence in my speaking ability which I never would have had otherwise; I’ve learned many useful [mostly inappropriate, though colloquially acceptable] new phrases; I’ve adjusted to a new eating, sleeping, and academic schedule; I’ve been introduced to beautiful architecture, delicious foods, and amazing sights; I’ve met incredible new people; I’ve found myself feeling lost and uncertain; and I’ve found myself breaking out of my comfort zone and adapting to a new way of life.

But most of all, I’ve learned that I still have so much to learn about the world.

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arabian nights in the south of spain

June 20, 2011

I’ve already mentioned the dichotomy between Spain and Portugal, two completely different environments for two countries so close to one another, but I didn’t realize that the same feeling could exist within Spain itself. Of course, in the back of my mind it was obvious; after all, the United States is an enormous mixture of cultures, accents, cuisines, and ambiance, so it would only make sense that a country as old as Spain, rich with a history of regionalism, would be similar.

Mostly, though, I think it was the prevalence of Arab culture permeating through the narrow streets of Granada, subtly transparent as it was, that really struck me.

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playas and ñamñams

It has been almost a full year since I hopped aboard a plane at JFK on a flight to Madrid. It was a study abroad trip; 4.5 weeks in Valencia, 6 miles from the coast of Spain, and fully immersed in a sleepless country – music blaring from dusk until noon the next morning, hours upon hours spent in cafes and restaurants, miles strolling through busy streets and small shops, and an entire world of culture.

Before I transferred over to WordPress, my old blog was set up at Blogger. There, I detailed my journey in Spain, but I wanted to give you all over here a glimpse into the beauty of the country. So here are my words, taken from the old blog like pages from a journal.

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