Hogar Dulce Hogar

Well I’ve been back in America for a week now, friends. My time abroad and underwhelming amount of blog posts have come to a close. I think that means I’m supposed to write some big reflection (also I’m just bored right now) about everything that’s happened these past four months, how my life has changed, how I’m fluent now (well…) and what not so here goes nothing. You really can’t sum up this type of thing, but here are a couple things I learned throughout the semester–

-Whenever you think a tattoo is a good idea. Wait a month.

Maddie and I were about one glass of wine away from getting a tattoo (sorry mom and dad) but then we waited on it. A month later we decided that getting the symbol of Sevilla (NO8DO meaning “no me ha dejado” or the city has not left me) which is featured on all sewage drains and modes of public transport in the city is probably not the greatest idea.

…We settled on matching bracelets.

(you’re welcome mom and dad)

-Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be Deb.

The Spaniards for whatever reason could not understand or pronounce the name Libby. So I spent the majority of the semester going as Levi “como los pantolones” or Debbie, another fan favorite. No matter what my name was for the day, there was always something exciting about walking around with a Starbucks cup labeled Debbie or being completely anonymous.

-When wine is cheaper than water, you order the wine.

I don’t care how dehydrated you are, you will drink that stuff and you will like it.

-You can make anywhere you love a home.

At first I didn’t think it was possible to feel at home in our cockroach infested 12 x 12 apartment room, but when you love a place enough, anything can feel like home. Whether it was our spanish roommates welcoming me home with a serenade of the Frozen soundtrack, chanting “Leeeeeby” as I walk through the door (wouldn’t be opposed to you guys starting that here) or spraying the roaches– I somehow always felt at home, even when I was 4,342 miles away from my real home. In english, there’s a stark difference between the words house and home. But in spanish there’s only one word for both and that’s casa. That’s exactly what casa numero cinco and Sevilla was for me.

-I will probably never be fluent in Spanish.

I dropped the idea of becoming fluent as quickly as my bank account started to plunge. If you think you’re going to go abroad and come back 100% fluido then I suggest you say adios to that idea and add google translate to your bookmarks bar.

(don’t worry mom and dad, this semester wasn’t a complete wash… I’m close and I’ll get there one day)

-There’s no shame in sprinting through an airport or train station.

It’s okay to get lost, miss flights/trains/buses, book flights for a month later (sorry again mom and dad) and just generally mess up. These were some of the best memories. Well I wouldn’t exactly say my whole Prague mishap (refer to a few blog posts prior) was a favorite, but it was a memory nonetheless.

-At the end of the day, the most important thing is who you’re with.

Before I went abroad I read an Ernest Hemingway quote that says, “never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” I mean, I guess I wouldn’t say I love my program directors Oscar and Antonio or my Moroccan host sister, Yousra… but when you’re stuck in the Bologna airport for 10+ hours overnight you better love those people.

That’s all the wisdom I have for now, but don’t worry I’ll be back to Europe again soon and maybe that time I’ll get the tattoo. As for now, I’m safely back in Minnesota with my roomies (mom and dad), spending my days going to shrub gardens, making friends on the public bus and getting way too excited over hot showers and speaking English. Alright enough of this reflection, I have to get back to the Bruce Jenner special.

Until who knows when,


PS I still don’t know whether it’s spelled Sevilla or Seville

one of my favorite spots in my favorite place


The Best Plan

I once read a long, long time ago “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving anywhere” by a good friend of mine named Lao Tzu.

Okay yeah you’re right I actually just read that on “brainy quote” about 5 minutes ago while stranded in the Bologna airport.

But Lao is sure onto something with this and it sounds like he may even have been a part of my last couple days spent exploring beautiful Italy.

I was able to travel with some of my greatest friends, new and old, through eight cities in total throughout our ten days.

Yeah we had somewhat of an agenda cause the catch with this whole study abroad thing is that you do in fact have to attend class sometimes. But for the most part, I learned the greatest agenda is having no agenda. Some of my favorite moments during this dream of a week were the moments with no set plan. Sitting along the water in Venice, drinking a bottle of wine, anxiously awaiting who was gonna slip while getting off the gondola. Pretending to know what you’re doing on a wine tour in Tuscany (ps when in doubt just swirl your glass around a couple times and always drink whatever is in it) Sitting in Positano on the beach drinking wine with all my friends and randomly deciding it’s a good idea to jump off a cliff into the Med, sorry mom and dad I promise I’m okay. Laying in the Bologna airport for 10 hours waiting to board your flight home. No set plan at all, maybe I’ll get Pringles or chips or m&ms who knows, no agenda for me!!!  Okay well maybe this isn’t one of my favorite moments but let me tell you this airport is pristine.

