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My new life as an only child…

10 de Mayo

I’m sorry-did I just write MAY 10TH??? Yess…and actually its Friday, May 11th at 4:40AM…five minutes after I dropped off Ali at the taxi stop for her taxi ride to the airport…to go home…to the United States of AMERICA…this is weird. This whole semester has been a blur-everyone warned me about it, but it’s obviously IMPOSSIBLE to understand until it gets to the end when you start to wonder who’s guilty of robbing you of the last four months. Ali’s program, aka half of the kids we originally came to Spain with who have also been traveling with us all semester, ends a week before mine does. At first, this meant nothing to me because considering the fact that you’re together for at least 16 weeks, the idea of a one week difference at the end seems like absolutely nothing. The thing is though, the preparation for leaving a place you have grown to ADORE and obsess over for four months takes a while…and with one of my newest best friends Darcie leaving this past Monday to go back to Texas, and now Ali and so many other friends leaving now if not this weekend, I’m starting to feel like it’s time to head back to the big CO.

Ali cried a few times these last few days with finals/lack of sleep, packing, saying the goodbyes, and all of the things that go with it all playing a part, and for some reason it STILL didn’t help wake me up from this dream-I’M STILL IN DENIAL. We gave Carmen a new photo album as a little goodbye present form us both-she’s obsessed with pictures-and she keeps them all in boxes/bags/shelves, so with how proud she is of showing off her family, it was time to do it THE RIGHT way. 🙂 I can’t begin to imagine this semester without her.

Today, I had my last day of actual classes, including my FIRST Zumba class which were offered for free at Pablo all semester…but something I was too intimidated to take advantage of until today (if you’ve seen me dance…this needs to explanation why…) and WOWWW I’m obsessed with Zumba! No I can’t dance, I have no rhythm, and I look like a man anytime I sweat, but the combination of cardio, dancing and FAB Latin dance music was enough to boost my spirits and convince me that yes, I could definitely stay here longer. With how much my schoolwork seems to be building up it’s been hard to focus on where I am and how much I love every bit of it-welcome to the anxious American side of me, the side that thinks I ALWAYS need to be working or at least being productive in some shape or form. It’s funny though because I’ve realized throughout this semester, that walking around the city solo-without any sort of direction whatsoever-is when I feel most relaxed and appreciative of this entire experience. Sevilla is absolutely incredible, last Sunday I spent three hours studying in Parque Maria Luisa, a park I’ve talked about before, but it’s finally WARM (and by “warm” I mean SCORCHING) so lounging in the grass of a big beautiful park, while horse&carriages, five-person bikes and runners pass by me…yeah, I think it makes studying just a LITTLE bit less difficult. That same day, I actually did something I’ve been wanting to do all semester: THE PADDLEBOAT!

The BEAUTIFUL Guadalquivir River is half of Sevilla’s beauty, and someone INGENIUS came up with the idea of having a riverside bar-paddleboat-kayak renting place. Thereforeee…a group of six of us decided to take it to the river on our FIRST hot day of the semester. It was Darcie’s last day in Sevilla, the last day of a weekend that consisted of us attempting to cross everything off her Sevilla bucket list, so she and her friend Veronica and I were in one boat, with three of our other friends in the other. With a bottle of Tinto de Verano (once again the classic Sevillian red wine/soda combo they drink more often than water) in tow, we pedaled our way around the river, taking in the beauty of “our” city, including some Spanish guys watching us from the bridge up above-remind me to dye my hair DARK next time I go to Spain. We had a blast just hanging out and soaking up the Sevillian rays (yes, welcome to my first sunburn of the SUMMER and it’s still spring…) before ending the night with some helado at Las Rayas-notorious for having “the best ice cream in Sevilla”-they have potential, but I’m not sure it’s lived up to the hype. That night I had dinner with Carmen and Ali-some chicken breast, garbanzo bean soup, and WATERMELON-just to give you some background info on the typical meals madre Carmen whips up for us on the reg (3x/day). NORMALLY though, they involve a deep-fryer…and by “normally” I mean at least one fried food/day.

