Junior pitcher Constance Phelan has taken her talents overseas for the 2019 Fall Semester to study at Suffolk's Madrid campus. While stamping her academic passport, Phelan will check in with GoSuffolkRams.com from time-to-time to tell Ram Nation what she has been up to abroad.
Below is the third installment, featuring Phelan's trip to Canary Island and Munich.
In the two months since I arrived in Spain, I have learned more about history, myself, and life than I ever thought I would. I have managed to improve my Spanish and can read/write with minimal problems, although whenever someone speaks to me my mind panics and I hear something that’s not words. I’ve become accustomed to coffee with milk, people invading my bubble, and food never being something you should eat “on the go.” While I have missed home a lot, I am sad that this semester is quickly coming to an end.
At the end of September, my Intro to Astronomy class took a trip to Tenerife in the Canary Islands to visit the Teide Observatory for the weekend. The observatory sits high up in the mountains, so far up that when we looked down, we could only see a sea of clouds below us. There are many regulations to both air pollution and light pollution so that the stars will be visible. I knew the stars would be clearer, but when I looked up, I was shocked by how many there were. The whole sky was littered with them, and you could even see a shooting star pass by every once and awhile. It was so different from being in the city. Our teachers took us out and helped us to identify some of the major constellations and showed us that even the Milky Way is visible because the sky is so clear. On the second night they pointed out Orion and told us that the little cloud we saw near his belt was a nebula, which we were then able to view through one of the telescopes. I do not think I will ever be able to look up at the sky and feel the same way about the stars again.
I also took a trip to Munich, Germany, which began with a funny exchange while trying to get the keys to our Airbnb. The woman had left the keys in a convenience store with a man who only spoke German, and after 10 minutes of me trying to explain to him I needed keys to an apartment he exclaimed, “ZZ? Americano?” to which I yelled back “CECE? Yes, I am the American.” After settling in, we spent most of the first day walking around the Englischer Garten (mainly because we got lost). Munich was a beautiful city. We climbed to the top of St. Peter’s Church to overlook everything, we walked the gardens in the Residenz, and watched the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the Town Hall at noon. The architecture of the buildings was stunning; most were tall rectangular block buildings, but every once and awhile we would stumble upon a gothic style church or building. Munich has definitely been one of my favorite places that I have seen, and I never expected to love it as much as I did.
The second day, we traveled a bit outside of the city to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. All my life I have read, watched movies, and been taught about WWII, but to see an actual concentration camp where people were held was both heartbreaking and eye opening. Reading the stories of the people who were held there, and seeing the facilities they used, gave me the chills. At one point I began to think about how large the camp was and then I thought how small it must actually be if that’s the only place you see day in and day out. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrible it must have been to live through that time period, and the kind of fear people must have lived in. It was an experience that really made me reflect on my own life, and how blessed I am.
One of the weirdest things about being here has been watching a team of 20 something girls form without me. It’s always strange when I check social media, or talk to someone from back home, to hear about how everyone is playing and what team event is coming up. I am enjoying my time abroad, but I also can’t wait to be back and be a part of that team dynamic again.
Dear Mom and Dad: sorry I’ve only called you twice. I think that’s a new record for me.
Fans, families, alumni and friends can check in with what Isaak and Phelan are up to over sees by following their adventures on GoSuffolkRams.com or over social media by using the hashtag #RAMsinterNATIONal.