Holiday home-away-from-home festivities

Photo contributed by Carly Trombley

Study abroad students in Spain enjoy an American Thanksgiving dinner.

The fall and winter holidays are in full bloom here in southern Malaga, Spain, even though the weather is still like a tropical paradise compared to Vermont.

This just makes it even harder to believe that I only have 20 more days left before I’m home for Christmas. Everything has been so busy here. It’s like school and my study abroad company, ISA, are packing in so much before we ship on out of here. Let me give you a little run down of what we did in the past two weeks.

It all starts with Thanksgiving, when we went to a restaurant for a traditional American thanksgiving dinner. It was amazing, because I’ve been stuck eating paella and omelets for the past two months. It was so great to have everyone in the group there for a big home-away-from-home, sit-down meal.

The day after was Black Friday, which they just started celebrating here in Spain, and instead of doing my usual wake up at 2 a.m. to shop ‘til I drop, I went with my study abroad group to do the exact opposite.

We all went to the grocery store and picked up cans of dog food and brought them to a local shelter where we got a tour, and we got to play with the dogs. It felt so amazing to do something good. It made a lot of us feel less homesick. Then, just a week ago, was our ISA Christmas party. We decorated ornaments and a little Christmas tree and made cards.

The events and excursions that the company plans for us is an amazing way to drag my head out of the Spanish books and just bring me back down to earth with a little familiarity. This place is starting to finally feel like a home.

Once I established a routine and started having fun and keeping busy, the time started to fly by. Now that I know my way around the city and am now comfortable talking to people and asking questions in public, it feels like maybe I could belong. I finally see that what everyone says about studying abroad is right.

Everyone I talked to before I came here said that they had wished they stayed longer than a semester. Now I get that it takes just about a semester to really completely adjust to life here. Now it’s all just second nature. It becomes your life before you even know it. It is definitely nice, though, to get back to my American roots with a big Thanksgiving dinner.

Great, now that I’m finally settled, we’ve only got 20 days left! Looks like I’m going to be busy for the next two-and-a-half weeks.

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