In less than 24 hours I’ll be headed back to the States. I can’t believe a month has gone by this fast. I have mixed emotions surrounding the departure- on one hand I am so excited to move into my NYC apartment but I know that I will miss Madrid and Salamanca terribly. The energy in Salamanca was invigorating, infectious, perpetually cheerful. I loved that I could scale the city easily and by the end of 2 weeks I felt like I knew how to navigate everything. The cathedral was breathtaking, the plaza at night felt like a movie set. Learning about the historic Salamanca font displayed all over the city and being able to write one of my pieces on the cultural aspect of the font made me feel personally connected to the heart of the city. By the time I left Salamanca I felt that I strengthened a bond with a particular place, a particular culture…
Looking back at all of the hard work from this trip, I feel like I have grown so much personally and professionally. I feel comfortable being aggressive to get the quotes and information that I need. I feel stronger in my opinions, more confident in my writing and my talents. Conducting interviews in Spanish and through translators was frustrating at times- I felt that if I spoke better Spanish or had a translator familiar with my writing style and the quotes I would need for a stellar piece I might have written stronger articles. With that said, I think that my best effort was put into these pieces. I am incredibly thankful for Maria, Mester Maria, Arturo, Danny, Marta, and Alexia for helping me interpret my interviews and work so hard to help me build a great story.
I’ll never forget my first interview in Spain with Jose Ignacio Sanchez when I went right into Salamanca’s Deputacion and conducted a general interview about bullfighting with this gorgeous ex-matador. My heart was racing but I tried to keep my cool so as to not let him smell my fear. This interview started what would be my favorite article of the trip. I felt it right then and there… I was dealt a pretty lucky hand. After that interview it seemed like I was making all of these connections with sources despite the language barrier. I think one of the coolest aspects of this trip was that all of us were able to defeat our nerves and frustrations with the language barrier and push through our endeavors to pull story ideas out of the woodwork and end up with informative, creative stories to be really proud of.
I couldn’t have asked for a better group. After the interview of bullfighter Damian Castaño with Maria and Shandana, we all walked back to Mester just talking about how brilliant the conversation was, and how excited we were to move forward with the bullfighting package full steam ahead. Going to polling locations with Amanda and Carly for our EU Election story was the most cohesive team effort I’ve ever been a part of. The three of us worked productively together and finished the piece in a little over a day. I could not have asked for a more supportive group of talented and driven reporters. I hope that we all stay in touch and maintain our friendships after we leave Spain because I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each and every one of you over the last month. What a perfect way to start a truly incredible summer.