“You know the value of every article of merchandise, but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.” This is a quote from a 13th-century Persian poet named Rumi. One defining moment for me when I arrived back to Canada from Pamplona, Spain back in June 2014 that I can resonate with this quote is getting rid of material things that I had accumulated but never let go of. Are they (material items) valuable then myself? Does it (material items) define who I am? There were so many questions going through my head and I would like to conclude one part of my personal experiences taking part in Centennial College GEO Language and Culture exchange in Pamplona, Spain on the Centennial College’s Global Experience blog.
Even my time in Pamplona, Spain translate well with this quote on my weekend back-packing trips. Having relied on whats in my back-pack was all I really needed to survive and live. What I bring out of these mini-trips were lessons and good memories and a great appreciation for my self-worth. While the majority of people were just waking up from their slumber or getting much needed sleep, I was ready and wide awake to start my day. What gave me a jot of energy to go outdoors, live in the moment, and discover more of Spain and ultimately some of myself are the pilgrims that carry their back-pack and hiking sticks early in the mornings while taking the path of the Camino de Santiago nearby the University of Navarra. The Camino de Santiago is a network of ancient pilgrims pathway that leads to St. James tomb that I had the opportunity to walk part of it.
Soon enough, I discovered the biggest reason to walk the path in the early mornings when the blazing scorching sun in the afternoons made walking the path slightly unbearable. It helps that the sights of olive groves, grape vineyards, and community gardens filled my eyes during the walk. To quench my thirst, each town had drinking fountains, with the spout pouring water out of a bronze lion’s mouth or some other creatures. Carrying my Camino de Santiago “passport” I entered each town searching for an Albergue, hostel in English, a bar, or a church to get a town’s stamp to officiate that I had been there (the town or the actual place). This was a great gem that I discovered of Spain after the coordinator mention it during my tour of the University of Navarra that I will one day come back to Spain and walk the whole path.
I am stoked and ready to walk the el Camino de Santiago on a beautiful Sunday morning, the walk to the mountain was an interesting one. There were towering straw bales along the path, sunflower seedlings sprouting and waiting for the hot summer sun of July, and small trinkets of tokens left by other pilgrims on sea shell markers. The blue and yellow depicts a seashell motif. The rays on the shell symbolizes different pathways that reflect to one single point, St. James tomb. I am holding the passport to collect stamps along the 500 mile path.
The countdown to the San Fermín festival! Me and my classmates are also standing in front of the shop called Kukuxumusu, flea kiss in Basque language, Pamplona-based clothing and product stores, selling many San Fermín items.
My classmates and I are standing in front of the town hall building in Pamplona.
First day of school, me and my classmates are standing in front of the entrance to University of Navarra, where I spend three weeks studying Spanish.
So, coming back to Canada, I donated three bags full of quality but slightly worn clothes, recycled magazines and paper clippings of quotes and typography that were my source of inspiration at that time, and utilize my letting go of attachment to items to devote my focus on my academic journey in Massage Therapy at Centennial College and getting more involved with Centennial College extracurricular activities.
September is right around the corner and Centennial College will soon have many school fairs, one of them are school services and what is offered to students. I made the right decision of taking a moment one day to talk to Pearl Vas, advisor of GEO International Mobility, at the GEO Language and Culture Program booth. The partnership of Centennial College and the University of Navarra have designed an unparalleled experience for students to discover Spain while studying Spanish in an immersive environment. This balance between academic and global experience defined me in many ways and taken my thinking to a worldwide view and learning outside the classroom then a one-dimensional view. With this said, if you are interested I encourage you to take a moment to talk to someone from the GEO booth, read about it on the global experience blog, or talk to past participants. The opportunities are endless at Centennial College and if something catches your eyes don’t hesitate, take that leap!
Massage Therapy Student at Centennial College
GEO Language and Culture Exchange Summer 2014 in Pamplona, Navarra, Spain