The End of the Beginning

I am at the end of the first part of my journey. I have traveled from Chicago to Mexico City, to Lima, Peru, to Cusco, Peru, to Santiago, Chile. I have stayed in 6 different hostels and was almost left stranded when I got to Santiago at 5am because one hostel lost my reservation. Tomorrow I will fly to Buenos Aires, the place that I have been waiting to see for almost two years now. Traveling has been stressful at times and so it will be nice to finally settle in this weekend and not have to share a room with nine other people. That isn’t to say that I haven’t been having a great time. The past two weeks have taught me so much about Spanish, cultural differences, traveling alone, and that I have to remind myself that this journey is not about having fun 24/7. It is about learning and discovering new things about the world as well as discovering new things about myself. I have learned about myself that when I come to a new place where I don’t know anyone, I often want to lock myself up instead of venturing into the unknown. Then I say “Michael, you know you didn’t travel to the other side of the world to sit inside and not talk to anyone.” That’s when I kick myself into talking to random strangers who usually wind up becoming good friends with whom I spend most of my time in that place. There have been ups and downs all throughout my trip thus far. I have met and connected with so many people and it has only been two weeks. I am so excited to learn about Argentine culture and dialect, which I hear is quite different than that of the rest of South America. All I can do is stay positive and learn as much as I can while I’m here. The rest is unpredictable.

Here’s a picture of me at Machu Picchu! It was amazing!

Michael Panelas is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Spanish and Jazz music. Michael will spend the spring semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the ISA Spanish Intensive Program.

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.