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Journals from Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies

2009-12-29 Holidays away from home

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to everyone! We have all had a good time studying abroad here in Spain, although it can be tough and a little strange to be away from home, especially for the holidays. But we did get the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas here even being so far from home. For Thanksgiving, the CC-CS staff were really nice and took us out to an Irish pub called P. Flahertys to eat a pretty authentic American Thanksgiving dinner here in Spain. Three countries mixed together in one dinner = pretty cool! We shared dinner with a group of American students from Madrid. The food was really good and it was nice to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends from the program! It did feel a little different than it would at home, but I was still reminded how much I have to be thankful of, which is the idea behind the holiday in the first place. I hope you all at home had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well! Christmas was a little different as we 4 from Linfield went in separate directions for the break. Katie and I ended up sticking together though, and she had the awesome idea of going to Rome for Christmastime! We were in the Eternal City for 5 days, just walking around and seeing all of the main sites that we have read about time and time again but hadnt had the chance to actually see before. It was unreal to be in Rome and actually see places like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. The Colosseum and the Spanish Steps were my favorite, the former because I love Roman history and had always wanted to see it firsthand, and the second because it was Spanish and in a way felt like a piece of home in a foreign city. On Christmas Eve day, we took a tour of the Vatican Museum and got to see a lot of famous artwork, including the Sistine Chapel. We spent all day in Vatican City because we had tickets to go to the Christmas Eve Mass, which was delivered by the Pope. We stood in line for 6 hours, but it was worth it in the end! It was amazing to sit in St. Peters Basilica and listen to a Mass delivered in several different languages and be surrounded by people from all over the world. Its pretty incredible how one holiday can bring so many people together. In the end, even though I missed celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and spending that time with them, I am very grateful to have had this once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate those holidays with friends here in Europe, to meet people from all over the world, and to see so many historical places. Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ao Nuevo a todos! -Sierra

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