Thursday, May 31, 2012

Family Visit

My family made it to Spain!! Well, half of them anyway. My mom, dad and Anne arrived in Granada on Saturday evening. We spent the first few days in Granada. I showed them everything (almost) that i've been doing the last 9 months. Basically everything but going to school. ONLY JOKING!! Whether you believe it or not I actually went to class and finished the year well. And had a lot of fun in between. It was really neat to be able to have my parents sort of see what my life was like. They got to meet my host family and see where I went to class. They were pretty impressed with what I had been up to. It is my dad and Anne's first time in Europe and everybody's first time in Spain. It is so fun to see the looks on their faces at some of the stuff we do. It has been unbelievable because I can communicate with everyone and I know my way around southern Spain pretty well at this point. A lot of times they have no idea what is going on and I get to take charge and tell them how it's done.

Anne and I at the Alhambra

After some very sad and tearful goodbyes to my best friends in Granada, my host mom and my program director we headed down in our rented car to Nerja a beach town i went to in September. Absolutely gorgeous. We ate breakfast and spent a few hours walking around on the beach of the Mediterranean. Then we hopped back in the car and headed to Ronda, a mountain town I visited 3 months ago. A great hit. Here is the only family photo we have so far..

Ronda was great but we weren't finished. Got back in the car and drove to Sevilla. Spent all day yesterday galavanting around Sevilla. My parents have been very impressed with Southern Spain and I have fallen a little more in love with it. 
Today we are in Cordoba and tomorrow we head to the last stop on our list, Madrid. 

I can't believe I left Granada. It definitely feels like it was time to go but after leaving I realized just how much I actually loved it there and this feeling has only gotten stronger in the last 72 hours. 
But thankfully I have an equally awesome place waiting for me to come home, Asheville NC. 
4 more days with the family! Couldn't be more thankful that they were able to make the trip to see me. It definitely means a lot.

See you in 4 days America!!! Get ready.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

¿Que hora es?

In 2 days I get to hug my parents and my sister, Anne. IN SPAIN! I couldn't be more excited. I finished classes on Tuesday and I have been attending going away festivities the last 3 days non stop. Definitely doing all that I can to take advantage of my time left here. Stuffing my face with tapas and not sleeping at all.

I can't even begin to explain the mix of emotions that I have. On one hand I could not be more excited to see my family and then go back to the US and start my new chapter in life but on the other hand I have spent so much time here and had experiences that I could have never imagined for myself. My life is so simple and easy here. 3 words to describe my time would be class (sometimes...only kidding Mom and Dad), tapas and traveling. What a life! I have learned so much about myself and the world around me. But that being said I ready for the challenge of coming home. Because it will be a challenge, but an exciting one!


On another note, the video below will probably only be funny to some people but as a person studying Spanish and remembering when I first started to study it is hilarious. It is a 3 minute clip of a fake Soap Opera in which the actors only know basic phrases, numbers and the days of the week in Spanish. Spanish people apparently do not find this video funny. But all I can think about is when I started Spanish in 8th grade and this is literally what we learned. What a long ways I have come since then. So enjoy, even if you have no idea what is going on.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Next Step

I have been doing a lot of thinking about coming home and what that experience will be like. I have absolutely no idea what it will feel like but I have had all sorts of repetitive nightmares about it. Inception type nightmares. Those are the worst. The truth is I am actually super excited about coming home. It's time.

Lately the image I can't get out of my head is me stepping off the plane in Asheville, NC on June 5th and just standing in the middle of the airport, laughing out loud. Laughing at the unbelievable moments (almost all of them) of the previous 9 months. The fact that at 22 years young I have seen and done more things in 9 months than most people have the opportunity to see their whole lives.
Laughing because it happened, and is over, and that I not only survived, but thrived. Laughing that it wasn't a dream, that I really did go live in southern Spain for 9 months consuming massive amounts of tapas and speaking spanish.
I don't think I will ever fully process the craziness of these past 9 months. My list of things I have 'taken away' from this experience is endless. But above all, I am excited for the next step in life wherever that will take me. I have one semester of school left when I get back home and after that I have no idea what's next but somehow, I am perfectly ok with that..


