First Weeks in Palma

Greetings from Palma!

The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. From trying to adjust to a different university, moving in with my host family, and traveling around Mallorca, I have been very busy!

Some highlights so far:

The first weekend after arriving in Palma, there was a city-wide squirt gun fight by the cathedral. People from one side of the city-center dressed in yellow, while the other half of the city dressed in red. There were thousands of people very excitedly participating in this battle. It was absolute chaos, but so so fun.

Of course, one of the most amazing things about Mallorca is the beaches. I live on the North Shore of Massachusetts and have always felt lucky to be so close to the beach, but the Mediterranean is a whole new world. The water is so incredibly blue and beautiful. My host family took me to a beach nearby called Illetes on my first day here, and since then I have returned back at least twice a week.

We took a bus ride to a village called Valldemossa, which is about an hour away, and then went to an incredible beach cove called Cala Deia. The beach there was rocky and surrounded by cliffs, and we spent the whole day climbing on the large overhangs and swimming in the water. We had hoped to find a cliff to jump off, but the water was unfortunately too shallow. Don’t worry Mom, I’m making good choices!

And finally, one of my favorite days so far was celebrating my birthday here! I turned 21 one week after we arrived, and while it was certainly different than a typical American 21st celebration, it was so fun. My host family invited my friends from school over for dinner, and in typical Spanish fashion, the meal lasted for hours. It was awesome for all of us to have the opportunity to speak so much Spanish, and I was so grateful to my host family for all they did to make my day special!

Hasta la próxima,

Isabel

Loyola and Bilbao

I did not expect yesterday to be nearly as amazing as it was. When I got on the bus at 8 a.m. after a less than ideal night’s sleep, I was anticipating a fun, but long and tiring day. However, one of my favorite things about travel is they myriad of views outside of the window on a road trip, so while most of the group spent the morning snoozing, I enjoyed the expansive mountain ranges and pueblitos we drove through. By the time we stopped at our first location, my excitement for the day had risen to its usual giddy level.

Our first stop was in Loyola, the home of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. I was awestruck throughout the entirety of the tour of the Santa Casa, where Ignatius recovered from an injury from battle, and where he encountered God. Being in this place made my heart feel so incredibly full. The inside of the buildings were beautiful, as were the views outside.

After the tour we attended a mass at the basilica. Exiting the cathedral after having learned so much about Ignatius and seeing a clear blue sky and endless mountains was a genuinely overwhelming a spiritual experience for me, and certainly a highlight of my time in Spain thus far.

After this, we hopped back on the bus to head to Bilbao and the Museo Guggenheim. Bilbao is a gorgeous city, and the Guggenheim has found itself at the top of my list of art museums.

Outside the Museo Guggenheim

And after all of this, we returned to Pamplona to write essays and study for an exam!

Hasta la próxima,

Isabel

Well, I made it! After 18 hours of flights and layovers and trains and taxis, I’m happily in Spain! From now until September 1st, myself and 17 other Holy Cross students are taking Spanish classes at The University of Navarra in the mornings and exploring Pamplona in the afternoons and evenings. It has been fun trying to acclimate to the Spanish way of life- late nights made possible by an afternoon siesta!

Here’s a few of the spot we’ve been to thus far to give you a sense of the city-

Outside the old city of Pamplona

Plaza de Torros

Old City of Pamplona

Plaza de los Caballos

While I’m excited to get to Palma, I’m already having such a great time in Pamplona I know it will be hard to leave!

Hasta la próxima,

Isabel

Countdown to Spain

In a little over a week, I will be flying from Boston to Madrid for my year studying abroad in Spain. While my ultimate destination is Palma, I will be spending the first few weeks in Spain in Pamplona at a language-intensive program with the Holy Cross students from all three programs in Spain- Palma, Leon, and Coruña. I am grateful for this orientation program because I certainly need a chance to practice my Spanish before moving in with my host family in Palma!

Since the countdown is in full-swing, I spend half my time incredibly excited and the other half overwhelmed by nerves. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about:

Why I’m nervous:

Will I experience culture-shock? What if my Spanish is horrible? Who will my friends be? How will it be living with my host family? What if I just really, really, really miss peanut butter?

Why I’m excited:

Seeing new countries and cultures and exploring new cities, improving my Spanish, meeting new people and getting to know my host family, trying new foods and drinks, and having the adventure of a lifetime!

So, when it comes down to it, what makes me nervous is why I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to start my year abroad!

Hasta la próxima,

Isabel