Hola a todos or hello everyone from Alicante, Spain! Ever since I hopped on the plane from Detroit and landed in Alicante, Spain it has been – in one word – overwhelming! Every emotion possible has been felt at some point – excited, sad, confused, emotional, exhausted, happy, giddy, etc. There has been so much change and newness occurring simultaneously. From the moment I departed the United States, I was majorly pushed outside of my comfort zone, and for me, it was nothing like I expected it to be. I have realized on this journey that in spite of the challenges, it is not the decisions we make in life, but what we make of our decisions. And I plan to make the most of my decision to study abroad in Spain.
Adjusting to a new way of life, country, culture, language, and way of communicating is definitely overwhelming. Initially, culture shock hit me more intensely than I thought it would, but I think that coping with culture shock is a significant part of this maturing experience. I have learned to adjust to an extremely new and different environment than what I am normally accustomed to and I have no choice but to “pull myself up by my boot straps”, “put my big girl pants on” and figure things out all by myself. This includes but is not limited to my experience of going to a foreign doctor’s office where the doctor was a Moroccan woman wearing 6 inch stilettos paired with her white collared coat. True story. I had a lot of questions. I must say that abandoning my perceptions of how I think things “ought” to be and embracing a new way of thinking is occurring on a daily basis.
The city of Alicante has far surpassed my expectations. I knew it was going to be a beautiful city with a lot to offer, but here I am – blown away! The climate is pleasantly warm, people are wonderfully inviting, there is astounding architecture, amazing shopping and the culture is vibrant and exciting. Alicante truly is a unique city in Spain with a similar vibe like Chicago coupled with the delightful Mediterranean Sea right there to enjoy.
As I adjust to my new life in Spain I have realized how important it is to focus on the positives such as the beauty of Alicante, my caring host mother and the opportunity to learn and grow in the midst of challenges and unfamiliar experiences. While Alicante, Spain was my destination, living here is becoming a part of my life’s journey and I am excited to see and experience what’s next.
Meanwhile, I have been able to travel to a few cities outside of Alicante. They are Valencia, La Villajoyousa, and Altea which are all coastal cities within the Community of Valencia. Each one offering something different, I would have to say that Valencia takes the cake! It is known as the city of arts and sciences and is overall, an impressive city with a breathtaking cathedral, futuristic buildings, and a glimpse of history around every corner.
Next on my list would have to be La Villajousa. This smaller coastal city has three of my favorite things: a beautiful sandy beach on the Costa Blanca (known for its silky-sandy beaches), colorful buildings, and CHOCOLATE. Lots of chocolate. La Villajoyousa is known for being home to the Valor Chocolate Factory and naturally, I had to visit!
Last but certainly not least is the stunning “pueblo” or “town” of Altea. Honestly, the photos speak from themselves. It was the perfect day when I went. The weather could not have been better and I felt like Altea was quite similar to Greece. Not that I have ever been (although that is the dream life), but from what I have seen of Greece via YouTube and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” they both look fairly similar. Altea was a town comprised of small, white homes super close together with the occasional blue roofs on buildings here and there. The sea even had an ombre of blues to boot!
That is all for now. Next up on my study abroad adventure list is Barcelona, Spain and then Paris, France! Stay tuned for more of my wanderlust! Also, if you would be so kind as to leave me any tips, travel tricks, or recommendations of places to visit while I am in Europe I would love you forever.
La vida es un viaje no un destino ~ Life is a journey not a destination.