Hasta Luego, Sevilla!

Hola amigos!

This unnecessarily detailed blog post below represents the last blog in which I’ll be referring to my time in Sevilla, as it covers the shenanigans which took place during the last week.

I finally found some time to throw together all of my video clips, so if you would prefer not to read 4 months worth of blog posts, and want to know how my abroad experience was just take a look at this instead!

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1833610919775

Rest of the week

Saturday

Completely forgot to mention this, but we randomly got a new residencia mate living next door to us named Sean, who was a summer study abroad kid. Anyways, that night, after botelloning for a bit with our amigos the group split up a bit and a few friends and I ended up at a bar called Chile that we’d never been to before. After a few rounds of tequila, we headed back over to Betis to meet up with our API amigos, and had a traditionally fun Betis night.

With mama before going out!

James, Sean, Justin and I at Chile! Look at Sean’s shirt hahaha

Sunday

Next morning, we woke up and went and got another delicious Cien Breakfast. I received one of the better names from Cien this time, you can call me ISJIN.

As with all of the days during our final week, Sunday was a memorable one. That afternoon, we had decided that we finally needed to take our group photo together for Mama Rosa. Mama Rosa has been hosting study abroad students for something like 9 years, and since the beginning of the semester one of the first things I had noticed was the wall that displayed pictures of all of her past students. I had always known, that someday, we too would be on the wall but It was crazy to think that the day had finally arrived.

I managed to convince everyone to take the picture at my favorite place in Sevilla, Plaza de España, which is a beautiful structure that looks like a castle, and was designed for the World Expo Sevilla hosted in 1992. Like usual, it was a sunny day in Sevilla, and one that was perfect for picture taking. We took a group photo in front of the fountain in the Plaza and it turned out to be great, there was even a rainbow in the background! Then we decided that we wanted to take a picture of just the guys, and so we all popped a few buttons on our shirt to reveal some chest, and got another fabulous picture.

Mama Rosa’s Residencia!

The boys! Popped some buttons off…nbd.

We decided to print out both pictures a few days later, and Mama hung the large framed group picture on the wall behind the dining table which was great, as we were the only ones on the wall. She placed the epic photo of the guys on the chest of drawers, and it was somewhat surreal being able to see us immortalized via photo in the residencia of Rosa Saenz.

Boys pic!

Residencia Pic

Sunday was the only the day of the week that Mama didn’t make us dinner, so after taking our picture we went over to a lackluster Japanese restaurant and had a last meal together as a residencia. I decided to take it easy Sunday night, as I had two exams in the morning and wanted to rest up a bit before the madness that was sure to ensue in the next 5 days or so.

Monday

After a solid 10 minutes or studying the night before, and another 15 minutes of cramming beforehand on the metro and I felt sufficiently prepared to tackle the exams the day presented. I had an intermediate Spanish exam, and a Spanish cinema class exam that day, and both were not too difficult.

That night, as had been the apparent norm form the last few nights we all ended up on Betis for a fun night bouncing between a bar named Betis 56, and our longtime favorite bar, Alambique.

Jared and I outside of Betis 56!

Tuesday

Tuesday was another one of my favorite days from our study abroad experience. We woke up early and grabbed cien breakfast, as had been the norm in the past couple weeks to start off our day. Cien breakfast was one of the best things ever, as they gave you a coffee or tea, glass of orange juice, and a bagel with cream cheese and yummy strawberry jam, all for 1.50!

My buddies Gabe, Eddy and I had decided that we were going to spend the full day exploring, and explore we did! We ventured off to explore the Cathedral first. Although I had walked through it before briefly, this time we were able to spend some time walking around and appreciating the true beauty of the structure, and the intricacies of the design in Europe’s 3rd largest cathedral.

And so our adventure begins!

Inside the cathedral

Following the Cathedral, we headed to the gorgeous palace that was tucked away in the city, the alcazar. The alcazar has amazing, sprawling gardens, which contains an incredible variety of plants, including some of the most exotic ones I’ve ever seen

and they are all in one place. A bunch of friends from the residencia met up with us and we all had a great time. We walked through the human labyrinth, plucked oranges and lemons off the fruit trees, and even got to see some beautiful peacocks!

Gorgeous

Human Labyrinth

Climbed on top of it!

The alcazar was closing at 7pm, so we headed off to the International Cerveceria to grab a beer. I had been meaning to head over there the whole semester, but they kept very strange hours and seemed to be always closed, so I was delighted to see that they were open for once.

The place was awesome, and they served something like 324 different types of beers from literally all over the world. After much deliberation, I saw a sign that said “Delirium: Voted best beer in the world” I decided to try that one. It was a delicious 13% Belgian beer that absolutely lived up to its reputation and i’m actually wishing I had a 6 pack of it as I write this.

