No Pasa Nada, Granada: A Journey Abroad (Pt II)

Sara Shimmel is a junior from Lewiston, New York, working on a double major in political science and Spanish. She is a member of the Women’s Chorus and takes voice lessons at the Eastman School of Music. She is also a member of the UR Quidditch team. A Gold Level Senior skater, Sara takes advantage of the Genesee Valley ice rink down the street a few times a week. Last year, she became a member of the Meridian Society and works giving tours for the Office of Admissions. Sara is currently studying abroad in Granada, Spain, and will be talking about many of her experiences abroad in this series of blog posts.

By Sara Shimmel

Baggage Claim

Most nerve-wracking part of any trip? Those few minutes when you’re standing around the conveyer belt waiting to retrieve your checked luggage, praying that it actually followed you to your destination. You stand there anxiously as the woman next to you runs up frantically to grab her black suitcase with obnoxious pink ribbons tied around it, as though if she doesn’t walk halfway around the belt to meet it as soon as she sees it, her luggage will be lost forever beyond the black flaps. “At least you have your luggage!!” you think. “Mine probably fell off the plane during the flight and is lying on the bottom of the ocean.” You look around and try to comfort yourself with the fact that there are still 87 other people waiting for their luggage as well, trying not to resent those who have their belongings securely in their possession once again. Then comes the period where you resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to have to walk around in the same clothing for 12 days and never brush your teeth or change your shoes ever again in your life. When suddenly, as if from the heavens, you see it. Your blue suitcase, lying safely on the conveyer belt moving right towards you. Sigh. Victory.

I just experienced this chain of emotions last week, when I was traveling to Ireland for our week off. Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is huge in Spain, and everyone studying abroad got a week off. My parents visited me for the first part of Semana Santa, which was neat because I was able to stick around Granada and see some of the many processions that occurred throughout the streets. They were amazing, with huge “floats” that are in actuality large, heavy, table-looking things with statues and candles and scenes from the Passion on top. Best part? They’re carried by about 20 men underneath each one. It’s crazy!

After that, I was off to Ireland for the remainder of my time off! I met two of my friends who are also studying with me in Granada, and we spent four days seeing Ireland together. We stayed in Dublin but planned two day-trips to go see the Blarney Castle and to see the Cliffs of Moher. That first day, we went to Blarney and saw the castle. And I kissed the Blarney Stone! It requires leaning backward over this opening in the top of the castle, holding on to bars, and being held by a man whose job it is to make sure you don’t fall (there are also bars underneath, just in case; my life was not in danger). After kissing the stone, you supposedly have seven years of eloquent speech. I wish mine would have manifested itself in eloquent Spanish speech. But. Oh well. The following day we went to the Cliffs of Moher, which were absolutely stunning. It was one of those experiences where it seemed unreal that I was actually there, in Ireland, seeing such a breathtaking view. I learned a lot about Ireland too, from our tour guides and people we met along the way. The countryside was beautiful, and full of cows and sheep; it made the three-and-a-half-hour bus rides both days go by quickly.

It’s such a surreal thing to be able to think, “Well, I have a week off next month…. I think I’ll go to Ireland.” Studying abroad has afforded me so many opportunities to travel like this, both around Spain and in other countries. This weekend, I go to Morocco on a trip planned by my IES Granada program. I’m really looking forward to it; it should be a great experience. I know in the future I won’t be able to travel as easily, since I probably won’t already be in Europe or somewhere with a bunch of other countries right next to me; however, I definitely want to maintain the mentality that I really can travel to the places I’ve dreamt of. Granted, perhaps next time I’ll fly on an airline that has larger carry-on requirements and avoid the dreaded checked-luggage ordeal.

About the author


URAdmissions features guest bloggers (both students and staff) who write about specialized programs, events, and opportunities at Rochester.

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