Hasta Luego Granada, Hello BELFAST!!!!!!

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The past week has been incredible. I cannot believe how fast my life has changed. Only a week ago I finished my finals and enjoyed my last few days in Granada. I said tearful goodbyes to my host mom and my new friends. I sat and stared at the beautiful Alhambra and wandered around the city that had become my home. It was extremely bizarre knowing that I had finished my semester abroad and that I would now have leave despite my desire to stay. I only had one day after my last final to enjoy the city before I got on a plane and arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Once I landed in Belfast, I had to hit the ground running. My first task was to find a new home. I spent two days looking at several apartments all across the city. But one struck me immediately as a perfect fit for my time here in Belfast. I found a great room in a four-bedroom apartment. There are three other girls who live here all from different parts of Ireland. They are all studying pharmacy and taking their final exams very soon. Everyone is very friendly and the house is very lively. It is also in a great area of the city next to a bunch of small coffee shops and boutiques. I do have to take the bus into town, which is quickly becoming very expensive. There is no way to get around the high prices of bus tickets here. I have also realized that eating out here is also very expensive. I am really glad I have such a beautiful kitchen so I can now cook whenever I want. I was very lucky to have found such a perfect place to live in such a short amount of time. On the same day I moved into my apartment I started my first day of work. I am extremely excited for the work I will be a part of during my internship. Everyone in the office is very passionate about the work we are doing. They were all extremely welcoming and friendly when I arrived. I will be working on quite a few projects and will have some freedom on the tasks I perform over the next few months. Each of the projects I will be working on will be connected to youth groups or youth aged school programs. I will also be able to visit each of the different counties in Northern Ireland as I perform on-site visits where I talk about or help execute the projects. I will talk more about the projects when I have more to talk about, but for now I will talk about the city itself. For the first few days, the weather was perfect. It was sunny, with only a few clouds and a perfect temperature for walking around. However, quickly the weather changed. One minute it was sunny and warm, but then all of a sudden it was pouring rain with hailstorms, thunder and lightening. I could not believe the sudden change and was completely unprepared for the deluge of rain. Other than random rain, there are so many other aspects of Northern Ireland culture that I must adjust to. For example, I have realized that my eating habits have become very accustomed to the Spanish style of eating which includes a very large lunch as well as a break after my meals. I am finding myself very tired around 3:00 due to the shorter lunches in Belfast. I am also finding that when people find out I am from sunny southern California they don’t understand why I have chosen to come to Belfast for the summer. I have had some great conversations regarding cultural differences and especially the different vocabulary. We have had a great laugh over all the words I don’t understand. I will try to update again this weekend. Cheers!

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