Category Archives: Study Abroad

FOMO is real… and its greater than ever

It has been two weeks since I left my host city of Valencia and while a lot of things have been keeping me busy in the States I still feel incredibly out of the loop with my friends that stayed. And day by day I see myself losing touch with some of the girls I called “family”. Yet, I don’t dare leave our Whatsapp chat group. I constantly get the group messages about going to the club, the beach, or simply meeting downstairs to eat. Needless to say I am inflicting some emotional self-harm by pretending I’m still included.

I was warned of the dangers of reverse culture shock, but do I have reverse culture shock, or is it just “fomo”…. In other words, the fear of missing out on memories and stronger bonds my friends are continuing to form? Because truthfully I don’t miss the Spanish students at the dorm, they were loud and rude… But I do find myself wishing I had more time to spend with my roommate before leaving. Sure, I miss having a roommate who didn’t judge me for taking my siestas… She was usually taking them with me for a longer period of time. However, things like siestas are cultural norms that can be transferred back to the States. My friendship with a tough-loving Spanish student isn’t.

As for my American friends, I miss being able to contribute to the group, being able to make memories we can laugh about once “we’re” back. Maybe it is simply the case of missing my friends and feeling totally offended that they haven’t stopped their lives for me, but that would just minimize the severity of my “fomo”. It no longer simply is the fear of missing out, it has become a fear of never being able to have this opportunity again. The opportunity to be young, wild, free (so cliche, I know) with the same 10 girls.

I’m not saying I had a strong connection or relationship with all of them, still I really do care about them and knowing that when they all come back to their real lives, the times spent together will simply be stories that brings us back only for a brief moment.

And because they are still in Valencia while I’m back at school interning and working (or trying to work), I feel like I have been deprived of a proper goodbye to a semester filled with amazing experience. There is no one to blame for my OWN decision to leave Valencia early, I got the internship I so strongly desired and I moved into my off-campus place at school… I mean what more could I want?

I’m trying to take this process of returning, without my friends, on my own terms and while it is taking longer than I expected I know that sooner or later I will be back to normal. Heck, this FEAR might be just that… Fear isn’t a definite conclusion that things will actually turn out how I’m afraid they would. I know my experiences with the girls haven’t ended in Valencia, I guess I just need my friends to come back soon to reassure me! 🙂

Drawn by the talented Patty Gea

Drawn by the talented Patty Gea 

Advertisements

London Calling

A couple of weeks ago, I made my last trip in Europe before heading home. My trip to London was possibly the best choice we (Sam and I) made. I fell in love. Everything about the city made me think I could live there some day.

I’m a city girl, or so I like to think I am… But having lived in the NYC area and Boston has made me a go-getter for public transportation. AND also the fact that I don’t own a car. Anyway, the tube system in London was very impressive and super easy to maneuver, so obviously that earned London some points.
++

Art, Art, Modern Art. We made a quick visit to the Tate Modern, because it is FREE and I live for that shit. I also discovered Tracey Emin, who in my opinion is sort of the riot grrrl of modern art in London. Very Raunchy. Another thing I dig.

Architecture Architecture and some really cool buildings… AKA everywhere in London called for an Instagramable picture. Flawless.

We also had time to visit King’s College, so maybe living in London isn’t completely unrealistic. Plus, I could really see myself eating fish’n chips on the regular, dating a hot man with a British accent, and getting use to frizzy hair from the unreliable weather.

Ps. Our hostel London Backpackers was a great place to stay, free breakfast and only 20 minutes away from downtown on the tube for the price of 11 pounds a night. Not so bad. And if you’re trying to save money I’d recommend buying pre-made food at a supermarket (they’re everywhere)… I ate a bean salad and wedge potatoes for 4 pounds. IMG_4378

This is Tracey’s piece… “Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing” 2004

IMG_4371

Abbey Road… Ps. It is NOT the Abbey Road stop on the tube. This silly misunderstanding cost us 7 pounds.

