Day 121 in Spain: Senior Toast to My Friends

Though I’ve been away in Madrid, I have not stopped thinking about all my friends who are graduating in less than 24 hours. I’ve had the honor of meeting them all through different ways. I met some of my senior friends at work as a Student Activities Manager, who helped me get to where I am. I’ve met the most awesome seniors as a pivotal member of WNPC-TV, and they will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve met some of them just recently as we would pass by each other in the hallways, and then one day, finally had the courage to talk to each other. I’ve met others by stopping by at the Welcome Center to say hi to Joseph, and they’ve been nothing but influential to me. And the few I met in my best friend’s dorm. A few I met, as I interviewed them for class. And of course, the few I met, in mentorship programs, at the gym, and in my residence hall. So, I hope as they graduate, they think about all the wonderful times at New Paltz. And all the transformative times. I hope college became home for them, as they definitely made it feel like home for me. And I hope they remember all the memories that SUNY New Paltz has gifted them with. They’re unforgettable.

p.s. See you guys in New York City, at New Paltz for Alumni weekend, and on my newsfeed (haha). Wishing you all the best! To my senior friends, class of 2018, this year, has been yours! Congrats!

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Day 120 in Spain: 4 Months Here

At this point, I have had the privilege to complete all my courses at a Spanish University in Europe.

I said my goodbyes to most of my professors, and hope to maintain contact with a few who made my university experience much better.

I’ve taken 2 exams, and just need to take 1 more to officially become a senior.

I’ve walked around my neighborhood and found a few “new” hidden gems.

I’ve visited Valencia, Spain in between for a mini break.

I’ve checked out my family friend’s bar a few times, and it’s always a blast.

I’ve hiked one more time and there was still snow.

I’ve seen a stunning view of Madrid at Círculo de Bellas Artes.

I’ve seen the Temple of Debod light up at night.

I’ve eaten at a rooftop bar called, Viajero.

I’ve soaked in the sun at Buen Retiro, and attempted to row the boat.

I’ve enjoyed 10p.m. dates at 100 Montaditos with my friends more times than I can count.

I met some students from London and showed them around Madrid for a day.

I bought my host Mom a Mother’s Day Gift that she loved.

I heard my roommate say she feels like we’re sisters, and our Host Mom is like our mom in this home.

I am now getting ready for my trip to Paris, France this weekend.

I booked the trip I’ve been longing for most: Barcelona, Spain.

And I’ve learned that so much of this experience is temporary, yet momentous, and so sentimental.

And that everyone’s lives are moving, including mine.

And that it’s almost time to go home.

And say goodbye for now.

p.s. Here’s to being away from home for 4 months! Cannot believe my study abroad experience is actually almost over. Wow!

Day 119 in Spain: 1-Second-A-Day Moments

I remember one of my first nights here. Sarah and I got drinks near our new home. It was the first time we could get drinks without being IDed or questioned. I remember we got yelled at by our host mom for coming home late that night, post dinner. We didn’t know. We weren’t thinking. We were in Madrid.

I remember my favorite weekend. My family friend, Joseph’s great cousin, Shakira took us to Sol. It is New York’s version of Times Square. Sarah and I were amazed by Madrid’s magic. The Royal Madrid Palace was right before our eyes, and the older man playing the violin at the same time was just like out of a movie.

I remember my first time at Buen Retiro. There was a man playing his guitar and singing in Spanish. And the cutest toddler dancing and clapping along, too.

I remember going to Toledo. The architecture looked so old and ancient in a way that was beautiful. The view was stunning. Clusters of orange-bricked homes in a perfectly-sized town. The sunset setting just so. The cathedral was luminous. And the company was exactly what I needed–comfort, away from home.

I remember Segovia. It rained and rained and rained. But all I could think about was how I was entering a castle. I had been dreaming about that for what seems like forever.

I remember hiking. I didn’t know there were mountains a bit outside of Madrid, but was happy to find my way to this hidden gem with friends.

I remember Morocco–the incredible blue of the city, and the green of the mountains with wild goats and donkeys roaming.

I remember Valencia. Sarah and I were so stunned to be at the beach. It didn’t feel like we were in “Kansas” at all.

I remember the zoo. I met a stranger who became a friend. The sun shined on us all day. And the animals cheered with us, too.

I remember the bullfight and watching history happen. The youngest bullfighter got the bull’s ears– a symbol of a job well-done. I was so intrigued I wrote an article about it, and handed it in as my final work for my History of Spain course.

I remember Valencia. The tallest palm trees with a different kind of blue beach. Sarah and I were stunned. We were no longer in “Kansas.” And it was only April.