Alright I still have about 6 more hours in this place so I’m gonna go search for more inspiration on brainy quote.

Until who knows when,


the only plan was no plan in Venice

the only plan was no plan in Venice

the only plan was no plan in Venice

Cucaracha Castle

So I went to Africa last weekend (more details on that to come at some point) and it was an unreal. The people, the culture, the homes, the food (and the aftermath of the food) was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

Along with that, my welcoming home committee was also unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Yes, on Sunday night I returned to what I now fondly refer to as the Cucaracha Castle.

Yeah we’ve got cockroaches ladies and gentlemen.

But for some reason I was oddly comforted by the welcome back to my little apartment with my new pals.

The next morning we meandered to the store on our way to class in an attempt to solve the roach problem. All we did to the little old man working was said “cucarachas” and shrugged.

He gave us a pity laugh and then explained “el mejor opcion” and proceeded to make a stomping motion. So there you have it folks, the solution to all of your cockroach needs.

“Well this is something to tell the kids, that’s for sure” Maddie said as we walked away. We both laughed and that was that.

It’s a weird thing when you’re living amongst insects the size of golfballs yet you’re the happiest you’ve ever been. So I guess the lesson learned here is when life gives you roaches, the best solution (behind stomping on them of course) is to go to the store, buy wine instead of spray or whatever and pretend like life didn’t give you roaches.

Well I’ve left the Cucaracha Castle for the weekend and am currently on the train headed to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day.  Here goes nothing.

Until who knows when,


PS Maddie if you’re reading this good luck holding down the fort with our little friends this weekend

PS landlord if you’re reading this some spray would be appreciated and maybe more wine too

Double Czech

They say everyone’s supposed to make one (or a few) really stupid mistakes while they’re abroad. Maybe that’s not actually a saying but let’s just go with it for the time being. Well it’s been a little over a month and I’ve already made mine!!! …Are you proud yet mom and dad?

So this past weekend I visited the Czech Republic to spend the weekend with Emily. Prague was absolutely magical and there was nothing better than getting lost in this beautiful city with my best friend for the entire weekend. The end to the weekend wasn’t exactly magical.

“deees says you fly on 15 of March”

File that under things that you don’t want to hear on the 15th of February 30 minutes before boarding.

“do you want stay?”

File that under follow up questions you don’t want to hear after finding out you accidentally booked your return flight a month later.

Right then and there I started crying and ran away (promptly returning to ask where the rebooking desk is) After going Usain Bolt on Terminal 2 and throwing my credit card at the ticketing woman saying please just let me go home. I had a flight to Rome (for reasons unknown that I didn’t even think to question at the time) and 20 minutes to make it to the gate.

As I was running to the gate it hit me that I was flying to Rome. Okay cool they’ve got great pizza and a tipping tower. Nice. This should be fun.

I hopped on the plane and hoped for the best. After what seemed like a million hours in the air we landed in Rome. Once again I raced through another airport almost as fast as my performance in the 5th grade track meet (this time I didn’t trip over any hurdles though)

When I made it to the dreaded booking counter I handed the man my passport and said a quick prayer.

“Window or aisle?”

File that under questions that you only dream of hearing after entertaining the idea of spending the rest of your semester in Rome.

After quite some time in the Rome airport (beautiful airport by the way) I was finally en route to my lovely city. I looked out from my well-earned window seat as we took off and found myself in awe at how things actually worked out. The universe has a funny way of working and sometimes it just takes a couple sprints through some terminals and a few flights to learn this.

So here’s what I learned: 1. Always double Czech (see what I did there) your flights. 2. Anyone can be a track star when it comes to making a flight. And finally, always trust that in the end things will work out and they will. And if they don’t, then you spend a month in Prague and things could still be much worse.

Until who knows when or my next stupid mistake,



“hang on guys just quick changing my flight home so I can stay longer!!!”

The Cool Kids

Well it’s officially been one month since I’ve arrived in this stunning place. Even after four weeks here I’m still in awe every day that I actually live and (kinda) study here. I still have yet to figure out whether it’s spelled Seville or Sevilla but trust me I’ve learned far more important things throughout the past month.

In my first weeks here I found myself constantly wondering, “why do people in Spain do…” but lately I’ve had a switch in this mindset. I’ve started to ask myself “why do Americans do…” instead.

While walking around this morning I asked myself that very question when I saw 4 older men sitting around a table. They had a huge bucket of beers and even bigger smiles on their faces and were laughing (probably at the expense of the American girl staring and awkwardly smiling at them).

In that very moment I felt like the loser in the cafeteria and they were the cool kids (ps it was 11 am on a Tuesday –fully embodying the ever so popular song that states that the “Club’s going up on a Tuesday”)

And that’s not the first time I’ve had this thought since arriving.

