Keysa Garcia is a current student of the Florida International Univeristy Honors College and is majoring in both Biological Sciences and Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. After attending Spain Study Abroad in the Summer, Keysa will work her way towards graduating in Spring 2020. She will begin by preparing for the MCAT and applying to Medical Schools, in order to fulfill her dreams of becoming a Pediatric Oncologist. Keysa is also passionate about traveling the world and emerging herself within different cultures, as she has been constantly reminded that you learn more a day abroad than a day at school.
Madrid as Text
“Notre Père.” by Keysa Garcia of @fiuhonors at in Madrid, Spain on June 8th, 2019
The faith and church order of the Roman Catholic Church is referred to as Catholicism, something that I have practiced and preached for as long as I can remember. As I have see pictures of my parents and god parents hovering over me as I was submerged into holy water in order to be regenerated, purified, and admitted into the Catholic Church is a reminder of what started it all. From there, many years passed as I still continued attending church and practicing my faith. I went to CCD classes, took my Communion pictures, attended Confirmation classes, and selected my Confirmation Sponsor.
However, through the midst of it all, life kept on moving and I began questioning my faith. My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, both of my maternal grandparents passed, and my father would never be home to help my 9 year-old self take care of my mother as he had to pick up any side job possible in order to have food on the table. Every little obstacle I faced made me questioned my faith and god more and more. However, I started to live everyday by thinking that God places his toughest soldiers in his strongest battles… My battle was just tougher than other elementary/middle schoolers, as I began to become to the maternal figure for my father and three brothers.
I believe the picture I chose captured one of the toughest times in my life, as it represents my catholic faith glowing and being what I was seeking guidance from but the moving man (life) being a distraction. A year had passed, and my situations were getting worse, and I officially gave up on my faith.
A few years later, I was enrolled in St. Brendan Catholic High School located in the heart of Westchester, Florida. An institution that gave me the best four years of my life, and gave me the opportunity to grow back into my faith. I decided to continue and strengthen the French my mom taught me at home in school, as I didn’t want to be like everyone else and take Spanish. Madame Castillo, welcomed the entire class and taught us the Notre Père, hearing the Our Father in the most beautiful language in the world made me want to learn more about my faith and regain my connection with god in French.
Depuis ce jour, je remercie Dieu d’être allé dans une école catholique. Je remercie également Dieu pour la beauté de la langue française que ma mère m’a apprise depuis l’âge de trois ans et je remercie Madame Castillo de m’avoir fait renouer des liens avec Dieu.
Toledo as Text
“Lost & Found Box” by Keysa Garcia of @fiuhonors at El Grecos View in Toledo, Spain on June 12, 2019
On June 11th of 2019, my Professor, John W. Bailly advised the entire Spain Honors Study Abroad class to dress in our best “hiking gear” for class tomorrow in Toledo. Immediately after hearing this I began to ask myself what did I get myself into… However, I accepted the news. On the morning of June 12th, I was rushing my way through breakfast and putting on my new black Decathlon cropped leggings making sure I suited Professor Bailly’s hiking gear standards.
Prior to this trip and hike in Toledo, my life felt fuzzy. I found myself to be trapped inside a lost and found box, as if I were a sweater or a pair glasses that an elementary school child had left behind after a long day of learning how to add and subtract. Arriving to Toledo and walking over to Zocodover, I was thanking myself for signing up for OrangeTheroy and all those days where we had to put our treadmill incline at 10.0. As we finished our tour, and finished our lunch. I knew that the hike was going to start once Bailly released his man-bun and let all 17 of us (18 with Vicky) admire his lucious silver strands. We commenced our hike with our collapsible water bottles in one hand, and fear in the other. The hike continued and my biggest worry was what rock to put my foot on. At that moment I truly felt the fuzz from Miami fade away and I began to submerge myself in the views that El Greco painted which became complete clarity. I felt like I was able to leave the lost and found box and escape to what nature had to offer.
Puritans, like William Bradford believed that nature was a negative source of energy, as they believed that nature didn’t approve of there voyage. Puritans believed this as they faced danger throughout there voyage at sea. However, mountains are usually a place where one goes to clear their head, a space for contemplation. El Greco follows this tradition as he paints the same mountain ridge I was able to hike and admire.
Sevilla as Text
“Giralda” by Keysa Garcia @keysadillaa of the @fiuhonors at La Cathedral de Sevilla on June 17, 2019
“TURRIS FORTISSIMA NOMEN DNI PROVERBS 18” is engraved at the top of the the Giralda tower at La Cathedral de Sevilla this means “The name of the lord is a strong tower” and it is a proverb in the Bible (proverb 18:10). I believe that this proverb adequately suits the tower, as the tower is founded and built upon great origin and history.
