Every day of the week I pass by this magnificent structure known as an Arc of Triumph (Arc de triomf). It is incredible how quickly something, that on first glance is so aw-inspiring, can become mundane.
The first week of classes, as I passed it, I wondered how long it took to carve the beautiful figures that adorn it. Now, so many weeks into my program, I am unable to ignite that same wonder and curiosity.
As one settles into a study abroad, or other adventure distant from their home, there is a period of difficulty. Homesickness sets in, and you begin wanting to talk to friends and family back home. You start missing little things about your home, and wonder why you can't do them or have them in your host home.
My favorite candy bar is a Snickers. Which, thanks to globalization, is available in Spain. It is quite common place in the convenience stores and vending machines. When I'm feeling particularly down, that is one little piece of my normal routine I can enjoy.
At home, when I'm feeling lonely or upset, petting a dog is something that cheers me up very quickly. But here, although there are dogs everywhere, on leashes of joggers and so forth, I feel unable to have that sort of canine comfort. Instead I have had to learn to be comforted by the cat at my homestay rubbing against my ankles.
At my home university, a half hour public transit commute was the norm. This is one thing that has remained virtually the same for me.
One thing is for certain, I walk a lot more here, but I also stop to look at things a lot more. There's nothing that even comes close to the arc de triomf in my city.