Soo, if you didn't already know (and I would assume you do since you are on this page), I'm spending my Junior year abroad in Spain, and I'm really really excited! (I couldn't count how many times I've said that lately!).
I have decided to keep this blog while I'm away because it will be easier for all of you back home to hear about what's going on with me across the Atlantic, and I won't have to repeat stories quite as many times. I probably won't be on facebook as much- don't think I'm abandoning you all, I still love you very much, but it will be much better for me to integrate and adjust into Spanish life without constant contact from the USA.
So here is my goodbye post. I've made a few posts already but they are pretty boring stuff, written for other exchange students so don't judge me. From here on out, it should get much more interesting from España! I don't know how good I'll be at actually updating this regularly but I promise to try! I'll try to have lots of pictures, because that's always the most interesting. This is what I am really considering the start of my blog.
I should explain in more detail exactly what I'm doing: I am going to spend the next 10 months with a carefully screened host family in a small town in Northwest Spain, through the American Field Service exchange program. It does cost tuition. I speak some Spanish, took four years of it in school, but I'm nowhere near fluent. Not to mention the region in Spain I will be in also has Galician (very similar to Portuguese) as another main language. I will still graduate on time because I have taken classes to make up credits ahead of time online and over the summer. My school here in Texas does not want to accept any credits I may earn abroad, but I'll be okay anyway. My host family seems absolutely wonderful and I'm so happy they are opening their home to me this year.
Of course I'm nervous about some things (I'm voluntarily leaving behind everything and everyone I know! I can't say that's not scary), and of course I will miss the U.S., but my excitement more than balances it out. I know I don't really have any idea what it will be like. I can't even imagine everything I'm going to experience or how things will turn out, but I can't wait to find out for myself.
I guess I'll list just a few of the reasons I'm doing this... I'll gain skills in a foreign language (or two), discover and appreciate different culture, gain a new perspective on US culture, gain confidence and independence, be part of a world community, meet new people, and learn to really live in the moment. (Those were taken directly from the AFS handbook so please pardon the cheesy phrasing!)
Getting to right now has been a VERY long process. All the time, and money, and effort, and papers, and signatures, and planning, and everything has gone toward right now, departure. I can't thank my family enough for supporting me through this and helping me get here and letting me go. Having this opportunity really does mean more than I can ever say.
Speaking of the challenges of applying, I applied for my Spanish student visaAugust 2 at the Houston consulate.... and I still don't have my visa and passport back. It has been approved but I haven't received it in the mail yet, and at this point my parents will have to overnight it to me in NY or Boston unfortunately. This has been the most stressful part of the whole process. (Just last week the consulate called and said they'd mail my passport that day and I was beyond happy for about 3 minutes, until they called back again and said that was a mistake and it stilled hadn't been approved. It was traumatic.)
Today was my last day in Austin. I spent it doing last minute packing checks and visited my school and friends for the last time and had dinner with my family. Tomorrow I fly to Boston to spend a few days with family friends, then I'll go to New York for orientation with AFS (which I'm really looking forward to because many of the other kids going to Spain who will be there have gotten really close through facebook and I already know we will have a great time) then there is another orientation in Madrid before I travel by train to meet my host family. The next week and a half will be absolutely crazy, but I don't think I've ever been more excited in my life!
please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), comment on here, or on facebook to keep in contact with me! I love y'all and I will miss you! I don't know when I'll next have internet or time to use the computer but I'm ready to start this journey.
|I packed, by some miracle.|
|the start of packing...|
|my cake at my going away party! hahaha gotta love typos "adios"|
|my girls since literally forever|
|my other darlings|
|if you don't look closely at my twitching eye it's me with a texas flag|
|I love you and I'll miss you!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!|
|hahaha i will really miss my girl.|
|thanks for this beautiful drawing sofie. it's really accurate i'm sure.|
|aaaand a liz lemon 30 rock joke from her year abroad because tina fey is fabulous.|
and a random galician folk song just for kicks.
Wow, this post turned out much longer than I'd planned. Oh well. If you stuck it out all the way to here, you're my favorite.