Every day from about 2-5 pm the entire city pauses for a couple hours called “Siesta”. Everyone eats lunch and then follows it up with a nap. Why haven’t we adopted this yet?

And then we usually have another nap sometime between dinner and taking on the discotecas so once again… why not America?

Everyone’s always late. I’m all for punctuality but I’m really starting to like this 15 minute grace period when it comes to making my way to class every day.

People casually drink beer and/or wine at all hours of the day. Which begs the question why do we limit ourselves to one happy hour when we could have 24?

Every time you meet someone you must give him or her “dos besos” or a kiss on each cheek. Actually I’m cool with the whole handshake thing that we’ve got going on back home. Especially when you meet old man Ronaldo for the first time and turn the wrong cheek and end up making out with him.

It’s a wonderful thing when you start to see your bubble differently while in a different bubble. It takes time but once you learn to embrace wherever you are, you really start to appreciate it. Take some time to do as the Sevillanos do (which is sleep, drink and smile a lot) today.

Gonna go take a nap,

Until who knows when,



Lost in translation

Since coming to Spain one of my latest hobbies (along with getting lost and embarrassing myself in another language) is scoping out graphic tees with poorly translated English phrases on them. I’ve compiled a collection of my favorites so far and I’m sure there will be more to come because these are too good and I don’t see an end to this new hobby in the near future. Enjoy.


With Valentine’s day around the corner, this is sure to win over your significant other.


Minimally Minimal.


Girls put this on your Tinder profile and you’ll be golden.


Very deep and the fine print which reads, “and then: I realize adventures are the best way to learn” is even deeper.


This is just the truth. Friday is so good too.


Just lots of messages going on here.

Well that’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you found some inspiration or something in this or at least a laugh.

Not at all. Never again. Until next time. Until who knows when,


Café y Sal

Today marks two weeks spent in this beautiful place.

I’m writing this as I sit outside on the rooftop watching my laundry to make sure the wind doesn’t steal a pair or two of my socks. I don’t trust this whole hang your clothes outside and hope for the best thing. I also don’t trust this whole put your undergarments on display for the entire city thing.

Today also marks the discovery of yet another thing to connect the Sevillanos and I and that is the universal language of making fun of me.

Earlier this morning I sat down with a couple amigos to drink my coffee before heading off for the day. I took a seat at the table, added some sugar to my coffee and they just stared at me. Since being here I’ve grown accustomed to people staring at me (not because of my good looks or anything mostly because I don’t know what I’m doing 99% of the time). I asked them “que tal” and took a sip of my coffee.

Hilarity ensued. Similar to the “jam/jelly/pudding” incident I speak of in my previous post.

Turns out that was not sugar.

As I choked down my bitter coffee, they all lost it and proceeded to point and yell “sal!” (salt). Yes, that was salt and they did not let me forget it.

Well there went my chance of having these guys think I’m cool and my sodium intake is at an all time high but hey at least I supplied them with a good laugh.

So once again. Didn’t take much just a bitter cup of coffee, a little humility and the universal language of laughter.

Well looks like my dryer cycle is up so I’ve gotta go. That’s a joke, I’ll probably be here for a couple more hours.

But try to take some time today to laugh a little and when in doubt get a coffee with a dash of salt.

Until who knows when,


PS: Another lesson I learned today is that you aren’t supposed to eat the oranges off the trees, learned that one the hard way.


reporting live from laundry day


Greetings from España.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since I arrived in this beautiful city. Sorry it’s been a while, I’ve been super busy getting lost everywhere I go, miscommunicating with everyone I interact with, accidentally ordering coffee for little people along the way (I’m at a café right now and somehow ended up with a shot glass of coffee) while simultaneously falling in love with this city. Sevilla is stunning and has this unique energy about it. I could go on and on about the city and people (and I most likely will in the future) but for now I’m short on time (and quite frankly still don’t even know where I am) so here’s a taste of what I’ve learned thus far…

I’ve started my journey living with a Señora named Angeles who does not speak a word of English. This has proven to be major adjustment and challenge for me. After my first week, I’ve learned that the best way to connect with Angeles (and most people in this city) is to find commonality in the uncommon and connect through our differences. You guys probably think my shot glass is filled with something other than coffee or that Europe is suddenly turning me into a philosopher. But it’s true and actually pretty simple when you think about it. After several awkward and quiet meals spent across the table from Angeles, I learned how to make her crack.

