DISCLAIMER: I said a couple weeks ago that near the end of the trip, I was going to have a sentimental blog post. This is it.
I’m going through a roller coaster of emotions right now, just in general, but also because this will be my last class with Carlene ever. I’ve taken five classes with her. FIVE. J1, J2, Global Reporting in Jordan, Magazine Writing, and now Global Reporting in Spain. I started thinking back on this long journey we’ve been on together, so I thought I’d share some of the memories that are most vivid in my mind.
I distinctly remember my first J1 class, Carlene walks in and said her angelic tone, “Hi everybodyyyyy!” She talked about the syllabus, described her expectations, and said “So that’s what I have to offer you. The thing about J1 is, you either click with the professor or you don’t. Some of you might not click with me, and that’s fine, but you have to figure that out.” (I think I paraphrased a bit, but that was pretty close to exactly what she said.) I remember thinking…well damn. This lady is not messing around. Not gonna lie, I was pretty intimidated…but figured I’d give it a shot.
Flash forward mid-semester of J1. Gina, Bri and I quickly established ourselves as “the trio”, so nearly all of my memories with Carlene include them as well. We would walk into class together, and Gina would say HI GUYS! and, of course, no one would answer her. I don’t think many other people in the class liked us, but we didn’t care because we had each other, and Carlene seemed to enjoy us. We would sit around editing each other’s papers, studying for AP style quizzes, sometimes accompanied by some tears, wondering why in the world we pursued journalism. But for some reason, we decided to stick with it and register for J2 with Carlene at 8 am.
I am SO glad that I registered for that class. I wasn’t 100% sure about it, but it turned out to be the ultimate game changer for me. It was a very small class, so we got to know each other pretty well, and that’s when I really got to know Carlene. I was still a little bit scared of her at that point, but slowly the fear dissipated.
Side note: There is one memory that I will NEVER EVER EVER forget from J2. I had been using the application “pages” for an article I was working on at the time. I had allllll of my interviews on that one document. One day my computer died, and the document wasn’t saved…so alllllll of my interviews were gone. I will never forget Carlene saying, “I just don’t understand why wouldn’t you save it? Why would a program like that exist without autosave or recovery files? I don’t know what to tell you. ” I’ve never been more terrified in my life, but I learned my lesson and I haven’t had a problem like that since.
This blog post is a little bit all over the place, and I could go on and on about memories from classes with Carlene. From putting mud on each other at the Dead Sea to going on tapas tours here in Spain, one thing is for sure: Carlene IS college for me. I value her opinion of my work and of me SO highly. I don’t think I know anyone who has taken FIVE classes with a single professor. I’ve literally taken every single class that she offers. She has made me a MUCH better writer, but also has shaped a lot of who I am as a person. She’s taught me what a “thick skin” REALLY means, that a little persistence will go a LONG way, and also not to use straws so that I don’t get wrinkles around my mouth :).
I said before, I think that it’s no coincidence that my one of my first classes at Northeastern was with Carlene, and one of my last is with her as well. When I look back on Northeastern and think about my education there, the first thought that will pop in my head will no doubt be Carlene. It truly is the end of an era, but I’m not worried. The impact she has made on me will stay with me for life, and I’m forever grateful.
Writing. Editing. Repeat.
At least it’s my last article. Freedom is SO CLOSE I can TASTE it.
Yesterday felt like the longest day ever to me. We started out at the Prisa Radio Station, which was probably my favorite site visit thus far. We got to sit in on talk shows and chill with a DJ who reminded me of Ellie Goulding, both in looks and awesomeness. At the end of the tour, they even gave us presents! Coffee mugs, but still!
Fast forward to school. I started stressing HARD trying to finish all of my interviews. I called these people that I had emailed the day before, and they told me they’d answer…but a few hours pass by and still no response. SO, I decided to take matters into my own hands. As I’ve been taught, I decided to just show up at the Ministry of Environment. Nevermind that it’s a high-level security government institution. So I get there, I pretend like I had an appointment and acted like I was supposed to be there. Fool-proof plan, right? Right…until the security guard calls the woman you lie about having an appointment with. Oh…..my bad……appointment means something different in English…..except not at all……ANYWAYS. He hands me the phone. I’m like gum on this poor woman’s shoe, but I don’t feel bad. I needed my questions answered and I needed them RIGHT THEN. So she finally agreed to have someone answer me by the end of the day….THANK YOU WAS THAT SO HARD?! Naturally I needed a break after this. Cue the random solo cafe experience.
