Monday, February 28, 2011

Día de Andalucía

Yesterday was Southern Spain's holiday: "the day of Andalusia". No one has school and few people work. It would be like the Midwest having a day off just because it's the Midwest. Except here they have songs and a culture related strictly to the region, and there is a lot more pride here. (Above: Andalusian flag)

As most of my friends from CIEE were traveling still, I spent the day with my new friend Enrique! I woke up early and caught the metro. He picked me up from the metro-with two helmets and a smile on his face. I told him I was scared of motos. But no longer! I had a blast! Turning was still a little scary for me, but the straight parts were so fun.
Kike with his mare, Romera

We went to the picadero (barn) to get the horses ready. The women who normally picks me up from the metro station to bring me to my lessons was skiing in the Sierra Navadas, and she let me ride her gorgeous PRE stallion. Gorgeous. Perfectly behaved. Are you kidding me? Enrique and I went for a long trail ride in the country all the way to his pueblo, Coria del Río, and back.
After that we headed out for lunch. Tried a "spicy" tapa. Haha the notion of spicy here cracks me up, but seriously if you come to Spain, try Solomillo a la Pimienta. Delicious!

After lunch, we took the bus back into the city, Sevilla, and walked around Plaza de España. I can't remember if I've posted pictures of this Plaza. I think so. I'll post another just because I am so in love with it. Also, a scene from Star Wars was filmed here:

(Link: How can you not love this place?!

After walking through Plaza de España, exploramos los jardines del Parque de María Luisa. uff que hermosos! Con muchos patos y familias y flores y palomas. Horas andando y riéndonos. Depués, escuchamos a la música sevillana por el río hasta las 10 de la noche. Un Día de Andalucía perfecto, y celebrado en el estilo andaluce! Me encanta Sevilla!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

23 hours

I officially stayed up 23 hours on end (más o menos) del estilo sevillano.

On a whim Friday night, decided to go to the beach Saturday morning with three friends. Monday is Día de Analucía, and therefore southern Spain gets to enjoy a long weekend. Majority of my friends are passing el puente in other countries traveling, but I'm very glad I stayed behind!

Woke up at 630am Saturday morning to catch the bus (it's a walk). We got to the beach in Huevla, Matalascañas, around 10 or so. It was still pretty chilly, so the four of us walked a bit, set up camp, and took "naps"-basically drifting in and out of nowhere land for a while.

Once the sun came out, it scared away the fog, and where there is sun, there are Spaniards. My friend Hannah and I went for a super long walk that felt fantastic. I'd hurt my heel Friday (it swelled between the arch and the heel to the size/hardness of a golf ball), but the icy water and sand helped it.
Other than that, we just enjoyed a very relaxing day at the beach. Read my book, ate fresh seafood, hopped in the water (briefly-just long enough to eat sand after a wave decided to play dirty), lounged under umbrellas, and missed the only bus home. I'm sorry, what was that? Missed the bus? No. The last bus of the day decided not to show, leaving my group of four plus about thirty Spaniards stranded on the beach. Next bus comes today at three in the afternoon. Oh good.

After very little debating, we decided to take a taxi to Sevilla. Yes it was expensive. Yes it was worth it! It ended up being about even per person compared to paying for a hostal for the night and a new bus. Plus our driver was so entertaining!! Hilarious guy. We laughed the whole ride home and arrived in Sevilla around 930pm.

Got home, with a nice rosy red tomato look. Showered, changed, and called my new friend from the barn. We met up along the river in Sevilla-he was supposed to give me a tour of the city but we ended up touring his pueblo, Coria del río instead. It was a blast! A low key night, which is much more my style than the discotecas of Sevilla. Didn't get back to my apartment until 5 in the morning! My first night going out Spanish style lol.

Asleep before my head hit the pillow. Woke up at 330pm to my señora telling me lunch was ready. Stumbled out of bed. Ate an amazing soup that had calamari y mussels. She told me I looked a little moreñita (tan (a little bit)-OMG). Who knew a rubia like me could be moreñita? Crazy day, but so much fun. One of my first true Spanish experiences wohoo. Haha Also, below is living proof of my interview. Tried to lift the shadows so you could see my facial expression. It's excellent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Day in the Life

Welcome to a typical day in Spain.
Remind me later to talk about Granada. It was so amazing that I'm having trouble describing my weekend. I'm such a tease. Maybe I'll post a picture.

745 - Alarm goes off. Cue groan.
750 - Motivation to stay awake. Grope for blinds' string. Open window. Slowly open eyes.
800 - Get out of bed. Pack bag. Contacts. Change.
815-830 - Leave for class. 15 minute range here due to flexible amount of time sitting on edge of bed staring at floor.

