Saturday, May 12, 2012

So it's finally come to an end. I'm writing from my home computer! These last two days have been feels so good to be in New Haven and to be with the people I love (even though some people I haven't seen yet). BUT overall I can say that I am really grateful for this semester. I needed it so much - to got out and see the world and leave my New Haven and Syracuse bubbles. I have seen some amazing things and met some really great people that I never would have if I didn't go to abroad. Sure, there are some regrets about not doing everything I wanted to or not pushing myself to get all the way out of my comfort zone..but I can honestly say it was hard at the end to leave. Don't get me wrong, I wore red, white and blue to the airport for a reason, but leaving Carmen and just Madrid overall was bittersweet. I hope we keep in touch (it would be a great way for me to practice my Spanish), but we'll seeeee. Also I really want her to send me pictures of baby Hugo and Aitana. But for now, let the ashley's, pepe's, tandoor, mamoun's, grandma's macaroni eating COMMENCE!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Someone somewhere heard my frustrations and listened to me cause guess what?! The flight isn´t cancelled!!! I don´t think enough people wanted to strike on Friday so they couldn´t cancel the flights. THANK GOODNESS. The minute we heard and got home, Alyssa and I started packing. Now that I know everything´s good to go I´m not as stressed, but just anxious. I want to see my fam and friends and New Haven and just get back into the swing of things at home. And back into the New Haven restaurants slash my grandma´s kitchen. TWO MORE DAYS BABY

Saturday, May 5, 2012

So I should only have to stress about finals this week since I have three tests and a paper due, yet another big whammy has hit us: possible Iberia strike which might end up in cancelling our flight back to the States. Just what I need...The strike was started by unhappy flight attendants and Carmen has a friend who is a flight attendant but didn´t even know exactly why they were striking! That makes me so mad. They affect so many people when they should just be happy to have a job, unlike the majority of people in Spain. This happened when we went to France for spring break, there was a general strike at the airport, but at least we knew the Monday before we left that our flight was cancelled so we managed to move it easily to Friday instead of Thursday. However in this case, Iberia might not tell us it´s cancelled until the day before or day of. That leaves very little time to change our flights not the mention that most of us are on the group flight which would mean about 100 students need to change. Best case senario is that if it does get cancelled (which I´m almost positive it will) that we can get the flight moved to Thursday. I have a final but it ends at 10:30 am so if I can get on an aftrnoon or night flight, that would be ideal. I just want to get home and not have to worry about staying here until Saturday or Sunday. I want to spend mother´s day with my fam!

Monday, April 30, 2012

I can´t believe that tomorrow is the first day of May and that in 11 days I will be on a plane to the United States. It makes me start thinking about how senior year is fast approaching and then real life and then I don´t even know what. I can´t start thinking about this, I´m only 20. Except that 20 seems so old!!!
Oh well, for now I just need to enjoy the last couple days left in Madrid. Yesterday I came back from a weekend in Porto, Portugal, which was really fun and relaxing. It was the perfect last travel experience before heading home. I went with a group of girls to celebrate one of their 21st birthdays (which of course doesn´t matter much here in Europe) but we just tried to hang out, eat good food and celebrate. And that we did. Just to preface what I´m about to say, I´m going to ask myself a question: who am I? Because, this weekend I very willingly offered to get information for a bus tour. Yes. I love bus tours now. They are so perfect because you can have fun on them in any kind of weather! Rainy and you go downstairs, beautiful and sunny and you go upstairs (and they are so good for taking pictures). Plus you get to see so much more than you would just walking around aimlessly. So we found a great deal on a bus tour, which was 19 euros and included a two day bus pass, boat ride up the river Douro and tour of the Calem Porto wine cellars PLUS a tasting. Also I´m obessed with all of the buildings in Porto. Everywhere you go are the most beautiful tiled walls and even on the churches they have little scenes and it just adds so much color and life to the city. I could look at them all day long. Then when we were boarding the plane to come back, Alyssa said something that made me so excited: this is the last time we´re traveling back to Madrid. CAN´T BELIEVE THAT THE NEXT PLANE I TAKE WILL BE HEADED BACK HOME!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A lot has happened in the past couple weeks! After getting back from Paris my mom and dad came to visit! It was so great to see them because it's been over three months since the last time I have but I didn't realize just how acclimated I've become to Madrid (knowing the metro, understanding basic spanish, etc) that I started getting frustrated with the fact that I had to become a tour guide. I think I'd rather hang out with them at home than a foreign country but regardless I am SO happy they came. It makes me miss home so much but knowing that I will only have to wait three weeks to see them lessens the depression.
Anyways, this weekend the school planned a trip to Andalucia, which is where I'm writing from now! (right now we're in Granada) In the beginning of the semester we took an 11 day pre-seminar called Mare Nostrum in which we went to Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona and Valencia. This is a shortened version/reunion trip in which we've been to Cordoba, Sevilla and our last stop, Granada. This weekend has made me realize how amazing planned trips are. We have a bus driver (Nico), planned dinners, nice hotels, get to see amazing views and guided tours. It really takes the stress out of traveling.

