In university, I spent a semester studying abroad in Spain. I fell in love with the university town of Salamanca, with its history, culture, and of course nightlife.
I stayed with a host mother in an apartment just a few minutes’ walk from the Plaza Mayor. I walked with one of my other friends to our classes every day and came to love our little neighborhood. There was a tobacconist shop, some bars, a salsa dance club, a butcher’s, and many other little shops. In the winter, vendors sold roasted chestnuts on the street corners.
The local plaza was under construction while I was there; they made a lot of progress over a few months.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel on three continents; I’ve been to Europe three times and saw new and special things each time. I can’t wait to go back, but for now I will just have to enjoy looking at the memories of my travels.
I took a tour around the country with my mom, and this was a quick shot on a hike that turned out to be one of my favorites. It encompasses so much about the beautiful country.
We took a cruise in the Mediterranean, and coming into Venice in the morning was one of the highlights. It’s an incredible way to see a beautiful city.
We didn’t just see big cities in Europe, though. We were able to get out into the countryside in a few countries like Croatia and also Italy. Here we traveled up a mountain to see the sanctuary and Roman ruins at Tindari, giving us these incredible views.
While studying in Spain, a group of friends and I made a memorable weekend trip to Portugal, where we got along with a smattering of English and Spanish. (And we learned a few words by the time we left.) Lisboa is a beautiful city and one of the first on my list to return to some day. The Belém Tower is one of several historical sites we were able to see.
Of all the places I’ve been to in Europe, my heart truly belongs to Salamanca. This is the iconic Plaza Mayor, where many friends were met with and many drinks were had. It is a wonderful city for young people, and I learned so much during my months there. I hope to take my family there someday so they can see the place where I grew so much. It is precious not only for its people and sites, but for the memories now attached to them.
The patron of Salamanca, Spain is the Virgen de la Vega, or Our Lady of the Meadow. Her festival is in early September, right when we arrived in the city to study for the semester. It was a wonderful introduction to a fun and historic city.
I’m falling asleep to songs about hips and hearts,
and dreaming of your smooth skin.
And I’m so sick of going out alone
and wasting money on my mobile phone
Because you’re here
and I’m there
and it’s 38 days ‘til home.
And it’s Sunday night
and you’re begging “Never again, never again, no,”
and all I can say is “I’m sorry.”
Te echo de menos, but you wouldn’t understand.
Just say, “I miss you, too.”
I couldn’t find my printed copy of this poem, but it was published in Confiscated, my college literary magazine, in 2007. I wrote it in fall 2006 when I spent a semester abroad in Spain, mainly in Salamanca. It was a wonderful experience, but I missed my boyfriend (now husband) a lot. I was feeling quite lonely in a hotel room in Santander (with ugly decor in harvest gold…) and started writing this about it.
It’s actually a song, as most of my poems are. I was listening to Fall Out Boy’s album FromUnder the Cork Tree on repeat at the time (“songs about hips and hearts”), and not only did it get me through that semester emotionally, it inspired me to start writing songs again. When I submitted this to my lit mag, even though I removed my real name, one of the other editors immediately knew it was mine and picked up the FOB reference.
Te echo de menos obviously means I miss you in Spanish. My husband does not speak any Spanish haha.