9-11 - Poetry class. Enthusiastic yet harsh teacher, dressed very Euro-punk. Anti-American commentary served in a back-handed style that would make any Southern Belle jealous.
1130 - Arrive at gym. Run. Good run today.
1 - Shower, Enjoy runner's high.
215 - Death of runner's high. Crash on couch at CIEE center (classes for foreigners). Deep sleep.

3-5 - Composition and drafting class.
5 - Grab a tea with friends. One of my good friend's birthdays today. Celebrated the big two one with smoothies and coffee.
7 - Walk home while enjoying the company of friends, intense sunshine, and a giant balloon Sponge Bob dancing in the palm trees along the river. They LOVE Sponge Bob.

8 - Blog, what else?
810 - Leave home to walk back to CIEE for an interest group reunion.
9 - Cooking class with my interest group-Can't wait!

1030 - The night is young...
1033 - and I'm always tired. haha maybe I'll go out, maybe not. Like I said, I'm a tease.

Thursday, February 17, 2011



Sevilla vs Porto game....increíble!!!

Angela, Christie, Liz, Kelly and I all went together to our very first Spanish fútbol game--they are the world champions, so you can't go to Spain without going to a game. Probably one of the best decisions of 2011 (it's only February, beeteedubbs). We all purchased Sevilla scarves to wear to the game (red & white). SE-VILL-A

We got to see both teams drive up in their big buses, and while the teams were unloading, a TV crew asked our group to "be really animated and cheer for Sevilla" for the camera. First time on the TV in Sevilla tonight. We screamed and cheered and smiled and everyone was happy-'woo we'll be on TV'.

Picked up our tickets at the booth and then went to eat our bocadillos (sandwiches) at Starbucks. Walking back to the game, the TV crew asked two friends and me to conduct an interview. Response? Shock. Out comes the camera, and worse, the microphone. My two friends book it out of there, and I, being in the middle, am stuck with a microphone, a camera, and a Spaniard in my face. Oh boy. Spanish, don't fail me now!

The following interview has been translated from Spanish to English, and was later broadcasted on television:

Spaniard: Are you sevillista? (*Note: there are two fútbol teams in Sevilla: Sevilla y Bétis. "Una sevillista" is a Sevilla fan)

Me: Sí, sí claro!

Spaniard: Do you speak Spanish?

Me, laughing: Sí, but it's a process. I'm learning!

Spaniard: Bueno. Who is your favorite player on the team.

Me, having no idea, but remembering a name Kevin Michael told me: Alfonsi

Spaniard: Oh, really? The new one?

Me: I don't know. (*Forgetting to hold my tongue) My brother plays a videogame called Fifa World Cup, and he's a really good player on the game.

Meanwhile, as I'm trying to think of a way to dig myself out of the hole I'm currently burying myself in, one of my friends swoops in and two Porto fans run in front of the camera waving around their blue scarves and taunting the cameramen and me. My friend and I fake fight them and yell SE-VILL-A and then in the midst of all confusion, I make a mad dash/graceful exit.

How exhilarating!

Within the first five minutes of the game, I knew I answered wrong with "Alfonsi".
Number 2, Fazio, is definitely my favorite. Tall, wide shoulders, and a beautiful butt. We didn't even have close seats and we could tell he had the best butt on the field. My friends and I were drooling. Number 17, Sanchez, played pretty well too.

Notes on fútbol games in Spain:
  • Love listening to the Sevilla anthem. Something about an entire stadium singing together always makes me emotional. The stadium comes alive with the cheers and the songs.
  • Not many women go to the games. First time in my life that the women's line for the bathroom was shorter than the line for the men's (even at half time).
  • I have never heard so many swears in two hours in my life. So many swears sung at the top of the lungs. And I don't even know many swear words in Spanish. Imagine if I did.
  • Even if your team loses, the game is still super fun. Final score: 2-1 Porto.
I plan I making fútbol a weekly tradition in my life. I hope to catch at least one more game in the stadium and hopefully watch all the games in the bars with españoles.

Post pictures soon :)

Horsing Around

Good morning!
Nothing new and exciting in the life, but thought I'd update you none-the-less.
(Pic: Rocío, las marismas "wetlands")

Been trying to enjoy the little things lately, like how good a soft rain feels on your face or watching an old man make the sign of the cross as he passes by la Catedral.

Took a horseback lesson again last night. Better than last time, definitely. The class was much smaller and therefore more productive. (Side note: I took the metro all by myself to get there-big accomplishment as it was the first time in my life I've taken public transportation solo in a city.) I started off on a big gray Andalusian who was pretty spooky; poor guy was super lame though, so I switched horses with the trainer. I got to ride his four year old PRE stallion-what an awesome horse! For being only four he was very well behaved.

