Spain: Pre-departure

Hello! So it has been a while since I last wrote, concluding my senior year spring break trip to Peru. Summer is finally here! Yay! Graduation came and went in a flash. I passed my thesis defense with honors, and I have begun my summer job in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Graduation Day at Mount Holyoke!

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With my fellow Spanish Theses writers and our wonderful advisers!

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With my best friend, Cerena, at the Laurel Parade

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Post graduation dinner with my parents and my best friends!

So for the summer I work for the Fund for the Public Interest, a national nonprofit organization where we work to increase the visibility, membership, and political power of some of the leading environmental and progressive groups. Basically I spend my days knocking on doors and trying to sign up members aka asking for money. I spent the first few weeks working with Environment Massachusetts, campaigning to protect the Quabbin Reservoir, after the DCR began allowing clearcutting. It has been really fun but really hard work!

I work with mostly college kids and we hang out all the time, which is awesome, and I get to meet the coolest people! I was canvassing in Agawam when I met a 92 year old lady who signed up, gave me lemonade and cookies, and told me how she and her husband fell in love during World War II through letters while he was stationed in Australia. After a few weeks of that campaign, I switched to Masspirg, where we are working to increase recycling in the state and stop building incinerators and landfills. Last week I was in Townsend, and I met a women who was in a wheelchair who told me how she survived a wreck when she was on a motorcycle and was run over by a drunk off-duty cop who was hauling a boat. She spent a year in the hospital after breaking most of the bones in her body to survive and even learn to walk again. This is one of my favorite parts of my job: getting to meet so many people.

Its hard sometimes when people are really rude to me. But it makes me try harder because I truly believe in what we are working on, and its their future that they are ignoring. Now I am a field manager, and I run a team of canvassers out to their turfs everyday. Its really fun, and I am so glad I stuck with this job and didn’t give up!

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Typical day at the Amherst Office

So I finally have news on the travel front! I will officially be living in Spain next year. Last week I received my placement from the Spanish Ministry of Education. I will be teaching in a school in Espejo, a pueblo outside of Córdoba, which is in Andalucía in southern Spain. Espejo is a tiny hilltown about 30 km from Córdoba. It is a pre-roman city with about 4.000 inhabitants which means its TINY!

I guess the junta de Andalucía missed my email where I asked to be placed in a big city. I am trying to decide if I am going to live in Córdoba and commute to Espejo for work or the other way around. I am leaning towards living in Espejo just because the rent will be so cheap and I will really integrate into the community there but vamos a ver. I am very excited especially because my adviser at Mount Holyoke, Nieves, is from Córdoba. She had me over at her house last week for café and a long catch-up session. S

he has already promised to introduce me to all of her family in Spain, help me find an apartment (as well as a cute Spanish man) , and even help me start a research project while I am there whilst applying to graduate school in England. Phew! Gotta love her! Here is a website about Espejo and some pictures of my new city: http://www.espejo.es/#

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Map of Spain with Córdoba in the South

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View of Espejo

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Castle in Espejo

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View of Córdoba at night

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Traditional patios in Córdoba

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The famous Mosque of Córdoba

So in less than three months the next big stage in my life will begin. My orientation is on October 1st, but I think I will fly to Europe sooner to spend some time with a good friend in Switzerland. As of now I am stressing a lot about my visa application. I am going to attempt to apply for it in Boston, in spite of having residency in Virginia. The Consulates are super helpful, responding to all my phone calls and emails. NOT. I just hope I have everything in order for my appointment in a week. Everything works out in the end I suppose.

I am excited to be living in Andalucía. This will be my third time living in Spain after I spent a year at the Universidad de Salamanca, and month last summer in Madrid researching at the Biblioteca Nacional. It is going to be warm and sunny paradise after spending four years in New England. Anyways, I will write soon with more updates! For now I will have a good Fourth of July weekend celebrating Spain’s win over Paraguay this afternoon gracias a David Villa! Arriba España! Vamos!!!

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1 Comment on “Spain: Pre-departure

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  1. Liz, since I’m roughly 6 months from going to Spain I thought I’d go back in your blog and read your thoughts pre-departure. It’s interesting because I have just about the same feelings of the unknown now. I’m still awaiting my region placement which should come in about a month. You’re an inspiration and your blog has been a big help especially when questions or nerves arise. Thank you!

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