Monday, June 30, 2014

Home sweet home!

I got back home late Saturday night after a flight from Bilbao to Lisbon, Lisbon to Philadelphia, and Philly to Columbus!! It feels great to finally be home after a long trip!

Last thursday night, after all my finals were over, my host family took me out to dinner at a restaurant right on the beach.  Before dinner, we went to one of their cousins concerts in one of the nearby bar/restaurants!  It was fun to listen to, and most of the music was english--which I noticed was pretty common there!  It was sad to say goodbye to my "second family" for the month, and hope I'll be able to make it back and visit them sometime!  I think God definitely placed me with the best family I could've gotten to stay with for the month for sure.

On friday, I packed up all my stuff, and went with Miriam in her car to Mount Igueldo! It was such a pretty view of San Sebastian and the perfect end to my trip.  There was an old amusement park that Miriam said hadn't changed since she was a kid!  After that, we went to the bus station to meet my host-mom, and say goodbye and catch my bus to Bilbao.

It was about an hour bus ride, and I went stayed at a hotel there since my flight was taking off at 6am the next morning!  I took a bus into town and walked around Bilbao for most of the day and saw the giant puppy statue made of flowers and the Guggenheim museum! It was so cool to see (que guay, as the spaniards would say :)), and the city seemed similar to San Sebastian, just not right on the beach.

After walking around the museum, I decided to go in a couple stores, and some reason became determined to find the second book of the Divergent series so I would have something to do on the plane. haha  I finished the first one pretty early in the trip, and looked for the second one everyone in San Sebastian, but they only had it in Spanish! I probably went to about 10 liberias in Bilbao and was directed to a different one down the street by each cashier.  I walked in to Casa de Libros and asked the lady working if she had the book, and she showed it to me in spanish…. so, I told her that my spanish isn't that good and that I think I want to read it in english, and she told me that my spanish was really good! (thats always a good compliment to get, but really all I wanted was the book in english haha)  But sure enough, they had the book! So, once my quest was over, I headed back and stopped at the fruiteria for some dinner and then took the bus to the hotel.  I watched Despicable Me in spanish, and went to bed to get some sleep before my early flight!

All the flights went really well, and its so interesting the people you will meet on planes!  On the flight from Portugal to Philly, I happened to be sitting by a couple from Kenton, which is 20 minutes from Ada. Small world!

In Columbus, my parents waited for me, waving me down with colorful "WELCOME HOME" signs in hand (made by Moriah, of course).  It was so nice to finally see my family again and be back in the US!  I will never forget this trip and all the people I met, the awesome things I've seen and done, and everything I have learned--in the classroom, and out--but there is no better feeling than being home and seeing the people that you love.  I definitely have learned to appreciate home after this trip, and couldn't ask for better family and friends. Thanks for following throughout my trip, hope you enjoyed reading about all my adventures!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hola to Olas!

Yesterday, I did my normal routine of waking up, going for a run, coming back to breakfast set out for me (including freshly squeezed orange juice), and riding my bike to and from class, coming home for lunch, going to the beach if it's nice out, and after went to a dance class with Miriam!  It made me want to be part of a dance class back at home too! Superdivertido :) 

Today, I gave my presentation, and took an exam and only have one more exam and presentation left!! Woo! After lunch, Miriam and I have been talking about going surfing all month, but haven't quite had the chance to yet!  Soo, we rented some surf boards and made our way to the beach.  I've never surfed before in my life, so you can use your imagination to see how the first couple of waves went.. haha!  Miriam was really good at it, and I finally stood up a couple times toward the end but I definitely could use some more practice for sure! (Now I just need to find a surf board and beach close to home lol).  

(It's funny how many times people have asked if Miriam and I are sisters, or have mistaken me for her!  I can definitely see the resemblance in this picture haha)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Eve of St. John the Baptist

This is my last week here in San Sebastian, and I can't believe where the time went!  Last weekend, mi amiga, Molly, came to visit me!  She is also studying abroad in Salamanca and we both study Pharmacy at ONU! It was nice to see a familiar face again, and we had a great weekend. :)  

Molly got here on friday night, and stayed with me in my host-family's home until Sunday night.  On Saturday, we went to the beach, and then had lunch with some of my host-sisters boyfriend's friends that were traveling around Europe from the US for the month.  We had homemade paella with mussels and shrimp (YUM).  