In Cordoba we saw the mosque (mesquita), got yummy tortilla y queso bocadillos and ice cream cones.
inside the mosque
Sevilla was so beautiful. A huge river runs through it and there are a ton of restaurants and bars and shops are lined up all the way down. So much to look at. We went to the center of town and saw the cathedral. Then of course after round two of bocadillos for lunch we had to get ice cream. Maite, our group leader, just laughed. Yeah, this coming from the typical skinny spanish woman who can barely finish a croissant and coffee for breakfast and was so stuffed from a single scoop she couldn't drink all her beer. Theme of the weekend is eating. We established it early on and we're gonna stick to it. You only Andalucia once.
view from above
Granada has been by far the most beautiful. Its all windy roads and gorgeous views. The hotel in literally at the top of a mountain so you can see the whole city. It's amazing. We learned about how oil is made here (Granada is one of the top producers of olive oil), from when and how they pick the olives to how they used to make it and even got to have a tasting. No complaining from me.

tiled wall in la alhambra
We also went to the Alhambra and the view was once again amazing. The tiles and orange trees and fountains and carvings and views. It's hard to take it all in. Lots of photos. Lots of staring.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bonjour de Paris!!! I'm currently writing from Alyssa's cousins computer (hope he doesn't mind all the way from Boston). We've been here for 8 days and sadly only have 2 left but we have been making all the time we have here count. Of course we got as touristy as possible (Arc de Triumphe, Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Versailles, Musee d'Orsay, walking down the Champs-Elysees) but having spent so much time here, we've really gotten to walk around and take our time learning the city. And all I can say is that I love it. Unlike Madrid, it is so green here. The streets are filled with trees and even though it's a city there are flowers and grass and just pure nature. Sometimes I forget how much beauty a simple garden has when I'm in Madrid. It's so dry there. But Paris is so alive with greeeen. It was the first thing Alyssa and I noticed.
We've been staying with Alyssa's aunt and uncle (as you recall I mentioned her cousin) and they have been SO generous. Almost every dinner they have invited us to and the large majority of them being out. And not just to the local hum dum cheap take really nice restaurants. Honestly I love you Carm, but France has been treating our bellies right! First night we had Italian, followed by Indian, then Chinese, Lebanese and Thai. Needless to say it's been a delicious trip. Oh how could I forget the crepes. We got them once for lunch and once just on the street and they were sooo yummy. Alyssa said it perfectly, "if I lived here I would get fat off the crepes". Too true.

