Bienvenidos. Below we have a quick review of the last semester and an update on my plans for this one. The Word of the Week is siesta, because believe me when I say I am looking forward to mine. Maybe also tapas…

Last semester, I studied English literature at a Boston University satellite campus in South Kensington, London. I enjoyed my classes, met new friends, and had a fun time exploring the UK. I took Meet the Writer; The Literature of London; a core course, for which I wrote an essay on the work of Angela Carter, a woman who wrote feminist Gothic fairy tales in the ’70s; and a Shakespeare. I enjoyed the company of my classmates and the chance to hang out with old friends, such as Violet and Zoe, while also making new friends, such as Veronica and Dagny. I saw an incredible amount of theatre, including Mamma Mia, Phantom of the Opera, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Measure for Measure, King Henry IV, Jane Eyre, Titus Andronicus, A Winter’s Tale (with Judy Dench and Kenneth Branagh!), and others. I traveled the UK and Europe, visiting Edinburgh, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, the Lake District, and Barcelona. Overall, I enjoyed my time, although London’s high prices, weather, and the program’s small size limited my range of activities more than I would have liked. I also started a daily writing habit in London which I have resolved to continue in the New Year – 500 words a day, every day. We’ll see how I do.

I returned home for Christmas. There, I spent time with my mother, my sister, my sister’s boyfriend, and – perhaps most importantly – my dog. We showed off the Bay Area to my sister’s boyfriend, visiting my favorite small town of Half Moon Bay. I visited with old friends, cleaned my room based on the Konmari method (well, Konmari lite), started the television shows The Musketeers and Black Books, and worked as a preschool teacher.

This morning, I woke up bright dark and early to get ready for my flight to Madrid. In less than day, I will arrive and meet up with the others in the program to receive my two-day orientation, after which I will meet my host family and be directly immersed in literature courses at a local university. I will also visit Lisbon, Portugal, with my lovely friends Danial, Kyle, Giselle, and Kamara, who I have not seen for… Well, it’s been too long. I am very excited to see them again, and I am curious as to how they have changed while I was gone.

I am nervous. I am excited. I am… not as caffeinated as I’d like to be. It’s time for the next adventure, and it’s the most challenging one so far. Not only am I starting out in a new place, this time with no one at all I know, but I will be speaking in another, unfamiliar language. I’m excited to see what I can learn and how I’ll grow, but I also know that no one ever grew without getting uncomfortable, first.

As I leave, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have the friends and family that I do. Consistent virtual communication is not my strong suit, and it has become even harder in the last two years of jam-packed schedules and travel, but you have always been there just the same. Thank you.

I’ll let you know how my first days go.