Thursday, September 27, 2012


And I haven't even arrived in Salamanca yet. I'm still in Avila.

After some minor mishaps, my plane landed 45 minutes late into Madrid. Nevertheless, I made it to this diamond in the rough with my miserly Spanish. The accent isn't too difficult anymore, it's just the phrases and colloquialisms that I need work with, but that is why I'm here.

I arrived in Avila just after noon. Long story short, I couldn't find the monastery my mom and I had booked a night at. To be honest, I forgot the name besides "Santa Teresa". Everything here is "Santa Teresa". How did I not see this coming? So this elderly lady native to the region took me under wing and took me to three possible locations. Two of them turned out to be student dorms. So now I'm staying at Universidad de la Mistica. It's a retreat for the study of Santa Teresa since she was from the region.

For 34 euros per night, I get breakfast, a location on the outskirt of town, and an immaculate bedroom with two single beds. I think the girl at the front desk upgraded me to this room because she saw how much stuff I had.

Back to the elderly spanish lady. We ate dinner together and now I know I don't like Sopa Castellana. She would just talk and talk and talk and I would shake my head in the appropriate direction and the appropriate time. It was awesome. I think she may have had dentures because her speaking was a tad muffled. She was still cute though, in her white blazer and orange creme colored slacks.

She wants me to send her a post card from Las Vegas.

I just finished breakfast which was successful. I ended up sitting with a group from Atlanta. I'm joining them for the duration of the morning. Mary, Wallace, Isias, and Antonio--thank you for making my first Spanish breakfast an enjoyable one!

There was this one awkward moment, though. I heard some people speaking German so I asked them about the breakfast cereal--is it oatmeal or muesli? I got the message that it was muesli, but then one of them just kept going and going....uh, ja das ist gut. 


It's been a beautiful life.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Eight Days til Freedom.

Eight days away from my dearture from the US and I'm stale. I'm not feeling the magic. Eh, it'll hit me once I get off the plane in Madrid.

My Half Pass for Switzerland ran out at the end of August. My Swiss residency permit expires on the 23rd of September. It's a tad discouraging. I don't think I even need a residency permit for Spain-I'm just a long-tern tourist.

Well, my bags are almost packed already. My one backpack and my one suitcase will be so much easier to maneuver than before. Lugging all my stuff between Lugano and Frankfurt was SO stressful. That's an eight our train ride I wish unto NO ONE.

Life is dry on this side of the world: the land, the air, my life.               

Maybe I should stop and come back when I'm not so nostalgic. Perhaps this moment isn't the right time for another move. Resettling is the most difficult part.

And I still don't have a definite University I'm attending this Spring. University of Nevada Las Vegas is more difficult to work with than I realised.


Monday, September 10, 2012


Upn my return to the United States, I landed in Las Vegas, even though home for me has always been Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Its been a little unsettling moving so much. From Lugano to Frankfurt; from Frankfurt to Las Vegas. Soon enough it will be Las Vegas to Salamanca. It's keeps life interesting, though.

There's always something to do in Las Vegas, but getting there is always the problem. This city is impossible without a car. Public transportation is almost nonexistent.

Even so, my parents still drive me to the other side of town every week to take me to salsa lessons. I guess you could call this my welcome home present. Do my parents know me or what? So I bought a pair of shoes on sale at Macy's and I hit the floor twice a week!

My parents and I go to the strip on weekends. We even took a day to hike through Valley of Fire nearby. We've eaten at every kind of restaurant you can imagine: Greek, Salvadorian, Bulgarian, Persian, Etheopian, Mississippi, kosher, Honduran, Russian, Cuban, cupcake...

We do not lack in culinary experience.

Through it all, I remember why I enjoyed my one year in Switzerland more than most of my life:

-there's no public transportation system to speak of (and I don't have a car)
- very few places in the US are "walking cities"
- there are absolutely no cheap flights (Ryanair, easyjet, wizzair)
-Under 21 and you're treated without respect (treat us like an adult, and we'll act like one.)
- there's no challenge for me (I know how American work, I understand their language. not fun)

So even though I live in one of the most entertaining cities in the world, I'm stuck inside the house. Even though I do live in a wonderful country, I'm not improving my French, German, Swiss German, etc. 

Oh, and there aren't any good Swiss cheeses at the grocery store. A bitter disappointment.

