The GoGlobal Blog

Hola from España!

Hola from España!

I am so happy to report that I have successfully both survived and thrived during these first few weeks in Spain. While the trip from Chicago to Europe began with many headaches due to seemingly endless flight cancellations, delays, and reroutings, the time has already begun to fly by here.

These first two weeks have been spent exploring my new surroundings while simultaneously attempting to fit in with the locals and orient myself to the European/Spanish lifestyle. “Becca,” you might ask, “who cares if literally everyone within a 10 mile radius can tell you’re not from Spain???” Well I would answer that with the sad fact that I have probably already used up the acceptable amount of “lo siento, soy americana”s x100. That being said, I am desperately attempting to drop all the signs of my Americanness in order to gain the full access to the Spanish culture. One of the biggest adjustments that I have run into thus far has been switching over to the Spanish eating schedule. The day begins with a small breakfast, followed by a normal sized lunch around 2-3pm, and finishes with a dinner around 10pm. While I had been warned about this schedule, putting it into practice has resulted in an embarassingly huge amount of necessary churro and bocadillo snack breaks throughout the day to save my starving stomach. These snack breaks were made even more enticing after I learned that a cafe con leche and pastry combo is sold at most cafes for less than 2 euro. Dinner is an especially important part of my daily routine in Spain, as my roommates and I sit down with our host family for an authentic, homemade Spanish meal. Our host family, to our surprise, does not speak English. While my broken Spanish skills have definitely helped bridge the language barrier, it can be quite difficult and intimidating to speak at lengths with them. Regardless, my host family is extremely caring and thoughtful, always making sure that my roommates and I have what we need and giving us advice about city life in Madrid.

I suppose this is the part that I should also mention that I am usually able to find time in my day to attend class (that’s for you, Mom & Dad)! My schedule for this semester consists of four academic classes and a piano class, the earliest beginning at 2:30 pm. I truly am roughing it this semester. I am very happy with my professors thus far, all of whom are not only vey intelligent within their given fields, but also truly understanding of our unique situation as students in Madrid.

Although I am loving Spain, I do admit to feeling homesick and the occasional FOMO. One thing that has definitely helped is that I have met a crazy number of students from my home university in Chicago, all of whom I had either not crossed paths with or whom I had never had a chance to talk with before this experience. It truly was the best feeling on the first day of classes whenever another student introduced themselves as “blah blah from Loyola Chicago.” This was usually followed by me yelling across the room, “omg me too!” Already these semi-awkward introductions have lead to travel groups being formed and plans solidified. This month has and will keep me extremely busy in terms of travel, as we have already visited the Monasterio de Piedra and Toledo on the first weekend and Barcelona on the second weekend. I have future travel plans to Morocco, Ireland, and Germany in the coming weeks, and to France and Italy over the coming months. I am slowly beginning to realize that I won’t have the time to see half of what I would like to, as I accidentally filled in every single weekend while making a tentative travel itinerary for this semester. I have attempted to block off at least one weekend a month to remain in Spain, as I am nervous that my travel plans might restrict me from truly experiencing life as a wannabe Spaniard. Again, should probably also block off the weekends before midterms and finals, because in case you are like me and keep forgetting, school is a thing here.

If you made it this far into the blog post, you must truly love me because this was really freaking long. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my thoughts, and am hoping to post at least once a week. I am so incredibly grateful for the love and support I always receive from my friends and family, even during some of my more crazier endeavors (ya know, like flying off to live in Europe for 5 months). Lots of love for you all, and stay posted as I attempt live the vida loca!

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