imberlykay's Travel Journals


  • 26 years old
  • From Illinois, United States
  • Currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina

My First Trip to Europe: Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

I will be writing here for family and friends to follow me, read about my experiences, and view photos that I will be taking while abroad.


Spain Barcelona, Spain  |  Oct 18, 2012
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  • getting ready to leave for Granada!

 blog, pack, bed, GRANADA. 

I think I'm going start this blog by recognizing my family, friends, the people who have inspired me to travel, and of course everyone in the study abroad office at North Central College. Thank you to everyone who has always been by my side, no matter how worried you were when I said things like "I'm going to Guatemala for two weeks for a service trip" or "I think I'll go to Russia in December". I know at times I have traveled to places that may have been questionable or done things that have worried my parents, family and friends, but in the end I know that you all just want me to be safe. You might not have known this until now, but your worries are what fuel me. I know it's an odd thing to say, and I'm not really sure why it works like that but what I do know is that I love venturing into the unknown. I want to do things that other people wouldn't dare to do. It is what I live to do. I want to change the world, I want to make a difference, and I feel that the only way that I can even begin to do that is to see the world. I don't even care if I have to do it alone, and I love you all so much for understanding that.

The first few weeks that I was here, I always thought that I would come to a time where I would feel settled in..I would be totally immersed in the culture, the people, I'd make amazing local friends, and I would be truly living the Spanish life. Over the last couple of days, though, I have realized that none of those expectations have been completely met and I am 100% okay with that. I have realized that it's not about "settling in", which now sounds pretty horrendous. It's about taking this experience day by day, and to do what I am here to do: learn Castellano, make some AWESOME memories, learn the culture, and everything else will fall into place. I came here with expectations, but now I just want to live and learn as much as I can. No expectations=no chance to call myself a failure after everything is said and done.

To be completely honest, I have one person to thank for all of this self-realization and appreciation. And the saddest thing is, I will never be able to tell her. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my Aunt Claudia (who is really my second cousin) and we were having a normal conversation, catching up and such. She has been battling cancer for 10 years now, and when we talked she mentioned that she had bronchitis. She has been such a fighter these past 10 years that I didn't even realize how detrimental it would be to her health. I found out yesterday that she is on life support with double pneumonia and that there is no chance that she will ever be able to come home. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this but I am so glad that I was able to talk to her a few weeks back and tell her that I loved and missed her. As sick as she was, she spent the five minutes that we talked telling me how great it was that I was studying abroad, how great of a person I am. I wish that I could tell her how much of a rock star she is for battling for cancer these past 10 years. I wish that I could make her cancer disappear, and tell her that everything is going to be okay. It's not fair. She doesn't deserve this. Nobody does. F*CK CANCER.

Now all I can do is keep her in my thoughts and hope for a miracle. I love you Aunt Claudia.

She has inspired me so much, and I want to live everyday like it was my last. I don't care how cliche that saying is, it's how I feel. I want to take advantage of the opportunities that I have been given, and I am so thankful for them now more than ever.

Things with switching universities, my living situation, my NIE card, and my Russian visa are still ongoing. I have been speaking with my school and they are in the process of getting the other university accredited so that I am able to transfer, as well as waiting for the green light for me to live in an apartment with other Spanish students next semester. If I remember correctly I will be able to go pick up my NIE card, which will mean that I am officially a resident in Spain :D I have been getting all the documents together that I need for my Russian visa, but it is an extremely difficult process because although the websites are offered in Spanish and English, the most important details like addresses and names of offices are in Russian. Right now I am waiting to here back from some consulate that I am hoping is the place where I will apply for my visa. It's all very confusing and I am extremely nervous because if I get it wrong there's a plane ticket down the drain..

So, that's all for now. I leave for Granada in 6 hours or so, and I should probably start packing and attempting to sleep (which never really works for me anyway).

I love you guys!!


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