Here we are. There we’ve been. And maybe someday we’ll go back again. But right now, WE happens to be stuck in the Dulles airport in DC, waiting for her delayed flight to Boston. In all seriousness, Universe, if you’re gonna take me away from my home of four months, at least be punctual about getting me back to Boston. But thankfully there is WiFi for this 5 hour layover :) I should have taken a bus.
(And a child just started crying. But there IS Subway!)
So I don’t believe I will continue this blog, readership, because quite honestly I have nothing interesting that I care to share via internet, anymore. My final blog. Everything has been so final these past couple of weeks. Final exams, final projects, final goodbyes to people and places that I have fallen in love with. And one final flight to conclude my 24 hours of travelling time :)
I know it’s been said time and again, and everybody is well aware, but there’s really no other way for me to express this “bittersweet” feeling, other than just that. It’s a shame I’m not more original.
Studying, growing, learning in Granada has been one of the best experiences of my young life, and it’s hard for me to grasp the idea that tomorrow morning, I won’t wake up to my Kentuckian roommate’s pretty face, a text from a Spaniard asking me to breakfast, or the anticipation of a sunny afternoon spent sleeping at the parque.
I explained to my closest Spanish friend that tomorrow will feel like I woke up from a very long nap, and my travels were just a dream that I won’t even be sure actually happened. As I boarded the 2am bus, airport bound, his response, which I will translate to English, was something along the lines of, “I hope when you wake up tomorrow, you will remember that you were not dreaming, and that you had a house in Granada, and [people here] who are crazy about you.” (True fact, I’m tearing up. In this crowded airport. Embarrassing.) He always says such beautiful things like that. And in Spanish, no less :P
Many of the friends that I made in Granada are from the New England area, so it will be easy to see them, but it is sad to think that I could never again see my friends from across the country, across the ocean, and across the world. Never again see my host parents who helped me learn about their culture, and developed my speech. Never again walk the narrow, crowded streets of Granada, and hear the worst accent of Spanish imaginable :) And I have to say it, that I probably will never again kiss the lips of the boy who says such beautiful things.
But as much as I will miss all of this, I have never been more excited to be home. To see my parents after four months, my siblings and my two year old nephew, who probably now speaks better English than I do :) To see my friends from home and from college, and even familiar faces in the supermarket. And to smell fresh, small town Massachusetts air.
So you can describe it however you like. But this situation epitomizes bittersweet. I can’t put words to how much I am going to miss Granada, and the life I have created there. But as long as these predictions of the end of the world continue to prove false, Europe isn’t going anywhere. One day soon I hope to return. Whether that is soon in the American mindset, or in the Spanish mindset, I’m not sure. It’s hard to draw the line, now.
Before we left, my host father gave our little family a speech about la vida profunda, and how lucky we were to have the experience of living in another country, learning another language and a different culture. This all could have gone unsaid; we understand. I realize how privileged I am, and I try to take none of it for granted. A friend today asked me to sum up the past four months in one sentence, and again, in all of my creative originality, I spat out, “It was the experience of a lifetime.” He was disappointed with this, but I am quite content with the description. Words can not do it justice, so why bother? If you want me to tell you about it, I’ll let you know now, you’re better off exploring for yourself. YOU are the story :)
Hasta siempre, chicos. Muchas gracias :)
Cadiz & El Torcal
I wish I was at my computer to put pics up of this one, but I´ll do that later. Maybe.
So this is one of the many fun things Granada has to offer both visitors and residents. And I should write tourist pamphlets with that one, huh? Anyway. You hear a lot about this park, so if you ever have a good chunk of time in Granada, take some of it here :)
I think growing up near Boston, with places like the aquarium (I visited the aquarium in Lisbon. Forgot that part of my blog. Yes it was great. I LOVE aquariums. But Boston´s is better) and the children´s museum and such, things like this don´t wow me as much as others, because I´m used to fantastically stimulating places like the Boston science museum. However it was a blast, and I saw some really intriguing things.
