Top 5 Things I’m Looking Forward to About Spain

Out of all the emotions I’ve been feeling lately with knowing that my move to Spain is just around the corner (crazy!), excited is definitely the most prominent.  I’ve been reminiscing about my previous experiences in Spain and I can’t help but base most of my excitement off of all of the things I loved about it my first time around.  Here is a list of the top 5 things I’m most excited for about moving to Spain, and believe me, it was hard enough narrowing it down to just five.

1.  Café con Leche:  I had my first ever cup of coffee in Sevilla two and a half years ago and I fell in love.  I never thought I liked coffee but I figured since all the Europeans drank it, especially for social meetings, that I needed to start.  At the beginning of my semester I started off slow with drinking mostly milk with a splash of coffee.  By the end, I was drinking almost straight espresso.  Although I returned home to the U.S. with teeth that were a couple shades darker than when I left, I acquired a strong love for coffee, but realized that American coffee just couldn’t compare to what I had overseas.  I can’t wait to return to the land of strong, flavorful, caffeinated concoctions.

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2.  Easy and cheaper travel:  I love love love the fact that living abroad opens the doors to travel that is both easier and cheaper than travelling from the US.  A weekend trip to Prague for less than $200 for a round trip flight?  YES PLEASE.  While I was abroad the last time, my best friend and I spent a week in Greece for around $1000 total.  If we were travelling from the US, my plane ticket alone would have been more than that.  All of these famous sites are just a hop, skip, and a jump away for half (or more!) of the price!

3.  Speaking Spanish:  Being immersed in the Spanish language again is something that I am most excited for as well as what I am most frightened about.  Although I have many years of Spanish classes under my belt, I honestly don’t think that means squat.  I may have reached the advanced level here in the States, but living in Spain made me feel like I had a less than basic level of Spanish.  What’s worse is that I haven’t taken a class in a year and a half so my speaking skills are basically non-existent.  Although I’m terrified of going over there and not being able to fully communicate, I am also ecstatic thinking about how much I will improve over the course of 10 months.  I remind myself how much I love the Spanish language and how it is truly a gift to have the opportunity to be surrounded by it every day.

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4. The weather:  On my igoogle account, I have both my home’s weather and Madrid’s weather and it is the biggest tease every single day.  Here, everyday has seemed to have been an average of 85% humidity.  AKA DEATH.  Fortunately I have grown accustomed to this type of weather (I guess that’s what living in the Northeast for 23 years does to a person), but there was something about this summer that was extra bad.  Of course with the humidity came frequent thunderstorms.  Where is the sun?!  In Spain, that’s where.  When I look at Madrid’s weather I see that it is sunny and nearly humidity free nearly every single day.  Can you say paradise?  My allergies are telling me I need to be on that Spain-bound plane NOW!

5.  The lifestyle (siestas & fiestas):  Basically everything I love about Spain can be summed up into this one category.  The Spanish lifestyle is incomparable to anything else.  It is relaxed, passionate, family-oriented, and they place the most emphasis on being happy and enjoying life.  It’s that whole “work to live” mindset that we as Americans should take a few pointers from.  One thing I love particularly about the Spanish lifestyle is the siesta AKA a built-in 3-hour nap from 2-5 PM every day.  Need I say more?  Even though many Spaniards don’t actually nap during this time, it is still a perfect time to just relax, be with your loved ones, and take a break from the day.  As an American, though, I usually took part in the napping ritual since those Spaniards are extremely hard to out-party.  This leads me to the next part of the Spanish lifestyle I’m eager to return to:  the nightlife.  There is nothing like it.  Madrid in particular is known for its wild nightlife and I cannot wait to explore it more.  Spaniards don’t typically arrive to the clubs until 2 or 3 AM which is later than when the bars close in the U.S.!  In Sevilla, the latest (or earliest rather) that I ever stayed out was until 7 AM and the club was still open!  So who knows when the bars actually close.  I just hope my 23-year-old body can handle it as well as my 20-year-old self did (yes, I know how ridiculous I sound).

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So there we have it.  In just a couple weeks I will be partaking and experiencing all of these fantastic things about Spain and I seriously cannot wait!

