As our motley crew starts to dwindle (John, Alanna, Nichelle, Laura F., and Katy W. left this morning) it’s impossible not to look back at the last five weeks with an overpowering sense of nostalgia. The truth is still sinking in – our great adventure is really coming to a close. Sure, some of us have a few days left with each other (Catherine leaves tomorrow, and Abbey and Laura E. on Monday) but it’s just not the same without the whole gang. This has been one of the greatest summers of my life, and even as the memories of the Dali museum or the aqueduct in Segovia start to fade, I know I will never forget these people and the (far too short) amount of time we spent together. We’ve all learned so much from Karl, Cheryl, and our rotating crew of guest speakers and Spanish friends; but even beyond the limits of design and journalism, we’ve learned how to live our lives to the fullest, to relax and practice tranquillo, to appreciate the world around us, and most importantly, to never use a ruler when sketching.
It’s easy to forget that all of us go to the same school and live within two miles of each other (some only a few streets or houses) and that many of our memories together have yet to be made. I’m looking forward to our many reunions, which, if all goes as planned, will quickly surpass the amount of time we were actually here in Spain. I can barely believe how lucky we’ve been to have such a great group of people here – for those of you who remember the good old days back in Barcelona, we’re still walking on a dream here three weeks later! I don’t think any of us ever want to wake up from it.
As this is quite possibly the longest blog entry of all-time, you can take an intermission from reading and watch a brand new Jersey Boys Production – and don’t worry, I spent ten times longer on this one so it’s even better than the last! Watch it in full screen for full effect.
Anyway, as our blog sadly comes to a close, I’d like to give a shout-out to each of my fellow travelers, without whom this journey would not have been anywhere near as epic. You guys are the best!
Abbey: You’ve been the ultimate contrast, playing the role of group mom while still embodying the spirit of Max from Where the Wild Things Are. I still think it’s hilarious every time you say ‘I died’ to convey the fact that you laughed really hard at something, and I will always remember the night you toppled over in mid-headstand to destroy everything on Katy’s nightstand. This trip just wouldn’t have been the same without you and your countless youtube videos (smells like meat! rotten meat!) and I hope you enjoy your new salt and pepper shakers, Adam and John!
Katy W.: Haha, just thinking about what to write here brings a smile to my face! You are so much fun to be around, and I’m so glad we could be neighbors for the last three weeks. Whether it’s being able to hear you Skype from half a mile away or (in Katie’s case) witnessing your strange sleeptalking ways, you’ve brought so much life and energy to this group. And, of course, the boda bag you gave me is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Laura E.: While our relationship has been rocky at times, and may have started a bit awkwardly in ENG 265 (still your fault, sorry I’m not sorry), I’m glad we were able to work through it all and become BFF’s. It’s been great to have a fellow Spaniard on the trip, as well as someone else who isn’t afraid to be sarcastic and snarky all of the time. You are absolutely hilarious and I look forward to making teddy bears with you next year at Biggby!
Alanna: Words simply cannot express how ashamed I am that we never even spoke to each other in Karl’s class last year. The pure volume of sass that I missed out on will haunt me for the rest of my days. That being said, I hope I redeemed myself slightly over the last five weeks, because I’ve enjoyed every minute of our time together (yes, even the times you banged on our door at 7:30 AM to make us wake up). I’m looking forward to celebrating y0ur birthday with the gang at Karl’s pool party, and if we ever have another class together I swear I’ll talk to you at least once!
Laura F.: My favorite memory of you will always be the night when we split off and went to the ‘jazz club’ which turned out to be the Spanish equivalent on a rock and roll venue. I’ll never forget the look on your face when the guitarist swung around and almost chopped off your head with his guitar neck. You’ve probably come closer than anyone else to becoming a local here, and I’m sure that you are destined to return someday (regardless of whether we ever actually found the magic fountain in Barcelona).
