Greetings from Whitewater, Wisconsin!! Not Spain, Poland, Portugal, France, England, Morocco, or Italy…but the good old USofA! I arrived in O’Hare on May 4th and experienced a bit of reverse culture shock – so many people speaking English! So many people wearing sweat pants and sweat shirts! My mom and Mark greeted me at the airport and we headed home to one of my favorite dishes for dinner: tuna noodle casserole! 🙂 After a couple rough nights of jet-lag-induced sleep and fun-filled days with family and friends, I ventured back to Whitewater on the 8th to see my friends before they headed home for the summer. We visited some of my local favorites that I had been missing…The Sweet Spot Café, Culver’s, Cozumel, Jessica’s, and The Yogurt Shoppe. 15 of us went a Brewer game and were lucky enough to meet some of the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team (they threw out the first pitch)! I started my full-time summer internship in the First Year Experience Office (FYE) on campus on the 12th. I am loving it so far!! I worked for the FYE Office last summer as a student orientation leader. Now as the intern I am getting more experience and a different perspective on new student orientation programs.
Now let’s rewind to my last couple weeks in Spain! Hard to believe that was a month ago already. It was quite an emotional and bittersweet week in Sevilla. My classmates and I spent a lot of time visiting our local favorites in Sevilla, just like I visited my local favorites in Whitewater upon my return! However, they are a bit different in Spain…lounging by the river, walking through plazas and parks, speaking as much Spanish as possible, eating churros with chocolate, visiting gelato and ceramics shops, tapas restaurants, bakeries, etc. I will admit that I cried at the farewell party that our school held for us. Tears of thankfulness, joyfulness, sadness, and excitement. Thankful for the most incredible experience of my life. Joyful because of the things I learned, places I visited, and people I met. Sad to leave my new family and friends in Spain. Excited to return to my family and friends in the states…and excited knowing that I will return to Spain again someday soon 🙂
Most of my classmates and teachers on our last night in Sevilla.
After I finished my final exams in Sevilla, I went up to Madrid to spend some time with Levi. We got to relax and soak up my last week of Spanish life together. We enjoyed a weekend visit from our friend, Jeremy, from Whitewater who is currently working in Amsterdam. After Jeremy’s visit, I got to visit Levi’s school with him one last time. His sixth graders are so sweet and fun…a lot of them remembered me from my visit back in January! After the school visit we had time for one more adventure. We met my roommate from Whitewater, Maija, and her mom in Barcelona! It was such a great trip! We went on a walking tour, visited the famous Sagrada Familia church, hung out at the beach, took an interactive Spanish cooking class, and enjoyed each others company 🙂 Levi was also scoping out some sights to see with his family when they visit in June before he returns home.
As cliché as it sounds, studying abroad was truly life changing. I cannot express how incredibly happy and grateful I am to have had this experience. A more detailed and reflective post will be coming soon 🙂