Week Four: London

It’s Sunday of my final week and I fly back home tomorrow morning. I’m sad to see London go, but I can’t wait to be home. Of course this past week has been my best week in London. Last Friday I went down to Cardiff to see the Doctor Who Experience and what an experience it was! I loved every minute of it and cried the first 25 minutes because I was so happy to be surrounded by fellow Whovians and experiencing something so beautiful together. And Cardiff was lovely; the weather reminded me of Newport, Oregon and that was wonderful. On Saturday I went to see the Crucible staring Richard Armitage. That was amazing! I had read the play back in high school, but before I learned about The Red Scare, but this time I found a greater appreciation for the play and it’s historical and political significance. Also, it was interesting listening to the Brits in the audience talk about the play and totally missing the point. Following the play I went to the stage door hoping to meet Richard, but sadly he left right after the show to catch a plane. I later went back on Wednesday and got a photo with him!! Furthermore, on Friday, some of us went to the stage door or Richard III and I got aMartin Freeman’s autograph!! It’s been a star-packed week.

Class also ended this week and finals were on Friday. In Shakespeare, we visited a couple museums before heading to the Globe to be groundlings for a performance of Antony and Cleopatra. The play was amazing and well acted, but it’s mighty painful being a groundling. After dinner, we saw the new play Shakespeare in Love. It was wonderful. Many of the students in my class didn’t like it, but I loved it and it was really funny. In my WWII class, we didn’t do much, but we did visit The Tower of London to view the poppies that are being installed in memory of WWI.

I really enjoyed my classes and my time spent in London, but I’m really glad to be going home.


image image image

Home to Portland!

When I arrived in Portland I was so excited to be home because I had missed my first plane.  I had gone through customs in Texas and been so frustrated that we had missed our plane and when I arrived back in Portland I was so relieved.  I was kind of overwhelmed when I got there and like I felt when I got to Mexico City I was excited and the airport felt huge.  I was happy that I was home and all I could think about was seeing my family after almost six weeks of being away from home.  I couldn’t believe that I was back in a country where I was again in the majority it felt so surreal.  I also could not believe that all the languages spoken were English and I kept reverting to my non native language because I was so used to speaking Spanish.  Like Mexico City the airport was bustling but it was quieter because it was late at night.  In the end when I saw my parents I was so relieved and overwhelmed with emotions.  I almost kissed the carpet but all in all I was also sad that I was home too because I missed my host family and my host country.  I look forward to talking to them soon.

 File:Portland International Airport Concourse D - Oregon.JPG


Prior to Returning Home

My experience in Mexico has turned out to be exactly what I expected to be.  I learned a lot about myself and the others that I met along the way.  I have experienced the language and have learned more about the culture.  I have learned more about the stereotypes that Mexico has about the United States and did everything to disapprove them while I was here.  I learned more about the country of Mexico and about the people who live here.  I never expected that I would ever feel extremely comfortable talking to people not from my culture and I have learned to be able to talk to my host family and the people here in Mexico.  I had a lot of fun getting to know the culture and learning about the customs that are not know about.

I learned that burritos are an Americanized food and that Mexico is a lot more safe than people think.  Also there are many different colors of tortillas including red, blue, orange, and green.  I also learned that it is common for Mexicans to use their knowledge of English by changing their words.  They will change the words goodbye for adios and goodnight for buenas noches.  All in all I learned a lot about the culture and I was very surprised about what I learned and I feel prepared to teach others about the truths of Mexico.



Pre-Departure: Bittersweet

So I have less than 24 hours left here in Scotland. While I am super excited to see my family and my dog, I really don’t want to leave. Scotland feels like a second home now, it’s so familiar. I never expected to love it as much as I do or have as much fun as I did. While the first couple of weeks were the hardest for me, now life here has become like second nature.

I'll miss seeing this view everyday!

I’ll miss seeing this view everyday!