(Miriam asked me if the food, mussels, and muscles on your body are spelled the same--and I go hmmm.. yeahhh I think so!  After we looked it up, we joked that maybe I should learn English first before I try to learn Spanish haha:P)

After that, we climbed to the top of Mount Orgull!! (We like to make it sound like it was such a strenuous hike haha)  But it's such a good view of the city and overlooks the island and the ocean!

Then, we went out to dinner with another friend, and I showed Molly what pintxos are all about here.  On Sunday, we spent most of the day beach bumming before Molly's train took off! 

If you all have been paying attention to the FIFA World Cup that's going on, it's a huge thing here obviously!  Spaniards love their fútbol.  Spain lost already and are out, but my host-dad doesn't like them anyway although it would be cool to still have them in it!  US played last night and tied with Portugal.  This morning, I even enjoyed my daily coffee and croissant watching some good ole fútbol (btw coffee here is super strong, and you ONLY need one cup haha).

Tonight (June 23rd)  there will literally be hundreds on bonfires in the province of Guipúzcoa, including several in San Sebastián to celebrate the eve of the feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24). People jump over the bonfires for good luck.  The date of the summer solstice varies between June 19 and 23, while Midsummer is pegged to June 24, which is St. John’s day in the Christian calendar. The Pagan festivities of the solstice were appropriated to the Feast of John the Baptist, the cousin who baptized Jesus and announced that he was the savior foretold by the Hebrew prophets. The baal fires became fires of St. John, whom Jesus called “a burning and shining light”. 

I also have lots of homework, given that this is our last week and we have finals and presentations galore!  But, I'm going to try to go out to watch the tradition for a little bit after I get all of my work done for the night if the rain stops! 

Monday, June 16, 2014


I would like to just take this moment to recognize how extremely lucky I am to have the host family that I have!  I was praying about it for a long time before my trip and was just thinking how much of an answer to prayer they have been.  I will admit, I am getting sooo spoiled while I'm here!  My host-mom insists on making my bed, cleaning my room and towels, doing my laundry every week, and preparing every meal for me… I knowww.. it's a rough life. haha.  It's funny that the one thing that I've complained about is that she won't let me help her do anything--I guess it's a good problem to have, but I told her I'm used to helping around the house and I don't mind it.  She still says that she loves it and "no te preocupas," (don't worry)-- because she enjoys taking care of her family.

My host-dad is just about the same!  He is always super helpful and if I ever need anything, he's right there to help with homework, or find a bus/train.

I don't know how I got so lucky, but I am really going to miss them a lot!  Okay, that is all. :)

España España España..

So, I've come to the realization that I only have two short weeks left of this story book adventure!!  This is going crazyy fast and needs to slow down!  Last week we had midterms which means we're already over the halfway hump. I can't wait to catch up with everyone back home, but I feel like I'm just starting to get accustomed to everything here, and am loving the city even more every day.  I already know I'm going to have to make a trip back here to visit my host-family and travel around Spain some more someday.

On Saturday, me and a few others went to a medieval festival in Hondarribia with just an hour or so bus ride outside of San Sebastian.  I love how easy and cheap public transportation is here!  We got to the festival around noon, and went to a small restaurant for some lunch.  We all got small plates and just sampled each others meals a little bit.  I was feeling adventurous and got squid: Chiporones a la plancha.  It was actually reallyy good!

Of course, once we were done with lunch, it was "siesta-time" so all of the little shops and tents were closed until five!  So, we made the best of it and explored the town for awhile which was super old and the epitome of a european small town: cobblestone roads, clothes hanging out to dry outside the balconies, old stone buildings and cathedrals, and motorcycles and scooters lined up on the side of the roads.

The festival was filled with people wearing medieval costumes, playing instruments, and lots of homemade jewelry and things to sample.

On Sunday, I went to my other host-sister's dance recital.  She is around 25, and dances in her free time  for this company.  The show was fun to watch, and included all ages so the little "niños" were adorable! They did a dance with the theme song of the Disney movie, Mulan, which was different to listen to in Spanish.  There was also a Cinderella section at the end of the show that told the story.

