In addition to the insanity of the holidays, many of you knew I was also preparing to hoist my baby bird out of the nest at UW-Madison and off to Barcelona for her study abroad adventure. I'm happy to report back on her first month. It was a series of learning curves - as anyone who's traveled abroad knows. It's a fast ramp-up too! I'll meet up with her at the end of April and let her show me around and take me to her favorite places. I'm honestly looking forward to being on the receiving end and playing tourist on one of these trips!
Above & Below en route to ORD airport
In any event, her first month was a success! She took a couple of field trips too! The first was the week she started in January to a city called Tarragona, which is about 60 miles south of Barcelona. It's a port city where Roman history collides with beaches, bars and a food scene that perfumes the air with freshly grilled seafood. The biggest lure is the wealth of ruins in Spain’s second-most important Roman site, including a mosaic-packed museum and a seaside amphitheatre with a heavy medieval centre, flanked by a towering cathedral with Romanesque and Gothic elements. She also toured a beautiful monastery on the trip, so hopefully, she formed a bit more of a relationship with the good Lord while on tour. Heavy sigh with closed eyes. Aren't you imagining yourself there right now?
She's having conversational Spanish with everyone - which is great because this is by far the most I've ever spent on Spanish lessons...like, ever! I told her she better come back fluent or I was gonna go all "black mom" on her! Lol - she said ok followed by a discreet, but prompt eyeroll.
After the first field trip concluded was the official start of "the program." Class is 8 hours a day Monday-Wednesday-Thursday and a half day on Tuesday-Friday. When she realized how long class was, she was honestly so shocked. Lmao!!!! "Mom, they last all day!" she says... I'm like, "Good, I'm totally getting my money's worth here!" I can say that even though she's always been independent, that she's become more so since she got there. We'll be on the phone talking about where the nearest HSBC ATM is so she can drain me of more of my hard-earned cash and the next thing I know, she's gotten online and found one. "Ok, she says...It's literally across town and I have to take a long bus ride to get there, but first I have to figure out how to get this credit card to work at the metro station." More eyerolls, I'm so sure of it, even through Whatsapp. A mother always knows these things. "Sounds like you're becoming a cultured/global citizen," I mumble in irony. A bit of an inside joke as I named the company Urbane (cultured, worldly) Sky because I was projecting a bit at the time. That was my hope for her long before this program started. During a wry smile, I had a moment of quiet reflection before we moved on to the next conversation.
Class has been in session for a few weeks now and she loves all but one of them. Her favorites are photography and architecture, with the least fave being Mediterranean Environment. She said it's dry and boring. "Can't have it all, I say."
She's not in love with Spanish food either, despite all the Spanish restaurants I took her to when she was growing up (insert mommy's eyeroll). She had the nerve to say she's gonna have to plan a trip to Italy just so she could eat. I swear, despite knowing exactly what race her father is, she's Mexican-Italian based on her food choices over the last 20 years.
Actual photo: Despite the markets being piled high with candy, she still can't find anything to eat!
She just returned from her second field trip to the South of France, or "The South," which is what everyone in France calls it, last weekend. I've been a couple of times and she'd gotten annoyed that I hadn't taken her, so I guess she got in her "Intro trip" without me. "Ok, whatever little bird!" While she didn't go to the places I've been, she made it to some towns nestled in the mountains that I've not yet heard of. "You went where? I guess this must mean I still have to take you to my version of the south (Nice, Antibes, Monte Carlos and Saint Tropez) huh?" Win for mommy!
Caught, mid-hair flip!
Picturesque scenes from The South of France
She has friends heading over for Spring break now, so she's busy planning their upcoming adventures since now she's the Urbane one. Since she commented on the lack of great Spanish food options, her next trip is to Italy - Florence, to be exact (but why is she going to my favorite city though?!) Ok, so now I'm downright bitter. JK - keep killin' it baby bird!
Stay tuned for more of her ridiculously fabulous adventures!!
Venece & Skylar