louvre museum
eiffel tower
pizza and crepes for lunch
notre dame cathedral

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Haven´t written in so long! Which is mostly due to the fact that about two weeks ago my computer started getting really slow and now barely works. I started deleting a lot of documents and I´m going to try running the virus scanner again but I´m afraid I´m going to have to send it back with my parents to the States because the closest Apple store we could find is an hour away. SO for now I´m stuck in the library. But here are some recent updates!
A couple weekends ago I went to London!!! It was really fun but it is SO expensive there and very rainy which is the complete opposite of Madrid. It can be expensive here if you make it, but in London it was just crazy...which had a lot to do with the pound. Regardless, we were as touristy as could be and got to see all of the major sites (Big Ben, the Westminster Abbey, London bridge, Buckingham Palace, went in the London eye..) and other little sections of the city with help from The Big Bus Tour. Really can´t get much more touristy than that. All I could think about was how many times my Aunt Cindy dragged my sister and I on those dreaded duck tours (which we did see driving around) and yet here I was willing and wanting to take one myself. Well, not so much the duck tour, but a bus nonetheless. Funny note about the London bridge: literally the ugliest, smallest, most unimpressive bridge of all the bridges in London. You wouldn´t even notice it except that it has written LONDON BRIDGE in big letters on the side. We made the mistake of thinking a different one was the right London bridge and took lots of pictures near it only to find out we were wrong...typical. Also, the first night we wanted fish and chips just to complete the cliche experience, but all the restaurants we stumbled upon looked like we might get food poisining. So we opted for Garfunkles: a mix between panera, friendlys, and TGIF. How could I forget..we also stumbled upon Borough Market which is one of the best places I´ve ever been. So much bread, cakes, cheese, meat, just all of my favorite foods wrapped up in a farmer´s market. It was great. I bought a big piece of carrot cake which I never wanted to finish, it was amazing. Then Sunday was the St. Patty´s day parade. We got all dressed up in green and went to the parade. By this time we were almost completely broke, so lunch was McDonalds. My second trip to a fast food place all semester. We felt so rich there buying food from the pound menu. Needless to say I went home with no more money but a camera full of pictures and lots of funny memories. AND in two days we are off to Paris for spring break which I am almost too excited for.

View of the Westminster Abbey from the London Eye

Fish and Chips!!!

Bread stand at the amazing Borough Market

Signs to help you from killing yourself crossing the street...much needed in my case because I can barely cross at home anyway

Friday, March 9, 2012

Missed home a lot this week but not as much as I had been like a month ago. I think that's because I know my parents are coming in a little less than four weeks. Also we are a little over half way done with the semester...I already made my schedule for the fall wait, what? I've never been home (slash now cuse) sick like this before. Skype just isn't enough sometimes, but Shelby said she sent the abroad packages and that means they should be here in about two weeks!!! It's gonna be great to taste a little piece of home, literally because Dibs baked us cookies. Can't wait to dip everything in peanut butter and gain 5 pounds. It's gonna be delish.
Enough about home, I'm in MADRID for crying out loud!! Today it is absolutely 100% gorgeous outside. No jacket weather except everyone else here didn't get the memo and continue to wear winter coats. Not kidding it's 70 degrees out and I saw a guy wearing earmuffs. Something there is wrong. So we took advantage of the day and went to the zoo! It was great. I love zoos and aquariums and all of those kinds of things. Also Alyssa literallly knows all the animals so she was my little personal tour guide. What's new hahaha pretty sure I wouldn't be able to survive without her here. OH I FORGOT also I saw my first real live prostitute. But it was not at night like you might think and also it was not on the corner or near Sol where all the bars are. Nope. It was at 1 pm outside the zoo...we knew cause of the shorts with no tights under and sandal heels. Dead give away. Anyways we got back to moncloa, which is near the apartment, and walked around for an ice cream shop and brought our cones to parque oeste. Per usual. Oeste is our shit.
After a long day it feels sooo good to kick back and watch some teen mom 2 reunion. So that's what I'm gonna do. Iytanna is coming over again tonight and so is Beatriz, her mom, so I think it's gonna make dinner amazing (plus we saw in the fridge that Carm made lentils..yeee!!).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tis the season for parents! Last weekend our friend's mom was here, this weekend Alyssa's parents are here, and next week Jenna's are coming. Two days ago was my dad's birthday so hearing about everyone else's has made me miss them even more. At least I can use Alyssa's as my pseudo parents for the weekend.
For instance, the four of us went to Toledo yesterday. It was kind of a drab day weather wise and started raining at one point, but it was all good. We went to an army museum trying to get into the castle, which didn't work but it was interesting and then we went to the El Greco art museum which was small but good because by that time we were all getting hungry. Luckily, lunch was awesome. We went to this restaurant which had a deal where you get two courses plus bread, water and dessert all for 8.50 euro. So I got jamon y queso, tortilla espanola and chocolate mousse. Mmmmm and Alyssa and I shared my tortilla espanola and her fried squid. Nom. After lunch we went to the cathedral but of course we had some issues figuring out how you get tickets so we just walked around it and hung out for an hour then took the train home. Overall good day!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This past weekend was the best yet in Madrid. Friday we went on a hike in Cercedilla which is a town about an hour away by train. It's in the same direction as Segovia (where we went a couple weeks ago) so we passed El Valle de los Caidos (The Valley of the Fallen) again where Franco is buried...along with a HUGE 500 foot cross (not exaggerating...I had to google it when I got home) which marks the spot. When we got to Cercedilla our teacher, Montes, warned us that what usually happens is we take another train to the top of the mountain and then hike down. But of course with our luck, we had to do it the hard way. So we hiked up the mountain...and as if it wasn't hard enough while sweating through my layers, there was also ice on the ground. So I was overheating and slipping up a mountain. Great combination. Needless to stay it was a struggle, but it was a hilarious trip and the view was completely worth it. Where we stopped was called La Mirador de la Reina (Lookout Point of the Queen).

