Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Three Weeks Left...

I know that my blog posts are becoming increasingly few and far between, and I’m sorry for it. The Internet situation has become increasingly worse, and I only have another 3 weeks here. Crazy, no? I assume that by now there are very few people who read this, and I deserve that =P However, for the few of you who do read this (Hi mom =P), I’ll keep it up.
I’m currently in a “piso” (apartment) in Tarifa, Spain-- the southernmost point in Europe. Today I stood on a bridge; on my left I saw the Mediterranean sea and on my right was the Atlantic. The Atlantic was furious, with strong gusting winds and giant waves. The Mediterranean was its contrast, a blue, crystal sea with far less wind.  Five friends and I rented an apartment here for a beach weekend, and it was more or less a success. Granted, the winds are strong enough to explain why the Atlantic beach is famous for its kite surfing and it’s only about 65 degrees, but it’s been sunny enough to…well, as Kevin says, “Beach ourselves like whales.” 
The pasts two weeks have been a blur, spending time in classes and wandering Sevilla. I’ve been blessed to get to know Manu, a Spaniard who has been wonderful to me. Last Sunday we went to las Cetas (the Mushrooms), which is a series of huge white wooden structures that look kind of like mushrooms. We went up and walked around them, him speaking in English and I in Spanish as a kind of intercambio (exchange). I’ve only met with him a few times, but he’s been wonderful, correcting all of my mistakes and being willing to answer my endless stream of questions. I wish I had met him earlier, but I’ve improved after just talking with him twice. 
He also took me to watch the Hunger Games dubbed in Spanish (no subtitles). Guess what? I understood CASI TODO! Almost everything. Let me tell you, after being discouraged at the language plateau that I’ve hit, it was a blessing .
This Spain thing has been awful for my self-control and for my work ethic. My goodness, the food I have consumed and the homework I HAVEN’T done. I am making myself leave the beach early to get back to Sevilla and do homework. Why? Because…
IRELAND! In three days I’ll be there, and in four days I will be able to dance again. Love.  Dublin for 3 days and Galway for 3 days….Cliffs of Moher (think Princess Bride =P) and the national park (think PS I Love YOU)…and  I splurged and booked a B&B so we don’t have to stay in a hostel. 
Miss you guys…coming home May 12th. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

European Adventures....

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!)

-the Colosseum

-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.


-David statue

-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.