I sat down at a cafe, alone, hoping to get wifi. No wifi. Whatever, I’ll just order a glass of wine and some tapas and be on my way. Then this happened.
He (or she) just hopped right on up on my table and made himself right at home. Interesting. I already felt self conscious enough sitting alone, now I was bird lady.
Later that night, a group of us were taking cabs home. It was 4 people in each cab, not a far ride. So we get in and I tell him our address. Simple enough. We start driving….next thing I know, we’re merging onto the highway. Danny and I look at each other and we both knew something was up. I start talking to him in Spanish asking where he was taking us, because our place was no where near the highway. We end up circling back around to where we started…by now Danny and I are pretty ticked off. We finally get to our street, and our driver tells us that there’s supposedly TWO Calle Rodriguez San Pedros. I don’t buy it, but whatever. Danny starts reasoning with the guy saying “We know you didn’t mean to, but what do you think is a fair price to pay because it’s not our fault that you took us the wrong way.” He seemed to feel at least kind of bad, and knocked off a few euros for us. I don’t THINK I had to argue with any of the cabbies in Amman, but either way arguing in a foreign language was interesting. Lesson learned, though. Now we’ll remember to say SPECIFIC directions/landmarks rather than just an address.
What. A. Day.
Oh and incase you missed it, there’s this. http://emilypollak.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/in-other-news/
Emily told everyone what their spirit animals are. Mine’s a harp seal.
You know what I LOVE?! Getting lost in the middle of Spanish Universities while trying to find my expert interviewees. You know what’s even better? When you find the building you’re looking for and then you learn that they recently split the civil engineering schools into TWO buildings and renamed them!!! And they’re not even remotely close to one another!!!!!
Sarcasm aside, spoiler alert: this happened to me yesterday.
These two men at the first civil engineering school were so nice and helped me figure out where this guy was, but turns out he was about an hour away via metro. I asked them how much a cab would cost and they said, “No no no no no no…el metro es mas barrato.” (No no no, the metro is much cheaper). I felt like they were my extended family or something because they were so invested in making sure I got where I needed to be. In this way, I love reporting in foreign countries. People ALWAYS want to help you. In America, everyone is just like, “Nope, sorry…you’re on your own.” So it’s nice to have people try and help you even if you can’t completely comprehend what they’re saying.
HOWEVER. There are certain things that I do not like about reporting in foreign countries, for example, translators. I can ask the most open ended questions possible like “what is the current state of the economy regarding ____” and hear the person on the other end going on and on, just for the translator to turn to me and say, “She said it’s bad…”. Oh yeah I’ll totally win a Pulitzer with quotes of gold like that. Sorry, I switched back into sarcasm mode for a second there.
It’s still unknown whether or not I will be able to attend our visit to the Spanish Senate today due to a possible interview, but I kind of hope I get to make it. Not because I’m super interested in international politics or anything, but because the last time I was in a senate chamber was in Washington DC when I was 6. I was on my first daddy/daughter trip and he had planned our days out almost down to the minute. We had walked around Arlington Cemetery for a while and we eventually walked to the Senate. We sat down, and being the charming, adorable little 6 year old I was, I started crying saying, “I don’t wanna walk anymore I just wanna stay hereeeeee.” He had to break it to me that unfortunately, we couldn’t stay in the Senate all day. My dad STILL makes fun of me for it to this day. SO. Here’s hoping I don’t break down crying and refuse to leave the senate chamber tonight…I think I’ll make it through, but ya never know.
I haven’t blogged for a few days, and a few days before that as well. I think this is because I’ve just kind of been feeling like “blah”…not homesick, but not overly ecstatic..I’m just content. I feel at home here, which is good. I never had that feeling in Jordan, it always felt like I was on a really long trip. In Madrid, it feels like I just moved to a new city and settled in here – I even have my own running route that I like to go on. I’m just in this blur and it hasn’t stopped since the end of April. End of classes, senior week, family in town, graduation, to boarding a flight to Spain, all within 2 weeks. I think that’s enough to put anyone in a blur, and the blur is just gonna keep on comin’. I fly to Boston on Tuesday, then to NC for a week or two, then back to Boston to (officially) finish my degree, and hopefully have a job by September. Real life already started and I can’t keep up. I’m just going to try to enjoy these last 7 days in Madrid as much as I can before life catches up to me again.