Just had to get an LITP photo
I wanted to stay there for the whole day but couldn't...because we had to get back to Madrid for the tapas crawl!! Yes, after a long day of hiking, what do you want to do? Eat of course. So what better way to celebrate hiking for 5 hours than with tapas and drinks?! It was GREAT. We went to four places and met some hilarious Spanish guys. It was so refreshing just to talk to people in Spanish who weren't our teachers or host families. Even though we will never see them again it was so fun! First stop was el Museo de Jamon, where we passed around plates of cheese and different slices of ham and of course una copa de vino tinto (red wine). Next we went to La Casa del Abuelo for more wine, bread, and little shrimp in hot oil, which is called gambas al ajillo. Delish! Even just dipping the bread in the oil was great. Third stop (the best!!) was at Las Bravas. We got patatas bravas which are potatoes that have been rubbed dry and deep fried, kind of like chunky little steak fries, topped with brava sauce which is sooooo good. It's got a kick to it and goes sooo well with the potatoes. Then we also got tortilla espanola (topped with MORE brava sauce) which is like an omlette but thicker. Finally we ended in El Tronco, where we spent more time chatting than actually eating because what did we get? Pigs ear. I tried it but let's just say it's not my favorite....very chewy.
Can you tell I'm loving life?
Then as if the weekend couldn't get any better...we met Carmen's three year old granddaughter for the first time, Iytanna. SHE IS SO PRECIOUS! At first she was so shy and didn't speak, but once she warmed up to us it was great! She put our hair in "kikis" (pony tails) and literally brushed out hair for the whole night. I fell in love. Especially when we started playing hide and seek and she chose the same place to hide three times in a row. Such a cutie. Oh other plus...Carmen's family came over Sunday for lunch so we got the left overs for dinner!!! (Not sarcasm) Paella. Mmmm with shrimp and chicken and other things that were just tasty. GREAT weekend and pretty great week also. I got pretty good grades on my midterms and can't wait for this weekend because Alyssa's parents get here tomorrow!!! Todo es perfecto.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A couple new things in my life: nutella and strawberries, nutella and rice cakes, nutella and toast, nutella and spoon. Are you noticing a trend? I think I might be addicted, but it's weird because it's not like I've never had it before now. It doesn't help that since now I'm also addicted to all food (meaning dessert) blogs 80% of items are made with nutella. Did I ever mention that we aren't allowed to use the kitchen here? Well yes, some girl tried to make COFFEE and burned down the kitchen so she ruined it all for the rest of us. And Carm prooobably wouldn't bend the rules for us anyway so I just have to wait until May to test out these amazing recipes I've been finding, which I've been writing down in a notebook so I don't forget them. Parents: prepare to let me take over the kitchen for at least my first week home. You won't regret it.
Now as far as my life in's great! The days are beautiful, Bruno is kind of bratty but children will be children, and the first week of midterms is over! I don't know that I passed with flying colors... but I can feel good grades coming my way. I STILL have the mindset that I can't fail because I'm abroad so hopefully that will become a reality. We will find out next week.

