Thursday, January 21, 2016 3:46 pm
Colectivo (Madison, WI)
As my time in the US draws to a close, I can’t help but begin to reflect on what has gotten me to the cliff of this new journey. 20 years of existing in a world where the winter is ungodly cold and the summer is blistering hot. The elevation remains consistent for hundreds of miles, dotted by a few spare bluffs and mounds that would pale in comparison to any mountain. In a cheese-loving state that unifies over American Football and beer; farms, suburbs and mid-sized metropolitan cities grow families who tend to stay local and carry on family traditions. This cultural tradition gives rise to strong ethnic pride in European heritage and legacies of recipes, gatherings, and stories make their stain on the lives they influence. I grew up just outside of Milwaukee, Chicago’s overlooked, forgotten, and smaller little cousin, a city that has so much pride it is almost painful how overshadowed it can be. I’ve thought more than a few times about how I might lie in Granada and tell people I’m from Chicago, just so I don’t have to explain where Milwaukee is with a map. While I always will defend where I’m from, I have wondered what the rest of the world is like, practically chasing off the ledge into this semester.
With less than four days before I board my first plane, I have spent the last few weeks at home and in nearby cities reconnecting with family and friends as a silent way of appreciating what they have meant to me. I reflect on what has helped me grow and what I could be internally as I admire how far each of them has come themselves. More overwhelmingly however, this reflection period has made me entirely neglect the fact that I need to pack clothes, shoes (how many of these can I actually take), and a life for the next 4 months and change.
(Yes I am unpacked, but I’ve… mentally packed… ……) Somehow the panic has not set considering that nearly everything I’ve ever known will be different. At this point I’m just hoping that it doesn’t, because I’ve wasted far too much time to even begin that process.
I apologize to any aggravated, confused, lost, skeptical, mortified, or disgusted readers, I will honestly word vomit in every blog post that I make so I make no promises that this format will change. With that being said, let me get to the parts of this that you actually care about.
What I’m Excited For:
As a sociology major I tend to observe all social settings that I encounter whether it be mentally, photographically, or in a notebook. In this new and exciting place I hope to soak in new information about the demographics, social control, geography, politics, and history that will underlie my experience. Oh and the granadas.
What I’m Afraid Of:
Apparently they speak Spanish in Spain, who knew? My psychology minor is wondering what this experience will do to me psychologically as I will be “on my own” (while ironically surrounded by 238,000 people) for the first time in my entire life. It will be new exciting no matter what the outcome and that’s all I can ask for.
What You Can Look Forward To:
While staying within my character limits I will try to paint you (the aforementioned emotional reader(s)) an image of my travels in Granada, Spain roughly 3 times a month for the next 4 months. Look forward to (potentially biased) observations, honest reflections, pictures of tapas, and rambling, run-on sentences as I jump into the social settings, conversations, and challenges that await me. Your mission, should you choose to accept: Stay connected with me. Ask questions. Make suggestions. Update me. I couldn’t have gotten here without you. Just don’t judge me.
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<p>A sociology major at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At school I am a two-sport varsity athlete, sing and beat box in an a cappella group on campus and volunteer in the Twin Cities area. In the future I hope to develop and create safer and more integrated communities, creating equal opportunities in urban centers across the US. Specifically I seek to work against structural racism by reducing disparities that are current outcomes of our social systems. This study abroad experience is a time to reflect and immerse myself in an entirely different world beginning first and foremost with a language barrier. I hope to be successful academically and socially as well as learn a lot about myself and the world around me.</p>