Sooo here I am, my first night alone (if 5am is considered night time anymore…) in this room, and as much as I’m telling myself it’s all coming to an end, it doesn’t feel real. This whole semester feels like some crazy dream I’m having over and over again…

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Sevilla

 

FERiA de ABRiL

DAY ONE (Friday, April 27)

Today was just one of those great days where I learn to appreciate this unique city even MORE than I did before. When Ali and I got back from Berlin & Prague at 930 last night, following a nap and long lunch break during our 5 hour layover in the lovely Gatwick airport in London, we couldn’t have been more happy to be home/enjoy time with our favorite Carmen/have free homemade meals/hot showers/our own room back. PLUS-we were just in time for FERIA de ABRIL.

“Feria”, translated simply to “fair” in English, is the huge annual week-long fair unique to Sevilla. Sevilla has a long history with flamenco dancing-YES the fabulous traditional flamenco dresses and all, and pictures can only BEGIN to describe the beauty of feria. I’ve tried to find an American equivalent-to no avail; it’s just increeedible…imagine a combination of the fourth of July, EXTREME tailgating, the state fair, prom, a family reunion AND the best wedding reception you’ve ever been to…ALL with the crazy energy and spice of the Sevillian culture. Thousands of people are wandering the streets and casetas from noon until at LEAST 4/5am the next day, dancing, eating, drinking, going on horse and buggy rides, spending time with their closest family and friends…and they do this ALL day, EVERYday for SEVEN DAYS! It’s been going on for over one hundred years, a tradition started years ago, and what’s so cool is it hasn’t really changed with the times, or tried to become more modern whatsoever. It started Monday night at midnight, and ended Sunday at midnight.

Ali and I left around 4pm Friday to see what the entire city has been raving about since the second we arrived in Spain. It consists of over one thousand “casetas” or “little houses” which literally looks like a small circus tent village with streets and all (named after famous bull fighters)-but 1000x better. Each caseta is privately owned by a family, organization or group of people besides the few large “casetas publicas” that are open to everyone- which are such a blast because of the mix of ages inside: from pint-sized 5 year-old girls donning gorgeous flamenco dresses, to older couples dancing the Sevillana like they’re back in their golden days. The major challenge for us tourists and American students is finding our way into the private casetas. It’s like high school lunchtime for the first time on the first day, or wandering into a party alone, where you’re not necessarily invited…which sounds bad, but it’s a celebration of family and friends, and for those of us who don’t have a ton of local friends, it’s not the easiest social situation in the world. The cool thing is, we were able to go into the private caseta of a friend of ours, and experience the “local side” of feria with a live band, food and drinks, and nonstop dancing, can life get any better?

In between Feria outings, and after meeting up with some of the kids from our program and sipping on our first taste of “rebujito”-a mix of bad white wine and Sprite- we headed home for dinner with Carmen, high on life and possibly a little bit giddy from the rebujito…”cuando en Sevilla” right?! What we DIDN’T know, was that we would end up having a drink and getting tapas at a bar in our apartment building with Carmen, her daughter Carmen, and her two grandchildren who we have grown to LOVE-Anna and Miguel. They talked to us about Feria, and Carmen helped us get ready for Feria the RIGHT way: large, beautiful flowers in our hair, a shawl clipped in front, bangles and big earrings, and all! With our casual American wear it didn’t look quiteee as suave as the flamenco-dressed Spanish women, but hey-we tried. 😉

We went back to feria later, and spent the rest of the night until 4AM in our friend’s private caseta, dancing around, attempting to learn the “Sevillana”, sipping rebujito, and embarrassing ourselves when the band requested we sing the Macarena to the crowd. Like, who really KNOWS the words to the song anyway?!

The night was so much fun, and Ali and I wandered back at 4, a good 20min walk back to our cozy beds where we fell into deep, Spanish-soundtracked dreams…

 

DAY TWO (Saturday, April 28th)

We woke up around 10AM Saturday, feeling like a million bucks, andddd…ate, ran, laid around, and did some actual (gasp) HOMEWORK most of the day, until we decided to get ready to go back to the Feria grounds around 7. I knew it was time for us to head that direction when people in the streets would yell at me in Spanish for not yet going to Feria-I’m convinced they don’t believe in working out in Sevilla, don’t they know the “smoking a pack a day” diet isn’t for everyone??

