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Heading to Spain is such a dream. Taking Spanish courses to complete my college career while in Spain is a blessing. I am so stoked to head back to Europe and begin this journey. This will be the longest trip I have taken abroad, thus far. From my previous experiences, I expect some anxiety and home sick feelings, as I will be away from my husband, my dog, my home, and outside of my comfort zone. I also expect some adventure, to get lost (on purpose), delicious foods, lots of sweat, and to be in awe at every turn. This trip will be one for the books, I’m sure. I hope to have the opportunity to immerse into the Spanish culture, meet new friends, learn a new language, and see some amazing art and architecture. I am a naturally anxious person. I like to be in control of my environment and I like to know what to expect. Knowing this about myself, I am preparing to work through the anxious feelings. I love to travel, and with new places comes the unexpected. On my last trip abroad, I was bouncing through Europe with a couple girl friends for 16 days. We visited 7 countries, and we had a fabulous time. There was only one day that I was overwhelmed. I had not been able to speak to Roger, my husband, for almost 3 days. I had limited internet access through our hostels, and my phone was not cooperating. Luckily, after my small break down, I borrowed a phone and was able to make contact. The small 30 minute conversation was enough to subside my fears. I get a sense of independence when I travel without Roger, but in that moment I needed to hear his voice. For this trip, I plan to get an international phone service and negate this issue all together. The adventures that I am expecting will begin the moment we land! I am so excited to be in a new country. Taking the bus will allow us to see the sites differently than I would have on a solo trip, as I would have been confined to public transportation. As far as accommodations, I think I am most excited for our night in the Toledo. We will all have the excitement of just arriving and the Hotel Don Felipe is situated in the middle of the city. Throughout the entire month, there will be something new for our eyes to feast on each day. The walk to and from CLIC will be an adventure all its own. I was very pleased to see that I will be passing over the Guadalquivir River every day for class! Over the free weekend, I also plan to travel to Morocco and experience an Islamic culture for the first time. I took an Islamic ITDS course last spring, and I am thrilled to see the practices in everyday life. Getting lost throughout the travels will be welcomed in my free time. The food choices scare me a bit, as I am a beginner, at best, in Spanish. Reading the menu will prove difficult, but I love a good salad. Ensalada is a word I know well. I am sure that my travel companions can assist in my ordering decisions, and a helpful local that knows English will be a well-received treat. I hope to try some traditional, yet vegetarian, cuisine along the way. Yet, I hope to stick to a mostly salad and fruit filled diet as that is what I prefer, at home. Living with a local family is a nerve wrecking and exciting choice. I was nervous at the initial thought. Sharing a bathroom with strangers, someone doing my laundry, someone cooking my meals- these are not familiar notions. On the other hand, I expect that the living situation will provide a welcoming environment that will contribute to my Spanish speaking practices as well as continue the immersion into Spanish culture. I was very delighted to see that my house “parents” are both artist, as I am also a self-employed artist. Their children are also young adults and this may give us some insight into great local hangouts around the house. I expect that my housemate, Caitlyn, and I will get along tremendously. We have only hung out once, but she seems like a wonderful lady. All in all, I am much calmer about the living situation after reading the synopsis of our host family and seeing the map. I am sure that my expectations will change and evolve as we arrive in Spain. A curve ball or two will likely be thrown into the trip, as is life. BUT each choice to be made will begin a new adventure. My biggest expectation will be a growth of wanderlust and self-awareness. I am nearing the end of college career and will begin a new adventure at home when this trip ends. Analyzing my life as we travel will be a welcomed notion, as I am sure that we will all evolve through this joint experience. I am thrilled to see a new corner of the world and make social connections with people so different than myself. Viewing sites that have inspired millions and impacted our cultures over the years will be an amazing inspiration to my own life and artistic aspirations. I ended my freshman year at CSU with a study abroad to Oxford, England, and I will now end my senior year with a study abroad to southern Spain, nine years later. This trip will take me full circle and allow me have one last fiesta as a college student. I expect, and am already feeling, an immense appreciation for this experience.

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