Peek into my Week

Long time no talk! I feel like all I have been writing are Abroad recaps and while they are so fun and I love doing them I don’t really get to share my day to day with you all.  So I reinstating my series Peek into my week so that you can get a little glimpse into my life!
Monday:
This past Monday was Memorial day.  I was supposed to work at the beach but the day was a wash due to horrible storms so our boss said we didn’t have to go in.  I lost out on a days pay but I didn’t mind that much because it was so nice to cozy up on the couch with blankets and binge watch Homeland with my dad (has anyone else seen it?!) before we had to head back home for the week.

IMG_0484Tuesday:

My mom, Aunt and I met up with one of my cousins who we hadn’t seen since Christmas to grab some breakfast.  She goes to school out in Arizona so it always nice to catch up.  After breakfast my mom and I ran a bunch of errands because it was a rainy day (surprise, surprise…when is this weather going to clear up??) However, there was a break in the rain so we snapped a few photos down by the  boat house in town.

Wednesday:
I spent all day in pajamas (don’t worry I put on a fresh pair when I woke up haha)  It was another crappy day (the northeast just can’t seem to catch a break) so I spent the day working on blog posts and cleaning my room. Fun stuff I know.  But sometimes you just need those lazy lounge days.

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Thursday:
I met up with my bestie who just got home from Spain.  Although we were able to get together and do a few trip abroad (London and Paris) I hadn’t seen her since March so it was so fun to catch up. She is also living in Boston for the summer to work in a hospital so it was nice to get together before works starts for her.  That night I also met up with there rest of my high school friends for an ice cream date and to watch the bachelorette.  We went to a local farm where they make homemade ice cream.  I had a scoop of cow pies which is peanut butter ice cream with cookie dough and chocolate chips. Yummy! European gelato will always have my heart but there is nothing like fresh homemade ice cream.   Nights like those are what summer is all about.

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Friday:
I attended a fundraiser golf tournament for my little cousin who has a rare health disorder.  It is so special to see all these people come together to show their support.  It was a fun day and luckily the weather held up for us.  After that my family and I headed down to the shore for the weekend.

Saturday:
I worked at the beach.  It rained for a majority of the morning (do I live in Seattle, cause all it does it rain here!) and the beach as dead until the end of my shift when the sun finally decided to come out.

Sunday:
I worked again and the beach was a ghost town again due to the fact that it was cold, windy and an afternoon storm was supposed to hit.  Hopefully the summer turns arounds soon. I am getting pretty sick of this weather!

It was a pretty relaxing week.  Work hasn’t started full time yet and we haven’t moved down to the beach yet for good so I have been trying to get all of my projects done in these few weeks I am home.  I hope everyone is off to a great Monday!

xo,
H

 

 

 

 

Winter Break day trips: Nerja

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Views from the Balcony of Europe, the furthest southern most point in Europe!

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A cave house on the beach, swoon!

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Talk about door goals.  I may or may not have begged my mom to change our door at the beach to look like this!

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Any hotel that looks like this has be planning a trip back in the future!

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While we were down in the South of Spain for winter break my friends and I decided to make the most of our time and do day trips to surrounding cities.  I had heard from others that nerja was a beautiful town also on the Costa del Sol that was only an hour bus ride away.  There is not a ton to do in Nerja in terms of places to go and things to see but we wanted to see the caves and the the balcony of Europe. We researched and found out you could take the public bus for only 8 euros round trip! Music to our ears! We woke up early and caught the bus to Nerja.

We wanted to see the Cuevos de Nerja, a cave of stalagmite beauty.  We saw the line that said there was a guided tour and being the broke college students we are, decided we would find the caves without a tour guide.  We began walking on this very steep rocky path up the side of this mountain.  Let me just set the scene for you a little.  While I had dressed semi practical, my two friends on the other hand had decided to wear cute dresses for the day; not the most conducive outfit for hiking.  I kept complaining and second guessing whether we were actually going the right way when we discovered a map along the trail.  That was when we learned we were no where near the caves and instead on the free trails of the property.  So we turned around and cautiously headed back down the mountain with our tails between our legs defeated that we had to shell out money haha.  What we also didn’t know was that there were a limited number of spots for the caves tours.  When we went to go buy our tickets we were told that there was only one time slot later in the day still available! So make sure you buy them online!