Tomorrow I leave the University of Stirling at 7:30 am for the Edinburgh Airport. From there, I will fly to Newark and then after a four hour layover, finally to Portland. While I am excited to see my family, I am not excited for the super hot weather that we have been having in Oregon, I will probably melt as soon as I step off of the plane.

And the beautiful Scottish highlands (the favorite part of my trip).

And the beautiful Scottish highlands (the favorite part of my trip).

I won't be seeing any castles like this back in Oregon.

I won’t be seeing any castles like this back in Oregon.

I know that this post is pretty short, but that’s really all I have to say at the moment. I will still post about my last week and my arrival home later this week. Now I am off to finish up packing my stuff and enjoying these last couple of hours I have here in Scotland. There are still so many things that I want to do and see but they will just have to wait until I come back!



Coming Home

I had a wonderful last week in Mexico. I successfully finished up all of my homework and managed to get A’s in each class. Classes started for many of the local students during this week so it went from being mostly just study abroad students on campus to a full campus of native Spanish speakers. It was fun to have more people around to interact with although it made for some crazy bus adventures. All of the sudden the buses were packed full and they came at different times then they had been the past month.

We went out to the main centro most nights  to see as much of the city as we could before going home and I feel satisfied with all of the things that we did. I feel like I got to do everything I wanted to do. On our last day we had a goodbye lunch with all of the students and their host moms. My host mom was unable to make it to the welcome lunch on the first day so I was very glad she was able to come to this one. It was really cool to get to see the improvement in all of our speaking skills. I remember we all had our difficulties speaking to our moms at the welcome lunch but everyone seemed to be doing just fine at the goodbye lunch. It is amazing how much improvement can happen in just 5 short weeks. I feel much more confident with my Spanish now and while I know I still have a long way to go, I know I would not have gotten to where I am now for a long time if I hadn’t had this opportunity to be a part of the Spanish culture for 5 weeks.

Now I am home and am working on readjusting to The United States. Before coming home I had no idea that there would be things I would miss right away. The biggest thing that I miss is speaking Spanish. It was fun to actually be able to understand and communicate with people in another language and now that I am back to speaking English all the time it seems almost too simple. Although it may take me a while to stop thinking “gracias” first before I say thank you to people. And I can’t get over the fact that water is free here. There are many things that I have here that I take advantage of and I am much more aware of that now and am thankful for a lot of things that I haven’t had for the past 5 weeks.

The trip had its ups and downs but I learned a ton, made some wonderful friends, and pushed myself to do things I never thought I would. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to go to Mexico and to be a part of the culture there. I may not ever get a chance to go back but I know I will never forget such a beautiful city!

mexico family mexico family2






Back in Oregon!

I successfully made it back to Oregon! I do miss Mexico a lot though, although I am glad to be back home for somethings.

WP_20140802_008 WP_20140802_009 WP_20140802_011

The flight home was the worst part of the trip. We missed our connecting flight because there was not very much time between our flights. Thankfully, we were all able to get on the next flight to Portland and were only two hours behind schedule.

In comparison to before I left, I think that Mexico is a lot more open and not nearly as conservative as I thought it was going to be. While it is still more conservative than Oregon, it was a lot more open and modern than I predicted.

Week 5

This week has been busy but I have actually had a great week.  I ended up getting great grades and in the end was very proud of my accomplishments.  The last night I went out with my host mom and host brother to a ice skating birthday party and I had a great time.  I got to say goodbye to my host aunt and my host family.  It was very enjoyable to spend time with my family the last night in Queretaro.  I have had fun here but I am excited to see my family in Portland.




Week 7: Only One Week Left

I know it’s pretty cliche, but one thing that my study abroad experience has taught me is that time does indeed fly when you are having fun. This past week, I have had to start thinking about packing, and more specifically, how I am going to fit all of the stuff I bought into my suitcase.