Anyways, I'm gonna end on a fun note with a little countdown of all the great things to come:
8 days until Alyssa's parents come
23 days until St. Patty's weekend in London
36 days until we head out to Paris (plus other undetermined places) for spring break
49 days until my parents come
57 days until the trip to Andalusia
64 days until our trip to Portugal
79 days until home!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Today is beautiful. It's in the 40-50's and it's sunny which just makes life a little happier. In the spring at cuse once it becomes 40 degrees everyone believes it's summer so people wear shorts and the frats play music and it just makes you instantly happy. I'm having a case of that today. SO Alyssa and I decided to take advantage of the day and go on a run (yes this is the first time I've exercised in almost two months so it wasn't very impressive...but we did last for half an hour). And boy did we need to get out. Carmen hasn't been our biggest fan this past week and I don't think we've been hers either. This morning I woke up and said good morning but she was cooking so I didn't want to get in her way so I just went back to my room for an hour and waited to eat breakfast..but when I made my toast and coffee she asked me what I was doing and why I was in my bed. Well sorry that it's 10 am and I'm politely waiting for you to be done in your tiny kitchen also waiting for Alyssa to wake up. What would you like me to be doing? So we went on the run and now we are showering and going back out for a picnic and to explore Plaza de Espana. Speaking of explore, yesterday we went with the school on a trip to Segovia. Talk about beautiful. Once again it reminded me of Girona. Ahhh Girona. Our first stop in Spain! That was SO long ago. In Segovia we visited the famous aqueduct, the Alcazar castle (amazing) and just walked around, enjoyed the day (and of course the food). Took us a while but we finally stumbled upon this bakery that apparently everyone else found too (because it was the only place open at 2:30 pm in Segovia) that had the most amazing looking pastries. We got chocolate covered palmeras. YUM I wish I had a picture but I ate it too fast..Gotta go now cause I need to get clean so we can enjoy our picnic in Parque Oeste. Fav place to waste/enjoy time. Hasta luego!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This week went way faster than I thought it would and next week are our first set of tests for the semester which I'm not exactly looking forward to. I should be studying but it is only Thursday so I have time (just kidding mom I'll hit the books after this post!..)
Also, tomorrow we are going to Segovia! The school planned the trip and all we have to do is show up at 9 am and bring money for lunch. I'm really excited and it'll be nice to get out of the house for a whole day. After Mare Nostrum I was so ready to be settled and not travel at all for a while but now I'm done being settled. I can't wait for the weekend trips. Some other weekend is a trip to Toledo and then Alyssa and I want to go to Portugal in April and there's a trip to Andalusia... and in exactly a month I'll be heading to London for St. Patty's day! I can't wait. Speaking of which I need to buy some green...But back to Segovia, it's gonna be great to explore a new place again.
I'm off to Bruno's in about an hour (at least I hope...Maria hasn't called yet) and then I think me and Alyssa are going to take a little run when I get home. Great way to end the week.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Since Carmen's been nagging us about getting out of the house (which we have been doing! but she's always gone so she never notices) we went on quite the exploration today. First el Rastro which is a flea market spread throughout what feels like a mile of different streets. It was huge. And very crowded. It kind of reminded me of the flea market that we go to every year on the cape, but much less organized. There were some beautiful tapestries and hand bags that I would definitely like to spend more time checking out on another date (as well as some soccer jerseys). But that's another story. For lunch we went to El Tigre, a tapas restaurant near Chueca. SO GOOD and so well priced! (Apparently the rest of Madrid thought so too because it was crowded there also) There were four of us so we got two big cups of sangria and two plates of tapas which came out to 3 euro each (not bad at all!). The sangria was really good and we got croquettes (nom), bread with what we think was pork on it and patatas bravas (which is a staple here). Definitely a great lunch! Better than what I've been having every weekday...ham and cheese on wheat bread, granola bar and piece of fruit. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad by any means but it's nice to liven it up a little bit now and again. Then after lunch we walked to Gran Via which is near Sol and lots of shopping. It was very hard to walk past the ice cream shop we came across but I just tell myself money and calories and I manage to keep walking. Surprisingly, even though I don't think I've been eating particularly healthy here, the lack of snacking and smaller breakfast and lunch (as well has more walking) has made me feel like I'm losing some weight. Even dad told me today on skype "Spain is agreeing with you" which was nice to hear!! Speaking of dad, I got to skype with a whole lot of great people today...Dibs and Rach who were in Schine with Jglow and Teen...always a stellar group and then my ENTIRE family. No I am not kidding. Ellen, mom, dad, Edwin, grandma and Vera all made appearances today. The only one we were missing was Aunt Cindy but her reason is totally fine (she finally moved back into her house!!! Once again, that's another story). But yes, overall it is great to see familiar faces and actually hear their voices instead of just imagining them while I read an email or facebook message. I miss them so much! Now off to bed before the school week begins. Oye.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's our third Saturday in Madrid and what better way to spend it than chilling out until 2 and then going on a walk, so I think that's what we are going to do. This weekend isn't even over and it's already the best one yet. Wednesday I won a free bottle of champagne at Orange what?? I never win anything and I didn't even enter to win it!!! I was just randomly chosen. So that was great, we got to sit in the "vip" section. Which just meant some couches and ikea tables but hey I'll take it!! (way better than the time Ellen's 21st birthday promoter promised vip and it was a dinky folding chair and rope..but what can you really expect from someplace called R-Bar). Then came Thursday and I had the best night ever! We've been going to this club called Joy most weekends but this was the best time by far because...Sean Paul was there!!!! I literally touched him and it was amazing. Gotta give props to Alyssa for spotting him from up on the second floor when we were people watching. And just in case you don't believe me, I can prove it.

