It’s official—I’ve been bitten by the travel bug and I don’t care who knows it.
Within the past month, I’ve visited three different cities in Spain and taken a weekend trip to Morocco, Africa. I feel like I’m dreaming.
I’m one of those people who is prone to lying in bed unable to “turn their brain off,” but when I first arrived in Spain I slept all the time, maybe too much. But I’ve fallen in love; with this country, with traveling, with the excitement—with my life. Maybe it’s the kid in me, but a wise man once said, “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” So thank you, Dr. Seuss, for perfectly explaining why I need to invest in some sleeping pills.
For me, that is one of the best parts I’ve found about study abroad. Learning about other cultures is pertinent, understanding them is wonderful, but loving them is voluntary. Before I left for abroad I didn’t know what to expect. What I’ve found, is that Madrid is much more westernized than I had expected (yes, asking a question in Spanish and getting a response in English is slightly depressing), Seville and southern Spain can be thanked for the Spanish “siesta” way of life, and that many Moroccans—though living in poor conditions—know more languages than the average American. After experiencing the Super Bowl without access to the commercials or English commentary, as well as watching THON through a live feed, I have missed being in the U.S. However, I can’t deny the thrill of visiting the soccer stadium of Real Madrid, viewing the original works of Salvador Dali, and eating Cous Cous galore in Africa. For the record, I’ve decided the name is repeated because it’s just that good.
this point, the only thing I’m not impressed with is the lack of Spanish I’ve learned thus far. Everyone learns at different speeds, but traveling has actually made this more difficult considering I’m constantly with other Americans. However, my new found optimism has lifted my spirits from ‘severely frustrated’ to ‘si se puede, si se puede!,’ a phrase relatively known as a “yes you can,” little-train-that-could-style.
My colloquial language class can also be quite funny, and though I have a bit more homework than I had imagined, I am thankful for it. I’m pretty positive that the only reason my father wanted me to study abroad is so that I can come home and be able to speak to his best friend in Spanish, and all I can say is that I cannot wait to do just that (good thing my father won’t be able to understand that I’m making fun of him).
Next step, planning for spring break—you know, just the normal three-week length of time every student gets off from school. Hasta luego!
Rachel also has a study abroad blog: http://rachellytle.blogspot.com/