Updated: Aug 5
Forming relationships is one of my favorite uses of time and result of my travels. I love people, through and through. Everyone has a new perspective, differing experiences, and potential impact on your life. Traveling would not be nearly as exciting without the prospects to interact with strangers. I am very sociable and will converse with anyone if given the opportunity. I usually start things off, in foreign countries, by asking where someone is from and making a joke about how I am obviously American.
Being in school with other students everyday has encouraged us to mingle and interact with others. On our first day of school I was in a class with two of our other students, and five students all from varying origins. Tatiana, from Russia, was here for two weeks of our trip. Caitlyn truly bonded with Tatiana, and I enjoyed our wine or gelato dates, as we all spoke in broken Spanish as our only way of communication. It was an amazing realization that without us all learning a second language, Spanish, we would not be able to have a relationship, at all. We would spend our time translating words from Russian and English to Spanish in order to get to know one another and learn about our regular lives. How cool is it that a bond was formed on the basis of elementary knowledge of a secondary language?!?
I am not great at Spanish, so I gravitated towards others in the class that also spoke English. Emily, from England, and Rose, from Holland, have been wonderful additions to our social group for the entire month. One of my favorite evenings was sitting at a coffee shop, sharing cake, and discussing the differing English vernacular between our cultures. The slang was funny, but I probably laughed the most when Emily said she had to buy her own lou roll, meaning toilet paper. Rose and Emily both get a kick out of the way that Jonathan and I pronounced words in our Southern American accents. I even serenaded them with a lovely rendition of “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” It was spot on if I may say so myself.
I swapped classes starting the second week to gain a better understanding of the Spanish vocabulary. I was sad to move, but it was another blessing, as I met Sophie, from Switzerland, Julianne, from California, Fran, from London, and Naomi, from Bristol. My new class gave me the extra time I needed, as well as the opportunity to translate via questions in English. Sophie amazed me from the start. She is wicked smart, and she speaks four languages. She was able to translate the Spanish to anyone in that class using her polyglot skills. I have really enjoyed getting to know her, and I was surprised that we mesh so well, considering the decade age difference we share. On the bus headed home from Morocco, I tried to teach Sophie how to say the Southern saying, “butter my buns and call me a biscuit,” with a southern accent. It was the highlight of the bus ride, for sure.
The other gals and I have had fun being social outside of class and going for drinks. I enjoy the casualty of grabbing a drink with friends in Spain. JJ, Caitlyn, Jonathan, and I made of habit of visiting International Cerveceria after classes at CLIC. One of the bartenders, Felipe, and I bonded over my broken Spanglish. He was always very patient and correctly me politely, as well as laughed at my many mistakes. We went for the last time on my birthday, to say goodbye. The four of us all decided to get t-shirts from the bar for memories sake and to solidify our drinking buddies’ membership. Felipe bought my t-shirt for me, as a birthday present.
There were many other fun acquaintances made throughout the trip. Our Moroccan friends from Granada, futbol players from London, bartenders who make cat noises, and the various American travelers that we connected with along the way all added a bit of spice into our Spanish adventures. I feel as though I am leaving great friends, but I look forward to traveling across the globe to see them once again.
Some of the most important relationships that I have nurtured over the past month are with my fellow CSU students. Coming into this experience, I didn’t know anyone. I am now fearful of social withdrawals from Caitlyn. I truly got the best roommate possible. She is my Spanish wifey, and we balanced each other out very well. This trip has birthed a new friendship that I hope will last a lifetime and includes more trips abroad. I will also miss Jonathan’s dumb jokes and selfies, JJ’s deep conversations, Alyssa’s zest for life, the sincerity and kindness of Michaela and Meenal, the background cackles of Katie and Mary Katherine, making funny faces at Sol through the windows, encouraging Terrance to try new things, dos besos with Faith and Emmitt, photos with Leah, class with Amber, seeing Kayla’s cute outfits every day, Angela’s quiet and mysterious demeanor, learning something new about Larissa every time we talk, and chasing you, Bobby, around on tours for the whole month.
I will cherish these relationships and the memories we have made through them forever. Sharing our experiences with others makes them that much sweeter, and this trip is a delicious a higo gelato.