¡Viva España!

a semester abroad

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Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things—air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky—all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.
Cesare Pavese, by way of @joywilliams, and posted here because I’m pretty sure Tha Kate will dig it. (via apoplecticskeptic)
  (via shannonofre)

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Love Locks

jake and i did this in paris(:

sincerelymygypsysoul:

Love padlocks (also known as Love Locks) are a custom by which sweethearts affix padlocks engraved with messages to a fence or landmark to symbolize their everlasting love.  It is suggested that the custom of “locking a padlock and throwing away the key” originated in China.  They are said to show a couple’s undying love for one another and bring good luck.  The custom has became internationally popular.

Pecs, Hungary

Moscow, Russia

Seoul, South Korea

Cologne, Germany

Korakuen, Japan

Wroclaw, Poland

Montevideo, Uruguay

Guam, USA

Rome, Italy

Huangshan, China

Odessa, Ukraine

Prague, Czech Republic

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wanderlust

wan·der·lust

  [won-der-luhst] 
noun
a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.
Back into routine. Settled back home and by home I mean with my family. In a few days short days I will be back home, as in San Diego. I can’t wait but I’ve got an itch, I want to go somewhere new and exciting. Road trip? 

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yesterday I found 5euro in my pocket…

I’ve been back for a few weeks now and I guess it’s about time I finish up my last post.

After Jake and I returned from Paris, we started finals! It’s crazy to think how fast time went, I swear a month ago I had just received syllabi from my professors. Overall I think they went pretty well. On Wednesday I took my cinema final, this class is probably one of my favorites. The class was focused on movies produced by Almodóvar, a very interesting character whose movies are extremely provocative (direct quote from the professor “All of Almodóvar’s movies are like soft-core porn, no pasa nada” ummm yeeah whatever you say profe). Anyways, the class included me and 5 other girls so we all got really close and when we all finished up our final we invited our professor to have a bite to eat with us at 100 Montaditos because Wednesdays at Cien means EuroMania, wooohooo!

Spanish 494 (:

Almost everyone’s last final was Problem of God on Friday morning. The whole group was divided up into 3 different rooms according to which section we were in and of course my class had to move to the another building so that all sections could be accommodated. It was all going smoothly until about 5 different spanish people knocked on our door, clearly they wanted us out. Burgos tried to talk with them and explained that we had to room until 10:20 (it was about 10:00 at this time) but the last lady was NOT having it and would not step out of the room so that he could talk with her, she was actually throwing a mini tantrum, weird. She wouldn’t quit so we all had to move back to our original building, talk about a hassle. After everyone was done we had to meet for a closing ceremony which was nice, we all got little diplomas and got to mingle with everyone over yummy sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and orange juice. 

Later, Jake and I went to grab our last kebab! We meant to ride the Teleferico ferries but it was so cold and gloomy that we decided against it. As per my mom’s suggestion, I had already started packing and managed to have one of my suitcases entirely packed beforehand! This is a huge personal accomplishment, I normally don’t pack for anything until the night before. So I threw together my last few things, napped, pulled out clothes for that night and the next morning and got together my carry-on luggage. Obviously I HAD to go out that night, last night partying in Madrid! We hit up Dubliners and Jake and I stopped at Joy… we made it until about 4:30a and decided to just cab it back home except for there weren’t ANY cabs! Usually in Sol there’s a line of cabs waiting for passengers but we walked a good 15minutes before we found an available taxi. I hoped in and Jake walked back home. The driver ended up picking up another passenger (it was cold and he wanted to be nice) I wasn’t super stoked on that but she was heading the same direction. 

I napped for about 2 and a half hours and woke up in time to get ready for my long day of travel. The night before my señora had called a cab for me so he arrived around 7:30am. I had to wake Mercedes up (awkwarddd) and she apologized for not waking up earlier, she had set her alarm for 7:00 but it didn’t go off. My good bye was fairly unemotional, I didn’t get super attached to her but I thanked her and she thanked me for a great experience…. off to the Aeropuerto Madrid-Barajas for the last time! My mom was concerned that I headed off on my own and suggested I create a meeting point with Amanda “Mom… really? I’ve travelled to Amsterdam and Germany on my own, I think I can handle this.” “Well good, I’m glad you have your big girl chonies on”  Guess I’m growing up(:

There was about 10 other USD people on my flight to D.C. I was a little concerned because everyone else’s connecting flight was through United and mine was through American Airlines but it ended up all working itself out, both my suitcases were under/exactly 23kg (not sure how I managed that) and my carry on was less than 10kg and luckily I had an aisle seat for this 9hr journey

USD

Made it there and back together! 

