Tag Archives: internship

the last hurrah; el último olé

In an attempt to do something productive with my Sunday, I decided to get back on the blogging horse.  At least to make one more hurrah, to go out with a bang, to tie up the loose ends of this blogging/study abroad experience.  So today is brought to you by the letter F: Formentera, finalidad, fear, etc.

After school ended, K. and I were lucky enough to receive a personal invite to Formentera, the smallest and most rustic of the Balearic Islands.  Armed with R.’s dungarees and various degrees of SPF, we boarded the flight (followed by the ferry) to destination: Dirección Sur.  Just as we did in Barcelona, we immediately set out for an adventure (“you have to say you did something amazing your first night on the Island!”–R.).  We drove the to the southern-most tip of the island, marked by a beautiful lighthouse beneath which is a system of caves, one of which we descended into.  Placing candles in its crevices as we walked through it, we came upon the opening on the other side where we found ourselves feet from the high tide lapping relentlessly against the side of the cliff.  Shooting stars welcomed us to the island from above.

"baño en Illetes..."

The next day, after 12 hours of sleep (a fact R. would not let me live down) we headed to Illetes, a narrow strip of beach at the northern-most point of the island.  There we braved the freezing water of the early season with the help of wetsuits, breaking for a picnic and a walk afterward.  On the walk we met Johannsen, an older German gentleman who has been coming to Illetes for twenty years to embellish and expand his “castle”: a collection of rock sculptures he’s made from all items he’s found in the area (driftwood, rocks, old ship parts washed up on shore).  From there we went to meet more old guiri-hipis (foreign hippies), arriving at Diki’s house in time for tea and cookies.  Diki is a fixture in Formentera, squatting for more than thirty years on his patch of land, making amazing wooden sculptures and keeping a low profile.  When he’s not outdoors on his land or in his workshop, he’s sitting by the fire in his one-room hut.  He’s the prickly type that I end up grating on with my intensity, so when we broke for another walk I was relieved to have a chance to exhale.  Down to the cliffs we went, to further admire the aqua-blue water and incredible geology of the island.

X.

The next day was spiced up with the arrival of X., everyone’s favorite singer/songwriter who spends half the year physically living in Barcelona, while mentally living all twelve months in Formentera.  Another day at the beach was therefore planned, this time in a new location that required all swimmers to dive into the frigid waters from the side of a cliff.  Then it was back to R.’s incredible homestead (called l’Ermita, the hermitage, due to its resemblance to the architectural similarities it shares with Formentera’s churches) to clean ourselves up for the soccer game we were going to watch in town.  Barça won, and all was right with the world.

From this point on you can imagine the daily activities: beach, try not to burn, try not to get stung by the jellyfish that had invaded the island, amazing seaside lunches, further cave exploration, aiding in the construction of an addition the l’Ermita (okay bet you weren’t expecting that one.  But I’m positive I moved [read: pilfered] scaffolding material from the lot next door at least three times, while wearing a jersey dress), Spanish food workshops led by X., guitar strumming, etc.  It was truly an amazing vacation, the perfect ending to the perfect year abroad. [Suspend your disbelief].

So now we’ve covered the first of the aforementioned Fs (Formentera).  Now onto finalidad with a touch of fear.  I’m going to gloss over the hellish travel stories I have in my attempts to get home, all of which revolve around the f***ing (another F) volcano in Iceland that decided to disrupt all of my well-crafted (and expensive) plans.  But I made it home safe and sound, sana y salva, and that’s what counts.  Being home, however, is weird.  There’s no other way to describe it.  I feel as though I have been teleported into another world, and Spain could not feel farther away now.  All of the people, relationships, and events that used to be the center of my world are now 4000+ miles east, 6 hours ahead and complicated by a language barrier  which for nine months I attempted to overcome.  And things that I yearned for and missed while over there (driving the PT, Bodo’s, my queen-sized bed) are already losing some of their novelty, and life without Radio 3, paella and a metro system seems unmanageable and totally undesirable.  I know I’m suffering hard from the “grass-is-greener” syndrome, and that it’s all a process that I’ve hardly begun, but as M. says “es lo que hay” (“it’s all there is”; “it is what it is”).  And with that statement and the sentiment it conveys I will face the upcoming months, filled with summer jobs, a publishing internship at a local magazine, old friends and hopefully some productive soul-searching and maybe a few steps closer to entering the real world.

Y ya está.  Con eso, mi público, ¡me piro!

Besos from a broad abroad at home.

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Filed under schmoozing, travel

past, present and future.

FINALLY, some new material. It has taken me probably 3 weeks to get this blog fully up and running, just an example of stubborn I’ve been about creating one in the first place.  But let’s face it, an aspiring travel journalist with nothing to share is hardly an aspiring travel journalist at all.  So that’s where this comes in, providing YOU, my future employers (?) (?) (?), my past friends and lovers, my long-time family, etc. with the annals of what exactly I’m getting into this semester.

The first few weeks back (post-European Christmas adventure, post-visit from Mom) were a hard adjustment, but things seem to be falling into place. New friends, new classes (Mass Media, Don Quijote, Civilization and Culture, and Linguistics, to be exact), new activities.  Also, new internships! I just found out that I’ll be working for Valencia’s fútbol (soccer) team doing some translations for their website.  This might prove difficult considering I know very little about soccer (who am I kidding: all sports), let alone its lexicon in English or Spanish.  Pues, vamos a ver…

I will say this about the newness of this semester: with the new crop of students we (the old guard) have been rejuvenated and are on the quest for the lesser-known, alternative places/activities around the city.  This search has led us to many interesting experiences, including the following:

  • taking a day-trip to Sagunto, the old Roman trade city north of Valencia, only to find it completely closed, a crisis we responded to by going on a hike all around the castle.

    Sagunto from above

  • Mexi[can food] Night in a somewhat forgotten part of town
  • the Madhatter’s Tea Party, to which showed up a crop of Spanish Lolita’s, a fashion style that is not only creepy but totally not in accordance with the Alice in Wonderland theme
  • a paella cooking class which began with me almost fainting at the sight and sound of rabbit and chicken being prepared (read: hacked apart violently) and ended with me chowing down on some delicious conejo

On top of these isolated events, I’ve picked up some new routines as well.  Starting with a 2 times a week pilates class, which is not only a stretch physically but mentally considering the language barrier.  I’m also still teaching English to Gonzalo, the adorable 7-year old who lives down the street.  Since winter break he has really come out of his shell, making a once-frustrating weekly appointment into something I look forward to.  Plus, this has given me some indication that I am not as horrible with children as I thought, and that he might actually like me!  A revelation for this child-phobic twenty-something.

So now we’ve covered the past, the present, and onto the future: our first long vacation is Fallas in mid-March, during which of course we’ll all be staying in town for our first Fallas experience.  But in April we’re given 2 weeks (thank you, Catholic holidays!) for travel and time off from school, during which I hope to be in Istanbul and the Grecian Isles (I just love the sound of that).  Obviously it’s still far off, and plans always change, but it’s still something to look forward to.

All in all, things are good in Valencia (how can you complain about a place where there’s 60 degree weather when you know your house is buried ankle-deep in snow and cold and gloom and doom?)

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Filed under schmoozing, school, spring semester, travel, Valencia