Yeah, he can do without the mohawk but whatever it's still him!!! Closest I've ever gotten to one of my favorite artists (second is Immortal Technique, which let's be honest..seeing Immortal Technique was hands down a better time but still..SEAN PAUL). That's all for this weekend. Tuesday is Valentine's day and I want to buy something special for dessert because Carmen said it's her ex-husband's birthday and me and Alyssa are single so we need chocolate. I'll need to look up yummy bakeries. Shouldn't be too hard...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Finally I am posting those photos that I said I would put up a while ago (plus some recent churro crawl pics)....
On top of a castle in Peniscola where we just casually stopped for lunch on the way to Tarragona...most beautiful day of Mare Nostrum
Finally in Tarragona!! And it was beautiful...obviously

Now onto the churro crawl.......
A little blurry...but Alyssa lovin life

So as you can tell...the crawl was awesome. Churros are basically like long sticks of fried dough and you dunk them in the chocolate nomnomnom. We are cheap and trying not to gain 800 pounds so we shared them and it was the perfect amount. Also, we didn't realize that this was the same place we went to in Valencia. It's called Valor and we definitely need to come back (but not until we've hit all the other places (aka three because Alyssa found a fourth store!)).

Other recent things in life: Bid day was Sunday!!! I wish I could have been there so bad to yell and look like a fool and meet all the new girls. I've heard so many awesome things about them which just adds one more thing on my list of why I miss cuse. I'm so excited for Dibs, Heather, Casey and Sydney to be proud mamas, they're all gonna be amazing and raise them so well! I can't wait to hear stories. Also, today I went to babysit Bruno but he was feeling sick and didn't want to play so Maria said I should go pretty quickly into the visit. Poor baby! She tried to slip his medicine into some yogurt but he knew before she could give it to him so he wouldn't eat it for the longest. Funny how moms do the same things to get their kids to do stuff...I learned how to swallow pills by sticking them in cheese (of course...) and my mom has definitely mashed up medicine in my pudding or juice or something. So in the end I came back early. Also I'm recently obsessed with the show Pushing Daisies. It's mad old and only has two seasons but it's quirky and great and involves pie. Que mas...this week is our first normal week! No class on Friday, which I'm very excited about and this Wednesday my art class is taking its first trip to el Museo del Prado, which is also pretty exciting. Classes are good, the weather is good, and Sunday night we had cheeseburgers and went to TGIF (yes, they have TGIF in Madrid) to watch the superbowl, que americano. Overall, life is good!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Today kicks off the great churro crawl of 2012!!! Alyssa and I decided last night at dinner that one way we should get to know Madrid is to search for all the delicious chocolaterias that sell churros and hence began our best idea ever: a churro crawl. So, every Saturday (at least for the next three weeks because we only found three churro places online so far) we are going to try out the churros that Madrid has to offer! We are going to share a plate of chocolate con churros and a specialty drink. I can't wait!! Today we are going to Valor, I'll share the experience later.