Afterwards, we all had lunch at the house with most of their extended family!  I worked on some homework, and then went out to coffee with some of Miriam's friends until dinner time (which is always around 10 at our house!--but normally just consists of something light like a salad).

Today is a little cloudy, but I'm hoping to get to the beach if it warms up!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Last weekend consisted of going to the beach, and going to a flamenco festival!  On Sunday, I played in a sand volleyball tournament with some other students after helping clean up the beach for World Ocean Day in San Sebastian.  A little rusty, but I miss volleyball sooo much and it was great to get out by a net again!! We played 3 on 3, and our team was about half and half on the winning side but it was still a good time playing and watching the surf competition going on too.

After that, I worked on a presentation, and then me and my host-family made our way to Andalou, Francia for a Flamenco festival!!  It's kind of ironic that we went to France for a Flamenco festival when it's a dance that is known to be really popular in Seville (a city in the south of Spain).  It was a really quaint and cute town right on the beach just north of San Sebastian and full of people from all over!  Now my host family knows how I felt when I first got to Spain and barely understood a thing… this time we were in the same boat, not knowing how to read signs or order ice cream (apparently anana in French is not banana, it's pineapple haha).

We watched the Flamenco dancers do their thing and Miriam and I even joined in a little haha. :)

We had a blast, and it's funny how similar my host-mom is to my mom (birth-mom haha).  She was even joining along a little too! ….side note: I thought it's really funny that they also use the phrase, "I love that look," when referring to someone wearing an outfit thats a little out-there. Lol, they actually use the english word, "look" too, so that was interesting….

Okay so back to the festival…..

After we walked around Andalou for a while, we got Talos for dinner.  Talos are a traditional Basque type of food, that are made of a corn tortilla and you can put chess and ham on the inside, or chocolate like we did on the excursion on friday.  So, it was cool to taste the difference in our home-made talos, and the legit ones.  The ones that we had for dinner had jamón and queso (both of which I have learned that Spaniards love).  

That pretty much sums up the weekend! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pyrenees Mountains

Yesterday, we had our last excursion as a group to the Pyrenees Mountains.  We took the bus across the boarder to France, and then hiked back across the boarder to a city called Zugarramurdi.  Add another country to the list (CHECK!)!  We also went to a museum explaining the witchcraft 'craze' during the Spanish Inquisition, and how people were getting accused of being witches left and right just like in America during the Salem Witch Trials.  We hiked through the caves where they were said to be practicing these things.

(straddling the boarder)

Zugarramurdi was soo pretty, and all the houses were white with cobblestone streets and mountains in the background.  We ate at a small family owned restaurant called "Kattalin" and had salad, lamb, and BREAD of course.  If there's one thing I've learned, it's that Spaniards love their bread haha.

Then, we went to another similar small basque town called Amaiur-Maya.  The drive there was the typical Basque countryside.  There were mountains with small farm houses and sheep grazing along the mountainside.  At Amaiur-Maya, we went to a Mill, which was said to be one of the last mills to stop working in the Valley.  The mill was horizontal and designed by Roman's-- not the type that you're used to seeing in America that go vertically.  The mill powered the grinding of wheat and corn, so we actually made our own "talos," which is a basque delicacy.  They can be filled with cheese, sausage, bacon, or chocolate--so of course, we used chocolate.

Then, we took the charter bus back to San Sebastian for the night after the long day!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

History Unfolding!

History Lesson!  It sounds boring, but I promise it's not (if you're a nerd like me haha)!!  Every day around lunch time, I watch the news in Spanish with my host-mom, so I've learned a lot and it's actually always really interesting!  My host-mom told me that this is a huge deal for Spain right now, and to make sure I pay attention to 'las noticias.'

Okay, so after Dictator Franco died and handed over his reign to Juan Carlos (the current King), Juan Carlos converted the country to a constitutional monarchy. Yesterday, King Juan Carlos announced his abdication.  So, he is handing over the throne to his son, Felipe.  Many people in Spain don't like that there is a king in the first place because he is only a 'figure head', so they are paying lots of money in taxes to pay for it, when really he doesn't do anything anyway.  I asked my host family what they thought about the issue, and it sounded like my host-dad wasn't in favor of it, and my host-mom likes the idea of a Kind and Queen and thinks that they're a nice family.  So, I think most of Spain is split on the issue for the most part.  In Madrid, where I was a week ago, there are tons of protests filling the streets and it's crazy there right now!

