Thought Catalog

1. Metabolism isn’t magic.

It’s hard not to get used to the grotesque Roman orgy of eating habits that is youth. You can live on an uninterrupted diet of Mountain Dew, Doritos, and the errant Toaster Strudel for when you’re feeling like doing a bit of kitchen work, never seeing an ounce of your folly go straight to your carefree hips. Then, at a certain point, you eat an Oreo and can actually watch that bad boy travel from your esophagus to your ass if you stand in front of a full-length mirror. And the energy you constantly felt, regardless of the day’s activities or the time you’d gotten up that morning? Now, if you’re not living on a diet of nothing but kale and Yoga For Self-Righteous People, you’re essentially comatose by 3 PM. It appears that being healthy requires work, and few things in life seem to suck…

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The art of multitasking

If I can take 6 classes in Spanish while traveling through Europe every weekend, I can do anything.
Planning my next trip to backpack Europe for 21 days, missing some time from my 19 credit last semester senior year. I’ve been stressing but seeing these grades definitely gave me some inspiration. Can’t wait to see what the next journey beholds.

Reflexiones de una nueva viajera

As I continue to meet travelers venturing solo, I can’t help but 1. be inspired to go it alone, and 2. realize the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that still exists.

From my curious-22-year-old-New-Yorker-study-abroad-college-student-point-of-view,

America, home of the individualistic society, what makes going to a new country any different than going away to college alone? Remember that euphoric feeling once you moved to a new school in a new place without knowing a soul, and 2 weeks later had friends? Yea I get that every time I spend a weekend in a new hostel. It’s like freshman year all over again. People from everywhere on earth high on life, curious, and willing to share and learn and explore our world, who you have at least 2 things in common with because 1.you’re both here and 2.you both came from somewhere else.

Granted, I have been in only 5 countries in my life , 4 in a matter of 3 months, but it seems life is becoming harder to live a sedentary life, and it took me having to leave to realize this. It’s not 1980 anymore America, we’re not our parents. What 22 year old has enough money to put a down payment on a house??? My parents bought my house and already had a kid 2 years older than I am now… I can barely pay off my college loans let alone think of living in my own place or taking care of another being. This is the case in New York at least, and even Spain. When I asked the 15 year girl I tutor English, why she wants to speak at least 5 languages, she replied to me “We’re in Crisis, we will probably have to leave the country to find work, so we should know the language.” At 15, I was just starting my first job at a bakery working and going to school to get good grades for nearby college in hopes of a career.

[Students don’t work in Spain- college is their “career” until they graduate and move on to make money]

As a senior in college, I was working about 45 hours a week minimum to take 25 hours of classes and still living at home, with a great chance that that career wont pay more than what I make now. 70+ work hours a week, for a few years will make you crazy when your strongest relationships are with the people you work with and wait on. These people will always have a place in my heart, don’t get me wrong, but 15 repetitive hours a day together sometimes 5 days a week is a bit rough at 21. I was hungry starving to live, to experience, to wake up for something more than being Victoria, that nice waitress who’s good at serving food and pretending to be excited to do it. Survival of the fittest, and I my friend, was dying.

Human instinct: when you’re starving, hunt for nutrition. The semester I decided to study abroad was like milk to a baby. There’s an infinite amount of life styles out there and being surrounded by a new one is euphoric. From raising livestock and growing your own vegetables in green fields behind tiny pueblos, to thousands of shops filled with gremios of artisans selling handmade goods in the oldest Medina in the world, I’ve had the opportunity to time travel back to the 8th century, and see first hand the arabs and berbers I read about in history books. “The school of life”; I learned more about that culture than anyone could have taught me in a book. I learned why the Moroccans speak 5 languages, and that they go to the desert to clear their mind and fantasize as the moon illuminates thousands of grains of sand, one at a time, and riding themselves of negative energy. Inshallah.

Simple conversations with people who are so different yet not, taught me something about my own life that I couldn’t have learned submersed in the life I have lived for 22 years. This is the reason why we travel. You can sit at home and read Freud or history books until your eyes fall out and wonder why we are here, but until you go out and see that continent where ‘humans originated’ or the oldest city in the world for yourself you can’t begin to wrap your mind around it. It is important to know where we came from, like an adopted child looking for it’s birth parents. Coming from a newborn country, going out and finding information from people who carry the culture of their ancient ancestors is like discovering an ancient artifact.

