During my freshman year of high school my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain. Her name was Patri. We were only a year apart, but at the time we were very different. I was a geeky bookworm, and Patri was bit of a wild child. It may not have always been easy living together, but after she left Patri and my family have never lost touch. Ten years ago when I studied abroad I went to visit Patri and her family in Valencia, Spain. Since then she has lived in New Zealand, and a couple years ago moved to Bristol, England. I knew I had to try to see her again on this trip, and she welcomed me to stay with her for a week.
As adults we have a lot more in common now and we had the best time reconnecting and hanging out on my visit. We are both yoga-lovers. Patri did her teacher training in India a few years ago and currently teaches at a few studios around Bristol. We have both become more in to politics and we enjoyed debating current topics. While on my trip I have loved getting to talk to people and hear international views on different topics. Patri and I bonded over food as well, with each of us being interested in more sustainable and responsible food production and consumer choices. We both also enjoy street art, and Bristol was a perfect place to be to appreciate some great pieces.
One day Patri lead me on a walking tour of Bristol and it’s different neighborhoods, with a specific eye out for street art and good food. It was great getting to see a different English city. I have visited London on several different occasions but up until then had never been to other points in England. Bristol is vastly smaller city which is very walkable. With two universities in town there is a large student and young professional population. It has an alternative vibe, with a lot of arts and activism. The animation studio Aardman, where Wallace and Gromit is made is in the city, which was neat to know as I have friends who work in stop motion.
The street art scene is huge, and Bristol plays host to several Banksy’s. The city has a yearly street art festival, with artists from all over the world converging on Bristol for a week of creativity. Together Patri and I had a great time seeking out some wonderful works of art. I also got the chance to take 2 yoga classes from Patri while I was there. It was the first time I'd taken a class since starting my trip and it was ever so nice. We also took some photos of Patri for her yoga website, and had a lot of fun doing it. I’m very happy to have visited Bristol, see the city, and most importantly, get to reconnect with Patri.
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.