Delirium!

Following the cerveceria, we all went our separate ways for the evening, and so with camera and ipod in hand, I took off to see some of my spots in Sevilla that have and always will have a special place in my heart.

Miss all these cool little alleys

I hit up Plaza de Encarnacion, where there happened to be a giant protest going on, then grabbed some food at Burger King and headed off to the river to eat the recently purchased meal.

Protest

On my walk over to the river, I managed to get a bit lost and ended up behind the Plaza de Armas mall, giving me the opportunity to say goodbye to the home to both some of my sloppiest moments, along with some of my favorite nights in Sevilla: Buddha (Whose name is actually Kudeta, but will forever be known as Buddha). As I sat by the river alone in the same spot we always meet up at, I found myself lost in thought and reflection as I looked back on and appreciated all the great memories we made together at the river.

High quality meal right here

I crossed the Triana Bridge, and stopped at the railing where we jumped off the bridge. I took what will be one of my last walks down a street whose name has been permanently engrained into all of our livers as Public Enemy #1: Calle Betis. Every place I went to, I had crazy flashbacks of all of our great times together at these different places and began to re-live some of my favorite moments in the city.

Triana Bridge with crowd gathered for flamenco event

Walking down Suncy on my way home, I finally began to make peace with the fact that my time in this majestic city with such magnificent people was rapidly coming to a close, whether I wanted to admit it or not. I put on Home by Edward Sharpe & the magnetic zeroes as I approached my residencia and home, and nearly burst into tears of joy and nostalgia for the fact that I’ve had so many wonderful experiences with such great people over the last few months. It was an incredible day, that had finally provided my some closure on the fact that we were actually leaving Sevilla, and only increased my appreciation of the amazing experiences I was so blessed to have!

Wednesday

Apologies for writing so much, just writing this makes it feel like the longest week ever and I’d be impressed if anyone was still reading the blog to this point. I know I’m writing way too much, so I’ll do my best from here on out to keep posts a little more concise.

Wednesday was the lsat day of classes for us at UPO as we had our final two exams. Being that our entire program was out partying til 6am the night before, it was safe to say no one was quite in the mood for a couple tests. Regardless, both my Spanish civilization & culture exam and marketing exams were jokes and we were done relatively early on in the afternoon.

Mike and I bought UPO shirts to commemorate our 4 month stint at the school, and I went into “apologize” to the University for jumping off the boat which was rather amusing as they’re only response was “Ok, well we just wanted you to know that we think what you did was not good” with no further repercussions haha.

Peace UPO!

After exams, the rest of the day was awesome. Chandler had asked everyone to meet up at Plaza de España at around 7 that evening, as she said she had gifts for all of us! There was a surprisingly good turn out, and we took a bunch of group photos together. Following pics, Chandler began on an awesome speech she wrote in regards how meaningful the last 4 months in Sevilla had been to her, and how important we all were to her, etc. She concluded by passing out shells she had hand picked from the beach by her host moms beach house as a symbolic way of tying us all together forever.

Giving her speech!

One big hAPI family!

Following Plaza de España, we headed back home for our Despido! A despido is basically a farewell dinner, and mama rosa hooked it up! She broke out soo much delicious food, including many traditional Spanish favorites, and for the first time even gave us some bottles of wine so we could drink with them. Our padre Norberto gave a heart-warming speech in which he spoke to what a pleasure it had been for them to have us stay in their home, and went on to say that their home will be our home forever and always if we ever need anything.

Giving their speeches!

Mama Rosa followed that up with a teary eyed, emotion filled speech of her own that hit us all hard as well. I miss her so much already. Afterwards, all of us students went around in a circle, telling mama rosa and Norberto in Spainish about our experiences in Spain, and studying abroad in general. I threw on some upbeat Salsa music, and the great dinner ended on an even more positive note as Mama and Norberto began dancing to the music for all of us!

Salsa dancing!

Best Host Parents ever!

As it was Wednesday night, we were all heading over to Cien Montaditos for the last time to grab some more euro mugs of cerveza. We had managed to convince mama rosa to come with us to Cien, and were super excited to go out and drink with her! It was most likely the first time that I saw mama drunk, and it was a party. We introduced her to all of our friends, and naturally they loved her!

With Mama at Cien Montaditos!

Earlier that day, James had sent out an e-mail saying that he wanted to do API superlatives, that included some rather hilarious categories. All the votes had been collected that day, and James announced the superlative winners that night. I won Most likely to be successful, Most talkative, Biggest Smart-ass, and Most Ah-pee spirit haha.

Superlatives!

We were all having such a great time at Cien that we ended up staying there until nearly 2am and only briefly swung by hip-hop night at Bandalai. To conclude the night, we stopped by our favorite Burguer stand, Carlos y Jose for one last time.

