Archive for the ‘Shannon in Spain’ Category


Shannon: On the Road Again

May 29, 2009

Hey everyone! Its me again, and from the road this time! I hit up Barcelona Tuesday through Friday (staying with a friend who studied in Toledo with me, and is now doing research in Barca). These last couple weeks I have learned a lot about myself and I wouldn’t exchange the experience for anything in the world (even though it had its great times and its tough times)

The last few weeks I have learned that:

  • I am, in no way, to the stage in my life yet where I am ready to surrender myself 100% for love or to a relationship.
  • I need do be doing something to be happy.
  • I need to be outside everyday, at least a little, to be happy.
  • I don’t like being alone.
  • Often times I am too serious.
  • Traveling isn’t fun unless you have someone to share it with.
  • Your heart and your head don’t always agree.
  • Find something that makes your truly happy, because money is soon spent and gone. Money won’t keep you happy forever.
  • I am fat, and I don’t like it.
  • I miss having a structured life.
  • I want a dog.
  • I need quality “re-finding Shannon time” surrounded by people I love and people that have the same values.
  • Ready for a quality Milwaukee summer.

Shannon: Spanish living… on my own

May 10, 2009

Well, I’m back in Madrid! And I must say, I am loving it! I have seen different parts of the city every day, and have had a lot of “me time.” However, I’m not going to lie, having my boyfriend this close and seeing him everyday is probably affecting my perspective a little bit…

So here I am again, pondering on whether or not to stay… I have no urge to travel and “see more”… I kinda want a stable life for a while. However, everyone keeps telling me I will regret it if I come home, so here I am. Decisions have been made and I am sticking to them. I am staying until June. From here, it’s on to Prague and Germany before I get back to the states on June 13th!


Shannon: To stay or not to stay…

May 3, 2009

Well where should I begin?? Lets see… classes in Spain ended, we had a closing ceremony, I went out in Toledo one last time with my friends and went home to pack. Finding myself exhuasted I went to bed planning to wake up at 7 and do it in the morning before leaving for Madrid (and eventually France). All went as planned, I left a bag in Toledo with my host family and off I went. And who did I meet at the train station? A Notre Dame girl and her boyfriend heading to Italy for a week. Our planes left at the same time so we rode the bus together, and braved the long metro trip together. FAST FORWARD… Once in France I found my dad and diane with out toooo many problems(thats another story). The following are the day by day events:

-First dinner in Paris with Harsh, Maryse, dad and diane
-Breakfast and lunch and we are off to the first Chateau
-Fountainebleu, Holiday Inn
-Chateau de Blois, Cheverney, Wine Tasting, Cheneceaux (murdered the spelling of that) and Bed and Breakfast (wine, broken english/french and pizza)
-more chateauxs, more wine, next B and B, Villandry, met nicest British man and a dog named Pongo
-Ussè (sleeping beautys castle) Saint Mont Michele, Holiday Inn, best dinner ever
-Normandy Beach, Cemetary, Paris
-Eiffle Tower, Arc de Triumphe, some famous shopping street.
-Dad to airport, Notre Dame (mass and tower tour), lunch, reading by the river, park (where i was stalked by a man and decided it was time to leave), dinner with Harsh and Maryse.

The question still remains: to stay or not to stay, but more importantly… where to stay!!


Shannon: Emotional Roller Coaster

April 19, 2009

With the last week approaching (exam week), and the departure of all my new friends, leaving my new home, and my boyfriend looming in the air, I can’t help sporadically going from laughing to crying… and I can’t figure out why! Here are my thoughts to as why:

  1. Everything I have come to know and be comfortable with is about to change… once again.
  2. I am going to have to say good bye to people I have met and grown to love, not knowing when I will see them again.
  3. I need to decide if I want to stay on my own for 2 months or if I want to go home (its always on my mind and causing me a lot of stress… on the one hand, I know I will never have this opportunity to travel ever again, but on the other hand I really feel like I need to go home, I need familiarity, and a stable life for a while…)
  4. I think I’ve finally let myself realize that I am in fact in love with my boyfriend… just in time to leave him.
  5. I miss my family even more that I have seen my mom and sister and realize that I’m missing out on being a part of their lives
  6. Exams start in two days and I haven’t started studying
  7. I am just an emotional person

Shannon: Random thoughts…

March 24, 2009

I have been pondering on:

  • The fact that everyone needs to read the book 1984 by George Orwell. It has some crazy, amazing, relevant, and applicable ideas about politics in there that are still being practiced hoy en día (presently). We discussed one of the ideas in my Politics and Society of Latin America class, and I just beamed the entire time we talked about it ’cause I already knew what we were talking about! It goes like this: If the government is corrupt, or there are problems (ie financial crisis) they “create” a dispute/war/controversy/distraction with another country. This way they create a common and external enemy for the entire country to “hate” so the country will unify behind this new cause in order to beat this “said threat.” This is exactly what’s happening with Bolivia and Chile right now. Obviously there are some hard core financial problems everywhere in the world right now, however, to distract their people from the internal crisis, Bolivia has convinced them (with the help of a lot of press) that their strife is the fault of Chile who has robbed them of their access to the ocean/ robbed them of their ports. This happened… how many years/ centuries ago? And their now bringing it up? Anyways, long story short. George Orwell= smart man, and everyone should read that book.