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Highlight of the week is that I got a job babysitting a little boy named Bruno for an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All we do is read books and play with toys and color and he speaks in spanish and I don't understand him and then I try to speak to him in spanish and he can kind of understand me...and we throw some english in there so he can start to learn it. It's a great relationship. Also every time I get to the house the entire family is there (mom, grandpa, both grandmas and his baby sister...and I give them all kisses hello, including Bruno!) I can already tell it's going to be the best part of my Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Today started out so/so but has ended on the most perfect note! I got to skype with some of my favorite people and they have restored so much happiness in me! Shout outs to Lo, Katie, Rachy and Jglow.  MMHM that's how many beautiful faces I got to see today! They make me miss school so much but obviously (like we always say) I still wouldn't trade being here. This week we booked spring break (Paris) and a trip to London for the weekend of St. Patty's day. I tried explaining to Carmen why we celebrate it and basically just told her it's an excuse to wear green and drink during the day, which she laughed at. Carmen is such a great source of entertainment! On Saturday night she went out dancing so of course I wanted to know how it went. She said she danced with handsome guys and got home after we were already in bed at like 1 am..pretty sure it's not supposed to work like that..Anyways, she made us meatballs and white rice for dinner tonight which barely lasted on our plates for ten minutes because we were starving. I think this is the best I've ever eaten in my life. Sorry mom

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's a beautiful Sunday in Madrid and the day has finally come where I got to sleep in and have nothing to get ready for all day if I wanted. It feels so good to be free! Mare Nostrum definitely took a toll (waking up at 7:30 every morning and going to bed at 1 am will catch up to you eventually). Speaking of Mare Nostrum, I still have some pictures to put up from the trip! I'll get on that later today or tomorrow. Right now we are about to go to the park and walk around a little bit. I can hear Carmen frying up something (yep..our host mom has a deep fat fryer!) for her lunch. Since we are usually gone in the middle of the day I don't think I've ever seen her eat because she doesn't have dinner with us. Right now I wish my sense of smell was a little better because I'm sure it's delicious. Last night we had yellow rice with cheese and some veggies. SO good. And the night before we had croquettes, chickpeas and some sausage. Carmen is good to us.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

First day of classes yesterday! I can't believe it..this semester is beginning to get faster and faster. I'm taking all of my classes (four) in spanish so we'll see how this goes. Last night we went to an irish pub to watch the Barca vs. Real Madrid game and they tied 2-2. Its so comforting to go to places where they speak english and most of the people are American but at the same time I can't wait to branch out a little bit because I've been to more irish pubs in Spain than actual clubs (Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid). Also because I want to see more spanish men. Hello, that is 60% of why I'm here! So yeah, I guess I should have gone for a run in the park instead of taken that 3 hour nap today..oops. Regardless all that I'm really focused on right now is getting completely acclimated to Madrid. I got the metro down for the most part but I need to start memorizing what I don't know and also street names. That's gonna take a while.
Also, it's technically Friday morning here (12:15 am) so shout outs to Phi Sig cause kick off starts tonight. Sending you all my love!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

