En fin, Pilarín – Peace out Granada!

Noah Heil
December 20, 2017

Wow, the last twenty-four hours have been a blurry whirlwind of fun and memories and packing and goodbyes. I have had to say so many difficult farewells; to the wonderful city in which I have been so fortunate to have lived these past few months, to mi familia MARAVILLOSA that warmly and lovingly hosted me, and to the friends with whom I have made strong connections and don’t know when (or if) I am going see again. Yesterday, we had a beautiful coctél send off party with all the IES Abroad Granada staff, professors, students and friends and what I found was that we kept saying to each other “nos vemos pronto” or “hasta luego” in place of an official goodbye. This is one custom that I have grown to adore in Spain – whether you are simply addressing a cashier while buying groceries or literally leaving the country without any definite ideas of when you will next return, it is always a “see you later” that ends the conversation. And based on the relationships I’ve developed with the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been these past months, I have hopes that I indeed will see them again.



As I write this post in the Copenhagen International Airport (one of my stops on my long journey back to Minnesota), I am reflecting on my last few weeks in Spain. They were full of moments of shock amidst all my final projects and papers and paintings and weekend trips as I slowly realized how soon the moment that I am now in would come. It is something that is hard to accept, the whole idea of ~studying abroad~ and of being in Europe has allowed me to experience this semester as almost a surrealistic dream. And now it is already ending?! Every year that I have been in school, where I am constantly meeting new people and experiencing new things so rapidly I understand more and more how the end always comes before you have time to truly accept that it is approaching. Perhaps my two viajes to France to visit friends over this last month has only added to this flustered state of mind that I find myself in after finishing the semester, or perhaps I’m just exhausted after all that I feel I have put in to making the most out of this experience. But all in all, I am happy with how things have wrapped up.


The first weekend of December, I went to visit my friend Callan in Paris who I know from working at a summer camp. I was basically only there for a day, but we were still able to visit three museums; el Museo d’Orsay, el Museo de Louvre and finally el Centro Pompidou (which is probably my favorite museum that I have ever visited). I was particularly interested in seeing collections of famous paintings in person, but there was obviously not enough time to see all the artists that we wanted to. Nevertheless, we were able to discover and see works by artists that I had never heard of before and now love! The museums housed a variety of ages and styles in the tradition of painting. While in the Louvre we were actually able to see artists copying/learning from the techniques of Renaissance artists, in the d’Orsay and the Pompidou we saw works by more modern and contemporary artists like Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Klee, Klimt, Kandinsky, Kupka, and the Delaunays. It was a face-paced but wonderful weekend.


Por si fuera poco, the next weekend I jumped on another plane and visited my friend Sydney in Aix en Provence, in the south of France. This was also a lovely weekend – we went to two museums with super interesting exhibitions – first, el Caumont Centre d’Art which was presenting “Botero: un diálogo con Picasso,” and also el Museo Garnet which had two shows called “Cézanne en casa” y “Tal Coat: la libertad extrema de pintando” (I know maybe it’s a little silly to put all these French museum names in Spanish, but I had to do that when I wrote about my trips for my independent study so I’m keeping them that way!). The works that I saw in each of these places were particularly cool to view at this moment in time for me – many were portraits of people, and this semester I focused a lot on this with my class Pintura y representación, la figura humana. I felt very inspired while in Aix – in my short time there, I found it to be similar to Granada in that it is a smaller-sized charming city full of art. I even did a quick portrait of Sydney in my sketchbook utilizing the styles I drew inspiration from in the works of Pierre Tal Coat I saw earlier that day. Overall, these two weekends were a little stressful as they fell right before my finals began, but they forced me to prepare and feel organized as the semester came to a close and I do not regret anything as I was able to learn, have fun, and get stuff done. ;~)



Perhaps my favorite thing that I did my last week in Granada was (finally!) visit the Alhambra. I went by myself one day while taking a break from studying and spent a couple of hours wandering through the intricate corridors full of elegant patterns and unthinkably meticulous carvings. It was a beautiful sunny day, and of course the Spanish sky was bright blue como siempre, giving me beautiful sights of el Albaycín and various neighborhoods of the city below. It was actually a rather lovely and cathartic personal send off from all the beauty that I have grown so accustomed to seeing here in Andalucia, and afterwards I felt refreshed and more accepting of my time abroad coming to a close. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time uncovering the treasures that exist under the Alhambra hill, and words just can’t express how much the city now means to me as I leave. I remember thinking that the city would leave a mark on me as soon as I arrived and began to view the life and culture that exist everywhere in Granada, but I never anticipated the extent to which it actually hurts to leave.


Well, en fin, Pilarín (my host mom would say this sometimes when we finished eating lunch, and apparently it’s an expression that is kind of out of date and no one says it anymore so she thinks it’s hilarious whenever I say it). But that’s it, the semester is done! I am full of mixed emotions, from feeling incredibly lucky to sad to utterly exhausted, but I know that I am ready to go home and reunite with my family and friends who I have not seen in so long. I will write one more post probably in about a week to reflect on how it feels to be back in the United States, and maybe to share my final reflections that I want to put on here. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the post!



Peace out España, y

nos vemos pronto,


Noah Heil

<p>Hello! I am the type of person who always likes to keep busy and having fun. I am a Minnesota native and go to school about a 45 minute drive from where I grew up. Recently, my summers have been spent traveling around in the United States; for the last two years, I have spent the entire summer in Vermont working as a camp counselor and as an art teacher. I love being surrounded by wilderness and natural beauty, with quick and easy access to more 'urban' life and culture nearby. I love working with and mentoring kids, particularly having the opportunity to get them interested and invested in visual arts. Aside from these recent happenings in my life, I like dancing and singing in the shower, meeting new people, and making things!</p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
Macalester College
Northfield, MN
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