Either way, we met up with our friends Kelsey and Sophie, Carmen’s sandwiches in hand, and took off for Feria…with rain and hail clouds following us the entire way. The thing is, rain or shine, Spaniards DO Feria, and we weren’t the only ones fighting the rain and hail, walking the Flamenco-dress filled streets to the fair, finding shelter under awnings along the way. Once we finally made it there, it was clear the muddy streets weren’t keeping anyone away, and we went into Sophie’s host-family’s caseta, four wet American dogs, and grabbed the last table in the corner, just happy to be out of the rain and cold for a while. I could literally watch Sevillana dancing for hourssss…and we proceeded to tent hop to the different public casetas where there was more dancing and excitement, taking in the beautiful, distinctive Sevillian culture. The culture here is SO rich I’m convinced you can bite right into it! As you all know, I’m most likely one of the worst dancers you know…and saying Sevillana dancing doesn’t come “naturally” to me might be the understatement of the YEAR. Regardless of Pablo’s free Sevilliana classes they offered leading up to Feria (which I totally took advantage of) I still don’t quite (if at all) have the hang of it…but we did our best, and jumped on the stage to dance around with local girls who were probably 10 years old, and danced like they had done it for YEARS. It’s incredible that these people just kind of take you under their wing, and we had fun dancing with the kids and families who danced without inhibition, the beautiful colors and flower-clad updo’s  spinning around to the big mix of Spanish music they had playing inside-including a little Spanish remix of a Beatles song.

It became 11:30PM way too fast, and Ali and I found ourselves wanting more when our girlfriends left, so we stayed with some guys from our program, met up with our friends Lizzy and Ann, sipped a few dranks, and headed to a whole other side of feria: LOS ATTRACIONES (the ridessss!). Cue “choque coches”, “el barco espanol” and other classic rides…but a few of us took advantage of the chance to actually drive again, and had some throwback bumper cars craziness, before wandering around more casetas late into the night, and after realizing we were ready to leave/had no where to go, Lizzy and I ended the night with some late night Tex-Mex (note to self: NEVER EAT TEX-MEX IN SPAIN) and croissants around 430am. Ohhhh this city…

 

DAY THREE (Sunday, April 29th)

Watching Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber music videos isn’t normally my top favorite pastime, but when you’re doing it and singing along with two Spanish children-Carmen’s grandkids, to be exact-it’s a whole other story. I woke up around 11, and spent the next few hours sharing my American music and watching music videos with Anna and Miguel, soaking up EVERY minute of it, before doing some homework/researching places to live in DC (wait-REAL LIFE???) and went to get chocolate mousse at VALOR this fabulous chocolateria-with my good friend Darcie and her parents-who were ADORABLE. They shared crazy Spain stories-including their experience with the bullfight in the pouring rain the day before-even the BULLFIGHTS happen rain or shine! (Which seems even more dangerous…but hey, it’s Spain)

I wandered over to Feria around 6 afterward, and it was sooo different-most likely because it was the SEVENTH day these crazy Spaniards had been awake 24/7 drinking, dancing, eating, socializing, not sleeping…THE SEVENTH DAY!! Therefore, there weren’t a QUARTER as many flamenco dresses as the previous days, and many of the casetas were empty, or had people just sitting at the tables relaxing. I went alone, which was actually pretty cool to just take it all in on my own, while people watching like craaaazy-this included a group of couples in their 50’s or 60’s who marched around the grounds in a clump of flamenco dresses and caballero attire clapping and singing some Spanish Sevillana song-classic J I only went for a little over two hours before heading home though-it wasn’t quite as bustling, and because it was the same thing everyday, I felt like I had seen it all for the most part