IMG_6377

Famous Fish and Chips from the famous Sea Shell Restaurant

IMG_4383

Oh Venice, Venice

Our last stop in Italy was Venice! We spent ONE FULL day here and I personally think that was enough. The scenery in Venice is beautiful, as the pictures prove, but I also think it is slightly overrated. A 40 minute gondola will cost you 80 euros and fits six people, you can find it for cheaper though. We paid 60 euros and since there was six of us, we only paid 10 euros each, which isn’t that bad considering the gondola ride is all the hype. Other than that everything else in Venice is a tad more expensive. For one night in our hostel we found ourselves paying 10 euros less than we did in the other cities, in which we spent three nights. The gelato was my favorite, but gelato is gelato and I enjoyed it.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:10153696_10154044852435652_6224126577564646224_nIMG_6202IMG_6185IMG_3971IMG_6168IMG_3953IMG_3965

Florence Fun

Florence was my favorite city of the three in Italy that I visited 🙂 Why? Because everything is walking distance and the pizza was ahhhmazing. After the four hour train ride to Florence, we were happy to find that our hostel, Hotel Pensione Ottaviani, was a short walk from the Santa Maria Novella and everything else there was to see. One thing I wish the hostel offered was a kitchen, as college students traveling on a budget we like to prepare some meals in order to save some cash €€€. But the lack of a kitchen didn’t stop us from visiting our local Conad…. Where I found a sweet remember of home meal, the Valencian paella 🙂 

Also in hopes of saving money we visited the outdoor cheese and wine market in the Piazza S. Maria Novella, where I got to try some free Tuscan wine!

Because we wanted to see the Il Duomo and didn’t want to pay or wait in line, we decided we would attend mass… Is this ethical? Probably not, but we were respectful and didn’t take pictures plus it was Easter weekend and felt we should go to church at least once. PLUS they offer an English mass time! How cool?

There was no way we weren’t going to check out the top gelato places travel sites and a hostel friend we made in Rome urged us to try. Perché No, was our first stop… Our friend recommended we try the fruit flavors, especially the strawberry. Of course, I took her advice and also tried the lemon flavor. It was soooo good, I tried to ask for a free refill, who am I?! Ha. That was a fail.

Vivoli was among the highly praised gelato spots, here I also ordered the strawberry, lemon, and added the raspberry flavor. I learned my lesson the day before on the size of my gelato, so I paid a euro extra (total of 3.50) for a bigger size and three options. The raspberry flavor was my favorite, the strawberry and lemon weren’t bad, but I prefer the one at Perché No.

Pizza pizza pizza. I absolutely enjoyed my pizza in Florence. For a quick dinner, we decided to grab a slice at Pizzeria Totò. It was cheap (slices from €2.50-3), filling, and delicious. Plus our friends at Perché No suggested we go there and then we ran into some American students who had just gotta their Totò’s… So we figured why not? It sounded like the local place to eat. I’ve never had pesto pizza and wow I’ve been missing out! The following day we ate at Gusta Pizza, where you can order a heart-shaped individual pizza, I chose not to but it was still an affordable 5 euros! 

I visited Michelangelo’s David, who apparently is now at risk of collapsing? I promise it wasn’t me! Anyway, I thought it was completely overpriced to pay 11… Not even a damn student discount. P.s. only EU students get discounts, our international student cards are good for NADA, NOTHING.. bummer right?

ANYWAY

We took an afternoon trip to Pisa, to visit the famous leaning tower. On our way we meet an American student from New Mexico and talked to her for the entire hour ride… I love meeting people like this, we eventually exchange Facebooks and Instagrams because we both have the same interest in international relations and working for the U.S. Government. Networking on a train in Italy? Why not!

I took a nap in Pisa, took a couple of bad pictures with the Leaning Tower…

IMG_3739IMG_5874
IMG_5930IMG_5949IMG_3751 IMG_3745IMG_3755IMG_3756 IMG_3768IMG_3759IMG_3811  IMG_3780IMG_3778Gusta Pizza 🙂

IMG_3854 IMG_3900IMG_3914IMG_6079

Rome, Roman Ruins, and Reunions

Hi hi hi,

I have returned from my week in Italy! And boy was it a week filled with much pizza eating and monument visiting.

The first stop on our Italian vacation was Rome. Along with my three friends from my study abroad program, I was joined by my older sister :). She meet up with us in Rome and I was so excited to explore the city with her, it honestly felt like no time had passed since I last saw her in January. We spent three days in Rome, which I feel is a sufficient amount of time to see the most important things and still have time for other things.

