Top 12 from 2012

This post is long past due and something I have wanted to do for more than a month now. Here are 12 awesome things from 2012. Without further ado, here they are in chronological order.

  1. Madison with the BF: I spent the week after New Year’s with my my boyfriend. I spent the week being shown off (introduced) to family and friends and exploring the beautiful city of Madison, WI.
  2. Dance Marathon: I danced FTK (for the kids) at U Iowa’s Dance Marathon. A 24 hour dance celebration (participants are not supposed to sit for down from 6 pm Friday night until 6 pm Saturday night.)that works to raise money for children’s cancer. (more info here) It was one of the hardest experiences of my life. I didn’t make it all the way. I confess. I almost feinted at the end from exhaustion. I would not trade if for the world. I don’t think I will do it again.
  3. Jar meal: My BF and I save all of the money we find, or bet each other, for fun spending only. Slowly quarters, nickles and dimes go into the jar. Our first jar money purchase was a meal for under 10 dollars.
  4. Easter: My best friends and I continued our tradition of celebrating Easter together. After a month of lent it felt great to cook meat and sweets to share with friends.
  5. Being the National Communication’s Coordinator (NCC) for The University of Iowa Associate Residence Halls (ARH) This one doesn’t really have a time, it is several things in one. In 2012 that meant winning the school of the year award in our region, along with several others. That meant organizing three different schools to go together to Boulder, CO. That meant all of the great memories with ARH and NRHH
  6. Hunting and Fishing with my dad: Maybe this makes me SUPER Midwestern  Maybe this makes me sentimental. Maybe those things are both true, but either way, I am always happy to spend what time I can just my dad and I doing our things. Be it fish, foul, or bear.
  7. Moving to Spain: I won’t blither on about this too much. Read back posts if want that (joking…mostly). Let me just say it has been one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my life. It all began here (if you are interested)
  8. Madrid: Our first trip with CIEE, just a few weeks into our program, we were off to Madrid for a long weekend. We bonded as a group and I began to realize what this was all about. Check out my post from the time, Madrid in My Lense. 
  9. Sweden: The 5 days I spent in Sweden were amazing. I have never been to a place so different yet so like where I am from. I could read the body language of people. I could see for the first time where my people come from. It was beautiful and so like home I cried on the bus after I woke up from a nap and thought I was home for a minuet. (Don’t tell anyone it is a secret). Posts from that trip: Hello Sweden!, Monday Morning Sunset: StockholmMonday Morning Sunset: SwedenWhat’s Up in Uppsala and, Top Ten Surprises from Sweden.
  10. Peninsula with the parentals: Spending the holidays with my Dad and Connie was great. It was great to get to see them again. It was enchanting to spend Christmas in Segovia, and the New Year in Madrid.

Monday Morning Sunset: Home

Sometimes I miss home. You might call me crazy but I miss the snow. I miss the river I live by, both of them actually. I miss lakes and people who seek English everywhere. I miss birds I can identify by their sounds and corn fields no one misses corn fields sorry. They are boring after five min. Though I do miss bagels and dairy queens and chipotle. So today is a sunset from my where I lived my first year in college. I might of had a crazy roommate, but I did  have a good view.

A home I used to know. AND SNOW!

A home I used to know. AND SNOW!

Friday Top Ten: Things I am grateful for

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. I cannot forget all of my friends here in Spain. They make my life crazy and keep me a little more sane and centered.
  10. 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.

My brain hurts… it must be finals week

Caution: Beginning of blog may contain whining and irritated funnies. 🙂

In 30 min my next final starts (Yes it is from 8-10 pm) and my brain already hurts. I have been studying and working since 8 am. Not a big deal if I this was not like day three. Now 8 am to 10 pm is not bad, if you don’t spend most of it thinking. Have I told you yet my brain hurts. Maybe it is because I have been staring at the computer all day because I refuse to use any more printing money if I don’t have too, maybe I am just feeling a little overwhelmed by all these friggin equations I am supposed to memorize. Either way I am giving myself this time to take a break from finals and write about what I did today that was even more exasperating and exciting…

I finished my study abroad visa application!

(applause)

I had all of the information I needed int (more on this later I promise), but all I was missing was my medical clearance. Normal student visas in Spain do not require one, unless you are crazy like me and you will be there for the academic year. All I needed to do was go to student health and get two lines written out and signed by a physician. Sounds easy enough right. Wrong.

All right let me give credit where credit is due. It is not policy here at Iowa to see any student for a physical without scheduling three weeks in advance. The nice lady in the scheduling office got me in in two (after I called 5 times to ask, but still). The examine itself was less intense than any physical I have ever had in my life. It literally took five min. I was sailing high. I was thinking the universe was shining on me and this whole process would only take the half hour I hoped it would. Then I asked for a signature and a sentence. 

At first the PA, a very nice woman in case any of you were wondering, wrote that I was medically cleared to travel. Well that was not what I wanted. The sheet needed to say that I was medically clear to travel under the international health agreement of 2005 (or something along those lines). Well, by the time I realized this she was with another paitant. So over the next two hours I would talk with her for five min at a time to try and get this medical duilema all sorted. Did I mention that she did not know what this aforementioned document was/is and was worried I might need additional medical clearance to get my visa. By the time I left I was satisfied that I was in fact ready with all I need but thoroughly hot and bothered.

But, all is well on this Iowa front. I got to the mail box at 5:20 and last pick up is 5:30. Looks like my document will be in Main a whole 24 hours before the deadline. Woot for me. *patting myself on the back*

Alright I am off to take my second to last final of the year. Wish me luck or at least easy grading and I will write at you later.

Some thoughts on the end of the world: otherwise known as finals week

So this is it. My last academic week at The University of Iowa for the next 15 months. Wow… it really will be 15 months. Anyway I was going to write some ranting post about the visa application that I have been completing (don’t get too excited it is coming later), it has just been one of those weeks. Between finals and losing a blue bag containing among other things my makeup, favorite bra (ladies you know what I am talking about here) and my apartment and office keys. I swear the thing must have gotten up and walked away. ‘Cuz I cannot find it anywhere.

So feeling all down on the world and frustrated with traveling, (more on that in the visa blog) I was wandering around Facebook, avoiding studying like any other self respecting college student when I found this quote. I found it at the Palma de Mallorca Facebook Group. It was posted by the resident director and it lifted my spirits and sent my mind into a wonderful day dream.

‎”If you’re at your wits end, or think you are, which amounts to the same thing, if you’re dazed and confused by the noise of civilisation and the haste to get someplace where you find you have nothing to do, if busyness has swamped your brain with facts and science blinded you with gimmickry, then follow me to an island where calm reigns, where the men never hurry and the women never age, and even the sun and the moon move at a more leisurely pace” – like this begins ‘La Illa de la Calma’, the famous celebration of Mallorca by the modernist painter and writer Santiago Rusiñol

I was touched. I was moved. I was mesmerized. I have always said I am going to slow down (don’t roll your eyes too hard mom), but it always seams so hard. Everyone is always rushing everywhere. The days and nights pass faster than the blink of an eye. Maybe there really is a place out there where this is not true. Maybe I will live there. Maybe in the world of technology it is an impossible dream, but I dream none the less.

What do you dream about leaving behind from this fast passed world? Is there something you have left behind? Do you miss it?