Wanderer. [settling into life in españa]

For as long as I can remember, I have had such an adventurous spirit, full of curiosity, exploring, and wandering. My longing to travel can never be satiated and I always have my head in some kind of travel book or magazine, planning the next thing. So, when I began planning this adventure, I couldn’t help but just constantly look forward to the day I left to start my semester abroad. Now, as I type this, it is real life. This is my daily reality. I can’t wait to share with you little excerpts about my daily life + I was also dying to share these photos with you that my beautiful friend Katie of Katie Prestemon Photography shot right before I left for Spain. They have to be some of the most perfectly descriptive photos of my burning desire to be a forever wanderer.

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January 20th. Wow. It seems like I’ve simultaneously been here for about a day and also a year. It’s one of those weird feelings where you can’t believe you were home in the U.S. just mere weeks ago, yet there is still so much to see and to learn.

Let’s take it back a bit, though.

Today, as I type this, I am sitting in one of my new favorite sidewalk cafes here in Alicante, Spain. The weather is a sunny 67 degrees, so it’s absolutely heavenly, especially in comparison to the snowstormy weather that St. Louis is getting hit with currently. Most of my friends even went to play volleyball at the beach today, if that puts this new life into perspective for you at all.

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Josh and I arrived here by way of St. Louis to Istanbul to Madrid to Alicante on January 8th after a few days of adventuring in Istanbul (A city guide of Istanbul is in the works of coming to the blog ASAP, I promise!). It was quite the long travel journey but it felt so good to settle in to the city and get a little more acquainted with our surroundings. The first weekend we were here, we stayed in a hotel near the Mediterranean in order to have our orientation for our program with all the other Mizzou students. That was a perfect amount of time because not only did we get a lot of real life lessons from our program directors but we also really got to bond with all the other students on the trip. I can already tell that this experience is going to bring with it some lifelong friends!

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So far, I have attended a week and a half’s worth of classes at my new school, La Universidad de Alicante. I love the abstract architecture and modern sculptures that grace the front lawns of each building, and I can’t wait until the weather gets a little bit warmer so I can spend my free afternoons studying in the grass.

For three hours every morning, I go to my Spanish intensive which is a classroom filled with students from around the world {specifically in my class I have met people from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan, Turkey, and Japan}. It’s a wonderful mix of people all here for different reasons, but with one goal in common ~ to become better Spanish speakers. It has already been such a great experience because the learning never truly ends. One minute, you’re learning grammar lessons in class, but the next minute, you’re outside walking on the streets, utilizing those same lessons you just learned. I am forever grateful for this opportunity to practice my language skills, because immersion is to me, so much more fulfilling than sitting in a classroom in Missouri and trying to retain this information for long periods of time.

After I get done with Spanish classes in the morning, I head home for comida, which is the word in Spain for lunch. After eating comida with my absolutely wonderful host family, I have the afternoons free for homework, exploring, coffee dates, or…my favorite part of the Spanish lifestyle, siestas. Let’s just say that I can’t be trusted to take a siesta usually though, because the typical one hour siesta usually turns into a four hour one for me…

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Around 9pm, we eat cena (dinner). I absolutely love the dynamic of our family…my parents are both from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but now live in Spain, running their own travel agency right down the street from our apartment. They have five children, two of whom still live in the house. My two host sisters that live here are 13 and 15 and they are just super great to hang out with. I can’t believe their home, either. Since it is located right in the city center, it is an apartment, but unlike any apartment I have ever before seen. It is basically an entire floor of an apartment complex, with five bedrooms and two bathrooms, a huge living room, and a beautiful porch overlooking the city.

I went into this semester with a lot of high hopes, to be honest. Since I’ve arrived, I’ll be honest, I’ve had a few breakdowns. Unfortunately the first week I felt homesickness, which is something that I had never before experienced, so I didn’t exactly handle it as well as I could have. Several other situations definitely caused me to realize that not everything is going to go 100% to plan. However, it is absolutely up to me to make the most of every situation and realize that even if, in the moment, something seems frustrating, I have the power to turn it around.

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At risk of continuing to ramble on and on, I am going to sign off. But, I hope that you enjoyed hearing about my current living situation. Josh sent me a photo of a quiz he was taking the other day and it asked which country he resided in. It honestly is quite surreal to have the opportunity to answer that question with Spain.

Thanks for following along on this crazy ride and I can’t wait to share every piece of this journey here! Stay tuned.

Mucho amor (much love),