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05/19/2011

Reflections...

April 15

I can’t believe how fast my time in Spain has flown by! On Thursday, after classes, we had a re-entry orientation in which we talked about reverse culture shock and the process of adjusting to life back in the United States after studying abroad.

We did an exercise that forced us to think about our experiences, to reflect on them, and then to imagine what our re-entry process will feel like.

The exercise made me realize how much I love Spanish culture and how much I have matured throughout my time here. It also made me realize everything that I have grown so accustomed to and all that I will miss when I return home.

So far, I have the following list:

I will miss all of the constant activity! I love walking outside and seeing so many people on the street. Spain is never ever silent.

I am going to miss being able to walk everywhere! I feel such a sense of independence here because I really only have to rely on my own two feet for transportation.

Surprisingly, I feel incredibly safe here-I know Alicante like the back of my hand. I never worry about getting lost and not being able to find my way. I am going to miss this feeling of safety. I think that one of the reasons that Spain feels so secure is that there are always people around.

Of course, I will miss being walking distance from the beach!

I think I am going to cry when I leave David and Gema. They are an amazing couple! I have them to thank for my rapid acquisition of the Spanish language.

I will miss having Rosa’s special tortilla Española for my picnic lunch everyday. She always uses different veggies and she likes to surprise me. The other day she made one with apple and pumpkin! It was delicious! (Usually tortilla Española is made with egg and potatoes, but somehow she figured out early on that I am not a fan of potatoes, so she made some very creative adjustments.)

I am definitely going to miss the long days. I feel like I can cram so much into one day here because the eating schedule is so different. Instead of eating at 6 or 7, dinner is around 9 or 10, so I have so many more hours that I can fill with fun activities.

There is definitely more, but I will leave it at that!

A few more updates from this week:

Yesterday I went to a play, but I quickly came to realize that the play was written in Valenciano.  Thus, I barely understood it, so I left early.

Palmerero Jeremy This morning, we took the train to Elche—a city that is very well known for its palm trees (declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000) and date production. We learned that the Arabs developed palm tree farming and designed a complex articulated irrigation system. We also got to see one of the palm farmers climb a palm and artificially pollinate it. And…believe it or not, I actually climbed part way up a palm trunk with just a rope to lean back against!

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