DAY ONE

Shortly after arriving at our hostel, Papaya Female Hostel, we went out to find the famous Trevi Fountain. I don’t know why I was shocked to see the overload of selfie takers, tourists, and people making wishes simply for photographs here BECAUSE LET’S FACE IT the only reason we go to these places is to prove we’ve been there. In other words, instead of being annoyed that there was 8437933 hogging the Trevi I decided to join the party of social media travelers. IMG_3649UNFORTUNATELY, the weather in Rome wasn’t as nice and sunny as it appears in the picture. We only managed to walk a couple blocks before a storm hit us, to escape the rain we decided to get something to manger aka eat. Sorry, I wish I remember where we ate, it was somewhere between the fountain and Via del Corso. Because we were desperate to get indoors we ignore the price of the pizza, a whooping 9 euros for a personal margarita pie… The only reason we were cringing about the price is that we A) are still college students and B) we had walked away from cheaper restaurants hoping to find a better deal. Nonetheless, the pizza was filling, I wouldn’t eat there again because I am not a big fan of t h i n pizza. IMG_3717

The rain had stopped and we had finished our early dinner, so the Spanish Steps were next on the list.

Honestly, I don’t know what I had expected from some steps, but when I saw the Spanish Steps I wasn’t all too impressed. Maybe it was the construction work, or the bad weather that factored into that. No lo se. I will say that we made some Italian friends on the steps, whom we took selfies with and couldn’t understand… oh the language barriers. IMG_5419

The downpour occurred in less than 30 minutes… Thank the Roman Gods for the Sephora across the street that we should for shelter until deciding how to get home. P.S. there is a metro station right next to the steps, clearly named Spagna. What better way to save money than to take public transportation? You know I wasn’t going to cab it, hahaha.

DAY TWO

We set out to be way more productive on the second day, because hell there was still a whole lot to see. Apparently, every Wednesday’s the Pope will step out and greet everyone in the Vatican? It was Wednesday so WE WEREN’T going to miss seeing Pope Francis!! Again we took the metro to Vatican City, on our way to St. Peter’s Basilica we were stopped by a tour leader/seller person who insisted that the Pope had already come out and greeted and that there was no way we would get into the Basilica today. Luckily we trust our instinct and kept it moving. DON’T blindly trust the street guides, at the end of the day they are trying to sell you there product. SO anyway, we arrived just in time to see Pope Francis and I was toooo happy. I couldn’t really see see him considering he was too far away but I heard him and saw from the big screen… that counts right? IMG_5461Then came the wait to enter St. Peter’s Basilica… Approx. two hours. But hey, it was a free visit to one of the pretttiest church I’ve visited this semester. IMG_5543Of course, the visit to St. Peter’s Basilica wasn’t complete until saw the view from Cupola (dome of the church). The climb was excruciating, how? I don’t know. I’m a fit, 20-year-old having trouble climbing 300 something steps of stairs? Woah. The view though… was completely worth it! P.s. climbing cost 5 euros, climbing with the elevator option is 7 euros. IMG_3731We didn’t waste anytime, we rushed to the Colosseum. Here, we thought we would get the 8 euro student discount only to discover that only European Union student receive that reduced rate, American students pay 12 euros. CRINGE. IMG_5627IMG_5635Weird story: I ran into a girl from my high school at the Colosseum, who is currently studying abroad in London but was on her spring break in Rome too! Its funny how small the world is, right?

With the admission ticket to the Colosseum you also get admission to the Roman Forum across the street! Take advantage of it, because it really was the quietest and most peaceful place I experienced in Rome 🙂

IMG_5673 IMG_5663

Because we had done a lot for one day, we decided we would treat ourselves to a good dinner. The night before a girl who was also staying at our hostel suggested we eat at MISCELLANEA, which is located directly behind the Pantheon, and get the 15 euro special that included all you can drink red AND white wine, bruschetta, pasta, a shared pizza, dessert, and sexy wine! Pretty good deal if you ask me. I loved the place, our server asked if anyone was a vegetarian so he could bring out a special plate and I was delighted. No one ever tries to cater to the vegetarian so it was so nice not to feel like a burden.