This week was a very nice one, on Tuesday, my program put on a kayaking event in the Loch here on campus. Even though it was a bit cold and it rained a bit, I had a lot of fun. We got to kayak and canoe around the Loch. We even played kayak polo, with nets, a ball, and everything. I had trouble at first getting my kayak to go straight, but after a while, I finally got the hang of it. It was a blast, but my arms and back were really sore the next day.

Kayaking on Airthrey Loch

Kayaking on Airthrey Loch

Another big thing I did this weekend was take a trip to Prague (which is in the Czech Republic in case you didn’t know). I went to visit one of my good friends who lives there. He was an exchange student at my high school and it was really cool to see the city and where he was from. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but Prague is an absolutely beautiful city with so much to do!

My trip to Prague

My trip to Prague

My friend (Bob) and I did almost everything there was to do in Prague (or at least it felt like it). He works as a tour guide, so he was a great person to see everything with. We did a ghost tour, an underground tour, and a nuclear bunker/communism tour. It was interesting because all of the history I learned while there started centuries ago and went up to about only 50 years ago. The underground tour was really cool because the city of Prague was actually raised hundreds of years ago because they had (and still have) bad floods that destroy everything.

Me and Bob

Me and Bob

Famous Astronomical Clock in Prague

Famous Astronomical Clock in Prague

While in Prague, I also went to the opera for my first time. We saw Don Giovanni, which wasn’t as hard to follow as I originally thought even though the whole thing was in Italian. The theatre was beautiful and was where that opera actually premiered when it was conducted by Mozart. One of my favorite parts of my trip had to be going on a segway tour of Prague. My friend Bob works for the company, so he took me around the city on a segway! It was really scary at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was so much fun! It was much better than walking up and down hills all day (which we had been doing before).

Segway tour!!

Segway tour!!

With my adventures quickly coming to an end (something I really don’t want to think about), I have to start thinking about packing and the things I have to do once I get back to the States. Even though this is my last week, I still am cramming as many things as possible into these last couple of days to make sure I get to see and do everything before I leave. Anyways, until next time!



Return Home

My arrival home was stressful.  We had a one hour layover in Huston.  Our bags arrived late and we missed our plane.  Stress was high and we were all tearful.  We all wanted to go home.  We waited in line at customer service and were able to get a plane ticket for a plane two hours later.  We all breathed a sigh of relief.  I was so excited when I saw my parents at the airport.  I was revealed when I got in my parents car and made it home.  The next day I continued with my normal life in the states.  I started unpacking and making my place my home again.

This was very different than when I arrived in Mexico.  I was comfortable in my host parents house, but it wasn’t home. It was stressful at first because I wasn’t able to speak English, but I was soon more comfortable speaking my Spanish with my host family. It was stressful, but in a different way because I was in a different culture and speaking a different language.

Prior to Coming Home

Culture is almost always different than what you expect. Mexico was no exception. Space is a lot different in Mexico. The two biggest things were personal space and independence. Everything is closer together, the houses and the stores especially, are a lot closer together. Almost every house in my neighborhood is touching the neighboring house. Even the people stand closer when talking. That was different for me because I have a bigger personal bubble, even for those in the United States. Standing closer to people isn’t that hard for me to accept, and I became very accustomed to that.
I realized how independent people in the United States are. My host parents were very respectful of how independent I am. People are more community oriented in Mexico. I missed being able to take myself places. It didn’t take me long to get used to use the public transportation system, which is very common in Mexico. Public transportation is very common and very cheap in Mexico. Many more people use transportation use it in Mexico, than in the United States.
I am ready to come home. I have enjoyed my time in Mexico thoroughly, but I miss home. Stress is very hard when you’re away from home and not in your comfort zone. I am so very glad I had this experience and I learned so much while being in Mexico, but I am ready to be home. I miss my home and I miss my family. I want to come back to Mexico. I loved everything about Mexico, but I am ready to come home.