Monday, July 11
The long flight back to the States was a little strange because since we traveled with Iberia again, it didn’t feel like we were actually going back to America! All of the announcements were still in Spanish and the flight attendants spoke Spanish. Besides sleeping, I had a lot of time to think about the trip and what had happened in the past month!
I am looking forward to traveling to other Spanish speaking countries in the future because I feel a lot more confident in my speaking abilities. I am glad I took the time to improve my Spanish because it is the 2nd most spoken language in the world and may very well pass English in my lifetime.
Meeting people from all over the world and speaking a second language has made me much more confident. Being on this trip has also made me realize that too many opportunities are thrown away with hesitation. You have to take chances right as they come, and if you just wait till “the time is right” it will usually be too late. Embracing discomfort is a good thing. I can’t wait to see what new adventures lie around the corner:)
Sunday, June 30th
My family met me in Madrid the day we left Salamanca. We had planned to travel around to some of the neighboring European countries after my classes were over in Spain. I showed Holly the wonders of automatic espresso machines in the hotel room lobby and we walked to the metro station. This time we were taking the AVE to Toledo, a medieval city south of Madrid with a lot of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic history. These three groups existed peacefully together for so many years, passing power back and forth over time.
I had a blast showing my family around Madrid later that day. I finally got to see the museum of Prado, which I never imagined to be so large! There were 5 floors and a basement.
That night, my mom and I went to The Corral de Moreia, a famous flamenco venue. The footwork and passion of the flamenco dancers was incredible. I was so glad to enjoy this art form in such an authentic setting.
Friday, June 28th
We went to a restaurant called Vida and Comida for our last dinner in Salamanca.We were offered croquetas and octopus as appetizers. I unknowingly ordered merluza with squid ink for the entrée. I didn’t recognize the squid ink part in Spanish, but I had previously enjoyed Merluza, a popular white fish from the Basque region that Paco cooked for me a few times. I also tried part of a bull’s tail! It is a popular delicacy in Spain that people can win at some bullfights. At the beginning of the dinner there were Tumbas (traditional Spanish singers in tights and puffy sleeves), who entertained us with songs and dancing.
Thursday, June 27th
In business class we talked about paredores, which are unique to Spain. There are many old castles and ruins around Spain, and these historical sites can be checked out like hotels.
It is a Salamanca tradition to sit on the ground in the Plaza around sunset with ice cream and people watch. Tonight bar owners were setting up large television screens outside of the cafés and putting up Spanish flags-it was game time! Almost every outdoor restaurant in the plaza had a tv up and people were already crawling into the bars to get a spot.
Spaniards take their fútbol seriously. In an American sports bar, during a football game not everyone is as completely invested in watching the game. In Spain if there was a game on, it didn’t matter who was there, fútbol came first. The bartenders were just as excited about it as the people.
Spending a month in the relaxing atmosphere of Spain has been a welcome change. For always being on the go during the semester, I am thoroughly appreciating the laidback lifestyle here in Spain. It is much different than the stressful working culture found in America.
Wednesday, June 26th
After our last final on Wednesday, we all went to a little cafe nearby to celebrate. That afternoon for lunch my host parents served me an interesting entrée. It looked like braised beef cut into little slices. It was much more tender than the other meat they had served me. I asked what it was and Paco started laughing. He said, “If I tell you what it is, you won’t eat it” I took a bite and it wasn’t too bad. After I finished the whole thing they told me it was cow tongue, or la lengua. They seemed very pleased that I was enjoying it and told me that they always serve it to their students in their last week.
Tuesday, June 25th
I woke up on my notes for Spanish Lit the next morning (should have known that it never works to study in bed). Did I mention how difficult it is to focus on schoolwork when you’re in another country? After a brief realization that I had not really done much outside “studying” abroad, I decided it might be a good idea to actually try to go to the library for a few hours before the good ole final. It was either that or wish upon the fabled frog statue for mercy.
That night was Jane’s birthday, and some of us went out to celebrate with her. We found a place that was themed like a ship. We had a good time dancing and singing to 90’s music.
Monday, June 24th
Sol and I walked down to a local hostel where they had a chocolatería, or chocolate bar!!! The hot chocolate in Spain is more like pure melted chocolate, and they had every type of chocolate you could ever imagine. We attempted to study for finals, but as you can imagine were a little too distracted by all of the chocolate flavors available.