Back at Home

It’s always strange to return home after spending so much time in a different country. The adjustment period is always the trickiest part for me to deal with. Like my body suddenly deciding that it’s 3 am in Warsaw right now so obviously I should be reacting like that. Or forgetting that everyone around me speaks English so I need to remember that as well.

But the biggest has been having a room to myself at home again. For the last month, I have been spending 24 hours a day in the company of others. Now, back home, there are large chunks of the day when I am by myself and no one is talking to me. It’s taking me longer than expected to deal with it. I keep expecting to wake up sharing the bed with Sunny in a humid hostel with noisy neighbors getting back from the pub next door. But instead I go to bed and the only thing I have to worry about is fighting my cat for the space.

But other than that, its been amazing to be back at home. I get to hang out with my friends, I’ve started working again (yay money!) and my family has been doing day trips. Just this last week the four of us went to Santa Cruz  for the evening. And three days ago my parents and I spent the whole day in San Francisco. And this upcoming week my best friend and I are going to Napa for the day!

Which goes to show what I learned this time around with studying abroad. There are beautiful and amazing places all over the world. Both in the US and in foreign countries. But the become even better when you go and see them with the people you love.

IMG_1264 Richard's Camera August 2015 154

Finally Home

Well, after five weeks I’m finally back home in California. I’ve gone from the middle of winter to summer in about two days which is taking some getting used to. And while it is only my first day back, it’s taking some time getting used to everything back in the United States.

I keep looking around everywhere for all the stray dogs from Rosario. It’s difficult to walk down the street and not see four or five of them on every block. The traffic laws are also an adjustment. Drivers let pedestrians walk here, something which doesn’t happen in Argentina. Also, there are stop signs and red lights. It’s wonderful. Another good thing about being home is there is no dog poop everywhere I walk. I love that.

I love that I’m no afraid of the police here. Everyone is wary in Argentina when they see officers in uniform and that affected my image of them also. So to see officials here and not be afraid is…amazing. I was also struck by the lack of shanties on my driver back from the airport with my Dad. People live in gorgeous houses, and I’ve never been as aware as I was returning home.

One thing I noticed and what I find funny is that I’ve forgotten English. I’ll sit trying to think of a word in Spanish, but I know it in English! Even better, it that Spanish grammar is affecting how I talk. So I use double negatives and refer to inanimate objects as he and she. My Dad has been laughing at me.

But the most amazing part of being home is seeing everyone I love. I’ve missed my family, and when I saw my Dad for the first time in five weeks I cried a little. Today I saw my best friend and was ridiculously happy. While I liked all my friends and host mother in Argentina, I adore my family and am happy to be home.

I just want to say I loved Argentina. It was gorgeous, the people were nice, and the food was amazing. But while living there, I realized how lucky I am to live in the United States. And coming back, I’ve learned to appreciate and love my country even more than I did before I left. Plus, I’ve decided that since I had such a good time in Argentina, I’m going abroad next summer to study history. Don’t know where, but that’s part of the fun.

And if you ever get the chance to go to Argentina, stop by Rosario. Drink mate by the river, see the Monumento Bandera, talk to street vendors just because you can. And above all else, just laugh and realize you won’t know what you’re doing but that’s alright. Because most of the fun I had was just going day to day and learning as I went. I wouldn’t change anything I did there for the world.

My last picture in Argentina.

My last picture in Argentina.

Ezeiza International Airport.

Ezeiza International Airport.

View of my home from the plane heading into San Francisco.

View of my home from the plane heading into San Francisco.

Week 13- Final Week

This week has been pretty bitter sweet. I’m beyond excited to be heading home but sad that I have to leave my friends. One friend mentiones “we will never all together again in this place” that is really crazy. I’ve grown close to lots of people on this trip and it is really sad that I have to say goodbye.

I’ve started packing my bags. It’s kind of nice to know that all i have to do is pack everything in my room and not worry about what to leave behind but with that I have acquired a big load of souvenirs and that is a problem. I don’t have all the room I need to pack everything. 2 check in bags, my backpack and my purse and I’m all set to go.

I’ve said my goodbyes and people have started leaving to the airport. This is a sad time. I took my last walk around Segovia and said my goodbyes, I will be back one day.

Saturday morning my host brother will drive me to the bus station and I will get on the bus to Madrid once in madrid i’ll hop on the metro and make my way to the airport. I’m so glad I know the metro and wont get lost on my way there especially with all of my luggage. I just have to make it to the airport and check in and I will be golden. Goodbye Segovia, until we meet again.

From Rainy London to Sunny… Oregon?

Arriving in England was, let’s face it, terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful and exciting, but it was a new city in a new country in a new part of the world that I had never ventured into before. The entire trip felt like one big heart attack mixed with a shot of adrenaline. You know, in a good way. I’ve learned so many things and met so many amazing people… I can’t express enough how much of an impact this trip has had on me. Not only have I learned so much about the UK, but I’ve challenged myself and passed with flying colors. (Meaning that I wasn’t pick-pocketed or caused an international uproar. Always a plus.)

Matt Smith is incredibly hard to draw.

     There are a couple things that could have been better, but every mistake turned into something fantastic. For example, I went to Ireland for a weekend thinking that I would be meeting up with others, but they were nowhere to be found. However, that weekend was one of the best I had abroad. In another instance, this time in Whales, I was lost for an hour because I couldn’t cross a river. This led me to one of the most beautiful shorelines I’ve seen in my life and guided me through an apartment complex where one of my favorite actors supposedly lives. These little accidental adventures will most likely be some of the best memories from this trip. Lets look at some statistics, shall we?
                                        Before London       After/During Trip
Countries Visited:                      2                           5
Average Walking Stamina:       45 min                  2-2.5 hrs
Average Hours of Sleep:          10 hrs                    7 hrs
Daily Use of Public Transit:        None            Bus and underground
                                                                      6 plane rides
                                                                      6 train rides
Average Tea/Coffee Intake:      1/day                   4-5/day
# of Currencies in wallet:            1                           3
# of Full Sketchbook pages:         0                          76
     While abroad, I’ve met 2 men involved heavily in Doctor Who, 1 actor from from Harry Potter, seen 2 plays, fallen on a bus or tube 0 times, met 1 relative in Ireland, cried out of joy 7 times, saw 3 of the actual TARDISes, drank countless cups of tea, made friends with 7 bobbies, taken 2,409 photos and videos, finished 30 journals against all odds, and gained an enormous new confidence in myself. I know that everyone says how beneficial traveling the world is and how much it can change your perspective, but I’m going to say it anyway; this trip has changed my life. There are very few instances I have used that sentence.

My guide Moira from the Tower of London saw me off at the airport!

     After returning I’ve seen surprisingly little of my friends here. Many are leaving soon for their respective colleges while I don’t have to return until new student week (one month from now). My daily regimen has consisted of drinking three cups of tea a day, reading Norse mythology and Sherlock Holmes, sketching constantly, and watching Doctor Who and Sherlock. I suppose you can take a girl to England, but England will NEVER leave the girl.  Becky