My favorite was the MC Escher room. He´s a famous artist here in Spain, and a brilliant mathematician, apparently. His work involves a lot of pattern repetition, and use of optical illusion. Very interesting.
Close second was the room of animals. That is not at all what it is called, but I forget and that´s the best way to describe it. It´s a room filled with lifesized stuffed animals in “motion.” There are figures of lions and tigers attacking zebras and gazelles and such, and elephants, deer and moose, and a surprisingly frightening rhino. But I always thought brown bears were larger than what was displayed. That must be grizzly bear. Damnit Hollywood.
And there was a tropical area, very humid, with butterflies flying around you. It was beautiful. I was trying to 20 minutes to take a picture of these two large blue ones, but they just wouldn´t land on anything.
Unfortunately the observatorium was closed, so I couldn´t look at any stars. But overall it was worthwhile. And now I have 10 minutes before my final, so I guess I can go :) See you in less than one week!
Hasta luego :)
I´m pretty sure that´s how Barcelona is in Catalan. Bút I´m stíll át thís Spánísh çómpútér, só I wánt tó máké fúll úsé óf ít.
Ok I´m done. Sorry. That probably took me longer to do than this blog will.
My final trip! Barcelona. What a city. About a month ago, I had a panick attack when I realized that I had been in Spain for 3 months, and was going home sooo so soon, and had NOT visited Barcelona! How do you come back to the states and tell people you didn´t see one of the most famous cities in the country you were living in for 15 weeks? You don´t.
Well conveniently, the flight was 15 euro, which translates to about 21USD. Not too bad. Good luck finding that price from Boston to Philadelphia.
I wish we had more time there, though. Of course. Like everywhere else that I have visited. Yes, it´s nice to be able to say, “Oh just heading up to Barcelona for the weekend,” but when you only have 2 days in a city, and not even full ones, you miss out on a lot, and try to cram too much in. And Barcelona has a lot to cram in.
So we missed out on the Picasso museum, because it was closed the day we could go. That was probably what I was most disappointed about missing. But it´s not going anywhere, yet. One day.
But we saw the Barcelona of Gaudí! His work blows my mind sometimes. You have to look it up. We saw the houses he designed, and the Sagrada Familia (cathedral that looks like it is melting) and his famous Park Guell, which intertwines architecture with nature. It´s really amazing. Parts of it remind me of Willy Wonka´s chocolate factory, it´s so surreal and magical. I sound like a bad BBC production right now. Please don´t read with a British accent.
OH! And the first night it was pouring, because it likes to do that when I go to visit other cities. But we went to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, which is quite large, and it played music! Disney music! It was actually pretty cool in the rain. When Circle of Life came on, and the colors and motions of the fountain played along with the beat of the song, my friends and I could not stop smiling. Too funny.
AND it was my last flight with RyanAir. So that is a celebration in itself. Stupid airline, trying to sell me perfume onflight. Jesus.
Hasta luego :)
See that tilde up there? Yea, I can do that. háháháhá. You know WHY I can do that? Because I´m at the building I take classes in, so the keyboard is a Spanish one. And I now have an hour to spend before my final. Because I woke up way too early, thinking my final was at 10am, instead of 1130. I woke up early. ME. And it´s probably the easiest final I´m going to take in my life, so it´s not like I have anything to study either. Ridiculous. But now you get more blogs :)
But sadly, I cannot put my pictures up, here. Most of them are on facebook though. Have at it.
Cááááádiz :) was definitely one of my favorite trips. My program took us, so most of API was there, and our hotel was RIGHT on the beach. Which made for quite enjoyable evening festivities, because we´re in Europe, so it´s perfectly acceptable to stay out until 3am with red wine and friends. But we won´t disclose the good stuff.
