I can't believe I have one day left in the US. After a year of planning, my journey from California to DC and then to Spain and beyond will finally begin. I'm way too excited to be nervous, even though I'll be studying abroad for the whole year. My first semester will be in the Basque Country of Spain and my second will be in The Netherlands. I really can't wait.
One thing I'm curious about is the languages where I'm going. Both Spanish and Basque are spoke there. I'm originally of Basque heritage and I have a Basque surname but it's so far back in my family that I really don't know that much about it, only what I've read in books. The language of Basque is ancient and unrelated to any other language. It's going to be difficult to learn but I'll manage. At least my Spanish is decent, even if I have a bit of an accent. I don't really practice my Spanish as much as I should. Here in the US, most Spanish speakers are from Latin America, not Spain, and I speak with a Spanish accent. For example, the city of Seville in Spanish is Sevilla (seh-vee-ya) but I say (say-bee-jah). Also I pronounce Andalucia as ahn-da-loo-thee-ah. It comes from always having had teachers who were from Spain when I learned Spanish in school. I wonder if my accented Spanish will stick out as much there as it does here.
I'm also incredibly curious about the place my ancestors come from. I want to learn everything I can about the Basque people. As I mentioned, I have a Basque surname and I've been told that I look Basque. The latter is interesting because my parents are mostly Filipino-Spanish and Swedish. The Basque heritage is on my dad's side but none of our extended family really even has connections anymore to the Basque Country, other than the family names. I'm incredibly glad I have this opportunity to study in a city my family may have lived in many, many generations ago. I think that's pretty cool.
As for now, I'm just making final preparations before I have that moment when I step off the plane or bus or train and it finally hits me that I'm finally in another country. =]