We had some time to kill so we wandered around the town (Post about our wanderings here!) and eating lunch.  We then made our way back to the caves, took the tour, and then after some bus schedule snafus, headed back into the main town to see the Balcony of Europe, which is the furthest southern point of Europe.  The little town was so cute and the views were breathtaking! It just made me so excited for all of our European beach trips to come.  We then caught the bus back to Malaga where we then had to get ready for an overnight bus back to Madrid (yayyy…..)

It was such a great trip and was both relaxing and adventurous! Thanks for reading!  As always if any of you have any questions feel free to email me!! I would love to answer your questions!

xo,
H

Winter break day trips: Granada

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One of the days of our winter break my friends and I took a day trip to Granada, Spain.  We took a two hour bus ride from Malaga and were able to see so much in one day.  One of the things my roommates and I almost always do is try and find a free walking tour.  We actually had a slight snafu and missed the one we originally signed up for but there are so many different agencies so we ended up finding another that began an hour later.  The walking tour gives you a good basis of the history of the city you are visiting and also brings you to all the important places and landmarks.  I know I mentioned this in a previous post but the tour guide is a native of that specific city and after the tour is over you tip them whatever you think the tour is worth.  It is a great way to get to know a city you are visiting.

After the tour was over, my friends and I ran into a grocery store to pick up some things for a quick picnic lunch.  We had tickets to go to the Alhambra and wanted enough time to be able to see everything before we had to catch a bus  back to Malaga.  The Alhambra was beautiful and so different from anything I had every seen before.  The arabic and muslim influence and carving were stunning.  It began to drizzle a little while we were touring the beautiful buildings but the mist only made it more beautiful.

When we finished with the tour of Alhambra my friends and I headed back down to the city to do some shopping in the muslim neighborhood called Albayzin before we had to head back to the bus station to catch a bus back to Malaga.  Although the weather wasn’t perfect it was exciting to be able to check another city in Spain off of our list and learn more about the history of the country.

xo,
H

Winter break in Malaga

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**Sorry these posts are getting published so late! I know I say it all the time but there is very limited free time while studying abroad.  If I am not in class or doing school work, I am jet setting for the weekend, so that leaves little time for much else.  I also wanted to make the most out of my abroad time so if I did have free time it was spent exploring Madrid! I hope you understand! But I am back for the summer and excited to publish all my abroad content and start on some other fun stuff! Thanks for following along. Without further ado, the first of the rest of my study abroad posts!

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After a hectic midterms week in February, two of my roommates and I headed down to Southern Spain for our “winter break”.  The sound of warmer weather and coastal towns had us hooked.  We literally booked the trip the night before we left (a bad habit we never seemed to  break!).  We were a little skeptical about the trip from the get go just because there was a big flood that had happened the week before, but we were reassured by many that things would be fine.  We took an overnight bus (let me tell you…not the most comfortable place to sleep, but hey, its cheap #collegebudget) from Madrid and arrived in Malaga early Thursday morning.

We taxied to our hostel feeling like zombies from lack of sleep but ready to freshen up and take on the day.  This was my first hostel experience and it could not have gone any better!  The place was so clean and nice and the beds were super comfortable and even had curtains you could shut to give your bunk a little more privacy/cut out the light.  It was so cool to meet people from all over the world and chat with them.  We have some wild stories about one of our hostel-mates that to this day my friends and I joke about.  Overall I have nothing but positive things to say about our hostel experience.

We were in Malaga for 4 full days and did two day trips (blog posts on those trips to come!) One of the days my friends and I did a free walking tour in Malaga.  We try to do one of these in almost every city we visit because they are so informative and you get to see so much without having to plan everything out yourself.  While the tour is free you are supposed to tip the guide at the end based on the experience you had on his or her tour. (If you google free walking tours you can pretty much find them in every city!) We got to see so much on the walking tour, although the weather wasn’t the greatest.