So you can imagine what we did all day then. Yes. Play time on the beach :) Frisbee, sunshine and warm water is where I´d like to be right now. And the boys! Why did I not study in Cádiz. I have seen maybe 4 attractive men in Granada. Of which 3 I´m sure are American or German or something. But in Cádiz! It was like trying to find hay in a hay stack. You can´t avoid it. But I guess that´s to be expected in a beach town.
We went on a little city walking tour too. That was nothing special, but the cathedral in the city is beautiful. I guess when it was built, they got halfway through and realized they did not have the budget for what they wanted to do. So half the building is a different color, made of a cheaper material than the bottom. The problem with that, we were told, is that the top half cannot sustain consistent humidity. That´s quite an issue in southern Spain… So there´s a net high up in the cathedral to catch falling pieces. Well that´s nice :)
Pero, voy a escribir el otro blog, así que puedo terminar esto.
Hasta Luego :)
Well. Sorry readership (of one), but I have been too busy with other things to tell you about my past 3 trips. Yes. 3 trips I have no written about. Don’t judge me. As my weeks have dwindled into days, I have realized that the LAST thing I want to be doing is sitting on my computer regurgitating my travels (next to studying, of course). So it’s difficult to set aside time to blog. And what do you think this time has been set aside for? Studying. Very good.
But really! I want to be out walking the streets of the best city I probably won’t ever see again! Or wasting money on delicious gelato and speaking more Spanish! But anyway. I didn’t give myself enough study time, so let’s bang these out real quick and maybe I’ll look at my art history notes for two minutes.
So about four weeks ago (ouch) I was in Lisbon, Portugal, but it felt more like I was in one very large public shower. It rained all weekend, but much like weather anywhere else, we had some sunny spells. For 30 minutes. And even with this crap weather I still loved the city.
We visited the Castelo de Sao Jorge (there´s a squiggly thing over that A but I dunno how to do that) during a thunderstorm, which was awesome. We were also located near the coast with a great view of Lisbon´s famous bridge, resembling the Golden Gate haha. I wonder which was built first. Wait one minute. Ok. Google tells me that the Golden Gate was built first. Thought so.
My memory is failing me, I´m sorry. I remember the flea market. They were selling everything from pretty rings to African tribal statues to phones from 3000BC. My hostel was pretty sweet though! Quite small and cozy, and I made friends with the owner, who speaks like 7 languages. I´m quite jealous of these Europeans, like it´s nothing to know more than 2 languages.
Hmmm… I know I´m going to omit something. I can´t express in words the reasons why I loved Lisbon. I guess it was just the atmosphere. And the fact that everyone was so nice (of course, because I wasn´t in Granada). Just kidding. People are nice in Granada too. If they know you.
Oh. And we heard the news there of Bin Laden. I was congratulated. Really? Uh, thanks?
Well anyway. I´ve got pictures you can look at. I guess that might tell my story better than these words can.
Ps. Never tell a Portuguese person that their language is similar to Spanish
So I guess I should bang this out before I go to Portugal tomorrow…
But then again, how can you bang out a blog about an 11 day trip around northern Italy! You can’t. Because the Italian lifestyle is focused around pleasure, is it not?
And yes, I’ve been reading Eat Pray Love. Which is a much better book than I anticipated. But that’s not what this blog is about.
So I went to Italy with 3 friends of mine, for 11 days. No, it was not too long. We traveled to Milan, Turin, Genoa, Pisa, Florence, Venice, Verona, and back to Milan for one long night on the airport tile floor. You will not get all of the details, because I have better things to do than spend a significant amount of time writing about past events. Maybe a bullet list is in order? Why yes, yes it is.
-Before we landed, the pilot told us that there was some sort of drill going on at the airport, and that it was shut down. So we just fly around in circles over the airport for 35 minutes, waiting for the staff. That was cool.
-Met a new friend from South Korea on the flight :) His name is Sung Joo. He might come visit me in Boston on his way to New York.
-NOW the city! Too big. No map. Bad idea.
