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Life after study abroad- part 1

Hi all!

Towards the end of my study abroad program things got really busy with trying to fit in seeing everything in the beautiful Barcelona and spending time with my new friends I was about to leave.

We packed our last few days full to the brim with eating at all of our favorite spots, and soaking up the sun in the Mediterranean sea until the very last second!

The goodbyes were much harder than I expected. I never knew I would meet such amazing people and grow so close to them in such a short period of time. We all made plans to see each other over Christmas break so I am already looking forward to that!

The day before my program was over, my mom flew into Barcelona!! Ive never been so excited to pick someone up from the airport- although I will not miss paying the taxi fee to get there! ha!

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We had planed two weeks of personal travel, just her and I.

We visited Seville, Lagos, Lisbon, and then I played tour guide and spent a few days showing her around my stomping grounds of Barcelona!

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I know I said in a previous post that Italy was my favorite but… Lagos, Portugal completely stole my heart. I am still to this day dreaming of the bright blue waters. My roommate from Barcelona met my mom and I there for a few days to celebrate her birthday (how cool?!) and we sent the day kayaking off the coast and touring the caves in the water. I would do anything, ANYTHING, to go back!

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I learned with my weekend travels and then traveling with my mom that Air bnb is the best way to go, hands down. It’s for the most part always cheaper, the people are more friendly, and the best part is you have a kitchen so you don’t have to spend so much on eating out and can go to a local market and cook your meals with you friends! which makes for better memories and sometimes food in my opinion!

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This is a picture from the cutest back patio that our Air bnb had. We were right next to the ocean so we hung out here at night and played cards and danced. so dreamy.

Traveling with my mom verses traveling with other students in my program was completely different! It was a lot less stressful with my mom just because I felt more calm and like I had a safety net. traveling with my friends, while extremely fun, always had me a little stressed about my budgeting for some reason.

Looking back on my experience, I would not trade one single thing.

xo,Liv

 

One month abroad.

Hi all!

Today marks exactly one month that i have been abroad. I cannot believe it! The time has completely flown by between school and traveling. I have learned a lot about Spain and its people, culture, A LOT about their food, but I think I have learned far more about myself on this trip than I ever thought I would.

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(This was me eating handmade pasta on the Spanish steps in Rome. I could die happy after this)

I have learned that I am so so blessed to have people in my life that sometimes I miss so badly it hurts.

I have learned that I am far more directionally challenged than I previously thought.

I have learned that I really like having the freedom to get in a car and go somewhere whenever I feel like it ( & actually know where I’m going).

I have learned that ‘coco’ in Spanish means cocaine not chocolate…..learned that the very awkward way

I have learned that I miss my favorite little coffee shops and baristas in KC more than I thought I would .

I have learned that finding a good community of people to surround yourself with is key.

I have learned that I am a TERRIBLE packer.

I have learned that I don’t have everything all figured out like I sometimes think I do.

I have learned that its OK to have to stop and ask for directions even if it means looking like an idiot that is living in Spain but can’t speak their language.

I have learned a lot about Jesus and how to keep in conversation/relationship with Him even when I don’t have my church community around me to hold me accountable

I have learned that I need more patience. lots more patience.

I have learned that I should never ever take air conditioning, ice, long showers, and peanut butter for granted ever again.

I have learned that I have the ability to make the best out of situation, no matter the circumstances

I have learned that I’m still a work in progress and sometimes I need to give myself a break (especially when homesick and trying to navigate the metro system)

I have learned to not take everything so seriously or personally because it really only hurts me in the end.

I have learned that I am strong and capable

I have learned that getting out of your comfort zone is far easier said than done but it is so humbling and worth it because you discover new things about yourself that you would have never known if you didn’t take that step.

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This trip so far has definitely had its ups and downs but I wouldn’t change one single thing.

I have 4 more weeks to go and can’t wait to see what else I learn!

XO, Liv

Costa Brava!

Hi all!

This past weekend my program took a weekend trip to the beautiful beaches of Costa Brava!

