Sunday, May 26, 2013

Packing is Difficult

JUST 4 DAYS UNTIL I LEAVE! Words cannot express how excited I am. Let's just say, I've been working on packing for a few weeks now, and therefore living out of my suitcase. Fun stuff. But did you know how challenging packing for a month can be? Especially when you're travelling overseas. Anddddd especially when you're me.
For those of you who don't know, I'm a notorious over-packer. Like, by a lot. My family and friends all make jokes about it, and I have to admit they're right in doing so. But I think it's important to be prepared. As in, prepared for potential winter weather in summer (pretty sure I should bring my winter coat, just in case). And what if I drop something on my shirt, resulting in an impossible-to-remove stain? Better have a few more to replace it. See my thought process?
Since I pack like that for weekend trips, it's only logical that I should multiply that by 4 to equal a month's worth of necessities. But, unfortunately, we have been told to pack light. As in, pack as though you are going to be gone for a week.


Freaking out a bit, here.
I started by emptying my closet out onto my floor. When I realized packing was more complicated then that, I started eliminating "unnecessary" items. Now I'm down to: 1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, 2 dresses, 5 tops, a few undergarments, 2 PAIRS OF SHOES, and 4 pairs of socks. We're going to be able to do laundry there, thankfully. Oh, and there's also a few random items, such as duck tape (not a typo- I got some pretty awesome duck tape- and it's apparently a good thing to bring) and gifts for my host family.

I don't care what you say, this is packing LIGHT.

I'm hoping I'm done packing now, but chances are I'm going to go back through it all a few hundred more times and change my mind on what to bring. I have a feeling this is going to be the most difficult part of the experience. And, knowing me, I'll end up forgetting a lot that I should have brought.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pre-departure Introduction!

Hola mis amigos!
With just 2 weeks until I leave to study abroad in Spain, I figured I would start this blog as a way of keeping you all up to date about my overseas shenanigans and adventures and such. Hopefully I'll be able to update it regularly...we shall see.
For those of you who don’t know, I will be traveling to Alcalá de Henares, which is right outside of Madrid, for a little over a month. 

Here are some interesting facts I’ve researched for the purpose of sounding informed:
-Wikipedia says the name Alcalá de Henares translates to Citadel on the river Henares. However, I have no idea where this translation comes from, since none of those Spanish words are even remotely close to that whatsoever. Another website, which seems more credible, says Alcalá comes from the Moorish word al Qa’lah, which means “palace” or “castle”. I like that better, since it sounds more majestic. It also makes more sense, as the Moors occupied Spain for over 700 years and notably contributed their style of architecture, which includes domes and decorative patterns. As a result, many towns which had palaces or castles included the phrase al Qa’lah in their names to highlight their presence. Another cool fact is that the city has been preserved, and is in part known for such monumental heritage and buildings, which are reminiscent of life during the Spanish Golden Age. So there’s your history lesson for the day!

-Alcalá is most known as the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote “Don Quixote.” Which is an awesome book, in case you didn’t know. Go read it. Or watch the Wishbone episode of it. Anyway, I’m really hoping to see this tribute there (of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza):

-This town is also known for the prestigious Universidad de Alcalá, which I am lucky enough to study at. Every year they distribute the world-renowned Cervantes Prize, which annually honors the lifetime achievement of an outstanding writer in the Spanish language. It is awarded by the King and Queen of Spain in the great hall of the university, so that’s a big deal.

Also, I will be staying with a host family. I know nothing about them yet, but I’m excited for the experience! We were told in an email that our families are more anxious and nervous to meet us than we are of them. For some reason, that kinda reminds me of that saying concerning spiders: It’s more scared of you than you are of it. Hopefully that’s not true in this case.
Stay tuned fo mo info…