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Sunday Morning – Northfield to Granada

Noah Heil
September 3, 2017
Northfield watercolor and pen drawing/painting

As I write this the minutes of the night are slowly fading away, and are becoming the early morning hours of Sunday, the third of September. My departure to study in Granada, Spain for a semester draws nearer. With a nine a.m. flight out of Minnesota it is unlikely that I will have much time in the morning to do any last minute packing, and I would expect things to go how they usually do when I have a schedule to maintain and places to be; picture me frantically scrambling around my house and throwing things into a bag mere minutes before I have to head out the door. This is the case 99% of the time when I have somewhere to go so I’m quite pleased with how I’m spending my last night at home – packed, relaxed, drawing (see image above), and listening to music with my parents. I have a looming worry that there is something that I have forgotten to do, but I am trying not to think about it too much so I can avoid making myself unnecessarily anxious.


I’m honestly shocked that I’ve made it this far and I haven't even left yet. I’ve dreamed of getting myself to this point for so long, and have watched many of my friends do similar exchange programs so many times that it is hard to believe I’m actually about to go somewhere myself. I feel strangely put together, despite the fact that I am about to go live with a family I know little about and take classes in another language that I’m “okaaaay” at speaking. And that I still do not know for certain what those classes will be. And that I won’t see a lot of my friends and family for months. And that my money situation is… yeah, it’s going to be a frugal semester. But these are mild concerns, and are not actually what is at the forefront of my thoughts. What I am thinking about is Granada. I am so excited for what I do know about the city, but I also have so many questions. How friendly are the people there? What’s it like eating meals so late in the day? How many people will want to speak English with me despite my wish to continue solidifying my Spanish? What’s my host family like? What is the neighborhood I’m going to be living in like? How is going to a university of 80,000 students different than going to a school of 2,000? How long until I finally feel comfortable understanding Celsius? Will I ever get tired of the hot weather? (I’m fairly skeptical of this last one but you never know). I feel like the only way to find the answers to these questions is to go, so although I can’t believe the time to leave is almost here I also just want to be there and soaking it all in already!


What is also on my mind is my hometown; Northfield, Minnesota. I just got back here six days ago since I spent the summer working at a summer camp in Vermont. When I think about it, I realize that I really have not been in town for more than a week in over a year. Because of this I am trying to enjoy my short time here, especially since it is still summer and the weather is pleasant. The night before last I went out for drinks with my mom and dad at a bar in town with live music. The bar has an outdoor patio and is right on the shore of the Cannon River, which runs through Northfield. I find the view of the buildings and the trees and the skyline across the river always lovely, particularly with the small-town streetlights and windows glowing in the night. The drawing/painting that I did above is a little piece inspired by this summer eve – I tried to encapsulate all that I was feeling from the music, the view, and from realizing that my grounding time at home will be soon replaced with the whirlwind of intense learning and the fast-paced unknown. I’m grateful to have a home to recharge and reset my mentality towards school once again, and away from the working and counseling mode that I was in for most of the summer. I’m also so thankful to all who have helped me have such a fun and fulfilling summer, both at and away from home. I’m feeling comfortable with where I am at and ready, so ready to take off.


My dad put on a song during my last night at home which I think quaintly describes how I feel about leaving. I want to share with you the poetic beauty of Lou Reed and John Cale with the lyrics to a song by the Velvet Underground & Nico as I sign off – I hope you have enjoyed my first of many blog posts which, starting with the next one, will provide an account of my semester abroad in Granada.


Thanks for reading, I’ll write again soon!



Sunday Morning

by The Velvet Underground & Nico


Sunday morning brings the dawn in

It's just a restless feeling by my side

Early dawning, Sunday morning

It's just the wasted years so close behind


Watch out, the world's behind you

There's always someone around you who will call

It's nothing at all


Sunday morning and I'm falling

I've got a feeling I don't want to know

Early dawning, Sunday morning

It's all the streets you crossed not so long ago


Watch out, the world's behind you

There's always someone around you who will call

It's nothing at all

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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