Lauryn: The fact that we share a favorite movie (Almost Famous) and a favorite Nate (Mooty) would be enough in my book to make us lifelong friends, but when you add in your carefree and fun-loving attitude and your ability to draw McDonalds food when everyone is already starving, I think I could be friends with you even longer than that. From standing like bobbleheads in Barcelona to making faces in a Belfast pub to recreating the famous Da Vinci sketch in Segovia, many of my favorite photographs from this trip feature you and your crazy ways. Sorry for beating you and your sorority in battle of the bands a few years ago. Sorry i’m not sorry.
Catherine: Cathcath, C Mills, the first half of Cathalanna – no matter what you choose to call yourself, you bring all of the intensity that one would expect from someone with fire for hair and it’s been such an integral part of our group. I have so many favorite memories of you, bursting into our room at 3 AM looking for food or talking for twenty five minutes about why you love the New England Patriots or destroying John’s beloved cereal bowl that I simply cannot put them all into words. Instead, I wrote this little haiku.
You just live to hug
And make me smile always
C Mills, you’re my fav.
Nichelle: Possibly the only person here who made as many weird faces as John and I, I have two favorite memories that pretty much summarize you the best. Firstly, in Barcelona before I really knew you, when we went to a club and you befriended a pair of Germans (you told me their names were Hans and Franz) as well as a nice man with an Aladdin tie (you told me his name was something that I could not decipher for the life of me). The second was the other night, at a club here in Madrid, when you accidentally stole a purse for half an hour and managed to find a large starfruit to put inside of it, before trying on a big pink motorcycle helmet that you found sitting on a seat. You are a constant source of entertainment, and I’m so glad you invited yourself to come to Ireland with us. You and John and I (and later Lauryn and Elena) made for a great group and I wouldn’t trade those five days for anything in the world.
Katie D.: Where to even begin? You and Katy, our lovely neighbors, are as different as can be, but you have one thing in common: just being around you makes the world infinitely more fun and happy. I can’t even imagine this trip without your energy and laughter and willingness to be a kid on playgrounds and teeter totters with me. I think the highlight of the trip was when you decided to travel on to Rome for an extra week with me, because I already know it’s going to be one of the most fun adventures of my life. I look forward to returning to East Lansing and finally meeting the legendary Amy and Aunt Marcy, and introduce them to Captain Punky and Princess Beluga Sparkles!
John: When I went to the first study abroad meeting and saw that there was indeed a second boy going on the trip, I was so relieved that I almost skipped home. At the time I said to myself that I didn’t care if you turned out to be the weirdest and creepiest kid on the face of the earth, as long as I was not alone in yet another design class filled with girls (ew gross). Little did I know that I would be lucky enough to have the greatest roommate and friend that I could have possibly asked for – the last five weeks have been my greatest adventure and I owe so much of that to you. There is no way that I could ever mention one-thousandth of the memories I’ll take away from this, but I can mention ten:
- Discovering our shared affinity for Taylor Swift and spending countless hours doing homework to the album Fearless in the hostel.
- Our first conversation, which consisted of “Hey have you seen my towel?” “Yeah, it’s on the right.” “Wait are you sure?” “Wait, no, my right, your left.” “Okay cool.”
- Our last conversation, which consisted of “Be strong.” “I’ll try.” “I might cry.” “Just go, don’t look back.” “Bye.” “Bye.”
- Bartering for our Lionel Messi jerseys in a shop outside of Parc Guell and our David Villa jerseys in Platha Mayor.
- Wearing them most days after that.
- Staying up until 3 AM on our last night in Barcelona to make the first Jersey Boys video, and then watching in class to close out our time there.
- Splitting off from the group at Parc Guell and climbing almost to the top, and then returning that weekend to finish the job.
- Speaking in Castillian lisps and Irish accents.
- Sketching Megan Fox and a kitten in a bonnet during Karl’s first drawing class.
- Everything else.
I’m glad that, unlike the places and things we’ve seen here, our friendship can return to East Lansing and hopefully continue to thrive. I cannot even wait for our first day wearing our jerseys to school and blowing everyone’s minds with how cool we are. I love you, man – latis on the menjay.