This is the Plaza de Oriente in front of the Royal Palace, where I was last week after the announcement:

The streets are filled with people protesting the government and don't want a king.  I won't bore you anymore, but you should read more about it if you're interested!!

Oh, and don't worry I'm safe where I am… This is in Madrid-- I got this picture online! haha

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fin de Semana

Yesterday, I went on a nice run (in the rain, of course haha) around the city and through a cute park in the morning.  I spent most of the day working on homework, which thankfully I have my host family to help me with!! Then, I met up with a group of classmates to go to the cider house nearby that night!  San Sebastian is known for it's cider I guess, so it was quite an experience. They first brought out enormous baguettes for the table to share.  Then, they brought us a plate of sausages.  Next, came the plate of fish which we thought would be the main meal… but no!  They brought a huge plate of very rare (like still mooing) steaks!  Probably the best steak I've ever had though.  And then, they brought cheese and walnuts to finish off the meal.  Oh, and a pastry for dessert! Phew.. never been so full in my life!  Not to mention the cider too (I got the kids cider hehe:)).

This morning, my host-papa and sister went on a bike ride through the city together!  There was a festival going on, so the streets were closed for bikes/joggers/walkers.  They said that the festival is because San Sebastian is going to be the cultural city of Spain in 2016! So there were lots of people out and about even though it wasn't the best weather.

Then, this afternoon, I met the rest of their family-- including cousins and their other daughter and husband.  We had dinner/lunch together and although they were all talking very fast and it was a little hard to understand, I felt like a part of their family!

Now, I'm going to finish some more homework and go to church with their family in a bit!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Semana 1 down!

Today, we took a group tour to Caserío Igartubeiti, Aránzazu, and Zumaia!  Caserío Igartubeiti is an old farm house up in the mountains of Gipuzkoa (the province in the Basque Country).  The view on the bus ride there was a little cloudy with all the rain, but it was still so pretty!

I don't know if I explained in a previous post, but Basque is another language that is spoken in Spain, and is not related to Spanish at all.  Most people who speak Basque can also speak Spanish or English, but since San Sebastian is in Basque country, one side of the street is written in Basque and the other in Spanish, so it can be a little confusing!

It was cool to see the old farm house that was built in the 17th century, and see the museum explaining the cider press and some Basque culture.

Then, we went to Aranzazu, which is Basque church.  We ate lunch at a restaurant nearby and had paella--my favorite!-- and flan for dessert.  It was pretty cold still up in the mountains with the rain, but once we got to Zumaia, it was really nice out!  The weather here can't make up its mind.

Zumaia was such a cute town!  We hiked up to the cliff and saw a breathtaking view, and our tour guide explained to us the significance of the layers in the stone.  After we hiked back down, we took a boat ride to see the other side of the cliff.  It was really windy, so the waves were pretty big--which made us all feel a little sea-sick :/  It was so worth it though!  But once we were back on land, it was definitely a relief haha.

Well, made it through my first week of class!  Hopefully the weather will warm up a little so we can all get to the beach!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

lluvia, lluvia.. go away

My Spanish is getting better every day and I'm getting more used to their customs as well.  I learned that the eating schedule is much different that in the US.  My host-sister explained their meals:

"Desayuno"- right when you wake up (8-9am)
"Almuerzo"- around 11 or mid-morning snack (which we learned in school that Almuerzo means lunch!)
"Comida"- after work/school (2-3pm)
"Merielida" (I think that's how it's spelled)- is a small snack of fruit or coffee. (6pm)
"Cena"(our dinner in the US)- is right before bed (10pm)

I thought that was really interesting and now thats the meal schedule I follow for the most part! When in Rome, right? My favorite thing that my mom has made is tortilla de patada. Tortilla de patata is kind of like an omelet or kish but mainly potatoes.  