Blue Ridge Mountains. home.

Don't worry Texas. I didn't forget about you. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

One Month More.

"Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of conflict. Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."

              -Henri Nouwen Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cabo de Gata

Two weeks ago I was laying on the beach nearest to Granada with some friends talking about what we were going to do for the upcoming 5 day weekend we had last week.  They were all going on a beach trip to this place called Cabo de Gata near Almería, Spain about 2 hours away from Granada in the south of Spain. I seriously had wanted to go but was unsure financially how I would manage it. But then one of their drivers had to be back to Granada early so they were going to need someone else who knew how to drive stick shift to drive the 2 cars they were going to rent back to Granada. And then I realized that I don't have that much time left and that all my friends were going on this trip and I should just suck it up and do it. So i happily agreed to drive. What a trip it ended up being. 13 of us total, 2 cars, giant beach house for 5 days. I try and just give you the highlights.

On Thursday three of us met after class to go rent the cars. I had rented a car last semester and the process was super easy so I didn't even think about all of the things that could go wrong, but boy did things get crazy. We had to take the 40 min bus to the airport to pick up the cars. Since I had been a late addition to the group and my friend Sam had booked the cars I never bothered to read any information on the cars what so ever. Also, the other driver was not 21 which was apparently a rule. So we showed up to the airport and began to try and collect the cars we had already paid for. Well, I don't have a credit card and they did not except debit or cash. Then they busted the other girl for not being 21 and then my friend Sam was going to just pretend she was a driver but she forgot her passport which was needed to rent the cars. So we ended up taking the 40 min bus back into granada. Sam ran home for the passport and my friend Brette and I stayed on the bus. Well little did we know there were no more buses back to the airport. but the now off duty bus driver said he would drive us back to the airport b/c he had to take the bus there anyways. super cool guy. He even ended up driving back through the city to pick up Sam and our friend Katie who was going to now help us rent the cars.

Another 40 min bus ride later we showed back up and finally got the car situation taken care of, 6 hours later...

Woke up early and hit the road but not after receiving a 200 euro fine on one of the cars for parking in a loading zone (not mine). That was special. Finally got everyone together and got on the road. Almería is in the only desert in Europe and happens to be close to where a lot "Spaghetti Westerns"were filmed. They buildings used film are still there and when you drive along the highway you seriously think a group of native americans on horseback is going to come charging over the hills shooting arrows at you. It's super cool. We didn't visit the old west towns b/c they now charge to see them and we were all thrilled at the fact that we were just in the same area as them.

Finally made it to the beach house. It slept 10 but we had 13 so there was a lot bed sharing that happened. Weather ended up being fairly terrible for beach going but we all agreed that if the weather had been too good we would have never gone exploring. The second day we were there I ended up having to drive a girl to the emergency room to get stitches in her foot after she stepped on a piece of broken glass in our house. That was crazy. I had to go ask a neighbor where the hospital was. Super hilarious because as soon as we left the hospital we drove 30 min to another beach and were exploring. Super bizarre. We spent 5 days driving around without maps (best feeling in the world), climbing rocks, laying on beaches, eating junk, laughing until all hours of the night and enjoying our freedom. We all agreed that it was one of the best trips ever. No body wanted to leave and we have since then all hung out everyday since returning to Granada.

 Here are a few pictures from the weekend. A few of them my friend Katelin took because I was really good at forgetting my camera.

yep. that's real

our house!

Day 1 of exploring


water was so clear!

storms a brewin'

drive dancing

scaring one lane mountain road

San Jose, a gorgeous beach

North Carolina buddies! (Katelin)

San Jose

San Jose

Day 4 beach. 

love these girls (Katelin & Sam)

our beach by our house.

We came back to Granada on Tuesday and only had to go to class Wednesday and half of Thursday before it was the weekend again. Sigh...what a rough life. Thankful for every minute of it! One month from today I will be getting on a plane America bound. There's a crazy thought.

Viva España!