Later that night, they had the fireworks to end the crazy feria week and honestly, it made me a little sad! This city was SO alive all week, with people running around like crazy, and smiles on everyone’s faces regardless of the bad weather later in the week. The colors, the culture, the spirit, the excitement…I think the craziest part, was that I knew after Feria, we had reached the three week mark: three weeks from today I’ll be HOME in Colorado. It’s surreal, honestly. SO excited to go home, but I feel like I’m finally settled in and comfortable being in Europe! To make things better though and avoid the inevitable end, I went with Darcie to watch the fireworks next to the river which was just beaaaautiful, and we sipped on some drinks and ate oreos and gummies before having a hotel slumber party-thanks to her fabulous parents who accidentally overbooked their hotel. Some quality chatting with Darc, a comfortable hotel bed…not a bad way to end a “hard” week. 😉 If you’re still reading, that’s more than anyone else can say, thank youuuu for taking the time to read this elaborate novel once again 🙂

Hastaaaa…

Bridg

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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Sevilla

 

AIX with DEX: Aix-en-Provence&Arles

And the adventure (and feast) continues…….

The best part about being abroad this semester, is the fact that some of my best friends are roaming around Europe at the same time, allowing plenty of opportunities for reunions of EPIC proportions: welcome to AIX. Chloe and I grabbed a 5AM train from Bordeaux Thursday morning-hellloooooo 3AM wake up call…but it was a blast to travel via train, through the gorgeous French countryside-ok I didn’t actually open my eyes until until around 10AM, but even so! It took about 7 ½ hours to get to Aix, so we rolled around 1PM, weary and STARVING ready for another adventure.

Dex, a best friend from Clemson is one of my favorite people in the world (no, I’m not JUST saying this because you’re one of my loyal readers…) and also one of the most thought-provoking and intellectual friends I have, so I knew he and Chloe would totally get along when I made this crazy plan to meet him in Aix. He met us near the train station, and we dropped our bags off at his AWESOME little flat, met his roommate John, and ran out to grab some food and see a bit of the city.

Aix is a beautiful and charming city, much smaller than Bordeaux and famous for their Rose wine, ratatouille, and the birthplace of (artistttt) Cezanne. The weather wasn’t fabulous, but we still got a good feel for the city, and after walking miles around Bordeaux (literally had a shin splint one day-slightly embarrassing baha) the quaint little size of Aix seemed PERFECT. Sarah Smoak, another good friend and Kappa sistaaa from Clem is studying in Aix too, so we got the chance to hang out with she and her precious friends from Texas, and all of them took us under their wings to give us the Aixalicious experience for Easter weekend. They were all incredible hosts, and in Dex fashion, we met some pretty awesome people-true charactersss-throughout the whole weekend. Some highlightssss…

1) Dex and John had wine bottle-vased red tulips awaiting us in their apartment-it’s the little things in life J

2) Hanging out with three good friends from different parts of my life, ALL together in France-what is this life?!

3) Eating cheese with a spoon for a meal-no regrets. And the fresh-out-of-the-oven bread here LITERALLY melts in your mouth-I’m on a mission to discover their secret.

4) The language exchange between all of us-French, English, and even some Spanish with Dexter’s friend Miguel. AWESOME-at one point, Chloe was talking to Miguel in French, with Dexter helping translate some of Miguel’s Spanish into English for Chloe to better understand. SO CULTURIOUSSSS…

5) A private salsa lesson before going out one night with Dex’s friend Miguel who is staying with Dex for a while. Learning the steps in French only added to how absurdly incredible this whole week was.