The other full day we had in Malaga was beautiful, sunny and 70 degrees.  A complete 180 from the first cold, rainy day we spent there.  My friends and I put on our bathing suits and headed for the beach where we proceeded to spend half the day laying in the sun, reading books and dosing.  We even ran to the supermarket down the street and bought some food for a picnic (our new favorite thing to do!)  After several hours of this we headed back to the hostel where we changed into workout clothes so we could climb the very steep path up to the castle of Gibralfaro.  It was quite the hike and our legs were burning by the time we reached the top but the views were gorgeous!

After we finished that excursion, we headed back to the hostel and got ready for dinner in record time so that we could head down to the beach to snap a few photos as the sun set (outfit post here) We then headed to this amazing tapas restaurant and then finished the night with gelato and people watching in the plaza.  Carnival was occurring the weekend we were visiting so everyone was dressed in fun costumes.  Carnival is sort of like Europe’s halloween.

On sunday we caught a overnight bus back to Madrid.  It is safe to say I will be trying to avoid buses for as long as I can! I managed to sleep for maybe 4 hours and then snuck in an extra hour when I got home before I had to get up and head to school (ahhh the life of an abroad student)

Also here is the link to my go pro video I made for this trip!

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I had the best long weekend with two of my roommates.  We saw and did so much and it was so cool to see another part of Spain for a change.  We always think to jet off to other countries but Spain has so much beauty to offer and we have to take advantage of it!  As always if anyone has any questions about places to stay or eat etc. feel free to shoot me an email! Thanks for reading!

xo,
H

My Study Abroad Roommates

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Coming into my study abroad experience one of the major things that caused me anxiety was who I would be sharing my homestay experience with.  I knew that I would be having roommates (4 to be exact!) however I did not know who they were before I got to Spain.  I was hoping for the best but anticipating the worst (why do we play mind games with ourselves???)

When I landed in Madrid I was the 2nd of 5 to arrive to our apartment.  I quickly met the first girl (Chang!) and found out that the rest of the girls would be arriving shortly.  I also discovered that they all went to the same university and knew each other and had picked to live together.  Cue the worry! The rest of the afternoon I holed myself up in my room, unpacking and thinking the worst.  Pretty much my thoughts consisted of the fact that they all knew each other and therefore probably wouldn’t include me, they probably had all of their trips planed, so who would I travel with then?  What if I didn’t get along with them? etc. etc.

The rest of the girls arrived and were all super happy to see each other.  I went out to great them but after the awkward first hello everyone went to their rooms to unpack.  To make things even worse my room was located at the opposite end of the apartment and hearing all the giggles and laughter from down the hallway I could not have felt more isolated.  However, I told myself I had to put myself out there and be my open and friendly self.  Believe me it was awkward at first, but when I did that my new roommates were super nice and went out of their way to include me in things.  They included me in their first weekend adventure to Switzerland and lets just say the rest is history!

We all became super close and have made so many memories together.  (Living in a small flat in a city and having to share two small bathrooms will do that to a group of girls! ha)  The majority of my roommates live in Chicago and I have discussed coming to visit them next summer and them taking a road trip to possibly visit me in this fall at Fairfield U in Connecticut!

It is crazy how close you can become with someone in such a short period of time.  My study abroad experience would not have been the same without these chicas and I am so lucky that I was randomly assigned to live with them.  I know that we will be lifelong friends!

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Emily, Meg, Emily and Izzy… Thank you for taking me in to your group, accepting me for me and all of my weirdness and making some of the best memories that will last a lifetime! I wouldn’t have wanted to travel the world with anyone else! I will cherish not only our great adventures across Europe but also all the little moments and laughs we shared together.  I am going to miss spending basically every waking second together, but its not a goodbye, its an hasta luego!! I can’t wait for all of our future get togethers visiting one another and for our Spain reunion tour in 10 years haha.  I am so lucky to have amigas to visit now!

