I’m back (after almost two weeks in America).
I didn’t want to let this blog go without posts about my final two trips, which I count as one epic journey. I also only had 5 hours in between them during which I swapped my bathing suits for sweaters and took a quick shower.
First, let’s throw it back to thanksgiving, almost a month ago, in Uruguay. This trip was organized by my program and almost everyone attended (120+ american college students). While there were benefits to this since everything was preplanned and prepaid, I don’t like traveling in huge groups (does anyone?). It also exposed how little most of us knew each other in such a big program in such a big city. There were lots of people that I didn’t recognize and at times the dynamics felt a little middle school as in everyone wanted to be only with their little group. But it was lots of fun to spend thanksgiving at a beach and on a beautiful lemon farm that Mario, our program director, owns with his husband Sergio. Sergio is an architect and designed the house which also functions as a bed and breakfast (Casa de los limoneros is the name).
After the thanksgiving feast, which even included an attempt at pumpkin pie, we took buses into the nearby town of Colonia, a former Portuguese colony that is beautiful and so well preserved. Also Spain and Portugal fought over Uruguay for years, who knew! The huge group of us was split into three hostels in town but we had some free time to tour the historic center, comprised of roughly three cobblestone blocks, drink some Uruguayan wine and sit by the water at night.
The next morning we took buses to Punta Del Este, known by some as the Miami of Uruguay. It, like many new money beach towns around the world, combines gorgeous beaches and not so gorgeous high rises, in very close proximity. Case in point: our lodging for the weekend was in a huge apartment-style hotel with decor straight out of the 70s. The next few days included lots of beach times, some awkward entire trip group dinners (side note: dinner for a group should not take five hours or include karaoke), and lots of bonding. I was in a suite with the same girls who I was traveling to Patagonia with so we all got really good at sharing space and really excited for our next trip, which we knew would be totally different. At the end of the trip, no one from IFSA said anything in closing, no thank you for coming/thank you for studying abroad with us/we hope you had a good time, nothing. While this is a small detail, it’s not really that small and it made the trip feel a little random or without intention. It also failed to highlight that this and orientation are the only common experiences I have with many of the 130+ people who studied about “with” me.