Adiós España

It doesn’t feel real that tomorrow we’ll be leaving Spain permanently. I don’t know which I’m dreading more; leaving Spain or the 21 hour travel day that awaits me. I am, however, excited to go home. I haven’t been home for longer than a two week period in over a year. I know going home will not be a vacation (yay for jobs) but it does mean I get to spend a couple of months cuddling my pups.

I knew coming to Spain as a reporter instead of just a tourist would lead to some crazy places. But I never knew just how many weird experiences I would actually have.

I got to explore every corner of an abandoned bullfighting ring, IMG_0569got stuck in the middle of a radical feminist protest,IMG_9798captured some radical skaters in their natural habitat,IMG_0249_2met the nicest people in Spain (arguably the world),IMG_1360IMG_1427spent seven straight hours talking about Science and Technology patents,

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(Okay that wasn’t the most exciting but look at this cool building)

and finally ran around a rollerskating marathon with a highlighter yellow vest.

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I had gone back and forth about going on this trip for a while. I had just spent four months living in Europe, I spoke almost no Spanish, and I was worn out from the end of the semester. All I wanted to do for the summer was go home and lay in bed for four straight months.

But I finally sucked it up, got myself together and drudgingly left my house early on the morning of May 10. I had no idea that this would be one of the best experiences I could have asked for.

I’m extremely grateful to Carlene and everyone else on this trip for making the past five weeks some of the best (and most stressful) I’ve experienced.

Tonight I’ll finish packing my suitcase and tomorrow morning we depart Spain. I can’t wait until tuesday night when I finally get a hug from my mom, a very late night dinner from In-N-Out, and cuddles from my lil’ nuggets.

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Another Crazy Day

I’ve had a lot of crazy experiences while in Spain. I made friends with some nuns, been caught in the middle of a protest, and even became a lord of Super Jewel Quest.

Today I can add another weird experience to the list.

Freda, Hayley, Karolina, and I woke up bright and early this morning to cover a marathon. But it wasn’t just any marathon, It was a rollerblading marathon.

We got to wear highlighter yellow vests and run around the track.

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The downfall of these vests is that we were approached every five minutes with someone asking a question about the race in Spanish. We would just apologize and use the line “Sorry we can’t answer your questions, we’re journalists.”

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A woman crosses in the middle of the race.

This was my last major event before we leave on Tuesday. Although I’m going to miss Spain immensely, I can’t wait to get home to my awaiting family, friends, and of course pups.

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Who wouldn’t miss this face?

Sorry I Blue This Title

Today I realized that out of the past 12 months, I have spent half of them in Europe. I’ve always known I wanted to travel but I didn’t think I would be able to start this early. I thought it would happen after I started my career (or married rich, whatever came first).

I’m extremely lucky to have been given these opportunities and such an early start to exploring the world. I’d like to send a quick shoutout to my fans (parents) who made this possible with all of their support (and money). However, I still think I consume too much taco bell and cheetos to be considered “cultured” or “worldly”

It feels like I’ve traveled everywhere. But when I put it on a map, the places i haven’t been (white) overpowers the places I’ve actually set foot (blue).

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Hopefully one day the map is as blue as Paul Giamatti in Big Fat Liar.

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Nuns, Daggers, and Huskies

(This blog post is going to be an extremely short recap of the past couple of days so my mother knows I’m alive)

A couple days ago I took photos as Chloe interviewed a young nun in training.

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The nuns were extremely kind and generous just like the last ones. The girl is only 23 but she was able to commit herself to a life serving God. That blows my mind as the only thing I can fully commit to is an entire bag of cheetos.

Saturday we went to the beautiful town of Toledo.

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Ethan purchased a pretty cool dagger as a souvenir. Although I still maintain that I left with the best souvenir of them all.

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‘Who are you?” or “Who you are?” The world may never know

There’s only a week left and that’s pretty terrifying. There’s a lot of work and a lot of things left to see. I’m not quite ready to go back home to reality.

Although I am very excited to see this stupid face again.

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All for Nun and Nun for All

Earlier today I was hitting a low point. I’m starting to get sick, the weather is getting up in the 90s and I’m overwhelmed with how much I have to get done in the next couple of days.

The worst part of the day was when I was walking back to the metro in the unfamiliar Lavapiés area of Madrid. My entire walk to the metro stop I heard catcalls and phrases like “I love you beautiful” or “Will you marry me lovely?” from groups of creepy men. It made me feel gross and added on to what was shaping up to be a pretty rough day.

That is until the nuns arrived.

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Well technically they didn’t arrive; we came to them. Chloe had to interview them for her story, and I was there to take pictures. One step in the door and we were greeted with hugs and kisses.

The two nuns we talked to were arguably the nicest people I’ve ever met. They never stopped smiling and were nothing but extremely kind and generous. They gave us juice and cookies, took photos with us, and gave us Spanish biographies and a CD.

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My favorite moment happened after the interview. They gave us a tour of their house and the school under it. After the tour, they took us outside where a children’s football match was happening. The ball was kicked towards us, and one of the nuns ran and kicked it back.

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After that we grudgingly left our new best friends. But not without many books, a CD, chocolates and Chloe’s selfie with the nuns.

What a nun-derful world.

Pig feet and Big Dreams

Yesterday we went to the beautiful town of Segovia. I always thought I would prefer cities to small towns. But each day trip outside of the city shows me how much small towns have to offer.

Segovia is absolutely stunning. It’s also hard to miss with the huge aqueducts that stand in the city (10th grade AP history me would have been so excited by this). The castle in the town adorns beautiful architecture and views. It’s a look I imagine my future castle will have. (Prince Harry are you listening?)

As we were standing at the top of the castle in Segovia, Ethan pointed out to me an elderly man relaxing on the top of a nearby hill. He seemed to have no worries and no place to be. Maybe it’s the long hours or high intensity of the work here, but his life suddenly seemed more appealing than the fast-paced city lifestyle I always imagined.

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Tell me he isn’t living the good life.

For lunch most people ordered the suckling pig, a dish Segovia is famous for. When we were preordering our meals a few days before, I was upset that I wouldn’t be able to experience that part of Segovia’s culture. I reluctantly put my name down for the cod even though fish is far from my favorite food. But as they were placing pig feet and ears on the plates around me, fish really did not seem that awful.

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This pig is probably protecting his feet from a future on Segovia dinner plates.

I wouldn’t say it was my favorite meal ever but I sure am glad that I didn’t have a pig’s hoof on my lunch plate.

Photo Essay: Flags of Barcelona

NU Journalism Abroad · Spain 2015

Photos by Clara Cutbill

BARCELONA – They mark more than country, than a state. They are more than advertisements, or political positions, or platforms of good cheer.

The flags of Barcelona – the ones that hang everywhere on people’s terraces, or out their windows, or from lampposts and wrought-iron gates –  are all of those things and more. Because flags here are an extension of how the people of Barcelona think, of how they live and want to live and how they expect others to live around them.

Just look at the Estelada flag that hangs from so many balconies. The official independence symbol of the region, it has four bold red stripes over brilliant yellow, and interrupted on the left by a five-pointed white star set inside a blue triangle. It is an instrument of protest. It tells the passerby that separation from state is in the hearts of the…

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