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This was probably my favorite weekend so far. We left early Saturday morning and stopped at the Dalí museum and then headed to the coast. Our hotel was right on the beach with lots of restaurants and things to do. The final game in the triple cup futbol games was that night so some friends and I went to a local bar and ate dinner and watched the game with what seemed like the whole entire town! It was really exciting to be there and to watch them win it all.

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The next day we took about a 45 minute boat ride to a part of the coast called Rosés and wow. It was beautiful. It looked like a little Greek town with homes built up all around the Mediterranean Sea. We spent the whole day there enjoying the cool water, laying in the sun, and eating gelato of course! It was really relaxing to get away from the hustle and bustle of being in the center of Barcelona.

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On our boat ride back to our hotel we got to stop in a little cove and jump right into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. I will never forget it. The water was bright blue and still a little cool but it was the highlight of my whole trip so far.

My days here are full to the brim with adventure and endless walking around (I have the blisters to prove it) and i have never ever been so tired in my whole life, but I guess its all part of the journey!

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I have a lot of trips coming up that I’m excited to share with you guys so stay tuned!

XO,Liv

putting the ‘study’ in study abroad.

 

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Hi all!

I’ve been in Barcelona for about 5 days and I start class tomorrow morning! Im weirdly excited to kinda of get a little bit of a routine going to make life seem a little bit normal here. Since its just a 7 week program we only have total of 22 days of class (!!!) so it will go by really fast. I’m only taking two classes while I’m here and they are Spanish culture and civilization and Spanish art and heritage. Im really excited to learn more about Barcelona and Spain as a whole in these classes. In my art and heritage class we get to go to a new museum about once a week which is totally ok with me!

Earlier today we went on a guided tour of what they call the ‘gothic quarter’ in the city. Its the oldest part of the city that holds a lot of history and stories of how Barcelona came to be! I’m not normally a big history buff but the information from this tour was actually really fascinating. some of the buildings’ foundation are from the roman era and are still in really good condition. I found out that there can only be on cathedral per city, Barcelona’s is in this gothic quarter, and the rest are just considered basilicas

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This one ^ is the Santa Maria del mar basilica and this picture doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. It one of the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen.

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(this is Brunch & Cake and it was hands down the best brunch I’ve had anywhere! and i eat a lot of brunch, ha!)

I’ve also been spending a lot of my time trying to find foods I like here. I always seem to order the wrong thing! but I’m getting the hang of it now and have been able to have some really amazing food here so far.

My host mom, Maria made me, my roommate, and two friends that were staying with us some homemade authentic Paella! this was a veggie and sausage kind, but the original has lots of sea food in it. it was really good!

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(me, our friend Chelsea, my host mom Maria, and my roommate Kylie)

Life in a new country is very confusing and frustrating at times but I’m getting used to it and adjusting to my surroundings. The biggest things I’ve learned so far are that:

1. I have no sense of direction whatsoever

2. I will never take iced drinks and air conditioning for granted again

3. you have to take everything day-by-day

4. making your own little community is key when you’re in a new country by yourself and homesick!

I can’t wait to share my weekend trip to Costa Brava with ya’ll and all the plans I have coming up!

XO, Liv

My first weeks in Barcelona.

WOW. I don’t even know where to start! I have been in Barcelona for about 11 days now and I have been able to do and see so much!

Last week my program took a trip to the Codorniu winery and to Sitges beach!

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we started our day by driving about 45 minutes to the winery where they are famous for the cava. Cava is basically a type of champagne but they aren’t allowed to call it that here! so we got to tour the winery, which was beautiful and very mediteraninan styled. we got to go into the cellars and see how the cava is made and then my favorite part… the tasting! we were able to sample a rose and a white cava. Since its made right there at the winery it was for sale really cheap so i bought a big pink bottle of the rose!

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After the winery we headed to Sitges beach! it was a cute little coastal town- almost like a small beach town in California. The first thing we did was eat lunch in a little place back in the neighborhood of Sitges. Ive always heard europeans move at a slower, but man, we wait so long for our food here! a girls gotta eat!

