A Collection of Experiences by Erin Golden

Erin Golden is a sophomore at Ohio University majoring in Journalism and minoring in Spanish. Erin is currently studying in Toledo, Spain.

I can’t believe I’ve been living in Toledo for over a month now! It’s been challenging in ways I hadn’t even thought possible. Other things have come easier than I thought however. Either way, it’s been a complete and total growing process. I’ve had the chance to visit some beautiful places along the way. To keep track of it all, I’ve been writing frequently about my travels!

Here’s a compilation of my travel and experiences so far:

January 21, 2013 –

So today a group of us got the chance to help out in an English class at the university where Spanish students were being taught. It was very eye opening to be on the other side of the class, as we were the ones having to talk slowly and explain ourselves and the students were struggling to remember words in English when asking us questions.

It makes me feel better to see the language barrier from the other side, because for the past week we have been the ones having difficulties communicating. When I’m struggling in class, I feel very weak-minded and dumb. I feel insufficient. However, seeing how these students were trying their best with English, it made me realize that we are not seen that way most of the time when trying to speak Spanish. Learning a different language is a completely mind-changing thing… Structures and barriers remain that need to be broken. Breaking these, however, is sometimes extremely difficult. There aren’t always perfect translations for certain words and sometimes its necessary to completely rearrange sentences to get a meaning across. The ones who attempt to cross this barrier, I believe, are the most courageous. It’s been hard to not comprehend everything and have to ask people if they can repeat what they’ve said. It remains difficult to talk every day. For now, we’re the courageous ones. Stay tuned for updates on the lives of the foreigners that are attempting to blend in. We’ll let you know when we get there.

February 9, 2013 –

Yesterday my group traveled to Segovia. It was beautiful, just like every city I’ve seen in Spain so far. My favorite part, however, was seeing the Roman Aqueduct. After centuries and centuries, it still remains standing, with no use of cement or any other type of paste holding the blocks together. The Romans truly were geniuses… my friend Siri actually stopped me and said, “How are the Romans not ruling the world still?” And after I thought about it, I realized that the Romans were a perfect example of a group of shining, brilliant, and powerful people that came crashing down after they shone a bit too bright. I thought of many other examples of this; the brightest stars that burn the quickest, the Marilyn Monroe’s of the world, etc etc.

It was so amazing to see a piece of their extremely calculated and complicated invention. I was even more mind-blowing that it still exists in our world with cars and computers and Wi-Fi. Like a reminder of just how far we’ve come.

Another thing I enjoyed was the Catedral de Segovia. Although I’ve seen many cathedrals of this type now, I still marvel in the detail and grandeur of it all. I don’t think they’ll ever get old.

When we were just about to leave the Catedral, our tour guide Nati called us all back next to a room that contained San Antonio the Saint. She told us that there’s a rumor that if you step into the room and pray to San Antonio for a boyfriend, that he will find you one. We got a laugh as many of the girls scurried into room.

We ate more fantastic food at lunch, and had a nice glass of wine to accompany it. We also got to try a really nice dessert afterwards that my friend Siri found us at a cafe nearby. It is supposedly known for being made in Segovia. If you’re wondering how it was… Heavenly.

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This is the Roman Aqueduct in Segovia.

February 18, 2013 – This past weekend I got to travel out of Spain to the capital of Portugal – Lisbon. I was so happily surprised when I arrived to this old city. It was, first of all, STUNNING. Amazing trees that I have never seen before, and somehow a lot of landscape and scenery for a city. Pastel colored buildings lined the streets as did tiny beautiful coffee shops and stores. We visited the Botanical Gardens as well; it felt like I was walking through a Dr. Suess novel, it was all so large and beautiful! We were also lucky enough to know people who live in Lisbon, so we got the Portuguese view instead of the tourists’. I feel as if I got a lot more out of the weekend. I am now in love with this city.

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Just a few of the many pictures I took in Lisbon!

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