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Ya los exámenes finales

¡PURA LOCURA! Yo apenas puedo creer que este viaje por España y el tiempo en Granada han pasado tan rápidamente. Os escribo mientras estudio los sujetos nuevos para prepararme para los exámenes finales. Me sigue sintiendo que acabe de llegar, pero claro, esto no es el caso. Ya he estado en Europa por un mes y medio y tengo más vistas y más países para ver por las semanas que vengan antes de regresar. ¿Quién sepa de dónde os escribiré pronto? Se ha dicho que el mundo es ostra; pues, me parece que es tiempo para comer más mariscos. =P

Esperando la suerte,

Natagnél


PURE MADNESS! I can hardly believe that this trip around Spain and the time in Granda have passed so quickly. I write to y’all while I am studying the new subjects to prepare myself for the final exams. I still feel like I just arrived, but clearly, this is not the case. I have already been in Europe for a month & a half and I have more sights and more countries to see in the coming weeks before coming back. Who knows where I’ll write to y’all soon? It has been said that the world is an oyster; well, it’s seems to me that it’s time for some more seafood. =P

Hoping for luck,

Nate


Natagnél Frisella is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying Spanish Language & Literature. Natagnél is traveling through Spain this summer 2017, concluding with the UMKC Spanish Program based at the University of Granada in Southern Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Assignments and Adventures

Here’s my next set of adventures!!!!!

The past few weeks have been a flip-flop between fun and study.

I’ve been busy, busy, busy sight-seeing the past few days, so I used to day to just relax my mind and body and prepare for my next international vacation… Barcelona!

About this trip. I’m extremely excited, but a bit nervous. One, because I’ll be traveling by myself. And two, because my hostel emailed me yesterday informing that the days I will be there there is going to be a metro strike. This means public transportation will be limited. It’s not exactly unfamiliar because this happened when I visited Rome, but it’s still not ideal. My hostel gave me the metro schedule and luckily (unlike Rome) it will be open for some parts of the day and all other public transportation including the streetcar and city buses will be running as normal. Traveling in Europe has taught me one important thing: check for strikes and accommodate accordingly. Strikes occur quite frequently by public transportation workers in parts of Europe so you have to be prepared and flexible if/when these things come up. I’m so glad my hostel informed me ahead of time.

Yesterday I took a solo trip to Gozo, a smaller island that sits right next to Malta (also called a “sister island”). Sometimes it can be frustrating when there’s no one to go with me, but honestly, getting to explore beautiful parts of the city is very peaceful and relaxing — you notice things you ordinarily wouldn’t notice; you think about things you normally wouldn’t think about…you just get time to explore and reflect without the distraction of others.

Anyways, when I got to Gozo, I took the bus to Azure Window and Victoria, the capitol of Gozo. Azure Window is a natural monument that makes the shape of a hugeeeee upside down U. You can walk on top of it, and it’s surrounding area is rocky and tan. The waves that hit against the cliffs are beautiful.  I don’t know how to describe, it was just an extremely cool place and I’m SO glad I went.  

Next, I went to Victoria, which is the capitol of Gozo. It had an outdoor market, cute restaurants, and nice shops. I bought quite a few gift items in a cool little shop! They had food items like olive oils and seasonings. I tried their Gozitan coffee (I don’t even like coffee!) and it was amazing. I bought some, just for memory-sake.

After my little Victorian adventure, I took the bus back to the ferry, took the ferry back to Malta, then took the bus (again) back to the residence. Here are some photos of Gozo:

Sunday I decided to take a dive in the Mediterranean Sea. A little dive site called Ghar Lapsi, to be exact. This is one of my favorite places to swim outside of Golden Bay and Blue Lagoon, even though there isn’t much space or lounging.  The area near Ghar Lapsi reminds me of those old western movies… I’ve never been to Australia, but it kind of reminds me of Austraila haha. Here is a picture of me floating in the water:

When I got back from swimming, I was starving. Abeed (my flat mate who is an Indian food chef) was busying studying, so for the first time I tried to make curry for myself. I succeeded and it was AMAZING. He was so proud of me. If nothing else, that’s one thing that I want to keep when I go back to the States, an open mind to try new things (including foods). Who would have thought that I would be eating sushi and cooking Indian food by the end of my trip. Having the courage to live outside of your comfort zone has great rewards. It expands your mind and grows you as a person.

Another one of my recent adventures was my swim trip to St. Peters Pool (I know, I’ve been taking a TON of swim trips!). I went with a bunch of Irish ladies and some others. Quick overview: This area is called a “pool” but it’s actually just a low-level cliff that’s safe for jumping and swimming (unless it’s Windy). Here is a picture:

Guess what…… I jumped…… I jumped off the ledge! I was so scared to do it but it was so fun and invigorating. Believe it or not, this was my first time being fully immersed in the sea. I know, you would have thought that I would have done that a long time ago considering I am on an island, but nope.

I went on two escapades on Friday — Blue Grotto and Golden Bay rafting. Blue Grotto is a cave that has extremely blue water. You can only get to it by specialty riding on the specialty, colorful Maltese boats (too far and too dangerous to swim). It was UHHHMAAAZZZZZING. Seriously, SO BLUE. You could see little jellyfish swimming around in the photos. Another crazy thing that happened is after we finished our Blue Grotto ride, my adventurous friend jumped off of a cliff (not a safe or short one like St. Peter’s Pool, which I mentioned earlier). I’m not gonna lie, I was scared for her. But she made it out… as she always does during her risky adventures. Here are some Blue Grotto photos:


In the late afternoon/evening I went kayaking at Golden Bay Beach. My flat mate and I kinda didn’t follow the rules and we went way past the line they tell you not to cross. In fact, we kayaked to two other nearby beaches. We kayaked over to two other bays and went past some beautiful rocks and cliffs. It was extremely tired, so we took a few breaks in the middle of the sea. My flat mate jumped off the kayak, but I was too scared to do that because of the deep waters. It was my first time getting that deep in the water.

