Now Dad, don´t panic. I do actually do my homework. I am not failing my classes. I am doing this right, but we can´t all be perfect. So here are my study pitfalls for my first semester in Spain.
These are, as always, in no particular order.
Reading the first 5 books in Game of Thrones. If you have not read them, DO! They are amazing. Tough I warn you not to get too attached to any one character, they will probably get brutally murdered at some point in time. If you have them because they are annoying when the narrate, look for them to survive. Tough seriously. These books are amazing
Facebook. Yup. The world goes round and Facebook still eats your life.
Skype. Missing people from home? Wanting to brag about how amazing your life is? Want to hear the same inane stories friends tell each other over and over again? Skype is your friend. Just remember, talking about your paper to someone 5,000 miles away does not make it disappear.
Walking the dogs. And no this does not involve a yoyo, but it does involve a stroll through old town Palma and the ocean. What is so much better than manth, waves dramatically crashing into rocks next to a gothic cathedral.
Blogs. I love getting to share, but sometimes … well you know how it goes.
Travel web sites: *sing this with me* Where in the world is… If you did not finish that, you are probably not of my generation. Anyway… dreaming about traveling to cool new place, esp. places I might actually go > math problems.
Picture editing. With over 4,000 pictures taken, there is often sorting to be done
Excursioning. (is that a word?) Hike a mountain, see a castle, walk a beach, you name it. It is probably available. It is probably more fun than homework. It has at some point distracted me.
Cleaning. I don´t know about anyone else, but when I have something I am avoiding I tend to do the things I need to do but have been avoiding. Say hello to cleaning.
The ever tempting friends. With more opportunities and more people to do it with, life can get tempting.
It is the great day of turkey and thanks in the US right now and my feeling of nostalgia and homesickness are at a new high for me. This will be the first holiday that I will miss with my family, ever. To be honest I have been missing all of the things and people I left at home and wish I could visit, at least for Thanksgiving. In all of these moments of self pity about being half way around the world I thought it was an opportune moment to reflect on the top 10 things I am grateful for here in Spain.
First and foremost I am grateful for the parents who support me financially and emotionally, the friends who don’t make me feel like I am missing out too much, and a boyfriend who is patient and kind.
My family here in Palma, they make me feel loved and are ever patient with me. Plus, my madre is a great cook, which makes my stomach SUPER happy.
That I get the chance to study in one of the most beautiful places on earth. A place which is so unlike where I am from and in which I find new things to delight me every day.
The two little rat dogs that have stolen my heart and are warming my lap as I write this. They are so ugly they are cute and they are as sweet as can be.
My bus pass. It is nearly impossible for Americans to get one, but CIEE worked tirelessly to get through the red tape of Spain. Now I pay 1/4 of the cost each month to get to and from school, I get to use the fast lane, AND my card beeps when I use it.
Skype. this one might be cheating a little, but I am REALLY grateful for it. It lets me see and talk to family 5,000 miles away and last time I checked that was pretty amazing.
Snail mail. I have always loved getting letters and packages, but hear they have taken on such a greater importance. Each time one comes it is like someone is sending me a little bit of themselves. I read letters over and over. I even open packages in a new way, more slowly and with more appreciation because they are so hard to send to Spain.
Fire places. My family may not turn their heat on when it gets cold, but there is almost always a fire in the fire place at night. Plus we grill in the fireplace at least once a week. I never expected a luxury like a fireplace and it always make me feel all warm inside.
I cannot forget all of my friends here in Spain. They make my life crazy and keep me a little more sane and centered.
That I get cook not only my first Thanksgiving meal, but that I am going to get to share it with all of my friends here in Palma, for many of whom this will be their first Thanksgiving.
Dinner with the gang: pan roasted chicken, roasted sweet corn, broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, fresh bread, fried onions and garlic, local Swedish beer. Yeah we are pretty awesome.
People looked like ME! I was starting to feel comfortable with the fact that everything about Europe was different from me, including how people look. My first day in Sweden I was tempted to point at people and tell my friends “LOOK there’a another one,” every time someone walked past.
Northern Minnesota and the Swedish country side could be twins.
When we got to the airport we had to walk for like 3 min on the tarmac at night. Don’t believe Ryanair when they tell you the airport is in Stockholm.
People kept expecting me to speak Swedish. I don’t, but I realized what it must be like for the people in our group with mediterranean blood who always get mistaken for spaniards.
Halloween partying in Uppsala. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was surprised and had a FABULOUS time dancing the night away in a college town.
4:30 PM. That is when it got dark in Sweden. It was the closest I have ever been to the arctic circle and you could tell by the way the light changed.
Diego. My uncle Dave’s friend who I had lunch with in Stockholm. He is a Spanish expat and we had an amazing meal and shocked all the swedes by talking loudly in Spanish.
The food. There is not a lot in my diet back home that closely resembles Mallorcan food, the opposite was true in Sweden. Oh and the food was delicious too.
“Family” Dinner. All of my friends and I made a giant dinner together one night. One of my friends even fried onions in butter for the first time in her life.
Sweden. I never expected to see Sweden while I was here. It was beautiful, welcoming, and I LOVED it.
I set out to have my application finished on the 10th of February. I hope that you all have realized by this point in my post that this did not happen. While there are a variety of reasons why this might be true I am going to attribute it to three distinct causes
I still have yet to finish my personal statement. I am happy to report though that the spanish writing center has torn it asunder four times, but tells me it gets better each time I go in.
I do not yet have my letter of recommendation from my professor.
I must have the above information in to have The University of Iowa study abroad office approve my application.
I am reframing my goal (as it cannot be a failure or I would not be going to Spain) into this: I hope to have my application completed and into the Study abroad office at UIowa, ready for approval by this Thursday, February 16, 2011.