6) ARLES: on Saturday we took a day trip to Arles, a 45 minute busride to a town ride outside of Aix. This weekend was the opening of their two-week bullfighting season-YES, Sevilla culture CLEARLY followed me here-flamenco dresses, paella, and all-so the town was BUSTLING, even when we got there at 830AM! It was Dex, Chloe, Sarah, Shelby, Claire, and Mary Catherine, another awesome girl from Clemson who’s studying in Paris this semester, and we wandered around the town and mile long outdoor market. The rest of the group watched an official bullfight, but to save some dineroooo, Chloe and I decided to see more of the town instead-helloooo, bullfighting is Sevilla’s THANG-so yes, I can be a bullfight-snob. Chloe and I ended up walking around the city the rest of the day, and after another unbelievable lunch of a rotisserie chicken and ratatouille (YESSSS we’re serious food freaks) we found a self-guided walking Van Gogh tour, which took up the rest of our day, and TOTALLY ended up being one of my favorite parts of the week. Van Gogh lived in Arles for the middle part of his life, before being admitted to the mental ward in a town 20 minutes away from Arles, and we were able to visit ten of the sites where he painted some of his best works, ALL located around Arles. Throughout our little wandering tour, people poured into the streets to celebrate the beginning of bullfighting season, which made it all the more fun to see the city. The group of us met up at the end of the day, and we had a relaxing movie night back at Dex’s before going to bed to the Easter bells ringing through the cobblestoned streets of Aix.

7)    The markets or “marchees”: on Easter Sunday, Dex, his friend Mary, Chloe and I wandered out to the market they have every weekend to pick up fresh produce, HOT French bread, and cheese and made an AWESOME Easter brunch…do I ever have to leave this place??

8)    The Vendome Gardens: just look at the pictures. Words can’t do this beautiful little garden justice. Attending Easter night mass with Shelby, Claire, and MC-three new friends from the weekend, all from Texas, in the main cathedral of Aix, Cathédrale St-Sauveur, Claire translating for me and sneaking us chocolate eggs halfway through mass…

9)    Easter FEAST Sunday night: a group of 10ish of us made a pasta primavera type dish with fresh veggies and rotisserie chicken and an appetizer of REAL TEX-MEX QUESOOOO Claire made from ingredients she brought from home NOMNOMNOMMMM best way to end one of the best weeks of my life.

REVOiiiiiiiR SOUTHERN FRANCE!! Currently in Barcelona for a 7 hour layover-the small price I’m paying for a spring break in paaaradise.

 
 

“If I leave France without gaining any weight, I did something wrong…” (CBear)

It is safe to say I just had the most delicious out-of-body experience ever faced by an American: the eating of a French “chocolatine”. Imagine a light, flaky pastry cooked to the point of browning, but unbaked enough for chocolate to ooze out…yessss…and LITERALLY served off the baking sheet…welcome to the cuisine of Bordeaux.

Chloe and I have spent the past four days roaming the streets of Bordeaux and eating to our heart’s desire-a normal occurrence for her. This city is awesome, and she has been such a great host, showing me all Bordeaux has to offer and more. Some of the highlights have been visiting Cathedral of Saint Michael, an old beautiful church in the gothic style with new UNBELIEVABLE stained-glass windows constructed after the original windows were blown out during WW2, cooking awesome veggie-licious dinners (Chloe is a super creative and awesome cook), a free wine tasting at a beautiful local vineyard, and just wandering the streets of this beautiful city.

Overall though, the BEST part of Bordeaux has been the incredible food…so here’s a little overview of the cuisine that places Bordeaux-in my humbly hungry opinion-in close competition with Italian cities one of the food capitals of Europe:

1) We went to the “marchee”, their version of an outdoor market with FABULOUS fresh food/produce/premade dishes/treats and I tried “juz de pomme” or FRESH SQUEEZED apple juice which was just heavenly, my first date-which was more like a sweet sugar bomb in my mouth,

2) I tried the best macaroons in Bordeaux-helloooo dark chocolate, and maple syrup&pecan bite-sized beauties…

3) “Fondant au Chocolat” (x3)=the French (better) equivilant of a “chocolate molten lava cake”-a little cup sized chocolate cake…with melted chocolate flowing out of the middle OHHHHMYYYYGOSHHHHHH…or what Chloe and I have become used to calling “better than sex chocolate cake”…I’m on a mission to steal the French recipe before I leave…three times in two days clearly isn’t enough.

4) Salted caramel ice cream…no explanation needed.

5) THE BREAD…85 cents for a large, hot French baguette…and given by a hot little “breadboy” Chloe gets to visit everyday…life doesn’t get much better.