Another different thing was that at breakfast, she put out cereal and warmed milk(their milk isn't refrigerated and comes in a carton).  I asked her if it was for the coffee, but she said it was for the cereal too!  I told her that in the US, we drink it cold but I actually liked it a lot!

My host-parents are great.  My mama doesn't work, so she walks me to the bus stop in the morning and asks me when I'll be home and to call if I need anything.  She calls me "bonita" too whenever getting my attention instead of saying my name :) I love it! They're adorable.

Today was rainy again and my mama gave me an umbrella and boots to borrow.  I can't wait until it warms up! It's warmer back home right now than here by at least 20 degrees :(  Hopefully it'll clear up soon so I can make it to the beach and maybe take some surf lessons!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

San Sebastian- Mi familia y la primera día!

We arrived in San Sebastian Sunday and had orientation and the placement tests on Monday, so it's been a busy last couple of days!  My first impression of the city wasn't quite what I expected because of the cold and rainy weather, but today was beautiful and I got a chance to walk around.  I love the city more and more every day!  It's sooo pretty and I like the atmosphere much better than Madrid, with it being a smaller city (and close to the beach :)).  You also don't have to worry so much about getting pick-pocketed by gypsies.  The view is amazing with the boardwalk along the ocean.  I'm getting used to the city and can't wait to go for a run along the beach!

I met my host family Monday after orientation, and I couldn't be placed with a more perfect family for me!  They live in a small, but very cute apartment in Gros, which is a reallyy nice part of town (but also on the opposite side of the University where all my classes are).  I shared a taxi with another girl that lives close to me to get from the school to our homes the first day because they suggested that that would probably be the easiest way to get exactly where we wanted without getting lost--any other day, I would save the money and take a bus!  We tried to make some conversation with the cab driver on the way over and then he dropped us off at the first girls apartment…. soo, I knew my family's apartment was close, but didn't know quite how to get there.  I asked around at the plaza that was nearby, and finally found it!  I knocked on the door, and sure enough, I made it to the right place.. SUCCESS! I was greeted with a kiss on both cheeks and a small dog named Zoe (pronounced Tho-e) at my feet.  The couple has two daughters, one that lives with them and teaches english to young kids, so it's super helpful that she knows english so that she can clarify anything that I'm having trouble with.  Mi host mama y papa remind me so much of my parents back at home. They even look like the spanish version of my mom and dad!!  They are such a sweet family and I've already learned so much spanish speaking to them and living with them every day.  They're very helpful and right away made sure that I feel as much at home as possible.  My 'host-mom' even showed me around the city to make sure that I didn't get lost and knew how to get back to the apartment.

Today was our first day of classes, and I love all of my professors!  My host sister was nice enough to bring me and a few other girls to class in the morning before work, so that was nice to not have to learn how to take the bus the first day!  We were a little early, so we got some coffee in the cafeteria.  All the classes are taught in spanish but it's very easy to understand because they talk much slower.  I'm taking a conversation class, a Spanish art history class, and a Spanish culture class.  I've already made friends with a lot of the students and feel so much at home here!  I'm so glad that I decided to come and take this adventure :)

Tonight, my 'host-sister' and I went to dinner on her "moto" (scooter/motorcycle) with her friend who is an intercambio (a student that lives here that is paired up with one of the USAC students), and a couple other students.  They were teaching us some of the slang phrases that we don't learn about in school.  It was fun teaching them a couple of ours too!  They liked using the term,"I'm down," to say that they wanted to do something haha.

I also took a walk with my host-mom and dad around a park and they introduced me to their nephew, Marco, who is two months old!  He was adorable and it was fun walking around the city with them.  They seem to know just about everyone walking on the streets!  It's fun to talk to them because they only speak spanish but they know that I'm just learning, so they use very easy-to-understand terms.  They also had a phone at the house from the last girl that stayed with them, so they showed me how to buy a phone card and be able to use it here in Spain because I was living off of WiFi (pronounced We-Fe here haha, I thought that was funny the first time I heard it!).  It'll be nice to have a phone that I can use anywhere just in case!

I'll have to post more pictures of the beautiful city of San Sebastian later, but for now-- buenas noches! :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Experiencing Madrid!

