First Days In San Sebastian

This has been the trip that I have always dreamed of. Ever since I was little, I have known that I wanted to study abroad. I wasn’t sure where, how, or when, but I knew it was going to happen while I was in college. When this opportunity from the Honors College arose, I knew I had to try. I am not apart of the Honors College, but it was worth a try. I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity and it didn’t hurt to take the risk of applying. When I got that acceptance email on a random day in February, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. A new opportunity was arising for me and I couldn’t believe I was finally going to live out this longtime dream of mine. 

On July 29th, a new door of my life was opening. One that I have been looking forward to and ready for. Landing in Bilbao was when this opportunity truly hit me. We landed around two in the afternoon and we had all night to start exploring the city. One thing I was nervous about was connecting with everybody. While I thought that was going to be difficult because of my shyness, I stepped out of my comfort zone and made those connections. We are all new to this and figuring it out together. While just arriving in this beautiful, full city, we had no idea where to go. With a new city in our hands, seven other girls and I set off on this journey. Knowing no place around and no food in our stomachs, we had to hunt for a perfect place to eat. We wanted not too expensive and also cultural which made our search challenging as most of us cannot speak the native language. After finding the best option for us, we all ordered to native spanish speaker. Personally, that feels difficult for me because I am intimidated. With this intimidation, it drives me to want to get better and not be afraid to talk to people the best I can. I ended up having a great meal while bonding with my classmates. 

After the meal, we walked around the city some more. Walking on the beach, experiencing the European culture, trying to find local convenience stores, and much more. We ended up in many different places. We went to Covirán and experienced a small European convince store which was interesting. They had pretty much anything you could need, but it was pretty crowded. There wasn’t too much flow to the store which I did not expect. After that, we got the best ice cream I have had so far. A creamy cheesecake ice cream with the softest to eat cone. I was experiencing the culture I have been dreaming about for years. 

On day two, after sleeping in after the long journey to get here, we met up as a group for the first time. Everyone joined together as we had our first lesson under the sculpture, Construcción vacía. Starting out our classes under a popular landmark was a great starting point. After about an hour, I gained an even stronger excitement for these three weeks. Getting to experience all of this while in college is an amazing privilege. I especially enjoy how we can go off on our own. After the meeting, a few of us went to the beach and it felt great having that sense of freedom. I can do anything I set my mind to here. I will definitely come out of this trip with a new sense of independence and maturity. After relaxing on the beach for a long while, we all met up once again for dinner. Taking on the city for the second day felt just a little bit more comfortable. We searched until we found the right place for us to eat. 

I have always been an extremely picky eater to the point where I order the same thing at different restaurants. Coming here, I knew I was going to have to expand my horizons and San Sebastián has not disappointed so far. I ended up ordering certain foods and I wasn’t sure what it was made of. I took that leap of faith and knew I was going to try whatever was out in front of me. I realized early on that I don’t go to Spain often and if I don’t try new things, I am holding myself back. I tried these new foods that I ordered and I can honestly say that I would order it again. I would have never known I would have liked something if I never tried. This was a huge step for me in the sense of growing. 

After that long night of walking and eating some ice cream after dinner, we tackled public transportation to get back to the hotel. I find that the public transportation here is clean and organized which always says a lot about the city. Also, I am loving the bike lanes and definitely feel safe in this city. They accommodate for every kind of transportation and that makes a city more popular and well kept. This was definitely the first night here that felt true to the culture and way of the city. It made me extremely excited for what’s coming in the next weeks on this trip. I see myself gaining new knowledge and appreciation for the life we have. Way of life is so different here and they appreciate what they have more. I feel that will rub off on me which makes overall life more enjoyable. I will be a more confident version of myself and these experiences in the last two days have helped me start on that journey.