6) Homemade chocolate&raspberry sauce which we made into a chocolate fondue with strawberries while laying around in the city’s beautiful public park

7) Tartiflette: this cheesy/creamy soup with potato quarters, onions and bacon bits…even better when you turn it into a cheese fondue with French bread…(heart attack in a bowl-I’m fully aware)

8) Salads at “Karl’s” this fab little café/ristorante Chloe took me too thanks to Emily Cotter’s suggestion! DELICIOUS!

9) Pink Lady Apples: ok so no these aren’t specific to Bordeaux obviously, maybe it’s just the fact that EVERYTHING tastes so good here, maybe I’m getting a bit too carried away…

10) Steak and FRITES: ok so we went to this place…unlimited steak and olive oil-soaked fries for 15euro…people literally line up outside the door until they open at 7PM for dinner, and it’s packed by 7:15! Sitting by the window looking over Bordeaux-even on an overcast day-was the perfect way to end our Bordeaux cuisine marathon 🙂

 
 

maybe not your “typical” version of a college girl’s spring break…

well BONJOUR, bordeauxxxx…

Arrived in wine capital of the world, Bordeaux, France at 9AM Saturday morning, after a night of no sleeping, and paying the RyanAir 50EURO fee to check my suitcase I chose over the backpack at the last minute-P.S. I’m not a morning person. BUT…Bordeaux and the friendly people helping me along the way have already made the little stresses and first world problems of traveling through Europe MORE than worth it-THIS CITY IS OUTRAGEOUS. I’m staying here with my good friend from the high school days, Chloe Beaupre (French name and ALL J J) in her apartment she is renting out from an older French woman, and I can’t help but be amazed at how beautiful this city is. This city is picturesque Southern France, with the beautiful architecture, bakeries, fresh produce markets, and cafes lining every street-and all right near a beautiful river. The weather could not be better-70’s and endless sunshine, so right after dropping off my things and nibbling on some delicious pastry wrapped pate and duck slices courtesy of her little Madame (yes-this city is the land of IMPECCABLE CUISINEEEE…) we headed out in shorts and sandals to see a bit of the city.

Chloe lives on the “other side” of the river/core part of the city, but everything is such an easy walk or tram ride, so we get to walk EVERYWHERE-a prime key to this food-filled lifestyle. We walked around the city a bit and picked up a LARGE and warm French baguette, this delicious cheese, and some mini champagne bottles to hang by what they call the “Quai”, or the riverside in these terrace-lined gardens with a few of Chloe’s friends. So picture this: six of us lounging in the grass by the river in Bordeaux, across from Place de la Bourse (see pic below) eating warm baguettes with my first sample of French cheese-Saint Albray (recommended by E. Cott-soo delicious, mah dear!) apples, olives, fresh asparagus, and champagne. Hellooooo perfect life… “parfait” or “perfect” in French, is a word I’ve found easy to use around here, everything is just so dreamy. We nommed and soaked up the sun for a good couples hours, obviously had some gelato before heading home to freshen up, then met up with the crew for drinks and dinner. Her friends are SO nice, all from California because they have a whole California program here, and they’ve been super welcoming. We ate dinner at this fabbb little Italian joint called Ragazzo and drank some M or sparkling white wine-a favorite drink in Europe thus far-then all hung out until we went home around 1AM. It’s so much fun to play the catch up game, and hang and talk with Chloe about her life here. She has always had such a cool life perspective, and fits into Bordeaux SO well, I couldn’t’ have asked for a better person to travel/stay with during this fabulous week in zeee South of Franziaaa.

I’m still waiting for the day when it actually starts setting in that this semester isn’t a crazy dream.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in el SUR de FRANCiA...Spring Break I

 

Officially one of my LAST weekends in Sevilla…

25/3/2012

Well HELLOOOO, realization that I’m past-the-halfway-point…WHAT??? Outrageous. I feel like I’ve spent half the time trying to pinch myself hard enough to realize that I’m living in Europe for four months, and now the countdown of the last two months is already here! THEREFORE I refuse to look further than right NOW, and in order to take advantage of this incredible city I soaked up the simplicity and “home-y” feel of Sevilla this weekend.