The Giralda tower was built in hopes of being a minaret, a multipurpose tower that is built adjacent to a mosque and generally used as a focal point for Adhan, Muslim call to prayer. However, in the year 1248 during the Reconquista, the purpose of the Giralda tower have changed as the tower now serves as a a bell tower to a Christian Cathedral, La Catedral de Sevilla. The tower successfully began its transformation to be a bell tower in the 16th century as a portion of the building was added to include more bells, as Hernán Ruíz was commissioned to not only add height to the building but to create a statue that would embodied the true Christian Faith of Sevilla.
The area constructed by Hernán Ruíz, contains Sevilla’s motto NO8OD, No me ha dejado, meaning “She has not abandoned me”. The motto is spelled with an 8 in the middle in order to represent madeja, hank, a coiled or wrapped piece of yarn.
Granada as Text
“Seven Heavens” by Keysa Garcia @keysadillaa of the @fiuhonors at Alhambra @alhambra_oficial in Granada, Spain on June 18th, 2019
When arriving to Alhambra, I decided to follow what Professor Bailly said and be “Islamic for a day” as I was able to follow the same path Muslims would walk, and have the opportunity to be surrounded by natural delicacies such as water and perfectly landscaped gardens. However, since I was placing myself in the shoes of being Islamic for the day, I wanted to know what it would be like to reach the seventh heaven.
It is stated that ancient philosophers believe that the seven heavens correlate to the seven different planets in our Solar System, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The notion of Seven Heavens is rooted to ancient Mesopotamia religions, such as Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam. However, some differences are noted amongst the three. For example, Islamic tradition believes that Heaven and Paradise are two different things; as paradise is the final resting place of the soul, unlike Catholics who’s ultimate goal and final resting place for your soul is heaven.
When walking through the palace and fortress I was emerging myself in its beauty, a true experience like no other. Eagerly admiring the intricate work on the walls and ceiling, made me want to experience the seventh heaven by stepping out of my catholic faith and learning and exploring more about different ancient Mesopotamian religions.
Barcelona as Text
”The Sacred Family” by Keysa Garcia @keysadillaa of the @fiuhonors at La Sagrada Família @basilicasagradafamilia in Barcelona, Spain on June 21, 2019.
Located in the heart of Barcelona, Spain, La Sagrada Família to me is one of the most astonishing architectural masterpieces within the European Union, and also one of Antoni Gaudí most intricate works.
The constructing of the basilica began in 1882, under the supervision and directory of Fransico de Paula del Villar, it wasn’t until 1883 that Antoni Gaudí abolished Fransico de Paula del Villar plans and began to construct the basilica. Gaudí was given this project at the age of 31, until his tragic death in 1926 at 74, Gaudí worked on the basilica with the purpose of tying all symbols and popular stories of the Christian faith into one.
When designing the basilica, it seemed to be that Gaudí was aware of the complexity and time it would take to finish it as the most intricate portion of La Sagrada Família is the front, also know as The Nativity Facade. The Nativity facade is the only portion of the basilica to be near completion before his death. The facade is filled with sculptures of biblical figures, animals, symbols, and the tree of life. However, the facade is composed of three different entries and four different bell towers. The entries are Hope, Charity, and Faith that are located from left to right and the four different bell towers are dedicated to four different Saints, Matthew, Jude, Barnabas, and Simon.
After admiring the overwhelming yet beautiful Nativity facade, you made your way inside the basilica. Inside La Sagrada Família, you can really capture and embrace Gaudí love for nature as all the column you are surrounded with are representations of trees. However, you inside the basilica your eyes are drawn to the stain glass windows as one side is dedicated to the Resurrection as the other side is decayed to the birth of Christ.
As it is my third time visiting the Sagrada Família, I still find myself more and more amazed with the overwhelming architecture and spiritual message. I find myself sitting outside of La Sagrada Família for 2+ hours just admiring section by section, as Gaudí architectural work is breathtaking. Although the basilica remains unfinished, there is a hope that tourist and locals would be able to admire the finished basilica in 2026.
Sitges as Text
“Compare & Contrast” by Keysa Garcia @keysadillaa of the @fiuhonors at Palau de Maricel in Sitges, Spain on June 27, 2019
Being an individual who was born and raised into a strong Cuban family, I have had the honor of seeing how American and Spanish culture mix with one another. Living in the city of Miami, has allowed me to see how food,
XC as Text