-Pretty castle and park!
-McDonalds in the same plaza as Gucci and Prada…
-Stayed with Couchsurfer, Pier! We couldn’t tell if he was gay or just very Italian. Great guy :)
-AWESOME city. Not that many tourists (yes I realize I’m a tourist) but I could actually move around.
-Stayed with Francesco, another couchsurfer, and he introduced us to aperitivos. Which, I hate to say, is better than tapas. It’s 5 euro for a glass of wine, and UNLIMITED food. Good thing I didn’t study abroad in Italy. Gelato and aperitivos would add 20lbs to me.
-Went to an Egyptian Museum. That was cool. Saw the cloth Christ was supposedly buried in. It has his face silhouetted in it. Not sure how that happened.
-Should have stayed longer.
-Favorite city we visited. Right on the coast, so we got the ocean as well as the city experience. Stayed with a friend of one of my friends from the trip, Martina, and she was fantastic.
-Saw the house of Colombus! And some cool looking black and white church. It might have been better if I knew what fantastic things I was looking at. I guess I’m a poor tourist.
-So we did this in 3 hours. There’s the tower. Which is cool! But don’t spend more time than you need to…
-Stayed with Cindy! A friend from our program. Spent the most amount of time here.
-Got a great view of the city at sunset from the Piazza Michaelangelo. That was my favorite. There was also the Duomo, which is a HUGE and beautiful church, and the Ponte Vecchio, which is the oldest bridge in Florence, with shops over the river.
-LOTS of fruit markets, fish markets, pastry markets! So maybe I would have put on 25lbs…
-I do regret, however, not going to the Uffizi museum. Apparently it is THE art museum in Italy (according to the locals, of course). They highly recommend making a reservation to get in. But it would have been nice to personally experience some Caravaggio.
-Saw the palace garden :) It was a little pricey I felt, but nonetheless was a good way to spend the day.
-Second favorite place, but two days is JUST enough time. And it wasn’t as romantic as I had thought, with Gondola rides starting at 80 euro… eh. Not ready to throw down 100 USD to canoe around for a half hour.
-BUT it was pretty, in an old, beaten down way. Which is why living there would not be an option. Yes, it’s pretty to visit, but eventually I think it would get under your skin, and bring you down with it.
-Most of my pictures are from here. I guess that says something about it. What though, I’m not sure. As much as I love pictures of typical “beautiful” things, I do have a tendency to photography barred windows, broken doors, and chipped paint.
-Tried my first canoli here :) And they had Nutella gelato. Be jealous.
-Where we lay our scene. Again, better than I imagined. I thought all we were going to do was see the statue of Juliet, and her “house.” (By the way, I guess it’s the thing to do to take a picture while touching Juliet’s breasts. It’s quite obnoxious how often I saw it in a span of 20 minutes).
-I teared at her statue. After a woman took a picture with Juliet (while touching her breasts), her boyfriend knelt down and proposed to her underneath the balcony. She said yes. Gets me every time.
-There was some sort of important garden we went into. It had a panoramic view of Verona, and we ate lunch after hiking up to the top. I could probably Google the name and pretend I knew where we were, but I’m currently laying down, and moving my fingers to the mouse pad in order to click for a new tab is far too much work.
-OH! I forgot. We were in Italy for the celebration of 150 years of unification. So there were Italian flags EVERYWHERE. And then we saw some American ones. They were celebrating the ending of WWII. I felt kind of touched seeing a man handing out American and Italian flags to little, excited children. Don’t quite know why. I guess that’s up to you.
So obviously more things occurred on this trip. I apologize for this lackadaisical crap that I’m writing, but my dad wanted SOMETHING. And I can’t get too far behind if I plan to write about all my trips and more!
But overall, we had a great time, lots of laughs, LOTS of gelato, and a whole lot of pictures. Now I can snap back into school mode (yeah right) for the three projects I have due in two weeks.
I’m not proof reading this.
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