Week 1

I am so glad to be here in Querétaro! It felt like it took three days to get here, but I enjoyed the plane and bus rides. I am so glad that Carmen was there to help us go to all the right places and do the right things in order to get here! I really enjoyed the first three days staying in the hotel and exploring the city as a group. It was so much fun and it was nice to have some time getting to know the city before having to start classes. I was so happy to meet my host mother. She is so sweet! She lives by herself and loves having students live with her. She is very happy and joyful and has a lot of friends. I think I will be very happy living here with her.

This is a picture of where I live! IMG_0890

Pre-departure

I am very excited to begin my trip abroad to Querétaro, Mexico! One thing I am nervous about is getting sick and missing the opportunities to do some of the exciting things on the trip. I hope it does not happen! The people that I am traveling with seem really cool and I think we’re going to have a great time and get to know each other a lot better. I really do not know what Mexico is going to be like. I hope I have a lot of opportunities to speak Spanish to the local people. I plan to talk to them as much as I can, and I am going to work very hard not to let my timidness get in the way of this goal.

Back in Oregon

I can’t believe i’m back in Oregon. Everything has gone back to normal. I’m still off of work but i’m back home to my parents, my boyfriend and my new kitten. This trip was amazing. I wouldn’t change anything about it. I loved all of the people who came with me and the people who were a part of making it happen.

I loved my host family and I have been in contact with them. They told me I have to come back and I think I will have to one day.

Now that I have been back everyone is speaking only English and it throws me off. I drive my car a lot more here. Nothing is close around here and if it is it too rainy. At least no floods.

Being back in Oregon is bitter sweet.

I want to thank everyone who was a part of this amazing life changing experience.

-Anahisse Gonzalez

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Now that I am home I have a much better sense of myself than I did before I left for Spain. In Spain I took on challenges that I would not have faced here. I was able to communicate outside my native language with both my Spain family, professors and other people throughout the city. Before I left I did not like to talk in Spanish outside my classroom or to natives because I did not have the confidence to do so. That has changed since I returned. I also feel more confident about my ability to get around unfamiliar places because that was so common my first week of being abroad. Being home makes me appreciate everything about the culture in Spain from their friendliness to their remarkable love for life. I hope to return to Spain in a few years, even though my Spain family is asking me to visit sooner! Keeping in contact with them makes me feel so much better about the relationships I built over that month. I am also still in contact with one of my now best friends that I made while in Spain. Maggie and I continue to talk daily and love to reminisce about the good days in Spain. I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to go and study abroad and come back an even better person than I was before I left.

Vacation in Iowa. I spent as much time on a plane in a different state or country than I did at home!

Vacation in Iowa. I spent as much time on a plane or in a different state or country than I did at home!

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When I came back home, it was as if I had never left. Which was a strange feeling. I had changed and no one else had, it felt like. The time change was the worst: I was so tired and felt so sluggish for a good week. I had to go to work the very next day after getting home and that was so strange!

I hope I get to go back to London and explore everything I didn’t get to this time around.

4th week

I climbed the Eiffel Tower this last weekend. I felt so free. I have wanted to do that my whole life and I finally got the chance to do so! The view was breathtaking.

Paris was pretty, too. And the food! Oh my goodness the food was delicious, probably the best food I have ever had.

I want to go back and bring my mom with me. She would love it

3rd week

I went to Scotland last weekend. I felt like I was home. It was a strange yet familiar feeling. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city; so green and full of hills and ripe with culture – probably more so than London. When you’re in Scotland, you can just feel that it is the home of the Scots. In London, it is home to many, many people. Edinburgh just had a small-town feel – which I really like. I want to go back.

My feet ache from climbing Mt. Arthur, from which I could see all of Scotland at the top. I’ll never forget it.

2nd week

My Shakespeare class is so fun. The field trip days are long but I enjoy them; I am learning so much.

We went to Titus Andronicus a few days ago at The Globe theatre; to stand and watch a play in a place that is rife with so much history was incredible. I felt like a part of history. Not to mention, it was a great play. Very bloody, which I like. I did not know Shakespeare wrote such horrific plays.

A girl named Kate and I wandered around Central London yesterday. Not being able to drive is so lovely. Walking gets tiring but I love it. I am able to stop and really look at things, which is nice and something I do not generally do at home. Maybe I should start.

1st week in West Hampstead

London is so different from America. My first few days here were overwhelming, exciting, exhausting and ridiculously stimulating. Once I got my wits about me, however, I began to relax and meet people and figure out how to wonder alone on my own without getting lost. It is easy to get lost here but I have discovered it is also easy to get back. Tube stations are everywhere; you just have to know which tube stop leads to home. I feel as though a lot of this month is going to be trial-and-error. Which is fine by me. That’s the exciting part about traveling!

Pre-departure

I am really nervous. I have never been away from home for so long before, much less in another continent! I am really excited, though. It will be a great experience and I look forward to all that I will learn. Mom cried as she watched me go through security. I am sad to leave family but all I can focus on is the fact I am going to London and fulfilling a dream!