The first couple of days in Spain have been soo great!  Breakfast at the hotel today wasn't quite what we're used to as Americans.  We had croissants, with ham and cheese, and café con leche.  I don't know if thats a normal thing in Europe, or if our hotel was feeding us for lunch! But, it was nice considering they don't eat lunch until the 'siesta' around 2 or 3, so it tided me over.  A siesta is when shops and everything close for the trabajadores to take a nap or eat lunch because lunch is their biggest meal of the day, like dinner in America.

We took the bus to Toledo the first day, which is one of the oldest cities in Spain.  It was by far, my favorite place yet!  It was such an old, and charming city, with narrow streets and hanging baskets with flowers everywhere!

We got lunch at a small café, and then toured a beautiful cathedral and synagog.

On the way home, the bus dropped a few of us off that wanted to go to an art museum called Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.  We had a few hours to kill because it wasn't free admission until 7.  So, we went to a nearby park and walked around a little. We also went inside the train station in the center of town looking for a bathroom.  When we finally found one we had to pay .60 euros to use it!  After that, we made our way to the museum where we saw lots of protestors.  Signs said "podemos" which means "we can."  I'll have to research more what thats all about but there seems to be a lot of it all throughout the city.

Today, we took a walking tour through the city, and went to another art museum called Museo de Prado.  I liked this one much better than yesterday because it was a lot more of the paintings I recognized from school like el Greco, Diego Valazquez, and Francisco de Goya.  It was cool to see the actual paintings that you read about and study in class!  The other art museum had lots of abstract art from Picasso, and the famous painting called "Guernica," which I definitely took a picture of before I read the sign saying "fotos son prohibidos!"…oops (shhh).

After the art museum, we walked to the Royal Palace.  This was beautiful!  Today was much warmer than the past few days, so it was a perfect walk.  We toured 25 of the hundreds of rooms in the palace, which were all so ornate with paintings on the ceilings, and gold everywhere, tapestries on the walls, and marble floors.  I couldn't imagine living in something like that!

On the way back, I try to take everything in and listen to the people playing accordians and saxophones in the streets.  I love the atmosphere here!  Tonight is the big World Cup "fútbol" game with two teams from Madrid (which rarely happens), so everyone is wearing their jerseys and getting excited for the game!  It'll be fun to experience and watch tonight!

Tomorrow, we leave for San Sebastian, and I will meet my host family Monday (lunes :)).  I am super excited to meet my family for the next month and see the beach and the town!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Aqui finalmente!--Madrid

I am now in my hotel in Madrid after a long flight and morning of exploring the city!  I slept most of the 7 hr. flight, so it went a lot faster than expected! Yesterday couldn't have gone more smoothly since my last couple fiasco posts.  We woke up early to make the trip to Detroit--the closest emergency passport agency-- and met the security guards right at the opening.  They were super helpful and cool and got the info for my new passport right away. While waiting for the info to be processed and printed, we explored downtown Detroit a little.  We got lunch and soon enough the passport was ready, and we were on our way to the airport cutting it a little close!  Of course there had to be a detour and lots of traffic to make it interesting.

I finally got to the airport and got my boarding pass, and said bye to dad once again.  I could tell he was a little nervous about sending his baby girl off to Spain all by herself.

I made it safely to Philly where I had a 3 hr. layover.  It seemed like there were a ton of young people just like me, studying abroad on the same flight that I got a chance to talk to, so that was comforting.  I even met a couple guys who are in the same program as me that missed their flight yesterday too! We decided to ride the bus to our hotel together and decide what to do from there since we missed the group tour to Segovia today.  We walked around Madrid for a while, and saw Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Cibeles, ate at a small breakfast place, and went to the mercado de San Miguel for some tapas.  We tried to speak Spanish as much as we could, but when they reply back in English and laugh a little, you know that they know you're american haha.

Madrid could definitely be overwhelming at first, but the more I walked around, the more I got used to it.  I was reminded of one of my favorite verses, Joshua 1:8-9. "Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night, so that you will be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged.  For the Lord your God will be with you WHEREVER you go."  Ever since I was little, we would say this verse as a family as we crossed state lines.  It's a good reminder that no matter how far I am from home, He is always there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cambio de planes

After packing and unpacking, and shifting things around in my suitcase to make 5 weeks worth of stuff to fit in one bag, I was finally ready to go!  I woke up this morning excited to begin my journey to Spain, thinking that I would be on a plane to Madrid at this time, and trying to fall asleep in the window seat, while the obnoxious guy next to me snores and the kid behind me kicks my seat--both of which I could've dealt with as long as I was on my way to Spain.  But no… I got to the Dayton airport, got my boarding pass, said goodbye to my dad, and my typical American life.. until the lady at the desk tracked me down before I get to security and told me that I might not be going to Philly (where my connection flight was).

