May 29 Santiago

Today is our last day in Santiago de Compostela.  It’s a sad day, but it will also be very nice to be back in the States.  Today, Quint and I spent a lot of time packing, and we also went down to a flower shop owned by one of her friends to buy her some flowers to thank her for her hospitality.  We gave them to her as we left, and I think it got her a little emotional.  She invited both of us to come visit if we were ever in Spain again (which I will be, next year!) which is just about the nicest thing ever.  It’s also been an absolute pleasure to have been on the trip with such a great group of fellow students, and I’m sure I’ll see many of you all again.  I hadn’t imagined that the relationships formed on the Camino and here in Santiago would be as much fun or as strong as they have, and I’m delighted.  In honor of our return home, I thought that it would be fun to make a couple of superlative lists:

Top 5 things I have missed about the USA:
1. Hearty American breakfasts
2. Spicy food
3. Grass within the city limits
4. Swimming pools
5. American folk music
 
Top 5 things I will miss about Spain
1. 1€ jarras at Cien Montaditos (the Scheetz of Spain)
2. The sheer excitement of being in a foreign country
3. The sense of history and grandeur
4. Café con leche
5. Tapas (now all of my drinks in America will feel so underwhelming)
 
Top 5 things I have learned while in Spain:
1. Spaniards will absolutely, without hesitating, try to run you over in the street with their cars. (At least in Santiago- this may also be the case in American cities- I don’t know).
2. It pays to have a leisurely dinner at a Spanish restaurant- this will lead to you getting to know the owners/staff, and may result in free drinks, tapas, or chupitos. 
3. Feigning ignorance of the English language is the best way to learn Spanish, and feigning ignorance of the Spanish language is absolutely hilarious.
4. Young people in Spain party hard.  Extremely hard.  You would be a fool to try to keep pace.
5.  Spaniards are, with a few exceptions, a wonderfully nice people. Italians… did not tend to be as rewarding to get to know. 
 
Top 5 reasons I’m glad I went on this May Term:
1. My Spanish is much improved, and the opportunities to practice were many and helpful.
2. I have a greater confidence about living more or less alone in Spain next year.
3. I’m so grateful to have been introduced to the Camino de Santiago, which I feel will be a journey I will take all of my life. 
4. It was awesome to be able to get to know awesome people who I never really had the opportunity fully appreciate back in the normal rhythms of Roanoke College: Laura, Eli, Marcel, Cooper, Quint, Kayla, Iris…
5. Seeing Dr. Talbot meowing at a cat while walking the Camino. You’re the best professor ever! But really, I’ve learned so much from you. Thank you.
 

¡Saludos from Spain! Can’t wait to see my family and pretty girlfriend again.

-Ted

 

Today is our last day here in Santiago de Compostela. Today (and Thursday) it’s a train to Madrid and a flight back to Roanoke. It’s a sad thought, but it’s also a beautiful one.

It’s a sad thought because I hate to think that I have to leave this incredible place they call Galicia (the region in Spain where we’ve been since day one). Sad because there’s so much more I want to do here in Santiago (and Spain in general). Sad because I don’t want to say goodbye to Alberto, Jose, Diego, Mel, and all my other waiters/friends I’ve made here. Sad because I know that reality is about to wallop me upside the head in about 48 hours.

Nonetheless, there’s a silver lining to the sadness that restores beauty to the sadness. It’s a beautiful thought for two reasons. First, because I know that I am taking with me parts of Spain that have become parts of myself. The second reason is similar. I know that I’m also leaving parts of myself here in Spain. By leaving some of these behind, I will (hopefully) enrich others’ lives and make a positive impact on them. By leaving others behind, I am enriching my own life and making progress toward a better “Joshua.”

What more could I ask for?

“The Camino never ends.”

-Joshua

Hi everyone! Today is our last day in Santiago, which is pretty bittersweet I think for most of us. It was also our last day of class, which although we’ve enjoyed learning.. I’m fairly confident most of us are ready for a break (and some sleep).  Most of today, at least for Kayla and I, has been spent packing and getting some last minute gifts for everyone.  We took the night train from Santiago to Madrid, where we are in rooms with bunk beds, and as Lynn said…they were, actually, designed for midgets.  For me, personally, it has honestly been since I was little and with my grandfather that I was last on a train, so it definitely made me think of him.  In further news, though, I thought I would give a summary of the things that I learned while I was on this trip:

1) Relax. It’s so easy to get caught up into the hustle-and-bustle of our every-day lives (especially for me…) that we forget to appreciate the little things or take a moment just for ourselves.  Do whatever you need to do, whether that’s find a quiet spot to meditate or take 30 minutes just to watch your favorite TV show.  Write it out.  Do something, because although work is important, so is your sanity.

2) Keep an open mind. Just because a person or a culture is different than yours doesn’t make it of any less value than your own.  Even though it was easy to fuss about five minute showers due to Spain’s outrageous energy prices or how freezing the apartment was, there’s still so much you can take from another person’s viewpoint and lifestyle.  Also, listening to the stories of fellow pilgrims was amazing…we met pilgrims from Britain, France, Germany, Greece…all different perspectives, and it was amazing to see beyond the world I had always known, simply through experience.

3) Ultreia. It means onward, forward, and ahead.  You keep moving forward, because life keeps moving forward.  It doesn’t matter what’s happened in your past.  Your past can affect who you are, but you control who you are going to become.  Embrace all of life’s challenges, whether it’s hiking 120 km to Santiago, speaking a completely different language in a foreign country, or even having patience towards the things that may be driving you crazy at the time.  Impossible is nothing, as a fellow Greek pilgrim said to me one night (which, creepily, is one of my favorite quotes).

Although I don’t want to leave Spain, I can’t wait to see everyone when I get home.  Dad, you BETTER be on time to the airport! I’ll see you soon!!!!

-Marguerite

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