The friendships made during my study abroad experience were valuable and the things we all experienced together was a bond being built that nobody could ever break. So when April 26th, 2013 came along and we all were exchanging goodbyes, a part of me wondered if I would ever see some of these people again.
Through social media and text messages, I’ve been able to keep in touch with everybody. The connection that I’ve built with these people while I was in Spain still felt alive. “Post-abroad depression” and transitioning back to our home universities were some things that we were all experiencing together.
This past spring break I traveled to Southern California and Arizona State University where I was able to visit a bunch of study abroad friends. The great thing about visiting them was that I was able to see how their lives were back home and most importantly how their study abroad experience has effected them. It’s a wonderful thing to call up your friends no matter where they may be in the world and have a place to stay.
It’s amazing to think a year later, the bond that has been built is still as strong as ever. It’s even crazier to think that in just one semester in a different country, I can make friends of a lifetime.
Day 2 — We headed to North Seymour Island. We saw a bunch of endangered species such as blue footed boobies, frigate birds, a bunch of sea lions, iguanas, and more. The climate was hot and it was necessary to have water at all times to avoid being dehydrated. We then snorkeled through the coast of the island in which the waters were super rough. I was able to see a bunch of different species though.
After snorkeling, we headed out to the hotel for dinner. We then had a group night out at one of the local bars where we had some Pilsener, Ecuadorian beer, and enjoyed each others company.
Day 3 — This by far has been my favorite day! We started out at the boat at 7am and headed out to South Plaza Island. There we saw a whole lot of cacti and unusual rocks, along with some more sea lions and land iguanas. The view from the top of the island was spectacular. One side you have a serene view overlooking the calm waters and another island, and on the other side, we were on a high edge of a cliff overlooking rough waters.
We then headed off to snorkel about 45 minutes away. We saw some sharks but of course as soon as I saw one, I would swim in the complete opposite direction. After snorkeling, our tour guide had mentioned a place not too far called Las Grietas where locals go cliff diving. Upon returning to the hotel, a couple of us from our group decided to take a water taxi to the other side of the island and take a hike to Las Grietas. The hike was about twenty minutes long, which wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was well worth it when we came across a bunch of locals swimming in the grottos. A few of us jumped off, including myself. It was such a refreshing experience that gave me a big adrenaline rush.
Upon returning to the hotel, there seemed to be a political rally passing through the main street from our hotel. Natives were driving around in buses, motorcycles, pick-up trucks, waving flags and honking their horns while being escorted by police. They seemed just as thrilled to see a dozen of American students standing outside cheering for them as we were just as thrilled yet confused trying to take in what was exactly happening.
We then took a tram car ride throughout the city and found a local festival going on. Galapagos natives were dancing around and the crowd was expanding as the night went on. Towards the end of the festival, the whole crowd got out of their seats and began dancing through out the street. Footage of both the rally and festival can be seen on the video I posted a few posts down.
Day three was my favorite because I felt the most connected with the culture at the Galapagos. Instead of just hanging out at the hotel after the set excursions, I was able to wander off and meet locals. I befriended a nice old lady named Norma, who ran a corner store no too far from the docks and a couple of guys my age who worked all over the island.