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3 posts categorized "Rebecca Gilliam"

06/30/2010

I have never been a religious soccer fan. Okay, I've never been a huge fan of any particular sport. I truly enjoy playing and watching soccer, but I rarely take the time to consciously watch a match. Being in Spain during the World Cup has re-kindled my interest. I have been watching games and feeling the excitement all around me. 

Last night Spain and Portugal played each other and I was so glad to watch the game with enthusiastic españoles! Hugging after each goal, singing and cheering every five minutes, leaning on each other while providing seemingly-professional commentary...Their energy makes futbol so much more exciting. I am rooting for Spain, but I am also crossing my fingers for Brazil. Regardless of the results, I am sure I will remember The World Cup 2010 with a great deal of fondness.  

The World Cup is just an example of the sense of community and liveliness that I feel in Spain. I don't know if it was luck to end up with such an incredible family who have interesting friends, or if I can speak for all of Mallorca. I feel so relaxed and excited at the same time, all the time. Something exciting happens every day. It is sunny every day. I am exhausted at the end of every day. "Every day" in Spain is something that I wish I could have every day for the rest of my life. . .


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Classes for Session I finished last week and we started our second session this week. I am now studying Marine Biology, and given my current location, I am really enjoying the course. We have a lot of exciting excursions/day-trips planned in the upcoming weeks. Lots of beaches, a fish farm, and the aquarium. I love swimming in the Mediterranean, and it is interesting to be taking Marine Bio while having nearly-daily encounters with the sea. 

Next week I am going to Barcelona. I am going to meet a German friend, who I haven't seen for five years. We are going to stay for the weekend and I am really looking forward to getting a feel for the Spanish mainland. Sometimes I forget that I am in Spain, because Mallorca is its own island; and its own world. So Barcelona should be exciting with its urban, artistic, alternative vibes.  

¡la vida es buena!

06/19/2010

Two weeks in!

Two weeks in! 

I am taking two classes while I am in Spain: one during Session I, and the other during Session II. We have one week left of the first term, which means one week left in my Globalization, Human Migration, and Tourism course. There are only five of us girls in the class (all from the U.S., studying with CIEE). Our professor is very intelligent and personable. Our topic is interesting when considering our current setting: The Balearic Islands. The island of Mallorca has become a tourist hot-spot, particularly for the English and Germans during their summer holidays. We took a "field trip" to Magaluf: a city that becomes Little Britain during the summer months. It's interesting to be here as an alien, but not identify with tourist culture whatsoever. 

I'm going to school every day in the morning (9am-12:30pm), but the afternoon is always something different. If I make plans to go somewhere, it is too easy to get sidetracked and start wandering down an enchanting alley to find coffee shops, gelato and ridiculously low-price, discounted clothing. (So far, my Spanish vice is cafe con leche). If I don't get distracted, I make it to the beach, or the Cathedral, or a park. Mallorca is so high-energy and yet so laid back. There is so much to do, but it is just waiting there for you-- no pressure or obligations.  100_1940
 

The food! I hear mixed reactions from others traveling to Spain, but I can honestly say that this food is so different and so good. Spanish tortilla is my favorite. It is basically an omelet, but with potatoes and onions. And olive oil. Lots, and lots of olive oil. I swear we eat olive oil on everything. That is one habit I don't think I can bring back to home with me. 

The highlight of my time here thus far was a spontaneous camping trip with some of the friends I have made here in Palma. We spent the night in tents and watched an amazing sunrise. In the morning we climbed a little bit down the rocks near our campsite and I saw the most beautiful water and scenery I have ever seen. I am consistently overwhelmed by the beauty of the Mallorcan people and outdoors. I can't think of a better way to kick-off my two months here.

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It has now been two weeks that I have been in Palma, and it feels like two months. I am fascinated by how relaxed I feel on this island. It is as if I found what I have been looking for.

06/15/2010

Arrival

I left on Thursday, June 3 from Portland. I arrived at PDX airport, feeling efficiently packed both physically and mentally. I had literally just finished typing my last essay for final exams at Portland State University (PSU), and moved out of my apartment just in time to board a plane for the CIEE summer program. I had resisted buying any touristy books about Spain, until my dad convinced me by picking up a Lonely Planet edition in the airport bookstore. I said goodbye to him and took off for my adventure...

Due to four flight delays, countless mechanical problems, and re-booking, I didn't get into the city of Palma until quite late Friday night. What a frustrating day! Normally I enjoy flying, and I take pride in being a flexible, calm traveler. But, as I mentioned, after an exhausting week of conclusion and preparation, the flight complications definitely tried my patience. I arrived at the hotel with a broken suitcase and sweaty feet. Exhausted and shocked that I was actually in Spain, I sunk under the covers.

The next day, Saturday, I properly introduced myself to the rest of the CIEE students here for Summer Session I. Including myself, there are six chicas and six chicos. All of us seem very different from one another, and yet we chose the same program and seem to be getting along great. On Saturday we toured some of Palma de Mallorca, and met the two "Guardian Angels." Guardian Angels are students at Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB). These individuals are available to talk to and help us with basic endeavors in Spain. They helped us get cell phones and make some purchases before we met our families. 

That afternoon we returned to the hotel to meet our host families. I am living with a host mother, younger sister, two dogs and one other student from Portland. The other student was here for Spring term with CIEE and is staying here through the end of June. We get along great and I love my family after only one week. 100_1864
 

I can't wait to tell more about school, family, food, and some the excursions we have gone on... but I wanted to check in. I'll write more soon about how fantastic Palma de Mallorca is when I get a minute. Right now it is time for a siesta!