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It was such a fun little getaway with some friends I’ve made in the program

I have a lot more to tell you about.. this was all in just one day (!!) so I’m gonna break it up into a couple different posts.

xo,Liv

Greetings from Barça!

 

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Hi all!

I am fininshing up my third day in the city of Barcelona, and it already feels like i’ve been here three weeks! i am definitely in the ‘culture shock’ phase. I am still a little jet lagged and not totally with their sleeping an eating schedule. In Spain the normal dinner time is about 10pm!

This city is really beautiful and I’ve been lucky to see a little but of it in just the three days I’ve been here.

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My host mom is a very kind, older woman that lives alone in the neighborhood of Gracia. My biggest problem so far has been communicating with her. I have only had 2 semesters of Spanish and she speaks very little English, so my roommate, who is practically fluent in Spanish has been such a life saver.

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(This is the view from my host moms living room)

Everything is still very strange and new to me so its been a bit of a struggle adjusting. I really miss my family and being able to get up and leave on my own and just know where I’m going and how to get there. I’ve also had a hard time communicating back home to my family with the time change and problems with using my cell phone internationally (make sure you do your homework with cell phone carriers before going abroad!!)

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(While we were out one night we found a really good asian noodle place)

Day two my program has some orientation meeting and then we headed out on a bus tour of the city. The tour wasn’t all that exciting until we got to the Gaudi building and the olympic park. Yesterday was also a big day for Barça because it was a futbol championship match! the streets were crawling with people wearing their city pride and it was LOUD and so crowded! but full of energy, it was really exciting to be around. later that night me and a few friends met up with a group at a local bar to watch the game, this was by far my favorite thing! It was so crazy to be in the middle of such a big event for them and be a part of it.

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Today some friends and I went to the beach in a part of town called ‘Barconoleta’ and it was beautiful! while walking around to find a spot to sit, which was kinda hard because it was very crowded since its a holiday weekend here, i didn’t realize that any beach can be a nude beach! hahah i was taken so off guard. (i did not partake in this, mom) you always hear about that in Europe but it was just such a culture shock to see in real life.

Tomorrow I am going to Stiges, a little town up the coast, with my ISA program and I’m really excited to see another part of Spain.

I am hoping life will start to seem a little bit more normal here soon because it feels like my world has been turned upside down. heres to hoping!

xo, Liv

Embarking on an Adventure

Hi all!

I wanted to make a post before I left about what I’m most excited about and looking forward to, but also what I’m nervous about while studying abroad and leaving my family for the first time!

 

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In a little over two weeks I will be leaving Kansas City to spend the summer in Barcelona, Spain and I do not think caps lock or exclamation points can even begin to convey how excited I am to go on this adventure of a lifetime! Since I can remember I’ve wanted to study abroad. when I used to think about college it was always, “where and when will I study abroad”, not “what will I major in?” HA!

I am really excited about meeting my host family and all the people in my program. I am REALLY excited about all the new food I’m going to eat. While i’m there i plan on really soaking in Barcelona, but also am planning some trips in and outside of Spain.

I don’t think it has quite set in yet that i won’t see my family for 2 months or that this is really happening at all for that fact!

I am one of those people that jumps and believes the net will appear rather then making sure its there before i jump, so i don’t worry much about my traveling or what could go wrong, but am far more anxious to get started than I am worried.

A few things that i think i may have to overcome while I’m abroad is the language- I just recently finished my second semester of Spanish language but it is far different having conversation with natives than memorizing vocab I’m sure, so that is something i am sure i will be frustrated with at first but am excited about improving on. I am not a budgeter or planner AT ALL so that is something I’m trying to get used to. planning how i will spend my money and how much i will take out for my travels.

 

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All in all my excitement far outfights my worries… now of you ask my mom, that’s another story!

I cannot wait to start my adventure and seize every opportunity possible while I’m overseas!

 

 

xo,

Liv