As we were sitting down for dinner, I was telling Angeles all about what I had seen that day, which is pretty limited given my Spanish speaking capabilities. I was asking her about all of the orange trees in the streets and what they do with the oranges. She responded and said they make “marmelada” (marmalade). I explained that in the States we call it “jam” or “jelly”. Hilarity ensued. Once she regained composure, I repeated the words and she lost it again. I have officially found my go-to party trick here. Forget about hola, I’m going straight to “jam” from now on. I also discovered last night that this works with the word pudding.

There have already been many differences and moments of miscommunication for Angeles and I. I’m pretty sure she thinks that I live in the arctic tundra on a houseboat (I also accidentally said inside the lake instead of on the lake so maybe even a submarine?) and that I walk with skis on (turns out, outside of MN, cross country skiing is not a thing) but I have learned that one thing that always connects us is our differences. I’ve learned and will continue to learn to find commonality in the uncommon and appreciate the many differences I stumble upon in this city and life in general.

Hasta que sabe cuándo (until who knows when),


PS: Jam

PPS: Jelly

PPS: Pudding

…are you laughing yet?

Resolutions + Revolutions in Zone 3

Greetings this is Libs reporting live from Gate E16.

Just checking in for my pathetic monthly attempt at a blog post. Actually one of my many new years resolutions for 2015 was to start using this thing more often so here I am. A couple other resolutions include finding out what exactly a resolution is, to stop wearing my Birkenstocks with socks (small steps) and maybe while I’m at it I’ll stop wearing my Minnesota wolf shirt in public.

But probably not –mostly because both of those items are already packed and ready for action.

We all know that the best time to start a resolution is 12 days into the year so here we go.

I don’t have much to report except for that I’m randomly going to Spain for the next four months. As some of you might know (but probably don’t because this was pretty much news to me about 48 hours ago when I realized I was actually going) I will be spending 4 months in Seville, Spain ‘studying’ abroad and embarrassing myself in a different language.

My travels are already looking promising as I received an awesome massage by TSA this morning. I have a man on my flight with a “Seaworld Kills” shirt on who I’m definitely going to make my friend and a woman wearing headphones larger than her head who has already established that she does not wish to chat with me. The Starbucks barista spelled my name right on my coffee. I’m wearing all black because I heard that’s what European people do and I have a super trendy fanny pack, which is also all black. So we’re off to a great start.

I’m really going to try to stick with this resolution thing and keep you guys posted on my adventures across the pond (no promises on the birk + wolf shirt resolutions though)

My plane is about to board; of course I’m in Zone 3 per usual (but I’ve got a window seat so holla) plus in elementary school it was always cool to be in the back of the bus so maybe I’ll start a revolution or something. I’ll probably blow this whole revolution thing when I inflate the neck pillow I just bought in the airport store or when I voraciously read the sky mall magazine. Wish me luck.

Adios amigos.

Until who knows when,


(Row 22, Seat F, Zone 3)



It all starts with…

“Let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for”

The classic mom move (this is a lot like her standard let’s go around the table and say your favorite thing about me on her birthday). Family for 200, home for 300, food for 400, the fact that no one is unacceptably intoxicated at the dinner table for 500. All of the classics are the first to go.

I decided to go with the timeless “I’m thankful for all of you and that Bruce surpassed all expectations and made it through another holiday” (taking bets on whether or not he makes it to Christmas, hit me up if you want in)

An easy out plus points with the relatives for Libs. And maybe Bruce will like me more now. Probably not.

But as I sit by the fire tonight reflecting, (I’m only doing this because I couldn’t decide on a Netflix show to watch) I realize that there’s a lot more to be thankful for beyond the big stuff. We tend to try to cover all the bases with these broad things but when you start being grateful for even the smallest of things this day becomes just that much better.

To name a few…

I’m thankful that I never won the Star Tribune’s “Oh you Turkey” coloring contest because I never wanted to anyways. I’m thankful for the bowl cut my mom made me have when I was little –they always say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Or maybe it’s more like being mistaken for a boy as a child makes you stronger. I don’t know. I’m thankful for the phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread” because since I’m gluten free this makes a lot of things the greatest. I’m thankful that its 0 degrees out here because well I really don’t know. I’m thankful that I got to hold down the fort at the kid’s table for yet another year while still drinking wine. The definition of the best of both worlds.

All in all, we have a lot to be grateful for this year whether it’s big or small. So happy thanksgiving friends, I’m thankful for you guys reading this and pretending you think I have important things to say or whatever.

Until who knows when,


PS maybe I am still a little bitter about never winning that contest. For all you kids going to bed tonight thinking you nailed it… sorry but you’ll probably never win, but one day you’ll be thankful for it, I swear (Star Trib if you’re reading this look back to the 2003 entries, mine was the harry potter themed one, I’ll still accept a cash prize)