 

I was in class-mode during the week. Wednesday I had class so I went to campus early to do some homework. I also met with my photography professor and she seemed much more please, and much less harsh about my ideas and preparation for my photography project *wipes forehead.*

I’ve been working diligently to complete my final essays and I finally turned in my last final Monday and am ecstatic! All of my assignments are complete after hours and hours of editing and writing, and now I can relax until my departure date. Reflecting, I still can’t believe I have lived a real-life fairytale and that I’m not only surviving but LOVING my time here. All of my fears were just bogus negative thoughts trying to psych me out of all that God has for me. How silly I would have been not to go! I don’t want this fairytale to end.

I think that’s about it for this week. I hope you enjoy the photos.

The Final War Zone

I’m in a war and I’m being attacked. The enemy’s name is FINALS and my name is (apparently) DEFEAT. I have six papers due and I just don’t think my brain can handle the pressure. It’s so much to take in and do all at once.

I’m being a bit dramatic, I know. In all actuality, I’ll be fine. I guess I’m still getting used to the Maltese style of doing college. No assignments through the semester, then BOW, all assignments due at once. AND, that one test or assignment or paper determines your entire grade. Ugh.

Onto the next topic, the past week flew by, but it was really good outside of all of the homework I had. I got sushi with my flat mate again. Next week we’re going to try a new place.  Here is a picture of St. Julians, where the sushi place is located.

Friday was adventure day. In my last post, I committed to truly taking time and energy to learn more about Malta. Well, to begin I went to the Hagar Qim museum and cave I really enjoyed it and learned a great deal about the archaeological history of Malta. It’s one of the oldest cave on the island of Malta and has some of the oldest archaeological evidence of human life. It was formed million of years ago after Europe’s “ice age.” At one point, Malta wasn’t an island — it was physically attached to the rest of Europe (which is evident by the similar plants and species in southern Europe and Malta). But the ice age caused moisture to seep into the land, breaking off a piece of Europe, forming what we presently know as the island of Malta. I wasn’t lying when I said I was going to up my learning game.

After I left Ghar Dalam I did some more adventuring. I walked through some fields (and discovered some beautiful sites) and ended up at Pretty Bay.



Saturday, my initial plan was to go ziplining, but most people already had other plans so I decided to switch it up. Instead, I went to Valletta for the colour fest. When we got there, nothing was going on. We soon found out that it was actually at night time, not during the day. We still did some wandering, and afterwards we went to a cheap and elegant restaurant called Cafe Cordina. I ordered some amazing chocolate cake and a sandwich.

When I got back from Valletta, I was a bit tired. But I found out there was going to be fireworks in Marsaxlokk the same night. Of course I had to attend, so basically the entire residence reserved multiple taxi-vans to head south to the coast. There was actually a whole fair going on, along with a wine and cheese festival. We couldn’t find a good place near the coast to sit, so we walked about a quarter of a mile to a big open field to see the fireworks. They had some issues when they started — we could see in the distance a grass fire that must have been caused by the fireworks. The fire department even came. But once it got started it went well! After they ended, we walked back to the festival and I grabbed a Nutella crepe before they closed.

On Sunday I went on yet another residence hike. I loved it, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. We went to six uncommon beaches along the Maltese coast. Some of the beaches looked like camp sites and trailer home areas. Beautiful, nonetheless. My favorite stop on the hike was Paradise Bay (for obvious reasons….it was paradise).  I plan to take another solo trip there soon.

I’ve learned during my time here that I just really love asking people questions and learning about them and getting to know them. On the hike, I asked my friends what were the biggest things they’ve learned since studying abroad. These were their responses:

Friend 1: She really wants to live near her family when she gets older.

Delaney: Who you’re around can make or break your experiences. A good experience can be ruined if you’re with wrong people.

Me: There’s always more to learn; you can learn anything from anyone because each person has a different experience or perspective to share.

Here are some pictures from the hike:

Final thoughts:

It feels like the more experiences I have, the more unclear my future and career path is to me. There’s just so much out there. But that’s okay. I have tons of interests, and as long as I am narrowing it down everything will be fine. This experience has been beyond helpful in helping me pinpoint my interests!

I am learning now how important those seemingly meaningless classes I took in middle and high school were. I truly wish I had retained more information. Majority of the stuff I’ve learned in school has seemed so irrelevant and pointless up until now. I used to always think “what is the point of learning this?” when I would be in world history classes….thinking I would never actually need or use this information in the real world. Boy was I wrong. Here I am, in the “real world,” feeling like I don’t even know enough to have a “real” conversation. I wish I knew more about the world. I think one of the best ways to get people interested in and concerned about world issues is by exposing them to the world and diversity at a young age. The reason world history never seemed interesting was because I didn’t have any experiences to connect what I was learning to. World history and world issues just seemed like some distant phenomenon. But now that I’m abroad these same issues that felt distant and irrelevant before are now knocking at my back door and affecting people that I know. If or when I ever have children, I want to be in a financial position to  expose them to the world at a young age. I guess I have to figure out this whole career business first though.

To conclude, Malta is great but I’m ready to head home.  I miss my family and Chipotle and Popeyes and my church. That’s all. Adios.