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My Cheesy Tribute to LeAnn Rimes

It’s so hard to believe that this time next month I’ll be in Spain.  Wasn’t it just April?  Didn’t I just get accepted to BEDA?  Hell, wasn’t it just October when I was touring Grad schools?!? It’s freaky how fast time flies.  This summer has come and gone in a blink of an eye.  As a reassurance to my friends and family who make sad faces every time I mention my leaving soon, I tell them to think about how fast 10 months go by and that I’ll be on my return flight back home next June before they know it, which is a soothing thought for them but a depressing one for me.  It’s true though.  Before I know it, this upcoming year will only be a memory for me to look back on fondly and that’s why I need to make the most of my time abroad.

But as much as I’m trying to live in the present, I haven’t been able to keep my mind from being in fast forward mode this entire summer.  I keep imagining my future life in Madrid.  Where will I live?  What will my job be like?  Who will my friends be?  It’s this unknown future of mine that keeps things exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.  Not to mention, the preparation for this move is not only burning a hole in my wallet, but it’s also probably giving me some extreme blood pressure levels with all the stress it’s causing.  There has been a constant to-do list running through my head at all times and it tends to keep me awake at night.  I seem to add two more things to the list for every one thing I check off.  It’s a never-ending process and it makes me question whether or not I’ll get it all done before I leave.

I won’t lie, there have been several times this summer when I’ve considered backing out of this whole thing because my fear has taken control of me.  There have been times I’ve found myself scared shitless thinking about this upcoming year.  What if I don’t make any friends and I’m utterly alone?  What if I have a nightmare living situation or I hate my job?  What if I become crazy homesick?  What if this is just a huge mistake?  Thinking about all of these worst-case scenarios scares me, while thinking about the life I am leaving behind is what saddens me.  I’ll miss so many birthdays and Christmas with my family.  So much can change in a year and it worries me to think about everything I’ll be missing.  But then I think about what I’m giving that up for.  I’m giving it up for a year of a lifetime.  A year in Spain.  A year in Europe.  A year many people would only dream of living.  A year that I’ve only dreamed of living.  And that’s when I come back to reality and keep pushing forward because my determination to make this happen is stronger than any fear holding me back from doing so.

This is super cheesy, but whenever I’m feeling sad or scared out of my mind about this new adventure, I listen to “One Way Ticket” by Leann Rimes.  Ok, this might sound so weird, but back when I started this whole process and wondered if I was making the right choice, I happened to come across LeAnn Rimes on my itunes and realized this song relates so well to how I’m feeling.  It serves as a reminder of the reason why I am taking this great leap of faith to begin with.  “One Way Ticket” is, obviously, about buying a one-way ticket somewhere in order to start anew.  In this song, she talks about all of the things she’ll do when she gets to this place, and she says she’s going to do everything just because she can.  It’s about not letting fear stop you from putting the spark back into your life.  In other words, I feel as though this song was made for my situation at the moment.

“Standing on the border
Looking out into the great unknown
I can feel my heart beating faster as I step out on my own
There’s a new horizon and the promise of favorable wind
I’m heading out tonight, traveling light
I’m gonna start all over again

And buy a one-way ticket on a west bound train
See how far I can go
I’m gonna go out dancing in the pouring rain
And talk to someone I don’t know
I will face the world around me
Knowing that I’m strong enough to let you go
And I will fall in love again
Because I can

Gonna climb the mountain
And look the eagle in the eye
I won’t let fear clip my wings and tell me how high I can fly
How could I have ever believed
That love had to be so blind
When freedom was waiting, down at the station
All I had to do was make up my mind

I’m gonna buy a one-way ticket on a west bound train
Gonna have my breakfast with some pink champagne
I’m gonna sail the ocean, I’m gonna spread my wings
I’m gonna climb that mountain, gonna do everything.”

This song reminds me that I’m 23-years-old with absolutely nothing tying me down.  “There’s no time like the present” is absolutely true in this scenario.  So whenever my fear of moving to Spain by myself overwhelms me, I listen to this song and I remember that I am going on this journey for myself, to become more independent and to add some zest to my life.  I want to be someone that can say when I’m older that I’ve had an interesting, exciting, and fulfilling life.  Health issues can arise at any time and responsibilities seem to grow the more that I grow, so why not do this now when I am healthy and commitment-free?  So, when asked why did I buy a “one-way ticket on an east-bound plane?”  Well, because I can, that’s why!

And now I leave you with the corresponding music video that screams awesomely horrendous 90s fashion like nothing else (those are some shiny pants you got there LeAnn)…