IMG_3696 IMG_3700 IMG_3701 IMG_3704 IMG_3710 IMG_3711

DAY THREE

Final day in Roma! We had already seen all the monuments we wanted to so we decided to take it easy and visit a few places. Here is the day in photos:

The Pantheon selfieIMG_5796 Free??! I’ll take it! This was at the Enoteca Al Senato by Piazza Navona IMG_5809 Eating a fresh mozzarella, tomato with basil sandwich on Via del ConciliazioneIMG_3727 Via del conciliazione view of Vatican CityIMG_5864With hair in my face on the Ponte Sant’ Angelo IMG_5860After these day adventures we went back to the hostel to pack up for the Florence!!! That’ll be for the next post 🙂

Films I’m Loving (Spanish Edition)

I truly underestimated the results of traveling and sunbathing would have on my body the following days after arriving from Ibiza. My body felt completely unable to do any work, which wasn’t so great considering this week is my last week to get any real work done before my Semana Santa (Holy Week) break where I’ll be traveling to three Italian cities. 🙂 (Side note: I have never traveled to Italy and I am soooo excited!) I tried to take advantage of my time in bed rest to watch Spanish films, because as no surprise I had simply been watching my American TV shows and movies. What’s living in a country for five months and not caring to enjoy in their cinema?

So I asked my lovely Mallorca native roommate, Yeye, for her suggestions and she said I would enjoy La Cara Oculta (The Hidden Face), 3 Metros Sobre el Cielo (Three Steps Above Heaven), and its sequel Tengo Ganas de Ti (I Want You). I watch all three and as Yeye had predicted, I loved them. 

The beginning of 3MSEC seemed like a typical Hollywood-fairytale love story to me, I was happy to find that indeed it was nothing like an American film. The sequel TGDT was just as great, probably my favorite of the two, I feel in love with the new characters and the soundtrack! Clara Lago, the lead female in the film, sang two songs in the film. Now, I’m not sure if they are her own songs, either way she has a beautiful delicate voice. In love. Zahara, a Spanish singer, also has a couple songs in the film. Considering that I haven’t stopped listening to these Spanish songs, I am required to share them with you:

Zahara: Tu Me Llevas, Con Las Ganas

Clara Lago: Aunque Tu No Lo Sepas, La Cama

la-cara-oculta-cartel1Tengo_ganas_de_ti.Dehparadox-1

Does spending your day in bed watching movies from your host country count as integrating to the culture? I think so, plus I’m 100% convinced that there is nothing better than watching a film in its original language. I’ll be watching some more Spanish flicks during my time here, so send any other suggestions my way! 🙂

 

Ibiza (Day Two & Three)

Or otherwise titled: Ibiza on a budget

Anyway my second day in Ibiza consisted of more sun, after asking our hotel’s receptionist we were recommended to La Playa de Ses Salinas. According to our receptionist it is one of the more popular beaches in Ibiza, so we decided to try it out. The beach was not filled with tourists, as we expected considering the timing of our trip, but nonetheless we took advantage of the scenery to take pictures and the sun to tan 🙂

Some pictures taken at Playa de Ses Salinas:ImageImageImage

Naturally, we were hungry after spending all afternoon on the beach. Craving for some real paella, I was disappointed to find no restaurants around were serving paella. We stayed near Avenida de España (which leads to the center of the city) so I didn’t understand why we didn’t have any luck, we walked past kebab places and Mexican ones, and because we were pretty hungry we decided to settle on Mexican food. I had a vegetarian burrito, for those who didn’t know, I’m a Pescatarian (eat seafood, but no meat or chicken).

Check out our burritos (each was (9.50 euros, we thought it might have been a little overpriced, but what can you do)

ImageImage

After spending 20 euros on lunch, Sam and I decided that we would buy food to cook in our apartment-style hotel room. But beforethat I managed to sneak an hour nap and woke up to the most beautiful sunset ever 🙂

AHHH, just take a second to admire that beauty!! Image

 

Dinner à la “broke college student” style aka A LOT of pasta and bread.Image

 

Our last day in Ibiza 😦

On Sunday decided it would be best to leave a couple hours before boarding time, so we only had time to buy souvenirs and have breakfast.

Postcards make for the best souvenirs, ONE they’re affordable and TWO they are sold everywhere.  Image

 

IBIZA AIRPORT… very colorfulImage

Our plane ride home 🙂 Image

xo

Dannielle