Hailey's Blog

all about the world, written by a college girl

Month: July 2018

el fin

dear reader,

here’s to a summer of getting lost. a summer of laughing until I’m crying, late night talks about life, meeting people from around the world, canceled flights, endless bowls of gazpacho, and new friendships. here’s to getting lost (literally), but also being so found. being so found spiritually, emotionally and infinitely more.

we say that traveling changes us. it opens our eyes, it broadens our prospective, and of course, we learn. however, traveling does so much more. it isn’t even fair to say that living abroad changes us; it transforms us. we truly get the chance to absorb cultural differences, develop friendships with people from different countries, and for me, it really made me realize what is important in life. this summer has shown me the value of simplicity and happiness.

simplicity, is something i’ve never really had in my life. anyone who knows me knows i love to plan, i worry a lot, and i always am thinking a billion thoughts. nothing about those things are simple. i am not a go with the flow person. but this summer has taught me patience and to not stress about the small stuff, because a lot of it, we can’t control. of course i still stress about random things, but this summer i have learned not having a plan sometimes is okay, even good. for example, this summer for one of our trips we went to france and Switzerland, and we didn’t really have a plan. we spent our first night sitting by the river in Lyon with these random people from france and mexico, and we just talked about life. the next day we took the sketchiest (I’m not exaggerating.. it was bad) blabla car from Lyon, France to Geneva, Switzerland. they literally dropped us off in a FIELD on the side of the road outside Geneva. we had no plan. thank goodness we had katherine’s friend, Ben, who speaks fluent french with us. anyways though, long story short, we had no plan. but this trip ended up being one of my favorite. in Lausanne, a small town in Switzerland we stayed in, we ended up at a local music festival that night, and were with all locals and it was probably one of the coolest and most unique experiences of my life. so long story short, sometimes not planning and just going with the flow creates the best of memories.

I have also learned about simplicity with materials. in spain, they don’t have 4 cars per family. they don’t have a television in every room, and you know something crazy, they usually don’t have air-conditioning. gotta love southern spain. but really though, they live much more simply. it has made me realize that i don’t “need” a lot of the things I thought I did. they don’t live in a culture of excessive wanting like we do in the states. they are content. and Moroccans? even more content. when i visited these markets in Morocco, they had donkeys caring all the goods still through the streets, they had flip phones still, and they had very different living conditions, yet they were some of the happiest people i’ve ever met. privilege really hit me in the face that trip.

okay and happiness. this summer has been a lot of ups and downs I’m going to be honest. I have not been happy every second, I struggled with homesickness, which is something I wasn’t expecting. every moment wasn’t shining and happy, but I am soo glad every moment wasn’t. this summer was real. like i said, I got lost. but I also got found this summer. I found Jesus, and I have felt a happiness like never before. this summer has made me happy. the day I got asked for directions on the street (BEST DAY EVER). Just kidding, but honestly, it’s the small moments that really create the greatest happiness. happiness doesn’t have to be this unreachable thing that i think many people make it out to be. its just that, in our world today, people always want whats next, we are never satisfied with what we have right now. and living and growing through Jesus this summer, I have learned to just be happy with what I have, and to enjoy the moment. that, to me is happiness.

anyways, this post is a bit long and my writing is not very professional on these things, because i am pretty much just writing out exactly my thoughts. we only have 5 days left in spain now, and i don’t really think i am ready. i will write again soon.

hasta luego,

hailey

t-20 days

dear reader,

it is just starting to hit me that I have less than 20 days left in spain. this summer has been nothing less than incredible and ineffable. if i could spend a year here, i would in a heart beat. everyone says people go to study abroad to “find themselves”, which I honestly don’t really know what that is suppose to mean. yes we learn and grow, but i really think we grow because we are challenged. back home, we are comfortable. we have our friends, our family, and we don’t need a map to go to the store, or a translating device to order dinner. the first few weeks here in spain, i was in a honeymoon, and everything was great. it felt like a vacation. but after about 5 weeks in, things got a little harder. i found myself just wanting to be able to have typical american food like chicken salad, or a good steak; lame, i know. but after week 5 or 6, i started to feel really settled. and now, I don’t really want to leave. of course I am excited to go home and go back to school, but there is just something special about europe. there is something special about walking to the store every morning and getting fresh fruit, or sitting at a market and meeting people from all around the world. and, there is something so special about being able to have a home cooked spanish meal everyday with our host family, and conversing only in spanish. these are things i won’t have at home, and i am going to miss, a lot more than i think.

this summer though, i don’t know if i would say I found myself. i have traveled alone before, been to Europe alone and i go to school out of state. i am used to doing things on my own, and i like it. however, this summer i found something so much greater than myself, i found God. how cool right? i was not expecting it. I have always been a christian, but i hadn’t found God yet. i would go to church one week, and be gone for 4 months. it was not consistent, and i had so, so much doubt. this past semester, i felt really incomplete. i felt like i was missing something from my life, and i could not put my finger on it, but it was most definitely faith. this summer, I have started doing bible studies with my roommate (big shoutout to her for answering all my questions and always reminding me what is important). we have done them in coffee shops, in the parks, even just sitting in our room talking at night. and trust me, for a long time I have been so in and out with faith, trusting and not trusting, but this time is so different and its incredible. God is pretty cool, and how cool to say i found Him in spain? what a summer.

anyways though, this weekend we are heading to Amsterdam, and then the next weekend we are going to Lisbon! i am beyond pumped. time is going by fast but slow at the same time. kind of weird I know, but i am happy with all of it. this summer i have learned a lot about myself. i have learned that i am inpatient, i love alone time, i love Jesus, and that i literally love cheese on bread. (never liked it back home what was i thinking). i am going to miss the cheese, and ham, and bread, oh and did i mention the 1 euro wine?

besides all the amazing cultural stuff and finding God though, i am also taking 12 hours this summer. they aren’t hard classes, but they are each 2 hours and 15 minutes, which is long because back home most of my classes are only around 1 hr. however, one of my classes is called economics and politics in the European union, and it is the best class ever. I am an econ major so that makes it great already, but adding the politics part makes it even better. our professor is also super cool, and literally knows everything about the EU, and the united states. that’s another thing I have learned from being here, everyone here knows relatively a lot about the united states. but I feel like back home, many american’s don’t really know much about Europe, or european politics or the economy. after 2 summers abroad i have definitely realized that we are a very ethnocentric culture. i think it is so important to have international influence and exposure to really understand the world and have an appreciation for other people and cultures; after all, we all are sharing the same earth .

cheers,

hailey

 

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