The GoGlobal Blog

Look Up Child

Look Up Child

These past two weeks have been filled with the giggly, smiley, laughing, overwhelming kind of love drizzled with a few tears and a whole lot of Pastéis de Nata. The weeks, and even the days themselves, I often feel have their own “W” with curvy lows, and reviving highs. In the grand scheme of the study abroad experience, spring break tends to be the middle high which is quickly approaching. Thankfully, my sister and brother in law visited Rome a couple of weekends ago that refreshed my heart and my attitude on the first big dip of the semester. With a blend of gratitude  and overwhelming uncertainty, I was feeling most unlike myself during that low, but seeing my sister was exactly what I needed. It pushed me to come back to why I am here in the first place. To grow. To get out of my comfort zone. My everyday realization is when you do not feel like yourself that is often when you are just discovering something in yourself you did know you had before. It is simply uncomfortable because you are growing. So just sit in it, feel it, and do the best you can. My sister, as well as my brother in law, and I roamed around the city, eating pizza, pasta, and gelato at every turn. We did a couple of walking tours with one hilarious tour guide who never minded to photobomb anyone’s picture, went to a market in the Testaccio neighborhood of Rome, and visited my school campus. It was filled with memories I will never forget and collect in my heart for the rest of my life.

My friend has always wanted to travel to Portugal. I was neither here nor there about it. However, I found the trips that have no expectations around them with no clue what you are getting into end up being one of the best experiences filled with incredible memories, usually more than the planned ones. So we went for it. Lisbon, Portugal would be my first out of Italy tripe since I traveled from America, and it will probably be one of my favorite trips when I look back on study abroad. We stayed at a beautiful hostel in the heart of the city filled with eclectic mosaics and curvy bricked archways. Our first day, we walked around the steep cobblestone streets, ate some steamy garlic buttery shrimp, and found a circus themed sardine shop. We ate dinner at the hostel where a Portuguese chef cooked us a delicious meal filled with fish, potatoes, and a creamy mushroom dish as well as a bunch of vegetables. My friend and I mingled with others at the dinner, each person being from a different place. It was surreal to know that we were eating dinner with people from all over the world, and even though we may all come from somewhere else, we were all sharing similar conversations about our lives over a delicious meal. 

Our second day was filled with exciting, beautiful, on top of the world moments. We traveled to an abandoned restaurant from the 1960’s that has over the years been the site of creative art through graffiti. It has not only become a beautiful building, but it also has a wide view of the city. It was one of the first moments realizing how incredibly beautiful Lisbon is and how it is truly one of a kind. We then headed more towards Sintra, a city about forty five minutes away from Lisbon. We stopped at Quinta Da Regaleira, an elaborate estate built in the early twentieth century. It was a medieval-like playground filled with underground, pitch black tunnels, mossy ponds, greener than green gardens, windy wells and staircases, and enchanting buildings. Yet again, I was overwhelmed with the imaginative beauty that we saw there. Our tour continued on to the most beautiful beach my eyes have ever seen. Yes, I love a relaxing lake Michigan day, but this Portuguese beach was something else. There were large rocks that framed the crashing waves that perfectly washed upon the shore. My friend and I ran up and down the beach, catching, and splashing the water, getting a little more wet than we expected, but it just made it all the more fun. There was a Dad and his two daughters playing a game of running to not touch the water when it came up to shore. They were giggling, laughing, and smiling as their Dad would count down to the next time they should run. He would scoop them up and spin them around. It may be the sentimentalist in me, but it reminded of how often love can be found anywhere and everywhere you go. In the sun, in the sand between your toes, in the laughing, in the special family moments, it is all love. After the beach, we stopped for lunch and then we headed to two different outlooks to see the sunset. One was right off a cliff and the other was at a sanctuary, but both were equally breathtakingly beautiful. As I sat, and I felt the sun hit my face, hit the rocks, hit the water, hit the view of Lisbon, I thought about how I grateful I am to be in the exact spot I am in. Two years ago, my family and I were in an extremely rocky place, and I was not sure we would get out of that dark hole. Right then, right there in Lisbon, it reminded me of the hope in a new day. The hope that things can always change if you are willing to let it, and the acceptance that it may need to. Thank you Lisbon for the beautiful views, the delicious food, and the hope of a new day rising always. More often than not, it is simply just a matter of looking up.

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