November 4th, 2015 | Uncategorized
Coming to Ireland has provided me with the unique opportunity to broaden my experience of the world in so many different ways. One of the reasons that I was attracted to the Sport Changes Life program is that I have a passion for traveling. I want to see what the world has to offer. I want to experience the other ways that people live. I want to immerse myself in other cultures. I have heard that choosing not to travel is like choosing to read only one chapter out of an entire book. Well, I’d say it’s more like deciding to only read one sentence; that’s how big the world is. There is so much out there to see, hear, feel, do, so much to taste and smell, so much that it would be impossible for any one person to experience everything the world has to offer even if he or she dedicated his or her lifetime to it. So if you have the chance, travel. The experiences and the memories you’ll take away from your travels will far surpass the burdens of time or money that it may cost you.
My attitude coming to Ireland was that I would try to see as much as Ireland as possible, but also as much as Europe as I could. It is far cheaper and easier for me to get to European countries from Ireland than from Cleveland, Ohio, where I’m from. Sport Changes Life is all about broadening our life experiences and has encouraged us Victory Scholars to travel when we are free from our coaching, playing, and academic commitments. I am so thankful for their attitude because it allowed me the chance to fulfill my wanderlust last weekend when I traveled to Spain for a few days.
My experience in Spain was incredible. I was visiting one of my best friends from college, Eilidh, who is playing professionally in a small town called Zamora. The town that isn’t touristy at all, so I was able to experience the way that Spanish people actually live rather than merely going to see the biggest tourist attractions. For instance, the Spanish live on a different time schedule than anything I have ever experienced before. When I arrived in Zamora late on Thursday night, the city center was absolutely buzzing. People of all ages were out and about, from small children to elderly couples. Zamora was alive. The next morning, Eilidh and I got up early so she could show me the castle and cathedral in Zamora. I would swear on my life that we were no longer in the same town as last night. It was absolutely dead. As Eilidh and I walked through the ghost town, she explained to me that it is always like that in Zamora. The people there stay out late at night and sleep in late the next day. They get moving again around 11 in the morning, but not for long. By 2 in the afternoon it is time for them to have a siesta, or a nap. You think I’m kidding? Nope. Literally everything closes in Zamora from 2 ‘til 5 so that everyone can go home and take a nap. Eilidh said that sometimes she forgets about siesta and comes home from practice in the early afternoon, starving, to find everything shut until 5. Then once Zamora wakes up once again, the town is humming until late into the night.
In addition to the unique time schedule I witnessed, I was also forced to try to communicate completely in Spanish. Almost no one spoke English in Zamora, and if they did, it was very limited. Together Eilidh and I attempted to communicate the simplest things to people in Zamora with mixed results. For instance, whenever we ordered food at a restaurant we were always pleasantly surprised when the right dish actually came out. Once I got orange Fanta instead of orange juice—which was strange with breakfast—and another time Eilidh got a pork chop instead of steak, but otherwise we actually did quite well! By the way, the food in Spain was absolutely amazing and I’m really glad I only stayed for a few days because I would be obese off of churros otherwise.
I did get the chance to visit one really touristy area while I was in Spain. I drove to San Sebastian, a beautiful Spanish town on the northern coast. When I got there I found a free map printer so I printed out a map and then completely disregarded it because I decided I just wanted to wander around on my own. I walked around the city and found a giant hill so naturally I wanted to climb it. When I got to the top, I had the most beautiful view. Elegant buildings lined the coastline, where the sun-kissed sand met the vast blue expanse of the sea. It might just be the prettiest place I have ever seen.
When I left Spain, I was sad to say goodbye to the culture that I had enjoyed so much, and to my friend. But I found comfort in the saying that it’s not goodbye; it’s hasta luego!
Victory Scholar: Katie Fox
Present University: Waterford IT
US League: NEC
Club/Community Partner: Waterford Wildcats
Alma Mater: St. Francis College
Sponsored by: Teamwear Ireland