I felt bad for any real people on our flight, it was FILLED with college student returning home for the holidays. When we landed everyone cheered and clapped and I was so excited to be in America! Customs was surprisingly super quick, probably a total of 5 minutes and then we went through security, luggage took FOREVER to get on the carousel. My layover in D.C was supposed to be about 3 and a half hours but the first flight was late so I only had to wait about 2 hours. As I got to my gate, I rode an escalator up and like a beckoning light, there was Chipotle calling my name. I almost had a panic attack, I still didn’t even have a boarding pass printed but I HAD to stop for my first glorious meal. Of course right smack dab in the middle of the menu was a “Patron Margarita”… my first I wish I was back in Spain moment, tequila is my favorite. I went to my gate but there was no attendants there yet, of course I started to have a mini freak out because I didn’t have my boarding pass yet. Finally someone showed up and I asked for my aisle seat but there wasn’t any left! I was stuck by the window, worst feeling ever. I sat and inhaled my burrito, delicious. We boarded the plane earlier and the people in my aisle asked me to switch seats with their friend who had a middle seat, I agreed because I felt better only 1 seat in than 2. A mom and son duo ended up in my aisle and I asked the mom to switch seats but she said “ask him!” I’m like umm no thanks, I need the aisle and she says “So do I, I feel your pain, I’m with you” cool lady, cool…. The flight was pretty turbulent and I felt like I had ants in my pants for the first 2 hours, I think I have restless leg syndrome… Finally I was able to relax and I attempted to sleep but the mom and son kept talking over me, meh! The last 2 hours I passed out successfully. I landed and collected my luggage on my own, my family still wasn’t there because my dad thought I would have to go through customs in LA. When they arrived my dad hopped out of the car to help me with my luggage and waiting for me was Meredith, my mom, a Sprinkles Red Velvet cupcake and the most recent issue of Cosmo! We had dinner at the Kickin’ Crab by South Coast and my aunt and uncle met up with us, it was so nice! I didn’t really experience jet-lag but for about a week once it hit 9pm I would just die and needed to hop in bed right then and there! I also would wake up at like 6am but I would head back to sleep for a few more hours. 

Sometimes I miss it, I miss going out for a drink and staying out super late. I miss the metro and my daily routine. I miss traveling on weekends. Sometimes it feels like I never left, like the past 3 and a half months were a dream which I guess it really was; I am so incredibly lucky to have been able to spend a semester abroad. I think my next goal is to travel around South America and eventually make it back to Europe one day, there is still so much that I want to see. I really hope that I can maintain the Spanish that I’ve learned so I need to find someone to practice with.

I feel my experience has definitely helped me grow in some ways, I’ve become a little bit more independent, more understanding of other cultures, and appreciative of what we have here in the States. I was telling my mom how when I first stepped in our bathroom it was a lot bigger than I remembered, I didn’t know what to do with all that room! Even the toilet paper roll seemed HUGE! For some reason I couldn’t shake the habit of needing an adapter/converter for every electrical appliance but I think I’ve gotten over that. Also, I am so happy to be able to do my own laundry and have a dryer again! So long crunchy towels, socks, and underwear! 

Now back to business as usual. I am so happy that Jake lives in Orange County, I’ve gotten to see him plenty since being back which is great! Next week I’ll be moving down to Mission Beach which I am so incredibly excited about! Can’t wait…

Otras Cosas….

1. As some of you may know, my boyfriend and I both go to the same school but we didn’t meet until the Hurricane Irene/flight delay fiasco preceding my trip to Madrid. When we got back to the US we didn’t have each other’s numbers…. awkwarddddd. He sent me a facebook message when he landed (he got back a day after I did) and I accidently gave him my mom’s number! Luckily I caught it before he sent a text (give me a break, the first 4 digits are the same!) 

2. DRIVING! I was so excited to be able to drive again but I honestly miss the metro so much! It’s so convenient! 

3. Customer Service is back in action and it’s great. 

4. Totally missed Dad’s cooking but sometimes I miss my señoras meals, give me some tortilla! mm mm mmmm(:

¡Es todo! ¡Viva España!

Besitos,

Hil xox

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paris, france

On Tuesday I left for my last trip before I head home (one week, ahhhh where has time gone?!). Jake and I headed off to Paris, France before the stress of finals set in

La Tour Eiffel 


We got in on Tuesday night and explored the area around our hotel (Champs-Elysees). We first struggled getting to our hotel after we got off the metro… and of course we didn’t have the address so we took a cab after we figured out the location and realized that the metro stop we had gotten off at was literally a 2min walk from our hotel. We laughed at ourselves for bit, you live and you learn I guess (:

There was a really cute Christmas market and lots of pretty lights…. so much Christmas spirit! We grabbed dinner at a crowded Italian restaurant on Champs-Elysees and walked through the Christmas market where we tried Vin Chaud (hot wine), it reminded me of just super hot sangria but was not as delicious….

We decided to do touristy things on Wednesday and Thursday. We hit up the market again for some crepes and made a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower which took a lot longer than expected up top was super windy, cold, and rainy! That night we had a super yummy dinner at a little cafe. It’s really awkward because they seat you at tables side by side instead of across from each other…. so I felt like those couples that sit on the same side of the booth at restaurants which seriously makes me feel like gagging… We had a bottle of wine and went out for drinks after. We visited the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. I really wanted to take Jake to Montemartre on Thursday night but I had the worst headache I had ever experienced! 

Overall it was a great last trip. I was so excited to be able to spend time with my boyfriend before finals!  Reality is setting in… we will be back in Orange County in a week! Super mixed feelings about that one….

Other things…

1. The metro in Madrid is exponentially better than the metro is Paris… or probably any where for that matter. Sure it get’s stuffy and sometimes smells weird but it is (98% of the time) super clean, well lit, on time, easy to access, etc etc etc… Also, the supplemental fee to get to Barajas is like a euro/euro + 50cents. In Paris its almost 10… major bust. 

2. Wasn’t a fan of Paris when I went in high school and frankly I am still not. Granted I love the history and seeing all the standard tourist spots but that’s about it.

3. Still hate the rain 

4. Always carry ibuprofen with you (duhhh… not sure how I forgot that one)

5. Food is my one true love and the Parisians do it damn well.