We took a day trip on Friday to Cadiz, a beachfront Spanish city famous for the crazy, night-long Carnival celebration in February, as well as the birthplace of the constitution in 1812. SUCH a well-balanced city, right?? We had seen Cadiz during the night of Carnival (8PM-6AM…costumes, thousands of people, dancing, craziness, one of the craziest/longest nights of my life) but didn’t have a chance to REALLY see the city of course, so when my school offered to pay for transportation there and back for the 200th anniversary of the signing of the constitution, I couldn’t say no! (PLUS we were required to go for my history class-but even so ;)) It was so cool to be there though, and even though there isn’t a ton going on in the city, it was fun to walk around and see another new(ish) city. We saw the building in which parliament argued the constitution-which interestingly enough, actually took place in a Catholic cathedral-the building where King Fernando VII was placed when under house arrest, and various other random buildings of historical significance around the city. The city is right on the beach, but the weather wasn’t too promising (“MUCHO VIENTO”) so we abstained from going to the la playaaa, but my good friend Emily and I had fun wandering completely aimlessly down the unknown streets.

After gorging on pizza (why do I always turn to Italian food in desperate times for a change of cuisine??) and snacking on “Principes” (these delicious chocolate-cream filled cookies…sugarobsession haaay) in Cadiz, I couldn’t take my Spain-influenced body seriously, and took off for an early evening run once we got back to Sevilla. Oh. My. GOSH…highlight of the weekend for sure. I’m not sure what it is about this city, but going on runs here has the potential to be life changing for some reason. While the sun was just beginning to set around 7, I ran right next to the river, taking in the beautiful reflections and light playing with the facades of the beautiful buildings. I ended up running to Parque de Maria Luisa, this massive&beautiful garden/park a 10min run from my front door, with ALL dirt paths for my pathetic leettle knees. For some reason, whether it was the lush beautiful gardens, passerby couples holding hands and groups of teenagers playing soccer, or horse-drawn carriages trotting their way through this incredible place, I felt overwhelmed by how fantastic this whole experience is. The beautiful scenery and architecture, the change in culture, the ability to live and thrive in a new city where I can’t even fluently speak the native language…words can’t really do it justice. I stopped and did some casual sit-ups and pushups (of course it had nothing to do with my lack of endurance, Dad…) and had to finally just sit there and take it all in, the Spanish sun setting over the river behind me, before I ran home in pureeee bliss. How in the world am I this lucky??

I went out later that night with some amigosss, starting with botelloning by the river. I was lucky enough to meet Spanish friend of some girlfriends who told us the phrase “there isn’t room to swing a cat” is a “common English phrase” he learned in a class (key the erupting laughter from all of us with the image of swinging a huge cat in a crowded room…) bahaha I love languages. After a bit, a few of us wandered down to a Texas Lonestar bar (don’t judge) where we watched the Kentucky/U of Indiana March Madness game 2:30-530AM. WOOOOO go Amerikahh!!! By the end, it was just me, Emily, my good friend who goes to UK, and Patrick, an awesome, classic Southern boy from Tennessee I’ve gotten to know, who has noooo problem (or choice, with the lack of boys…) hanging out with us girlz J We gobbled up platters of ALMOST-American nachos, and got our fix of March Madness before crawling home at 6AM. Seriously though, what is this life???

LAST thing I PROMISE-last night, my friend Sara invited me to go with her to “a show”. I say it like that because we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but her Spanish language-exchange partner was performing so she invited her to go. We ended up walking 45 minutes to a random theater in Macarena-the opposite side of the city-making great new friends with the 12 people who helped us get there along the way. Everyone here is so nice to us Americans with our broken Spanglish…

