30 January 2012

Greg's Swearing In

You may have noticed the contemplative tone on life and the future in my last blog.  Those thoughts are mainly thanks to this past weekend.  

Greg was sworn into the US Army Dental Corps as a Second Lieutenant.  This means that he'll be attending dental school in Memphis, TN for the next 4 years.  After that, he'll apply for a residency on an army base in the US where he will learn how to be an Oral Surgeon (he's interested in facial reconstruction, but he also learns how to do wisdom teeth surgeries and things like that.)  The residency will take another 4 years, and my fingers are crossed for the Hawaii location ;)  After that, he owes the military 4 years as an oral surgeon- Although he can request particular locations, nothing is promised.  So he could be put anywhere, but again, my fingers are crossed- Germany for that one.  After that (a total of 12 years down the road) he will decide whether to stay in the military or to go back to civilian life as a private practice doctor.  

Now that's quite a few super big decisions- but most of them are pretty far down the road.  

Although it really is an awesome deal for Greg, I am so super proud of him.  He's worked super hard to get into dental school, and just as hard to get accepted into the Dental Corps- He's one of only 40 in the entire country to be chosen.  So of course, I made the trip home this weekend to watch the swearing in and to celebrate afterwards.

The end.

I spent almost 5 years looking forward to study abroad.  I've always loved to travel, and ever since I knew what study abroad entailed, I knew I wanted to do it.  Looking back I realize exactly how excited I was for it.  The closer it got, the more I honestly could not control my excitement.  Now that it's over and it's time to find something else to look forward to, it feels kind of bittersweet.  When I look at my facebook pictures and see a jumble of my travels- Paris, London, Ireland, Italy, and the amazing town I lived in, it just hits me how incredibly blessed I am to have had this experience.  

But now it's time to move on to something new.  I've blogged through it, recounted stories to my friends, and shown pictures to literally anyone who will look at them.  

I'm really excited to see where my life is headed, and I know there will be great things- both here and abroad.  So until then, here is one last post on my experience from this past semester.  After this, it's back to business as normal- outfit posts, stories of weekend trips home, and a little bit of catching up.

The post below I wrote in the middle of my final journey home.

At this moment, I’m sitting in the airport, waiting to board my final flight home to Tennessee.  It’s been a tiring 24 hours of travel (so far) and I’m having so many feelings about Malaga, and this semester in general.
The entirety of our trip, I tried REALLY hard to constantly remind myself how incredibly blessed I was, and to soak it in as much as possible.  Although I know I did that, leaving Malaga was SO sad.  Tears were shed as I said goodbye to my friends and host family- maybe even for the last time ever.  

I miss my family, friends from home, and of course Greg, and I truly cannot wait to be home and celebrate Christmas with them.  Spending three months apart from those you love really makes you realize just how much they mean to you.  So although I'm really sad about leaving my trip behind, I don't want anyone to think that I'm not 100% ready to see my loved ones.  
I never even considered the impact study abroad would have on my life.... but oh my gosh, has it had an impact.  This semester I left home, alone, to travel to a foreign country that had a language, culture, and norms so different than my own.  I branched out, met so many incredible people from across the globe.  I navigated my way around 10 different international airports, sleeping in 3 of them.  I tried crazy foods I never thought I could have (helllllo snails and squid.)  And perhaps most importantly, I became more self aware, more confident, more independent, and more appreciative of absolutely everything I am blessed with, both at home and abroad.
I’m hoping (and praying) that I will be able to remain close to some of my new Malaga friends, because goodness knows I love them to death.  As my host mother said during our tearful goodbyes- I’ve truly gained a bigger family, that will be with me wherever I am in the world, and in life.  
As for where my journeys will take me next, I don’t yet know.  But if I have anymore adventures, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. 

27 January 2012

Excuse me for the weekend...

While I go home to Tennessee to celebrate with this guy as he gets sworn into the US Army Dental Corps!

(That means free dental school, no need to work for the next four years, and a pretty sweet welcome check.  Now that's something worth celebrating.)

26 January 2012

Rainbows in Ireland

This is the last of my "travel" posts.  It's been really bittersweet remembering all of my incredible experiences and knowing that they are completely over.  Studying abroad was one of the most life-changing experiences thus far, and I am so thankful to have had this opportunity.  

So, here's Ireland!!

The Guinness Factory in Dublin was one of my favorite tourist stops.  Even if you don't like beer (like me), it's a must-see in Ireland. 

Galway, Ireland.  The cutest Irish town... ever.

My attempt at subtle Irish nail-art.

An ancient burial mound estimated to be about 5000 years old.

The Burren.

The Cliffs of Moher.  Breath-taking doesn't even go there, and of course, pictures don't do it justice. 

And how did we end our trip?  With rainbows.  What's more Irish than that?? 

24 January 2012

Seville, Spain

Our last Spanish trip was to Seville, Spain.  We saw a Spanish palace and the cathedral where Christopher Columbus is buried- which just happens to be the 3rd largest in the world.  We also toured the old city and my favorite, Plaza de España.  

One of the really neat things about Spain is the constant tie of religions together.  The jewish star is woven into this lattice above, which is connected to a Catholic chapel. 

Tomb of Christopher Columbus.  Prettttty dang cool.

Christmas lights in Sevilla!

My room-mate and I!

Plaza de España- a Star Wars episode was filmed there!

19 January 2012

Deja Vu... Paris Again

Travel in Europe is cheap.  So cheap, that when a proposed weekend trip to Paris & Disneyland Paris comes about, it's nearly impossible to turn it down... even if you've already been.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mean that all trips are going to be under $200 or some other incredibly low amount.  But in comparison, it would be physically impossible for me to ever travel like this again.  So...

We went back to Paris. 

Inside Notre Dame at Christmas time

Walking along the Seine... Wearing a fascinator... Proudly.

I will forever be in love with the Eiffel Tower.

The Lock Bridge!  Lovers write their names on a lock and then lock it onto the bridge, throwing the key overboard.  

Although this is a terrible picture, its a photo of the fountain Anne Hathaway's character throws her cellphone into at the end of the movie, "The Devil Wears Prada."