One of my favorite experiences while I was in Santiago de Compostela this past spring was the opportunity to take part in the Camino. Even though our group did not walk the entire Camino, I feel like the time we did spend along the way was extremely important. Unfortunately the weather was not the best as it poured and poured for the majority of the time that we walked. Yet, this actually provided our group with the opportunity to take some parts of the journey in silence. The rain provided time for my own personal reflection of who I am and who I want to be. Even though it rained so much, the trail was still really pretty. The different trees, flowers, and small towns we passed through were really like pictures from a travel book. The photos I took during the time will never do the real thing any justice.
Not only did the Camino allow for my own personal growth, but it also helped foster closer friendships that I still consider to be important to me. Our group as a whole got a long really well, but there was a small group of us that we liked to call “La Familia”. Marissa, Rogelio, Sarah and I spent a lot of the walk together. Before the walk, we were all friends with each other. Yet, this walk changed our friendship from a face value one to something deeper. Part of this may have been that we experienced a near death event. Okay, well that may be a little bit dramatic, but we were definitely in danger. We were along the path when we saw a pasture with a cow in it. Marissa really wanted to take a picture with the cow but when she got too close to it, it began to charge at us! We had to run up the hill as the bikers on the path kept passing us! It was a very scary moment that we like to all laugh about now that it is over. When we reach the end of the Camino, the four of us took a picture with the statue that so many people come so far to see.
During our trip, our professor Maria Jove was with us. She was a professor at the University in Spain. What I really liked about her was that she considered herself to be a friend to us, not just a professor. She was the sweetest woman and so funny! During the Camino, we really got to know her as she slept in the same hostel room as us. It was so great to be able to see a professor as someone more than just an instructor. She really cared about getting to know us as individuals and not just as students. I think if more professors did this then students would want to learn more and would learn better. Knowing she cared and respected me as someone more than just another grade made me really want to learn what she had to teach me.