Simple Quote Sunday

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
-Sam Walton

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Sam Walton

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Day 32 in Spain: My Last Day Here

As much as I don’t want to say this, today is my last day here in Spain. I really cannot believe how quickly this experience has gone by, and how incredible it has been. I remember posting about my first days here, not having my suitcase because the airline lost it, feeling like an outsider in a foreign country, wondering why I thought I would be able to do something like this, outside of my comfort zone. Ever since I was younger, I have always wanted to go to Spain. If I had a writing prompt in class, if someone asked me where I would want to travel if given the opportunity, and if I could dream about going anywhere, all led to Spain. And now I’m actually here. As I reflect on these past few weeks, I couldn’t be more grateful for having been able to have such a great experience.

As you could probably tell from my posts, I had classes Monday through Thursday every week, and since the semester was compacted into four weeks, the course work was pretty insane so it didn’t leave me much time to travel during the school week. However, I took advantage of every weekend I had by touring Sevilla, exploring Madrid, going to Pamplona for el Encierro (running of the bulls), seeing Barcelona, and getting a chance to visit Granada. Not to mention, I lived in Alcalá de Henares, a city with lots of history as you may have read in my previous post, so if you ask me, I think it’s safe to say that this was most definitely a successful trip.

Besides for taking classes and traveling, there was one more very important aspect of the trip that I haven’t really spoken about yet. During these past few weeks I stayed with a host family, which to be quite honest, I was very skeptical about. Upon signing up for this study abroad program, we were given the option of staying in an apartment with other students or living in an apartment or house with a host family. Both options had their pros and cons- for example, living in an apartment allows you to have your own freedom, but you have to cook and clean for yourself on a daily basis. On the other hand, living with a host family allows you to soak up the culture as much as possible while receiving all the benefits such as a clean living space, food, and the washing of your clothes and sheets every week. The only downside is if you get placed with a family you don’t like/get along with or if you don’t like the food that your host family cooks. And after reading the cons of living with a host family, I wasn’t exactly too excited to start the program. However, on the first day the program started, I met my host mom and she hugged me and held my arm as we walked back to her apartment. She introduced me to her 8-year-old son and we all had lunch together. My Spanish was a little rusty but I stuck with it and made it through lunch.

After we ate, I unpacked my things, took a shower, and then napped for a bit. I can’t say that I was expecting to eat dinner as late as we did (past 10:30 at night), but I slowly got used to eating lunch at around 2:30 in the afternoon and dinner at around 10:30/11:00 every night. Not to mention, the whole siesta thing was great! In Spain, everyone “siestas” or takes naps during the hours of 2:30-5 o’clock P.M. everyday. During this time, you won’t find any open stores or shops, so you’re left to go home to siesta as well. The reason for doing this is because 2:30-5:00pm is when it is hottest outside, so this gives people a chance to go home and relax inside, and come back to work in the afternoon when it’s cooler. Hey, any culture that doesn’t look down upon napping works well for me.

As the weeks passed, I liked my family more and more each day. My host mom treated me like her own son and her son is like the little brother I never had. So looking back on this experience, I couldn’t have asked for a better host family, seeing as not only were they the reason that my Spanish has improved on this trip (since we only spoke in Spanish in the house), but they made my time here in Spain more enjoyable and more homely. I hope to be able to return to Spain in the near future because not only is there still so much I want to see, but it is the place that I have always wanted to go and the place that I’ll always want to return to. Besides, I have a family here now too, so what more could I possibly ask for?

So, it has been an incredible experience here in Spain and I can’t say I’m excited to head home in the morning (aka a few hours) but I can say that I’m excited to start yet another new chapter of my life and see where life takes me. Hopefully it will be back to Spain! In the meantime thanks for following all of my adventures here in Spain. It truly has been the experience of a lifetime, and until next time; Viva España!

Sunshine Blog Award

Sunshine Blog Award

Special thanks to http://humaninrecovery.wordpress.com/ for this awesome award! I would definitely recommend stopping by because it truly is an amazing blog!

The rules for this award are as follows:

1. Link the award to the person who gave it to me.

2. Answer the questions about myself.

3. Nominate 10 bloggers for the award.

4. Link my nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.

About Me: 

1.  Favorite Bad Habit: Procrastinating

2. Twitter Name: @DanBalva

3. My Passion: Writing about topics that inspire me and trying to make a difference in the lives of my readers

4. Favorite Time of Year: November/December because it’s holiday season and it’s the one time where the weather finally drops (somewhat) here in Florida

5. Favorite Vacation: Studying abroad in Spain this past summer

6. Favorite Physical Activity: Boxing and working out at CrossFit

7. What puts a Smile on My Face: Making people laugh and putting smiles on their faces (yeah, yeah, I know it’s corny, but oh well)

