I remember quite clearly where I was and how I felt when I got accepted to the University of Washington for my undergraduate studies. I was sitting in the passenger seat of my best friends bright red Isuzu trooper. What better place to receive such exciting news than being with someone you can instantly hug, giggle with and make crazy Freshman year plans. I remember being excited and extremely happy. I remember knowing I was going to major in Architecture and Spanish. I dot not however remember what I wrote my Personal Statement on, or how much work the application required. I’m sure it was lengthy and required lots of paperwork, phone calls, and more paperwork. I also remember knowing it would happen though. At 9 years told I remember telling my Mom I would attend the University of Washington and major in Architecture. I was admitted to the University of Washington (however I did not major in Architecture). But I somehow just knew I would go there and it would be great. What does some silly little ragamuffin nine-year old know?

A week and a half ago I received news which I could have NEVER predicted. I had no gut feeling about this decision. I knew I wanted it really badly, but I really had no idea.  I applied for Saint Louis University – Madrid. That application was a tough one! Amongst the general application requirements were GRE scores, an 8-10 page Writing Sample in Spanish, a personal statement, 3 letters of recommendations AND a phone interview (in Spanish with a  lady in Madrid).

I have never been a great test taker and I knew that. So I spent ALL Summer studying for the GRE’s. I had flashcards on the bus, books at the café, and practice tests online once a week almost. Apparently I did pretty well. Countless hours I sat at nearby bars & cafés asking Margaret to quiz me over and over again. She was so very helpful! I’m pretty sure I should frame some of those GRE notecards. They are covered in sweat, blood, & tears (& drops of wine of course).

10 Pages in Spanish? From scratch? oh boy! well, I chose a topic that fascinated me and buckled down and wrote that research paper. I chose the history of Spanish to write about. I did receive help with the revision & Spanish, but that paper is mine. Who chooses to write a 10-page research paper while not even IN school yet definitely has a determination above & beyond.

I honestly didn’t think I would get in, but I wanted to try.

The letter began:

“Dear Lillian,

I am pleased to inform you that you have been admitted to the M.A. Spanish program at Saint Louis University – Madrid Campus. I congratulate you on your fine academic record and look forward to having you study with us…..”

Admitted?! Fine academic record?! Madrid? M.A?! Spanish?!

I remember crying. Of course that was only a week and a half ago, so if I didn’t remember that maybe I should be attending a different type of institution.

What a blessing! What an amazing feeling! I got in. Wow. I am going to obtain my MA in Spanish and be in one of the best cities for it.

This will be the story of me, my Masters & Madrid.