It turns out that in order to go to a foreign country, your passport must be valid for at least three months after your date of return to the US.  Who knew?!  So even though my passport didn't expire until the end of July and I would be coming back to the good 'ole States in June, my passport wouldn't get me anywhere.  So why even have an expiration date??  I don't know. Yeahh, still a little salty about this whole situation.

So, that was my first "learning experience," before my trip even began.  In the meantime, I'm freaking out about not getting to go to Spain at all, and wasting thousands of dollars.  Thankfully, the guy at the desk was extremely helpful and directed us to the passport agency number.  We called the number and long story short, changed my flight to tomorrow at the same time and will be hopefully getting an updated passport in the morning (fingers crossed!).

 I am definitely going to have to send that man a thank you note for dealing with me, and making sure that I didn't fly all the way to Spain, when they would've sent me right back on a plane to the US right when I got there.  It's people like him that you know God must have placed there just at the right moment to be an answer to prayer.

I guess tomorrow's the day then!  Theoreticallyyy, it should all work out perfectly and I will get to Madrid right on time for our group tour with USAC thursday morning.  This whole thing just was meant to add a little excitement right?? Cause it would be wayy too easy and boring if it went exactly as planned.. ;)

I want to remember every part of this trip--good and not so good-- to Spain so I'll be keeping everyone back in the States updated as often as I can on all my crazy adventures to come through this blog in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Grandes Sueños: From the Beginning

In just 8 short days, I will be going to San Sebastian, Spain to study abroad!  So, before I get too much into how extremely excited and terrified I am to travel alone (minus the fact that my friend, Molly will be studying in another city about 4 hours from me), across the ocean to a foreign country to stay with a family that I know nothing about and study in an unfamiliar city for 5 weeks, I'll tell you a little bit about my intriguing life in the small town of Ada, Ohio.  

I am 19 and have lived in Ada for my whole life.  I love everything about this small town from the friday night high school football games, the small town festivals, and how everybody knows everybody.  I am so blessed to have grown up here with the best family and friends I could ask for.  I graduated high school last year, not knowing quite what God had in store for me.  I always knew I wanted to do something medical when I went to school so naturally, I followed by brother and sister's footsteps and applied for Pharmacy school at Ohio Northern University (that makes, soon-to-be, 5 Pharmacists in the family.. needless to say, my parents will be set in about 40 years when they don't know one medication from the next!).  This was the last place I would've wanted to go 2 years ago.  I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and go somewhere where I could do big things and meet new people, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to school at one of the best Pharmacy programs around.  I learned that God's timing is perfect and that my own plans can be selfish.  

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." -Proverbs 19:21

I came to ONU to run track, and study Pharmacy, and never imagined how much of an impact my first year of college could have on my entire life, even though I never left the "Ada bubble."  I met soo many great people, even though my social life was lacking with all the studying I was doing.  BUT, that's besides the point because guess what??? It's SUMMER! I don't know whyyyy… but I've always loved the idea of summer, and sun, and all things hottt.. (to all you 'Frozen' fans out there.. sorry, couldn't help it, I'm obsessed.) -Olaf, the snowman.

So, I guess that brings me to why on earth I am going to Spain in a week.  After months of talking with the study abroad office and my spanish advisor, waiting for placement test results and approval for a late application to USAC, and countless prayers, my fantasy for traveling the world and studying abroad in Spain will finally become a reality.  Somehow all the pieces fell perfectly into place after I didn't think it would be possible to get into the classes that I need for my Spanish minor after I passed the deadline to apply for the program.  It's no wonder I made it though finals week without going crazy and thinking about my trip to Spain in the next couple of weeks!! 

That pretty much sums up the past few months of my life- So until next time, Hasta luego!