It also made me appreciate where I come from. America isn’t the only materialistic society, it’s not even the culture that spread materialism. In fact, it’s something that has been around since before America was even developing in the womb. I can’t tell you why this way of life exists, but I can tell you ideas and cultures like this have spread like diseases through the air. Be a part of a pack or a lone wolf, whether we wear jilabas or business suits we’ve all got something in common,. We’re all hunting and gathering to survive. Hunting for that nutrition to grow, and gathering to prolong survival.

 

 

Surviving.

 

Well, today was the last day for teaching English in Spain. This trip at least…

 

It’s such an accomplishing feeling, to find something I would do for free, but it helps that I paid for 2 travels in 2 months by sharing my native language. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to take from those students some of their culture, and to share mine with them. It was an amazing experience that unexpectedly has enhanced this study abroad experience.

 

My mom always told me to teach, but until the 1st day I walked into La Fabrica De las idiomas I had no intention of doing it. Making learning English fun for them was so accomplishing, when you see them learning and communicating so much better in just 2 months. I feel like I was just their age yesterday (12-16) that I can still relate, especially because I’m in classes during the day myself I know how it feels.

 

-María, Paul, Lucia, Inez, Ana, David

 

I found ideas of games to play online, but the majority of games I took from my oral expression class. The teacher whose style I completely admired because he made us want to learn and want to speak. By far, Pablo, the most engaging teacher I had in La Casa de Las Lenguas.

 

-playing telephone: Sally sells seashells by the sea shore; How much wood would a wood chuck chuck?; Break a leg; sometimes I tell time; what happens in vegas; She sweats in her sweatshirt..

 

-christmas madlibs: parts of speech; nouns, adverbs, verbs, adjectives.

 

-music fill in the blanks- pop music & recognizing dialects and pronunciation,

 

– Describe pictures to the others to explain an image without showing them

 

-word unscrambles, how many words can you make from one word?

 

-Explaining a word without using synonyms: ie “Joke” without saying “laugh” “funny” “prank” “humor”

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Arabian Nights

Ahhh, back ‘home’ to Oviedo from a long week in Morocco. Who said time traveling doesn’t exist? I found a way to speed it up, if only I could slow it down. This week ahead- 6 Spanish finals then NY. I don’t want to part with this life just yet.

Being a sociology major, I thought I could take myself out of my society and see a new one for what it is apart from my own- and then I went to Morocco.

-no plan,7 days, 3 cities, 1 dessert, 1 waterfall, Millions of extremely eager and overzealous Moroccans who want your touristic income, people trying to show you to your destination and then wanting compen$ation, 5 languages (Arabic, Bereber, French, Spanish, English), 5 riads, no heat or hot water, 2 hours plane, That tiny piece of water where Spain ends and Africa begins, 48+ hours by bus from south to the north of Spain, 24 to and from dessert, 4 hours trains, taxis, getting lost in that rat maze Fez,largest/oldest Medina, tanneries (smell of mierda) learning how to barter (and how not to), saris, jilabas, tourbans, couch surfing, Qur’an in english, Nordine, arabic alphabet, Inshallah, Hanne and ham-am, tajine & couscous, tea with sugaaaarrrr, toothless Moroccans, crepes for breakfast, hash, sheesha, David&Yosesph from the dessert, amazing stars, milkyway!!, 7 sisters, shooting stars, adbul and Orika,  , Marrakech, Chefchaoen the blue city, Zagora- door to Sahara, snow covered mountains over dessert sand dunes, green landscape, icy mountains= road closed=road party full of jilabas, camel ride in desert (ouch), dirt roads, sand castles, red mountain canyons that look like Arizona.

All in all a culture shock but an awesome experience none the less. 4 countries in 4 weeks, so surreal. I feel like a child walking from one section of disney land to another. From the chic Eiffel tower to the arabian Sahara, we’ve got the world at our fingertips 2012. Embrace it.

So little time so much to do

Going on my second month in Spain,and it’s true what they say about having fun. Every day is a new adventure and the world is my oyster! Well- for the next month Europe is.. On the weekends. In between classes 5 days a week and teaching English, I’ve got 2 days to travel. But trust I am making the best of it and taking in every moment.

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