From abroad: Small world

Gates Lawler ‘17 with the Spain study aboard group visiting Roman ruins in Morocco [Photo courtesy of Gates Lawler ‘17]

Student discovers new friends and food in Madrid, Spain

I’ll admit it—it was nice to have a semester break from Lafayette’s campus. A change in scenery can really spice up your day-to-day life. Many students say Lafayette stays within a bubble on College Hill, so breaking out of that bubble and experiencing culture on another continent was very eye-opening. I’m glad I studied abroad. I have experienced things I never thought I would, from riding a camel to eating cow liver. I’ve met so many people from areas near me that I would have never met otherwise. Someone in one of my classes was born in the same hospital as me but we met 4,300 miles away from home. Crazy right?

While abroad, I have been living with a host family—which, let me tell you, is way different than dorm life. You can’t just have your buddies spring by for a little room party. On the other hand, your host family feeds you breakfast and dinner–plus they wash your laundry for you. I’m definitely going to miss having clean clothes miraculously appear folded on my bed when I get home from class. I’m also going to miss my host family and their granddaughter. The granddaughter is such a cutie and fun to play with as a break from schoolwork. It just got a little hectic when she got into my makeup and sent powder flying everywhere. Good memories.

Spanish food in my opinion can be defined as some of the most delicious food that ever did grace my palate. Any “authentic Spanish food” in the US will not be able to compete with the cooking of Clara, my host family’s chef. Paella is and will forever be my favorite way to eat seafood. Paella is best described as a stir-fry with rice and all types of seafood such as crab, shrimp, clams, and fish. And don’t get me started on the salsa. I know what you’re thinking, but no I’m not talking about the chip dip common in South America—although that stuff is good, too. Salsa in Spain is any type of sauce you put on your chicken, pork, or other kinds of meat. Each time I am served a dish with salsa for dinner, it seems to be a new sauce every time. I’m just hoping Lafayette’s dining services dishes up some Spanish inspired food a few times a month when I get back to satisfy the withdrawal from Clara’s cooking.

It’s true though, the closer you get to returning back to America the more you want to stay, but you also miss home more. I consider Lafayette a second home to me, so I look forward to returning this fall. A break was nice, but I dearly miss all my friends, especially my twin sister. I had an amazing experience abroad and I will miss it, but it has also made me truly appreciate my life back at Lafayette.

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