The show ended up being a series of three one-act plays called “Madre no hay mas que una”-translated to “you only have one mother”. They were in this smaller theater-which was packed-and it was SO COOL to see plays in a different language! (Ebaby&Boyfrand-I thought of you the wholeee time!!) I love going to shows anyway, and even though I understood the littlest bit of what was going on, the emotions and body language helped me get a feel for the theme of each one (as did the program of course…hehe). The show was great, and it was cool to get a taste for that aspect of the Spanish culture! The night was SO simple, and SO fun…we walked back afterwards, somehow easily finding our way home and even had french-fry sample from a random man on the street during our walk back (don’t ask). Finished the night with a dinner of fro-yo and midnight chatting on the steps of the huge wooden structure we all just call “the mushroom” (Metropol-Parasol). I LOVE THIS PLACE.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Sevilla

 

LISTEN…ok I’ve used this blog inappropriately thus far. This is NOT just a long novel of all my trips/every single night/big events…it’s meant to be a daily-ish journal of “day-in-the-life” type stories. Therefore I’m BACK, and better than ever, willing to stop myself from my usual novel-length life updates…

So it’s Thursday night, and yess I’m sitting in bed at 12:30AM while in Spain-and some might think that’s “wasting time” but I had such a stellar day today, LITERALLY just wandering the streets alone after school… one of those Bridg days where I just needed to spend some time on my own. So necessary now and again…woke up a little late from being out with Anna Kate last night (one of myfavorite girls in da world, a friend I’ve made here from Arkansassss-who’s a KAPPA nonetheless) but made it to school in time for a test this morning-and I PASSED all my midterms WOO! Jajaja…funny how standards change when you go abroad…(yes mother and father, I AM indeed studying here as well) Random things I learned this week:

1) It’s IMPOSSIBLE to print easily in places other than THE UNITED STATES OF (paper-wasting) AMERICA…who knew how much I would miss the anti-green ways of the states…yiikes.

2) You phonetically say “iceberg” in Spanish  “ICE-A-BERG”-something I learned from my ADORABLE Intercultural Communication professor, Rosa-a class in which basically EVERYONE can (1) fluently speak in Spanish (2) understand Spanish just as well as English. Plenty of reason for why I diligently sit in the front row constantly smiling at Rosa in hopes that she won’t call on me…I understand Spanish don’t get me wrong…but for those of you who know how fast my mouth can move…it still moves that fast here, but unfortunately my mind works ¼ that fast…bienvenidos a mi vida….

3) We’re here for the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the first Spanish Constitution! Who knew??

4) I’ve completely tuned out the “que guapa, rubia”/whistles/kissy noises made by some of the random Spanish gents on the streets, and I find I appreciate the culture 1000 times more! I swear blondes are like some sort of exotic animal down here…which can be fun when you need that little ego boost 😉 These boys just have NO shame though…P.S. on that subject, had my first (and my laaast for a long time) Spanish kiss…on da dance floor with a man named Jesus nonetheless.  Hahahaa…long story short, I had to let him know I had a “novio” (boyfriend) back in the states SO many times, I was convinced I really DID leave early (3am) to go skype my make-believe boyfrand back home! hehe

5) This city is incredible. In the daylight, early morning, middle of the night…it’s simply beautiful. I think the river takes it to the next level though. Seeing the reflection of the eerily lit buildings in the Guadalquivir never gets old, and we’re SO lucky to live so close!! The river has been the place to BE ever since the weather went above 60 degrees-EVERYONE just lounges around the river day in and day out until the sun goes down…and then the younger crowds come back out with bottles of vino in hand. Sevilla never sleeps!!

6) Fun little note about Sevilla and the Triana Bridge near our side of the tracks: on the Triana Bridge you can find DOZENS of big padlocks attached to the bridge railing. The idea was copied off of the Milvio Bridge in Rome, and are charming little signs of little lovers who lock away their love, and throw the keys into the water. They have little messages written on them too, and call me sappy-but I love wandering down aimlessly reading them… que romanticaaa.

7)I LOVE traveling with every bit of my heart…but I’m staying here this weekend, and can’t tell you how excited I am to be “home” and take in Sevilla, which I haven’t done NEARLY enough of thus far. Time to be a “tourist” in my “own city”!

Ok I’m cutting myself off-buenas nochessss, mis amigos y familia!! Get ready for less blabla, MORE often-can’t believe this adventure is over halfway over…

B

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized