blog, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain, Europe, Studying Abroad

In Transit: Greenland – Belgium – Spain

I said a heartfelt goodbye to Greenland at the end of August (which is already several weeks ago). The handful of roads in Ilulissat was becoming very familiar, the sounds of howling dogs, the silence in the early morning, the smell of fish (everywhere)… I felt acquainted to the place. And with those feelings of familiarity came diverging yearnings to remain in comfort and readiness to dive into change, yet again (two roads diverged and I took the one less travelled by, and that made all the difference).

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Only in looking back, I am able to fully comprehend the uniqueness of my opportunity to live in Greenland. Going to Ilulissat was perceived by my friends and family as travelling to another ‘world’, and in a way it was. For me, it was natural landscapes uncomparable to any other I’ve seen before. When people ask me about my experience I share the less talked about realities of Arctic living like challenges in terms of costs and remoteness. It would be concealing the truth if I didn’t mention that often I felt constrained financially and also feeling lonely from being physically far from… well everything.

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In the end, I was counting down the days to leaving and crossing my fingers that my flights would not be cancelled or delayed from Ilulissat to Copenhagen. AirGreenland has a reputation (and not entirely their fault) for being delayed by hours and days – often because of weather but also because it is the only carrier that operates nationally which makes logistics a nightmare (I can imagine).

My flight was a mess, as expected, with an initial delay of 10 hours (stuck in Kangerlussuaq airport). The delay got reduced to 4 hours but after boarding were stuck on the ground for an hour, then had an unexpected emergency stop, and finally arrived in Copenhagen – not even close to my expected time of arrival. I took a “nap” (aka sweater over my head in an uncomfortable airport chair) waiting for my third flight to Brussels.

I spent a week in Belgium (I love this country!) before starting school in Spain. I had been to Belgium many years ago – making a short trip to Brussels and Bruges. But this time, I didn’t spend any time in either place and spent my time in various places within Flanders.

 

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Lovely day/night in Ghent

 

I was welcomed into a beautiful home and shown genuine kindness throughout my stay, Farmboy was my guide around Aalst, Ghent, Antwerp, Ypres… and places in between.

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I was so happy to see fresh vegetables and fruit in bounty. I also ate a handful of homecooked wonderful dishes. I don’t know a lot about Belgium cuisine, other than potatoes are very much loved, equally loved is a good sandwich (broodjes). Sandwiches are accompanied with ‘salads’ (but not leaf green salad), but something that resembles a spread (crab, shrimp, egg, cheese, (mystery) meats…). Aside from eating, the week was filled with city explorations, road trips, bicycle trips, clay creations, nature escapes, friends and family.

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We took a train from Belgium, through France, to Girona (about 7~ hours). After several weeks I’m feeling settled in my new home. With open arms/heart/stomach, I’m trying to take in the sun, Catalan cuisine, the pretty-pretty cobblestone architecture and historic events that are unfolding around me (re: Catalonia referendum).

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National Day of Catalonia 2017, Barcelona

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Girona. Photo: Kaidi Sun

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Girona. Photo: Kaidi Sun

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Embarking on yet another (!!) new adventure with my classmates/family – so much love for this group of talented, open-minded, generous, bright individuals.