Travel

Erasmus Diaries part 4: the best and worst moments

I’m pleased to announce my one month anniversary with Spain. It was tough but we did it! There were moments when I wasn’t sure if we would ever happen but here we are, still together and have many wonderful months ahead of us.

I wish to share with you all a quick selection of my best and worst moments from my time in Spain. Thankfully the best times greatly outweighed the worst, but all of them together create an honest portrayal of my Erasmus journey so far.

Best: I’ve always loved meeting new people and getting to know other ways of living especially through different cultures and customs. With being on an Erasmus I was introduced to a wide spectrum of people whose homes could be found all around the world. Belgium, Britain, France, Thailand, America, New Zealand, everyone had a story to tell. Singing karaoke, drinking calimocho while playing very complicated Spanish drinking games and friendships is truly the height of a good Erasmus.

Exploring and being exposed to the landscape and nature of another country is priceless. Whether alone or in a group, wandering around unknown places is one of my favourite pastimes. Recently I visited the lakes of Covadonga in Asturias, the north of Spain. I have never seen anything so beautiful.

As I and two friends travelled high into the mountains and by high I mean, “I never thought I’d die on a mountain and so young” high it was astonishing to see such a natural creation in person. Travelling up the mountains the shallow road was barely existent and falling off seemed as likely as staying on, yet it was one of the most serene sights.

As the North of Spain is a beloved secret and has yet to be exposed to the colossal quantity of tourism in comparison to other cities in Spain it’s attractions seem untainted. It was unmarked by swarms of people on their holidays. It didn’t cost forty euro to visit and up on the mountains, there was little evidence of human life at all. The only sound that could be heard was the faint noise of swaying bells located on the necks of semi-wild, friendly cows surrounding the mountains and lake. It was an experience like no other and I’m so grateful I got to see it.

Worst: Regardless of location, lifestyle and college everyone has bad days and that didn’t change just because I was in Spain. The first couple of nights were strange as I lived alone and had to adjust to the new sounds and creaks of my apartment.

Not forgetting I came from a family of ten so the eerie silence was something uncommon to me. Now admittedly I love the silence and having a place I can call my own. It gives me endless amounts of personal freedom and space. I can get up at 3 am and make tea without worrying about disturbing my housemates or watch Netflix in the living room all day. If this isn’t living the dream I don’t know what is.

The most frustrating problem I’ve experienced is in reference to registering for college which has become the bane of my Erasmus life. Alternating between subjects, filling out numerous application forms, hunting down professors for signatures- it has been tough. What is more distressing is the build-up of assignments and essays especially when access to student websites have been denied because of these issues.

Overall, Spain and Oviedo have been great to me. I expect exciting things to follow in my future here. Although I still have a little over four months to experience Spain I am determined to make that time count. It has been a very humbling experience and I am grateful for this rare opportunity.

In the next article, as I plan on travelling home for a quick visit I will explain the top ten things I miss about Ireland (cue the corny flashbacks).