Friday, May 4, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
I know that it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated, but it’s been a busy few weeks. Last week was my spring break, so I went to Paris, Rome, Florence, and Venice with my dear friend Tasia. It’s still surreal; I had always dreamed of traveling to these cities, but I never really thought I would, you know? What a blessing.
I had friends here in Spain who jokingly criticized me for leaving the country; “You’re here to learn Spanish—stay here!” they told me. I understand that mentality, and it is wise, but Tash and I had planned on going on our trip already. And the result? Wouldn’t have changed a thing. In fact, I practiced Spanish almost as much abroad as I would have here! When we arrived in Paris, we checked into our hostel in Spanish. Our roommates were from Spain and Latin America when we stayed in Rome, and we often sat by Spanish speakers on trains. We also made it our rule to speak in Spanish whenever we stood in lines; thus, we practiced for hours =P
There’s no way to recount all of the trip, but I’ll write out my highlights/things I learned/our schedule.
Friday 5:30 a.m.: leave for Paris
Sunday 5:30 a.m.: leave for Rome
Tuesday morning: leave for Florence
Wednesday morning: leave for Venice
Thursday night: leave for home
Friday night: arrive home.
Ha. Traveling home….*laughs* Ready for this? FUN day. Thursday 7:30 p.m. take a train back to Rome. 11:30 p.m. -3:30 a.m. stay in a 24 hour McDonalds waiting for the bus to take us to the Rome airport. 7:00 a.m. Friday flight to Valencia, Spain. 12:40 train to Madrid, Spain. 4:00 p.m. train to Sevilla. Arrive home at 7:00 p.m. Friday night. After that, I feel like I can do anything =P
Highlights from Paris:
-Men falling in love with Tasia (we get much better service that way…free chocolate, too!)
-Shakespeare and Company bookstore
-Our hostel (imagine a closet with 6 beds, a shower, 3 dirty men, and 1 nice German man to watch out for us. All I could do was laugh…)
-Climbing the Eiffel Tower (Thank you Lord for sustaining my knees!) while listening to Josh Groban’s French songs.
-Watching the Eiffel Tower light up at night, and then going to a cave/restaurant and swing dancing the night away
-Walking through the Moulin Rouge district at 5:30 a.m. (I almost punched someone. A little too sketchy for my liking…but a good story I suppose.)
-Amazing gnocchi, gnocchi, and cappuccino
-the market (nice Italian men and wonderful gifts for friends!)
-24 hour McDonalds (when it’s either that or staying outside for 5 hours, McDonalds is the most appealing place in the world). Plus, another man fell in love with Tasia and bought her a strawberry shake, so we got free food. We also made friends with the security guard (yes, necessary in that part of Rome), so no one messed with us.
-playing “Guess Who” in a room full of Roman heads (“does your person look demon possessed? “ “They ALL look demon possessed…” )
-Meeting a new friend, Ian, in line and getting advice for my New York trip
-The B&B (after hostels, our own shower and room were INCREDIBLE)
-Being on the water
-Living on Lido (cutest little island…with YARDS! It’s amazing after living in a city like Sevilla the things you miss…)
-The men (we can all appreciate God’s creation, no? He happened to place a lot of nice looking men on that island—it would be rude not to admire His work, right? =P )
-Shopping ….normally I despise it, but after seeing more famous monuments and museums than I could keep track of, simply walking around and looking at shops was a wonderful change of pace.
-The pastries and coffee. Hehe.
More later hopefully…time to actually do my homework. Pictures are on facebook.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
The next step was to order it online. I tried, and the next day received a message that my order was rejected. My daddy was understood my frisbee need and let me use his credit card, but the same thing happened. So what is there to do?
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Preface: Random and slightly cynical post.
Cultural differences intrigue me. Each time I encounter a new one I can’t help but laugh.
New game idea: Spain vs. U.S. –Who is worse? The objective of the game is for each country to show its most strange or obnoxious cultural differences.
Spain: Well, we spit in the street all the time…
U.S.: That’s nothing new. People in River Falls do it constantly and it grosses Katie out…
Spain: Well, we are overly dramatic all the time. Qué horror! Qué fatal! No me digas! My life is going to end!
U.S.: Well, at least most people in Spain don’t drink to get wasted like the majority of people in the U.S.
