“Only when I fall do I get up again.”- Vincent Van Gogh
iHola a todos!
This week I learned a new word in Spanish that perfectly describes how my week went: nostálgica or homesick. This is the third time that homesickness has hit me and I feel it is necessary to talk about it because like myself, some of my friends in the program are also going through it.
Homesickness was not something that I could have prevented or can get rid of easily. I was hit with this feeling when I learned that it was snowing in Las Vegas. This is a rare occurrence in my city because the last time it snowed that much was during my first year in the U.S. The feeling of missing out and nostalgia of the past made it hard not to miss home. This past Wednesday was lowest I have ever felt. I needed something to reminded me of home and Starbucks was the answer to all my problems.
Since coming here I have always tried to order my food in Spanish in order to practice the language. However, this time it did not go as smoothly at Starbucks. After asking for my drink, the barista asked what size I wanted and for some reason, my mind could not process what he was saying at all. For a moment, I froze then broke down in front of him. I must admit looking back I was a little dramatic but what he did next caught me off guard. Instead of ringing me up for the drink, he told me it was on the house and hoped that his “handsome” presence made my day. This was one of the nicest things a random stranger has done for me, especially, when I am 5,000 miles away from home.
That day was the turning point of being homesick. I would like to believe that the barista and his kindness are the reasons why things began looking up. On Friday, I took my midterm exam for my second Spanish class and it was not as hard as I had thought it was going to be. This exam played a role in my homesickness because I had put so much emphasis and pressure on myself that I had convinced myself I was going to fail.
Another surprise that happened to me this week occurred several hours ago. Since coming here, I signed up for a intercambios de idiomas or ‘language exchanges’ program where USAC would pair us up with a current/alumni of the host university so we both could help each other practice our Spanish/ English. For the last month, I have been talking to my intercambio and today we finally met. Alberto is one of the sweetest, funniest, and down-to-Earth people I have gotten the chance to talk to. We soon found out that we had a friend in common! I know it sounds so bazaar! How can two strangers from different parts of the world know someone in common but here we were. It turns out, four years ago, my intercambio was paired up with a family friend who also studied abroad via USAC and they kept in contact ever since. It was such a blessing in disguise the fact that out of all the intercambios I could have been paired with, I was lucky enough to have gotten paired up with Alberto.
This week showed me that it is okay to let loose sometimes. Sharing my thoughts and feelings to an online community is often very hard because I am not sure how much of myself I should put on here. However, there is one thing for sure, I have since returned to my happy-go-lucky self and I am very excited to see where my study abroad journey will take me to next.
Here are the places I have visited this week:
- This weekend my friends and I thought we take a break from the city life in Madrid and went hiking in Manzanares El Real. The town is in the northern area of the autonomous Community of Madrid.
- As a Van Gogh fan, I couldn’t past the chance to see the Van Gogh Alive exhibition at the Círculo de Bellas Artes. Van Gogh Alive is a multimedia exhibition experience that allows the visitors to experience the life and work of the Post-Impressionist painter.
Song of the week: “Spotless Mind” – Jhené Aiko