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On my way…

August 20th, 2010 nmmari12

I am in complete denial that in less than 24 hours, I will be landing in Madrid, completely jet lagged, but beyond excited to begin the year that lies ahead. This past week I traveled up and down the East Coast visiting family and friends in New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York, Martha’s Vineyard and Boston.

I left my home in Evanston last Friday and drove to the middle of Pennsylvania where we spent the night. The next morning we drove to New York where I visited my two friends Amanda and Amanda from Holy Cross. Since both of these crusaders are studying abroad next year (and blogging) the conversation was centered on the visa process, packing, our fears, excitements and the countries in which we plan to travel. After lunch we said our goodbyes with a final exclamation of “I will see you in Europe!!” Next, we drove down to Philadelphia and I spent the night with Lizzy, a friend from high school. In the morning I went to New Jersey to visit my family and had a big dinner with all my cousins, aunts and uncles.  The following day, my parents and I once again packed the car and drove up to Martha’s Vineyard where we vacationed for 2 nights. These two nights on Martha’s Vineyard completely relaxed me, as I spent time on the beach, walked around the quaint towns and read my travel books on Spain. The last night in Martha’s Vineyard I went to “Illumination Night” in Oak Bluffs. For those not familiar with the tradition, one night a year all of the houses in Oak Bluffs hang dozens of colorful and intricate lanterns on their porch and light them all together at 9 PM. However, before they lit the lanterns, the band played every traditional American song and encouraged all the thousands of people present to sing along. It seemed very appropriate that my second to last night in the United States was filled with singing traditional American songs – a great send off!  After leaving Martha’s Vineyard, I went to a BBQ with 3 other friends from Holy Cross. Julia, Caroline, Cassandra and I talked for hours about the past two years on the hill, the several inside jokes and fond memories that we have together.

Talking with my HC friends made me realize the great communities that I have in the states, at Holy Cross, among my immediate and extended family and with my friends from home. While I realize that I am going to dearly miss these communities while in Spain, I hope that I can recreate a strong sense of belonging and community during my year in Spain.

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