Countdown: 13 days until departure.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Summary of the Last Three Months

I made it though Bulgaria. It was four days of perfection at the Black Sea. Not only that, I also ran into many people I shared no common language with, which is always a kick. I managed to buy a handmade bowl, two handmade dolls, a traditional shirt, a pair of light blue leather sandals, but no honey. And my mom keeps on reminding me that I forgot to buy her a hand-painted picture of sunflowers, which I could have easily bought (but I was waiting to find the perfect one so it slipped my mind and wouldn't have fit in my backpack by the time I returned to the Plovdiv airport).

With my Inter Rail pass, I made it to Plovdiv in the south, Bourgas and Karabat in the east, and Sofia in the far west (almost in the Rhodope mountains).

Bourgas was my second stop. My train departed at 1:00am from Plovdiv. I sat in the station alone most of the time, except when I had to deal with train conductors who had never seen an inter rail pass before (???). That was stressful, but it all worked out. I ended up speaking with a Bulgarian man who didn't really speak english for a few hours. The trains made me anxious. I could hear them screach through the window of the cafe I was waiting at. It was dark and they definitely  appeared to be worn in. Then I remembered that the Bulgarian trains haven't been updated since the Soviets implemented them over 60 years ago...

But then, out of no where, a man I recognized from my flight sat a table near me. This gave me hope and some peace of mind. But then he started speaking to me in Bulgarian, great. Long story short, I found out that he works at the same Ernst and Young I did in Frankfurt. He's from the Ukraine but teaches German to Bulgarian children because he likes it. He's finishing up his Master's Degree in Minnesota or Wisconsin this year and speaks five languages. It was dark, I was scared, he helped me find a seat in those slow, unkept, trains without enough seats. We talked the whole six hour journey. If anyone sees him, he's missing from my life.

I arrived on the unspoiled beaches of the Black Sea where I didn't see a single European tourist or hear any English. It was beautiful.

On my last day in Sofia (pronounced: SO-fi-ah), I stumbled upon a group of students from a dance school performing tradional Bulgarian dances. The students were clad in tradition vests, garb, and colors. Some female students sang outstanding solo pieces while younger students danced. Parents recorded their children while I was standing there in the sun, front row, amazed at my discovery.

Unfortunately, I really need to summarize. Do I need to say how much I loved this country? For me, it's number two, next to Switzerland. All other countries just mess together for me. I've had exceptional experiences everwhere, but only a few can really stick out.

I went to London still trying to recover from my Bulgaria trip. Again, I traveled alone, yet going west always shapes up differently from going east.

So, long story short, I had a BLAST traveling on a charter bus with 30 English students from UCL (University of Central London) to Paris!!!  Don't tell me that doesn't sound exciting. Oh, so many selfies...heheheheh

I got back to Frankfurt a little disappointed that I didn't have any more vacation days. but I made it through the internship then headed to Switzerland for some of the most carefree days of my life.

Crossing the border into Switzerland and hearing Swiss German was an accomplishment in itsself. I had made it through a summer of interning for a tax corporation. Really, who knows how I got there. I dropped off my luggage at the Zurich airport and headed for Murten, Vaud, Schweiz. Bettet yet, I had planned this trip out well, so I booked a farm to stay at for the first two nights!! Okay, maybe a little kidish, but breakfast was included in the price, there wasn't a curfew, it was cheap (only 35 chf per night), and I used my half pass to go to surrounding towns. I was gone from 9:00 until at least 22:00 both nights. Okay, maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but I would go to four or so towns in that time. My favorite spot I found on the second day.

Avenches-les-Bains is a medieval town situated on a hill next to Lac de Neuchatel. I changed into my swimsuit next to the water's edge, left my personal things unattended, and swam. There was no one around. And when people did come around, I didn't have to worry. The Swiss are the most honest, trusting people I've stummbled upon. I've never had anything stolen in this country. The water was so cold, so clean, I could see all the way to the bottom without my goggles, but I used my goggles, just for kicks.

I think it's noteworthy to mention that I hiked from Broc-Fabrique to Gruyeres. It was chilly in the mountains. I came back down during the latter part of sunset, after I had eaten my last round of fondue (motie-motie).

Yes, it was a tearful goodbye. The flight was long and now I'm in Las Vegas, Nevada. These six weeks I'm here are just to prepare for my semester in Spain. I've seen so many dentists, doctors, and hey, I just got my wisdom teeth pulled on Tuesday. My skin is also a healthy shade darker.

I'll have to be better about posting during my studies in Spain. ahhhh, SPAIN!!