Thursday

As everyone was leaving the next day, we figured one last night at Buddha would be the perfect way to go out with a bang in Sevilla. We all met up to botellon, and shit got epic. It was easily the most fun botellon we ever had, and we had such a good time that most of us ended up skipping Buddha so that we could botellon for longer, and then just pranced off to betis like usual.

Scottie and I at botellon

Friday

Next morning, we did our usual run to grab another delicious Cien breakfast. Got a new name again, you can call me Shaid now.

SHAID

Friday was another crazy, strange day. There were a bunch of summer kids moving in to our residencia, and it was super weird welcoming our replacements into our home. It was so strange eating lunch that morning, as they were sitting at the table right next to us, and really hit us all that we were leaving in the next 24-48 hours. As upset as we were that they were going to be soon taking our bedrooms and our lives, they were good people and we gave them our tips for the city and wished them the best.

With some of the new kids

Friday was the day that we all knew was coming, but prayed would never happen. It was the last day of our program. As a group, we had all fallen deeply in love with the city of Sevilla, and with one another. I have never seen, nor do I think I ever will again see a group of people bond so quickly, and get along so well as a collective whole which was one of the many reasons this day was so hard.

Our university had sponsored a trip to the local theme park, called Isla Magica (The Magic Isle). We botelloned around 3pm by the torre, and then took cabs over to Isla Magica. We met up with all of our friends in the program, and spent the day going on a bunch of fun rides, and even went to see a crazy 4d movie! At around 7pm or so, the university had set up a goodbye dinner reception for us at the theme park. The dinner was basically a variety of tasty tapas, and we all received drink vouchers which we naturally used on cervezas.

With Enrique!

Isla Magica – crazy ride!

Scottie and Lucas at the funny 4d movie!

Some of the best people i’ve ever met right here!

Then, we all headed off to our respective homes for what would be many people’s last dinner.

A majority of the people in our program were leaving Sevilla that night, with a good amount leaving on a 1AM bus to the Madrid airport, so we all met up to say goodbye for one last time. Shit got emotional. Everyone was struggling, and it was really hard saying goodbye to the people that helped make this the best 4 months of my life.

Unique goodbyes

Literally, some of the greatest people whom I’ve ever met and we have already planned on making multiple reunions in the upcoming year. I know it is unrealistic to assume that we will all be able to stay in touch given the nature of everyone’s busy lives, but I hope to maintain contact with a good portion of these incredible people and continue to build on the bonds we forged during our time together.

After we said goodbye to the 1am bus gang, I spent the rest of the night running around with Ali, saying goodbye to our good friends and we had a great last night together. Was especially difficult saying peace to mah homegurls Helen and Lizzie, who I consider to be two of my closest friends, but I’ve already seen them both at home and know I will continue to keep in touch in the future!

Saturday: Goodbye Sevilla

Saturday was one of the longest days of my life. Woke up drained from the night before, and still had to pack my bags. I hate packing, it sucks.

We got cien breakfast and i got yet another name: Ashain.

I spent the day walking around with Mike, Kelsey, and some of the new kids picking up souveneirs, which I had literally put off till the last minute, and then spent the rest of the day packing up my stuff.

Got Norberto a hat!

Walked out of my bedroom to see mi padres wearing these outfits haha

te amo

For dinner that night, we decided to go to restaurant Viejo Tito, which was the building that we had lived on top of for the entire semester, and seemed to be a very fitting place to have our last meal. With our bags all packed and ready to go, Mike and I headed off to catch our 1am bus to the Madrid airport.

Last dinner at Viejo tito!

Mama Rosa walked us to the bus stop, and she teared up again as she was saying goodbye to us. Really couldn’t have possibly asked for a better host mom, and I love her like my own momma. Then mike and I hopped into a can to the bus stop.

Last Maryland Boys pic in Espana

It was a brutally long 7 hour bus ride, and after some minor issues we arrived at the Madrid airport at around 8am. I was in a different terminal, so said peace to mike and a couple of our new bus friends, and then sat around for nearly 7 hours by myself as I awaited my flight to England to take off.

In conclusion, as I’m sure any of you have been reading the blog could tell I had a blast. Deciding to come abroad turned out to be one of the best decisions in my life, and I made some memories and friends that I will never forget.In the short span of four months, the 80 kids in our program went from strangers to family. I traveled to 3 continents, and 10 different countries and would never trade the experience for the world. Sevilla is my favorite city in the world.

I feel like a completely different, more confident, intelligent and cultured person than the one who left from BWI on December 27th, and feel so blessed that I was able to have such a unique and amazing opportunity.

Thanks for reading along all semester, stay tuned for some more Asian adventures soon!

Cheers,

Sahil

One thought on “Hasta Luego, Sevilla!

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