10 Bloggers: This award is presented to 10 bloggers who have been actively commenting and following my blog. Even while I was away from my blog these past few weeks, these bloggers kept my blog alive and well. You definitely add sunshine to my blog, so this award is from me to you, with hopes of adding some sunshine to yours 🙂

1. http://mysmallstillvoice.wordpress.com/

2. https://campanulladellaanna.wordpress.com/

3. http://crustybreadblog.com/

4. http://longlifecatsanddogs.wordpress.com/

5. http://noblogintended.wordpress.com/

6. http://russelrayphotos2.com/

7. http://alarnarosegray.wordpress.com/

8. http://misifusa.wordpress.com/

9. http://reconstructingchristina.com/

10. http://lolabees.me/

Congratulations to everyone for your Sunshine Blog nomination! You all deserve it! 🙂

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

A short while ago I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, but somehow didn’t come across the comment nominating me until a few days ago. Better late than never, especially when it comes to exciting awards! I was nominated for this awesome award by Sahbina from http://sahbinahvioletflynn.wordpress.com/. Her blog is truly amazing, so I would strongly recommend checking it out!

We all have goals in life and all want to achieve nothing but the best for ourselves. Have you ever asked yourself what the goal of your blog is? I’m assuming you have since you’re successfully blogging here on WordPress, but once in a while it’s nice to think about the what the purpose of our actions is. Let me tell you why I blog. There are quite a few reasons here, so bare with me. I blog to make people happy;  I blog to entertain my followers; I blog to keep tabs on trips that I have taken and remember what I did on those trips; I blog so that other people can take these trips with me from the comfort of their own home; I blog to help people overcome obstacles they may be facing on a daily basis; I blog to remind people what is important in life and to remind each of us (myself included) of important lessons that we sometimes forget; I blog to help myself out on a daily basis; I blog to help others out on a daily basis; I blog to inspire myself; and I blog to inspire others.

If you can make a positive impact on someone’s day, then you have done something really good. If you can help improve someone’s week, then you have done something great. If you have made a difference in someone’s life for the better, then you have done something incredible. I blog to try to make a positive impact in my follower’s lives on a daily basis and as a whole, in general. If I am able to make this difference on just one person (even if it’s myself), then I will be content in knowing that I fulfilled my goal. But I don’t want to stop at just impacting one person’s day and/or life. I want to keep going. So I will keep on blogging and keep on trying to inspire. (Maybe I took this post a little too seriously, but a little catharsis never hurt anyone). But again, special thanks to Sahbina for making a positive impact on my day with the nomination of this award 🙂

Now for the RULES to follow when nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven Things About Me:

  1. I am the youngest of three kids (I have an older brother and sister)
  2. We have three dogs at home (one to replace each of us when we left our house for college)
  3. I intern for a local college entertainment-oriented magazine in the Orlando area
  4. While using the bathroom in a moving train last week, I had a sudden burst of inspiration and came up with the following quote. “Life is like using the bathroom in a moving vehicle. You can come out with lots of accomplishments or lots of regrets”
  5. I use Twitter to promote my blog and at times to reach out to friends and fellow Twitter followers. I try not to use it too much to give updates on my location (minus traveling) because I don’t think people want to know when I’m eating dinner or when I’m going to the bathroom
  6. I have self-diagnosed OCD in general, but more specifically, I can’t finish brushing my teeth until I brush each “section” for a certain amount of time. Also, after a certain amount of time since previous haircuts, I have to get another haircut or else I’ll start to get jittery (It’s not easy thinking of facts about yourself, so sometimes you have to dig deep)
  7. Seven is actually my favorite number

My Nominations for the Very Inspiring Blog Award:

My whole blogging experience wouldn’t be the same without my followers as well as the blogs that I follow. There are always new blogs that catch my attention and there is no way of showing that I appreciate their work more than nominating them with a gratifying award such as this. Thank you to the following blogs for inspiring me and making a difference in my everyday life!

  1. http://2bewell.wordpress.com/
  2. http://nomadgrad.com/
  3.  http://alarnarosegray.wordpress.com/
  4.  http://readinpleasure.wordpress.com/
  5. http://noholdsbarredribataylor.wordpress.com/
  6. http://worldismycuttlefish.wordpress.com/
  7. http://travelerslounge.wordpress.com/
  8. http://pczick.wordpress.com/
  9. http://bamskitchen.com/
  10. http://justanotherwakeupcall.wordpress.com/
  11. http://sued51too.wordpress.com/
  12. http://adventuresofacarryon.com/
  13. http://hutchagoodlife.wordpress.com/
  14. http://lifebyphoto.wordpress.com/
  15. http://milenanik3.wordpress.com/