Spain: That’s okay, everyone smokes on the street and spends 10 euros a day on packs to make up for it…
U.S.: That may be true, but at least you enjoy your lives! We run around from 6:00 a.m. and drop into bed at midnight, exhausted by the amount of work we’ve done.
Spain: Well, we do laugh at people who say they want "liberty" and "rights." Working less and being taken care of is a good trade off for liberty.
Eek I wonder how many people I offended with that =P Yes, it's general stereotypes and doesn't apply to everyone.I honestly enjoy many things about both cultures, but some things are frustrating. Good to realize that one isn’t “better” than the other, you know? Different. Entirely different.
Fun fact: Did you know that people don’t do crazy proposals in Spain? Women hate the attention. If you do it, she’ll probably hit you.
I’m off to Barcelona tomorrow! Excited for the city, the culture, and the dancing (a month is far too long to go without swing dancing).
As promised, highlights of my trip via pictures....oh, fakeout. Upload failed...and I have to finish packing. Well, pictures are on Facebook, but I'll post some Barcelona ones when I get back.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Hello! First off, I would like to apologize to everyone I haven’t responded to yet on facebook or email; my laptop likes to steal all the bandwith from the other computers in the house and then not actually use it. Thus, I have about 5 minutes of Internet functionality before it dies. My phone has wifi, but emails are…inconvenient that way =P
Last weekend I went to Granada, which was gorgeous. Sevilla is a flat, metropolitan city with its gorgeous touches of antiquity: the cathedral, the 3 foot wide alleyways that lead to secret plazas, the countless parks with orange trees and fountains, etc. However, Granada is an entirely different kind of beautiful. Mountainous, jagged, with thick dark forests close to the Alhambra. The city is hilly as well, which made it even more beautiful (Ah, the irony of bad knees and a love of hiking). We saw a flamenco show in a cozy cave (Dad, the worst place in the world to have a fire—I thought of you as I realized that if anything went wrong, I’d be burned alive or trampled in the back of a crowd of panicking American lemmings). Flamenco is a beautiful, passionate, aggressive dance; I enjoyed it for the first 20 minutes, but that was enough for me. I’m sorry, but there will be no cultural transfusion coming from me—no desire to learn. We also toured the Alhambra, the palaces built by the Muslim kings before the Christians took over. Gorgeous, but again, not my interest. I honestly enjoyed the gardens far more than I did the buildings and history. Mom, you and Grandma and Randy would have just died.
Sunday I went to church again, and this time I met an exchange student from Dublin, Rebekah. What a blessing! She taught me how to use the metro and was just a sweetheart—needed it that day. I spent the next 5 hours on Skype with Tasia planning out our spring break. As much as people rave about how cheap it is to travel in Europe, they fail to mention the relativity of the word “cheap.” Ugh. Good thing I have the rest of my life to work, no? *laughs* Tash and I are headed to Paris for two days, then we fly to Italy and spend the week exploring Rome, Florence, and Venice. Then we will take a ferry from Italy to Barcelona…and make it in time for a little swing dancing =) I may or may not buy a loaf of bread and a jar of Nutella and eat sandwiches all week, but I’ll be in France and Italy! Everything tastes better there, no? =P
Starting next Thursday, I’ll be helping teach English two mornings a week in a bilingual German/Spanish school. No big deal that the kids are learning their third language...*shakes head* I also met with a man today who wants a teacher for very basic English for children and conversation for adults. As much as I despise being in front of people, it means money, experience, and pushing myself. I vote yes.
I’m sorry that I have no photos in this blog either—I need to upload it before I lose Internet. As soon as it’s fixed there will be a blog with more pictures than words. Promise. Here’s to writing this on Microsoft Word and hoping the five minutes of Internet will be gracious to me…
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Traveling makes me realize how absolutely amazing the human body is. How one can travel for 20 hours, eat food completely unknown to the palate, and then walk miles upon miles for the next few days is beyond me. However, I'm quite grateful for it. In fact, I've been able to make it three days before my injuries have started to really bother me--total blessing.
While that was gorgeous, I far preferred El Escorial, which is both a world-famous monastery and also acts as the tombs of the past kings and queens of Spain. This is what part of the exterior looks like (again, we couldn't take pictures inside):