About time we're in Madrid!! We got here yesterday and I finally feel more or less settled. Carmen is so welcoming and so nice and just wants us to feel as comfortable as possible. Alyssa brought a map with her so we showed Carmen where we live and where we've traveled. Also she made a really good dinner of vegetable puree soup, tortilla de patatas, salad and bread. And this morning we had coffee (which was SO good) and toast. We chatted a lot but it's kind of hard to keep up.. I'm taking four spanish classes so that will help I think. Today was orientation and I took the metro for the first time with Alyssa! They are so clean and so quiet (both the train and the people..) but also so incredibly easy. Also, of course our metro stop is on the same street as the school but we didn't realize it so we walked like 6 blocks out of the way. Missin my girls but I wouldn't trade this for Syracuse or New Haven right now. Also I'm extremely excited for the fact that Carmen has a 2 year old granddaughter who's mom is pregnant again and due in March! Can't wait to meet them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

We've been to Tarragona and are now in Valencia! This trip has felt like a month but its only been a little over a week. I am so ready for Madrid, but I love Valencia. It's unbelievably beautiful. We've seen so many beautiful views of mountains and buildings and sea. Cray. The only thing is that I am so over hotels. We just learned about our host mom yesterday and I cannot wait! Her name is Carmen and she has a little granddaughter, just what I wantedddd!! Plus me and Alyssa have our own rooms and share a bathroom separate from Carmen. Perfecto! Today we visited the Museo Lladro where they make porcelain figures all by hand and painted by hand and so intricate and beautiful and tomorrow we are going to an aquarium and taking a boat ride! It will be a great way to end mare nostrum.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Barcelona is bumpin. There is so much to do and see and so much beauty. Today we visited two cathedrals and the architecture was unbelievable. The ceilings and the detail were amazing. It was definitely a lot to soak in. We also took a walk down La Rambla which is a really popular street with lots of stands that you can buy anything from fruit to clothing at. But honestly the most amazing part of today was visiting the Gaudi museum. Everything had a meaning or a reason, which I found so cool. The railings were formed in such a way that best fits your hand and every room had access to sunlight no matter where it was. The walls and ceilings just flowed, nothing was square (even some chairs) and it was so earthy and beautiful. It is definitely a place to go if you ever visit Barcelona.
These are just some of the beautiful parts of the museum:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Girona was such a great start to this trip. The food, the architecture, it was all so interesting you could just look around for hours. Adjusting to the relaxed atmosphere is not hard at all but the difference in eating has taken some getting used to. Breakfast is around 9, lunch at 2 and dinner at 9 or 10, which is so late to me, but the food has been delicious and we've only had to pay out of pocket once and it was well priced. Our first night I ate more than I think I have at a restaurant before. We were first given toasted bread and rubbed garlic and cut tomatoes on it which was delicious, and then for the first course was a mixed salad with corn, greens, white asparagus, tomato, onion, and olives. We also had a plate of hot cheese that was so amazing (with more bread) and three grilled vegetables on toast. For the entree there was a choice of chicken, fish, pork, sausage or veal. I got the fish, and they were not was the entire fish; bones, head, tail and all. Definitely different than I'm used to but it tasted really good. Except that of course I ate a couple of the bones...oops! Then for dessert I shared a chocolate mousse which was awesome but I was so glad not to eat it all alone because by that time I was stuffed. But anyway, we are now in Barcelona and the view is amazing. Our room has a balcony! And even though it's Sunday, there's still so much to look at and so much going on. Can't wait for three hours...its 7.

Friday, January 13, 2012

We are finally here! It took two planes and a bus but we made it to Girona. It's so beautiful and I don't want to stop looking out the window. This is my view:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today is the day! JFK in 5 hours, take off in 10 hours, Barcelona in 18 hours. I can't believe it's already here but I'm so ready and excited. It's been so long that I've prepared for this trip and now that I'm finally ready and leaving and reality is setting in, the butterflies are coming and I just want to fast forward a bit and know the area and be comfortable and know my host family and speak fluently and everything else. But at the same time I need to remember to soak it all in while it's happening because as much as I have been anticipating this day, it will be gone just as quickly and I will be taking a plane back to the states before I know it...pero por el momento, no puedo esperar!