Monthly Archives: October 2014

Una reflexión personal (a personal reflection)

             I wasn’t sure what to write this time as I feel like I have talked a lot about differences between my Spanish life and my American life already but I realize as I sit here post-siesta at the dining room table with my afternoon cup of tea that I have made a lot of new discoveries about myself. As I mentioned before, coming here was a big step for me in terms of my anxiety and I expected to feel homesick, to be flabbergasted by the breathtaking landscapes of Spain, and happily adjust to the siesta schedule, what I didn’t expect was to find out more about myself.

            Studying abroad puts you out of your element. It forces you to rethink the everyday choices and activities you normally do automatically. Going into my freshman year of college I had a very stubborn and closed outlook on many things. I judged people before I knew them, was hesitant to take any classes outside of my usual subjects, and questioned the weekend culture at Whitman. I never thought these opinions were malleable until I started looking back at who I had become later on. I think these changes make me a better and happier person honestly and just like the transformation that I had at Whitman, I am experiencing a similar metamorphosis here.

I find myself more open to things here and more positive towards new experiences and new people. I am doing things I never thought I would have the confidence or ability to do, like going topless on a beach in Barcelona or wandering the streets of Granada without a map just to explore. These may seem like little things but for me they are big accomplishments. Studying abroad has given me a vast perspective on my life. Before I was very focused on myself, on how things were happening to me and criticizing the negative aspects of my life. I was egocentric which, I have found is actually pretty normal as an American and we don’t realize it until we remove ourselves from that culture and take a step back. In Spain, I take on the tough stuff with a global and thoughtful eye rather than a personal and pessimistic one. For example, a few weeks ago I celebrated my 21st birthday and while I had a blast with my new friends here I was really missing my friends and family back home. I told my friend as we were eating rose-shaped ice cream on a bench in Barcelona, how much I was missing my friends at home and how I was concerned about growing apart from them while I was here. She said with a big smile, “but that is how you know you have great friends. If they are making the extra effort to keep in touch with you it’ll only make you closer.” I never thought about it that way before she said this and ever since I have felt incredibly lucky when I hear from a friend even if it is only once every couple of weeks.

I am so incredibly grateful to get the chance to not only explore Spain and its culture but also to learn more about myself. I think this experience has really changed me in the best possible ways.



2014-10-11 16.32.48(Beach in Barcelona with friends)

2014-10-16 19.29.45(Me and my host brother Mario taking selfies, at his request)

2014-10-10 12.45.23-1(Parc Guell with these beauties)

2014-10-20 17.25.07(And a pic of Granada because I am always in awe of its beauty)

Soy de Los Estados Unidos (I am from the United States)

I am finally starting to feel settled here. I think this is mostly due to the fact that I now have a routine that I enjoy and am comfortable with. It’s a little different from my usual routine at Whitman. I go to class (at the IES school which, is a beautiful old building with marble floors and a view overlooking the city), maybe get a cup of coffee (Spanish coffee is 1,000X better than American), come home for lunch (my host mom is a fantastic cook and has achieved the impossible task of making me love vegetables), take a siesta, do some homework, meet my friends for drinks and tapas, chat with my host mom and my roommate, and then go to bed. I feel as though I have achieved a beautiful harmony between what is familiar to me and the Spanish lifestyle. I finally feel grounded here and think I am past the initial shock of everything being different and new.



(Tapas with friends)


(Typical lunch with my host family. That red stuff on the bread is pickled pepper jam, it is amazing.)


(Mondo tapas, so delicious!)


I have felt a change in me. I think partially in Spanish, I crave plain bread with every meal, I can give directions to tourists, I know all the best tapas bars, I dress nicer, I say no pasa nada all the time (which has never been part of my life philosophy), I don’t get lost anymore (usually), and I can navigate everyday life in Granada without feeling ashamed of my Spanish or completely clueless all the time. I think of myself as a textbook study abroad student going through all the normal changes and recalibration stages. Loving my new life but still missing pieces of home and getting excited when I run into other Americans in the city. I have a sense of pride in being from the U.S. here that I was not expecting to be so strong. We actually talked about this today in my Cross-cultural psychology class. Within the United States we all associate ourselves with our regions, states, cities. The Northwest is completely different from the South and California is nothing like New York but when we venture out of our corners of the U.S. and solely refer to ourselves as from Los Estados Unidos it doesn’t matter so much what state you are from. You share in the comradery of being from the same culture even if there are deeper more tightknit cultures within the overarching one of the US.

(The view of Granada and the Alhambra on a beautiful hike 🙂2014-09-18 13.53.10  2014-09-18 14.56.06


sevillariver(Sevilla river, belated photo)