  • After looking at everyone else’s facebook pictures I am now really excited to go sit on the beach of Mallorca for 5 days with Nicole! I’m ready to get some fun reading in

  • My spanish is actually getting better! I had a few compliments today, “How are you so good at Spanish” and “you have a really good accent” YAY

  • I can’t wait to see my mom and sister… they are coming in 17 days!!!! I miss my whole family and have decided that one of the major things that will ever keep me from living abroad for an extended period of time is my family. I would miss them too much, miss being a part of their lives, and seeing them!

  • I am very unsatisfied with the physical shape I am in right now. You know when you start getting lazy and you try to convince yourself, “oh, I don’t look that bad”…? Well I’ve been saying that for too long, time to get my big butt out and running, and stop eating so darn much.

  • It’s really hard to appreciate/enjoy a culture when you don’t enjoy the food.

  • I want to join a Spanish club when I get home… I don’t want to lose everything I’ve gained, and the only way to do that is keep talking to natural spanish speakers.

  • I already have a list of things to do when I get home: EAT copious amounts of mexican food, and papa john’s pizza, summerfest ’09, visit Chicago, WORK OUT, spend an unmeasurable amount of time with my family, visit my grandparents!, road trip?, six flags, valley fair, sit all day and read in my hammock, read, read, read… did I mention reading?, prepare myself for the coming semester, find a job, see new harry potter movie, catch up on all the movies I missed, camping, make my dream book, LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE.

Shannon: Carnaval & Midterms

March 4, 2009

Hi everyone! I am sorry it has been so long since I have posted, but life got really busy here in Spain due to midterms! Who knew that studying abroad actually included “studying”???

Well I made it through alive. Whoever planned midterms to be the week after Carnaval was just plain cruel. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Carnaval is a full weekend festival, a mix between mardi-gras (with street parades and plaza parties) and Halloween (EVERYONE, of all ages, dresses up in costumes)!! Half of the kids from school went down to Cadiz, and half of us stayed in Toledo. Needless to say it was an amazing weekend. The first night my friend and I dressed up as Minnie-Mouse, and the next night we were fairies! However, that following Monday was crunch time! Every waking moment (which was usually 20 out of 24 hours each day) was devoted to reading, studying, and writing papers.

I had two take home exams. One of the was for my Politics and Society in Latin America class where the directions were as follows: “Write a 5 page paper, single spaced about everything we have learned this semester, in whatever format you would like.” Great, thanks for the guidance! I got an A though! The next take home was for my Businesses in Spain class where we had to classify two different Spanish companies into sectors, type of company etc, and write two summaries of two different Spanish companies from two different sectors. Still waiting on that grade. Another class (Linguistics) had an open notes/ open book test applying everything we have learned, and I got an A on that as well. My Spanish Culture class (which I studied the hardest for) was a 4 essay test that I had thought I did really well on… B-. VERY disappointed! The last one is another Business class (all about running/ opening/ operating/ a business and economy in Spain) and I’m still waiting on that grade.

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Shannon: Where is Captain Planet when you need him?

February 12, 2009

A couple of days ago was a day of firsts. I felt like I was punched in the stomach, slapped up-side the head, and glowing crimson with embarrassment… I was scolded again by my mom. This time, however, it was not for forgetting to call and let her know I wouldn’t be home for lunch, but it was about taking a long shower…

Back home in the states, showers are my prized luxuries. I look forward to at least a 15 minute scalding hot shower every day—if not longer when my muscles are sore. Here in Spain, that is a luxury that no one can afford to have. Simply, there just isn’t enough water. You’d think that being surrounded by water on three sides, and being famous for beach destinations this country would have plenty of viable water. The fact is, they don’t. The majority of this country is almost desert like. Most if the land isn’t fertile enough for crops, and the land that is owes its vitality to irrigation from the only river big enough to spare water, the Tajo. Most of the rivers aren’t big enough, or deep enough to act as waterways, or even irrigation systems. Quite frankly, my mom said the water table is low this week and we have to watch what we use, maybe shower only every-other day, and take 5-10 minute showers and not wait for the water to warm up. Never before in my life have I had to worry about such a thing. Coming from a state right next to Lake Michigan, and going to school in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” water just has never been an issue (unless you count the sprinkling ban in New Berlin… who cares if your lawn isn’t the greenest?).

Anyways, long story short: Start paying attention to how much water you use, because others don’t have the same luxuries. Also, be thankful for what you do have, because it’s not always greener on the other side.

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