Also shout out to these girls for helping me keep my blog and instagram going while abroad! Without them I would not have had half of the amazing photos from my travels.  They have been the best photographers and put up with my constant need for photos ops haha. Love you chicas!  Thanks for one epic semester of a lifetime!

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Our first (really terrible quality, super awkward, selfie) photo together! Dios Mio! haha

xoxo,
H

The final weeks in Spain

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My time here in Madrid is winding down and the number of days I have in this wonderful city are growing smaller and smaller.  I just took my final trip to Valencia this past weekend and the thought of packing is starting to creep into the back of my mind.

I have had the most fantastic semester full of new friendships, amazing adventure and too many laughs to count.  But, I have a confession that I was slightly guilty about feeling a few weeks ago, and that is the feeling of missing America and being ready to go home.  Recently, as the days passed a running list in my head of things that I could not wait to do, people I couldn’t wait to see, and even certain things I would not miss about studying abroad grew longer and longer.  That list included my friends and family, certain foods, non-spotty wifi (if you have ever been to Europe you will understand!) my car, my house, the list goes on and on.  And as I thought about these things I felt guilty.  I would tell myself why am I ready to leave such a fun and vibrant city, how am I ready to stop jettsetting every weekend to a new country or destination.  How would I be able to give up my host mom’s delicious cooking or not see my new friends who I have basically spent almost every waking moment with, every day like I do right now.

However, once I began to hear people confess they were ready to return back home I began to feel less guilty.  I had a semester of a lifetime.  I saw and visited so many beautiful cities and countries.  The only word I could say that I was feeling was content. Content with my time spent abroad and ready to return home.  While there is never enough time and I definitely did not see every place I wanted to visit, I was content with the places I picked and felt fortunate enough to be able to have this opportunity.  I love traveling and know this will not be my last time in Europe.  If anything it only made me want to see more! (How could the list of places I want to visit grown since being abroad?!)

It has been 4 roller coaster months and it is just my time to head back home.  I have grown so much as a person over these last 4 months and have learned more about myself during my time here than in my last 21 years of life.  But I will save those lessons I have learned abroad for a later post and spare you 😉

I was feeling a bit burnt out in the middle of the semester.  Keeping up with your classes and traveling every weekend is tough people!  I don’t know why I had this notion in my mind that everything would all be hunky dory all the time.  But luckily my last few trips have all been kinda beach bumming so that has been super relaxing and I now feel refreshed and rejuvenated. And the adventure is not over yet!  My parents come on the last day of my finals for a 10 day journey visiting three different cities in Spain and I could not be more excited! I miss my parents so much and am counting down the days until we are reunited!

If you got through this slightly scattered and not really organized post about my feelings props to you.  Thank you for tagging along on this journey and I can’t wait to return home and have so much more time on my hands to catch up on my travel posts and create new content for this blog!

xoxo,
H

Spanish Sunset

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One of the nights we were in Malaga my friends and I decided to dress up and have a little photoshoot on the beach before dinner.  While we missed golden hour, we made it to the beach just in time to catch the sunset and snap a few photos.  It was a beautiful night.

My friend let me barrow her top for the night because I didn’t really think to pack anything a little dressier that weekend. I thought the outfit had such a fun Spanish vibe too it, between the color of the top and the choker chain necklace.  I originally did not think I could pull off the off the shoulder trend because I have broader shoulders, and for that reason I avoided the popular trend all last year.  But, after trying this top on I have to say that I am now a huge fan and don’t know why I didn’t try it sooner because the look is actually very flattering.  Let’s just say I have gone a little off the shoulder crazy and have picked up quite a few pieces in the last few weeks that I am so excited to style once the weather warms up a little. Can’t wait to show you all!

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This super simple outfit was the perfect thing to wear for a little walk on the beach and then to tapas for dinner. These are the outfits I live for, no fuss, yet still put together; the kind where you can throw your salty hair up into a bun and that don’t require shoes! Counting down the days until I have more beach weather!  Is anyone else off the shoulder obsessed?!

Thanks for stopping by!

xo,
H