Monday, June 8, 2015

Photo Post: Graduation Goggles about Alcalá de Henares

As my time here in Alcalá de Henares draws to a close, I realize that I'm starting to get a case of graduation goggles. As explained by Robin in How I Met Your Mother, graduation goggles are when you begin to feel nostalgic as something is ending, even if you didn't really enjoy it that much in the first place. There couldn't be a more fitting description to how I feel about Alcalá right now. As much as I have felt stuck here during the past year, I'm starting to notice the little things about this town that I'm going to miss. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm still incredibly excited to be getting out of here in less than 3(!) weeks. I can't wait to see my parents again and do some glorious traveling. 

But during the past few weeks, I've been walking around town saying to myself "Wow, that building where Christopher Columbus met King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella really is beautiful," or "I forgot how cool it is that I live in the town where both Cervantes and Catherine of Aragon were born!" 

So I've been taking pictures of these little things that I'm noticing all over again. I'm hoping to cement them in my memory so that I can think back fondly on my time in Alcalá, rather than remembering the bad moments. 

It may be quixotic of me to think so, but we will meet again one day, Don Quixote! 
(Forgive me, I just can't help myself from being punny)

Yes, this town is obsessed with Cervantes. I'd kind of forgotten how silly that seemed to me when I first arrived here!

A quick break in the beautiful university courtyard during a long Friday afternoon class. The fountains are soothing, and it's very easy to picture yourself being a student here hundreds of years ago. 

I'd also forgotten how impressive I initially found it that I'd be studying in the third-oldest university in Spain. But the buildings, once I stop to pay attention to them again, really are very impressive. I wish I'd been in this state of mind the day the King of Spain stopped by to give away the Cervantes prize...I might have actually made the effort to go down and check out the hubbub!

Here's the building where Catherine of Aragon was born, and where Columbus was given the money to go "discover" America. I like to think that both things were announced from this very balcony...because I have an incredibly active imagination. 

The other day I discovered a random little art gallery tucked away next to one of my favorite restaurants. I saw this piece through the doorway, and couldn't help but go in to see it a little closer.

I often joke about how I'm living in the desert. The heat these past few weeks has been...not so fun. But graduation goggles make me appreciate the pretty color of the dead grass, and the fact that I don't need to worry about bringing a just-in-case sweater with me, ever. 

Alcalá's town square, where I can go to listen to random salsa music on a Saturday night and where I run into my little students every day of the week. This is arguably the most beautiful and representative place in town, and probably what I'll remember most once I'm gone!

Usually, graduation goggles aren't really a fun thing, as they obscure your vision and make you think things that aren't true. But I've actually been kind of enjoying wearing them these last few weeks. I'm seeing Alcalá once again through the eyes of a visitor and appreciating it all the more. It's actually been kind of fun! Who knows what other tiny cool details I'll notice before I leave; I'm excited to find out!

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