A can of beans…

Written by Natalie October 29, 2014

I’ve been learning a lot here at CIMBA, it’s that whole “study” part of study abroad coming into play. I want to talk about what I’ve specifically learned from my finance professor… other than finance.

I like my finance professor because she understands that we are here both to learn and to travel. Some of the students think she’s “tough” on us; she often reminds us that studying is just as important as seeing the world while we’re here, but only because she truly wants us to learn the subject matter in order to succeed in the class.

So last week, she said something that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of days now. It started off with… “I can never save my money because I love to travel.” Well lookey there, we have something in common. I love, love, love to travel and it’s something I don’t mind spending my money on. My parents have taught me how to cherish the right things — love, family, fun, and travel — and I’m so thankful to them for that. Although traveling is expensive, a mixture of this trip and my parents have taught me that money is not everything.

The next bit of what my professor said is something that will stick with me forever, “when I’m old and gray I won’t have any money left over, so all I’ll have to eat is a can of beans. But as I’m eating that can of beans, I’ll be reminiscing on the beautiful places I’ve traveled to.” Something about this simple statement opened my heart to the pure joy that comes to me from travel. So thank you, Maria, for reminding me of my never dying case of wanderlust.

Natalie and Maria

For our first extended weekend, spanning from Thursday to Sunday, my group decided to go to Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium. This was my third time visiting Paris, something I’m extremely fortunate to experience even for the first time. I loved Paris when I visited in eighth grade, and I still love it this time around. Rekindling with the City of Lights was incredible. My heart dropped to my stomach and swam back up to my chest in less than a second when I saw the Eiffel Tower, just as it had the first time. I was absolutely delighted, like a kid in a candy shop, to be exploring the city as a twenty-year-old. Traveling with friends is a whole new experience, much different than visiting in eighth grade or when I visited with my family. We visited the many sights — Notre Dame, The Lourve, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Pont des Arts (the love lock bridge), and of course the Eiffel Tower.

We then bussed on over to Brussels, which is such a hidden treasure. Brussels is a smaller town, which allowed us to see the town without feeling rushed. We stayed with a lovely couple from Airbnb who cooked us a delicious Belgium breakfast, drove us to Atomiom, and even the airport! I think it felt different around Brussels because there was not an overwhelming touristy feeling. The streets were filled with many people, but it was not overcrowded like you’d expect. It was our goal to try out the waffles, mussels, french fries, chocolate, and even the beer! We successfully completed that list while simultaneously visiting the Grand Place, Manneken Pis, and many shops. There is a famous bar called Delirium that has over 2000 beers that we wanted to see… it was cool and it was even cooler that we ran into other CIMBAians. To top it off, I’m still munching on the delicious chocolates I brought home with me. I absolutely adored Brussels and would love to go back later in life.

Until next time,