Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Time in Spain

As you probably know, I spent this summer studying abroad in London and San Sebastián, Spain. I've already done an overview of my time in London, so I thought it was about time I did one for my trip to Spain. I spent four weeks in San Sebastián, with the last couple of days in the fourth week being in Barcelona, and I spent a fifth week in Madrid. I got to travel all over the Basque Country (where San Sebastián is located), and I definitely fell in love with it! The Basque Country is so beautiful, and is a very charming part of Spain. Here's some photos!

 This gelato was seriously the best!

 My 10th gelato, probably...

 My favorite flavor combo - coffee and trufa negra (super dark chocolate)!

 The cute little town of Pasajes.

 A view of San Sebastián from one of the mountains! My friends and I did a sunset hike and it was beautiful.

 I loved the buildings in the smaller, surrounding towns.

 Caught the sunset one night - so gorgeous!

 This is the "romantic part" of San Sebastián.

 Okay, background to this picture: this was taken on the top of the mountain from one of the most grueling, terrible hikes that I have ever been on. It was one of the hottest days (about 85-90 degrees), right at the warmest and sunniest parts of the day, which our professors thought would be the ideal time for a hike. It was super steep in the beginning, which was fine because we were just starting out, but then we had to go up about 60 flight of stairs to get to the top of the mountain, in which a church was awaiting. Our professors gave us absolutely no context about the church, or why we had to hike the mountain (they didn't even join us on the hike!) to go see this one-room church. The view from the mountain was exactly the same from the other side, so all of us were generally confused and struggling to find a point to the hike. Also, at the top, a ton of gnats where flying around everywhere. We're talking get-in-your-mouth-and-all-over-your-body gnats. And the super steep part in the beginning? That was about ten times worse on the way back because we were exhausted and hot. Needless to say, the group was a sweaty, hangry mess by the time we got back on the bus to go to lunch.

 The mountain in question, with about half of the stairs we had to climb.

How beautiful are these sunsets?!

My time in San Sebastián was so much fun - we went to cooking classes, ate at a Michelin Star restaurant (oh la la), went on a boat tour, saw amazing fireworks from a boat during la Semana Grande (a week long party in the city, basically), tanned at the beach almost every day, ate amazing gelato, learned about Spanish culture, got to practice our Spanish, and just generally had tons of fun. It was actually surprisingly a lot of schoolwork, but I can't complain because I got to do a lot of it at the beach ;)

After our four weeks in SS, we headed to Barcelona!

 The cutest little "eyescream" store!

 Flower gelato!

 La Sagrada Familia!

 Gaudi is seriously one of my favorite architects - the buildings in Barcelona are gorgeous!

 My friend and I went to a fútbol game, too, which was fun!

Even though I spent the majority of my time in San Sebastián, and only about four days in Barcelona, I quickly fell in love with Barcelona. The atmosphere was so fun, the streets weren't too crowded, the food was wonderful, and the beach was beautiful and warm. Some places you just instantly feel a connection to, and that was Barcelona for me. I can't wait to go back one day!

After Barcelona was Madrid for about five days!

Churros and chocolate is one of the best combinations.

The buildings in Madrid are so pretty!

Overall, I learned so much during my time in Spain. I loved my time in London, but Spain had such a different culture, and it was so fun to experience a country that's vastly different than the one I grew up in. The people were so nice in Spain, and it was also super cool to actually use my Spanish outside of the classroom. I also fell in love living so close to the beach - it's so nice being able to walk for just 10 minutes and have a gorgeous place to relax! I definitely wish the beaches here in the Pacific Northwest were as warm. I also think this is the tannest I've ever been, which is pretty cool haha.

I'm going to be doing another post that's a reflection on the whole study abroad experience, as well as some tips, so be ready for that!

What countries have you visited?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Monday, September 5, 2016

How To: Pack For College!

I hope you are having or have had a great Labor Day! With Labor Day Weekend almost over, back to school season is here, and I'm sure many of you are already at school or are getting ready to be. My university doesn't start until the 28th of September, so I still have a couple of weeks to go, but there's still so much to get ready! I remember how overwhelmed I felt the summer before my freshman year, because I had no idea what to pack, or if I was forgetting anything. Because of that, I ended up making a huge master list of things that I would need, after hours of looking at lists on Pinterest. I don't know why I never thought of putting it on my blog to share with college freshmen faced with the same problem I had, but alas here we are and I have finally made one. The list is broke up into sections - my favorite ways to make lists - and there is a box to add anything extra you think you'll need. Without further ado, here it is!

You can also access the pdf here so it's more easily printed!

Since I'll be living in my own apartment this year (eeeek!) I have a list made for that, and it's pretty similar to this one, so it's been nice to have a refresher. I'll be posting about what I've gotten for my apartment, and of course I'll be having an apartment tour! I am so excited to decorate, I can't even explain. Now that I'm home from Europe my mind is definitely stuck on getting back to school and decorating for my apartment, so be ready for tons of posts about that! Anyway, I really hope this list was helpful and that many of you will be able to use it!

Are you excited to go back to school?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)