I remember my ‘Cuentos’ class. I felt so emotional on the last day of classes, because this was my favorite class. It was an entire course dedicated to short stories in Spanish. I had the best time.

p.s. My roommate made a 1-second-a-day video, and reminded me of some of the memories we’ve had thus far. Here are some of my favorite moments!

p.p.s She leaves back to NY this Sunday! Crazy!?

Day 118 in Spain: Favorite Madrid Streets

Lista

Nuñez de Bilbao

Calle de Padilla

Diego de Leon

Goya

Cuatro Caminos

Sol

Gran Vía

Conde de Peñalver

Ventas

Retiro

Usera

La Latina

Callao

p.s. I’ve been passing by all these streets and metro stops lately. I love how accessible these places are from my neighborhood. And I am definitely going to miss enjoying these cool Spanish street names and all the memories made within each one. Here’s to my favorite calles (streets)! #Nostalgicalready?

Day 117 in Spain: First Final Exam at UC3M

I decided to take 4/5 courses in Spanish this semester, in an effort to practice my 2nd language inside and outside of the classroom. After a whole semester of learning colloquial Spanish, Castellano, I took my final exam. I have learned many new vocabulary words and phrases used in specific situations. I have gained a better understanding of 13 different types of tenses and 1 mood. And I’ve gained an immense amount of confidence speaking Spanish while doing my best to use what I have learned inside the classroom within my Madrid home, along my Madrid streets.

p.s. Here’s to one final exam down! This was my toughest class all semester, but I am grateful I took it. I feel my Spanish comprehension, writing, and speaking has totally improved because of this grammar course. Hope I can make my Spanish professors back home proud. Onto the next one! #mondaymotivation

Day 116 in Spain: Mother’s Day

I sent my mom and grandma a card with flower-print, and they received them just in time for their Mother’s Day celebration. I bought my Host Mom a rose candle that said may this scent remind you of the first time we hugged, along with a light-citrus perfume, and a stained-glass plate for her jewelry. And I got to speak with my Grandma from Florida, and see my Great Grandma from New York on video chat. I felt their love, and I hope they felt mine, too.

p.s. Happy Mothers Day to all the lovely women who’ve instilled love and light in their children, always!

p.p.s. Thanks to my sis for sending me pics and videos as the mothers in my life read their cards and opened their gifts.

Day 115 in Spain: London Friends Meet Madrid

I introduced some of my college friends to some of my favorite spots. I baptized them at Takos with tacos. We then trekked to the last floor of the mall at the Cortes Inglés to see a beautiful view of Madrid, and get ice cream at my favorite gelato place thus far called Amourino. Then, we headed to Buen Retiro Park and got a chance to row the boat along the lake. We ended the day by walking through the flower garden there.

p.s. I enjoyed being a tour guide for them, and they really appreciated it as well. It was good catching up with my college mate from my home university, and meeting her new friends. Studying abroad brings people together from all different places. And here we were, enjoying Madrid, together. Here’s to when London friends meet Madrid!

Day 114 in Spain: Grateful

a spacious Starbucks near my home with free wifi

a phone call from my Dad, and then later, my Mom

a message of good news from both my sister, Kate, and my best friend, Melisa

a reminder of my island, Puerto Rico

a couple of fun plans for the weekend

all combined to give me a bit more motivation for these upcoming exams

p.s. Happy Friday! These couple of days have been tough studying, but I am grateful for the little things here in Madrid, Spain including: cherry blossoms, Spanish playlists, home-cooked food, walks around my neighborhood, and the sun. The weather here is just right these days.

Day 113 in Spain: Gazpacho Story

So, my host mom made gazpacho soup yesterday. She told me it’s a tomato soup with peppers and other spices. And that it is eaten cold. I was taught to eat my food hot, especially soup. So, let’s just say this cold tomato soup tasted like a Bloody Mary without the alcohol. And she knew I didn’t enjoy it, because I was eating very slowly, and didn’t have much to talk about at dinner. She apologized to me saying she’s sorry, but that’s what there is for dinner. And that it is practically summer, and all Spaniards eat this around this time. She added that if you’re in Spain and don’t like gazpacho then people look at you weird. Well, I don’t mind. I am weird anyways.

p.s. Here’s to new foods in Spain! Tortilla de patatas, an omelette with potatoes (yes!). Gazpacho, cold tomato soup (no thanks!).

Day 112 in Spain: “Adulting” Workshop

If there was a workshop on how to do this thing called “adulting” I’d want to know: how to find an apartment, how to budget, how to save, how to travel often, how to balance life, how to build my credit, how to cook, how to lease a car, how to defend myself etc. etc.

p.s. I got an email from my home university today asking if we’d like to have “adulting” workshops offered. I thought it was interesting. If only “adulting” was that easy. Here’s to learning how to “adult!” Short cuts? Tips? Anyone?