After going through test movements (I'm still considering competing with them), we decided to try jumping. To sum it up, funny. We started off with little tripping poles because two of the adults didn't want to try to jump. Within five-ten minutes we were jumping .75 meter. Not big, but fun enough. The baby PRE I was on did great. The other two Andalusians were a struggle. You could see it in their faces. They looked at the fences, said 'no way', and then plowed right through them. Small fence, big fence-it made no difference. Took down all the poles and an occasional standard every time. Hilarious. Luckily, the owners had a sense of humor and no aspirations for the jumping world.

Plans for the weekend:
  • Thursday: Sevilla FC vs Porto FC Fútbol game tonight with some gal pals :)
  • Friday: Sleep all morning, gym, Escuela de Tauromaquia in the late afternoon (Bull-fighting School!!)
  • Saturday: Early start for a two-day trip to Granada with my program. Apparently all-you-can eat meals and long showers. Which am I more excited for? Long, hot showers. Planning on shaving and spending a minimum of 20 minutes in the shower and coming out a bright pink. You have no idea how exciting this is.
  • Sunday: continue with exploration of Granada. Home, homework, sleep.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Te Presumo, letras

Javier's poem to me for Valentine's, song lyrics that melt the heart :)

Te presumo,
porque un verdadero amor nunca se esconde
porque es un gran orgullo ser tu hombre

Te presumo
porque eres para mi un gran tesoro
y quiero estar junto a ti de cualquier modo

Te presumo
porque eres para mi toda una reina
me fascina el saberque tu me quieres y deseas

Te presumo
como un loco te menciono todo el día
Te presumo
para que el mundo sepa que eres mía

Te presumo
porque la verdad pareces muñequita
andes como andes nadie te lo quitay
me siento poderoso comoningún otro humano
cada vez que yo te tomo de la mano

Te presumo
porque eres para mi toda una reina
me fascina el saberque tu me quieres y deseas

Te presumo
como un loco te menciono todo el día
Te presumo
para que el mundo sepa que eres mía.

¡Feliz día de San Valentín!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!
After waking up at 745-ugh, having class, hitting up the gym for a long run, going back to class, walking home in the rain,
I was ready to snuggle up in bed with some Adele y mi amor español:

Nutella & Banana on Toast

Thank you, Spain, for filling me with such great love.

I'm having a good day. I have a paper to write, but I received an awesome eCard from my family at home. Thanks guys! The rain was light and misty, and it was 15C - perfect walking weather, for me anyways. I have a couple of friends here from Oregon; they're currently convincing me that I am destined for the Pacific Northwest. Say "mountains, forest, and cool weather" and I'm convinced.

For those of you interested in my horsey life, here's an update:

I enjoyed my first lesson at La Falsa Rienda, but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I had to pay for a month's worth of lessons, so I'm set through February, but I'm searching for another barn. A horse is a horse, and I'm grateful to be on one. But if I'm going to pay for lessons, I want to learn something. This was a big group lesson and we all worked in a line the whole time, doing figures. I enjoyed it and they were shocked the "donkey" of the group looked like a dressage horse lol. They invited me to compete with the barn's team and ride in Feria (dream!). Still, we'll see where I end up.

I have an appointment with another barn this Friday. Cold calling Spanish trainers is a little nerve-wracking, but at this point I just go for it. It's much harder to understand via movil but that's okay. The trainer I spoke with is legit! I actually watched his YouTube videos in the States to practice listening to Spanish. Sent the uploader a message on a whim and he ended up being close to Sevilla. The uploader, Luiche, takes lessons from the trainer and put me into contact with him. I hope it pans out well because this trainer is very good. Very good.
I'll update you soon!

Have a great day!
Besos y abrozotes para todos!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Rough Start to a Great Weekend

First off, a big shout out to St. Charles, IL. We're famous in Spain!

Day by day of my weekend.
All pictures are from Saturday.

Thursday evening:
(Not evening, but it made my day): In elevator at 810am, a little boy with a blonde bull cut and glasses hugs me, looks up into my eyes smiling, and says, 'Ya me conoces'-->now you know me! Adorable kid.
Class until 630: Met a friend after class to hang out, go shopping, talk about our weekend trip to Valencia.

8pm: Her wallet is stolen from her purse. There's around a two minute span of time between her using it and recognizing that it's gone. So terrible, retraced our steps, finally accepted it was stolen, called the police, filed a report. I walked home with her to talk with her senora. The senora is AWFUL, poor Kelsey. Luckily I speak Spanish pretty well and could defend Kelsey. Thankfully her passport was at home. Cancelled all cards, notified banks, insurance, etc. Last to call was parents.
1130pm: Go for a walk. As terrible as the night may sound, it ended up by a good bonding experience for us. Walked all through the city-her without a purse-and talked down by the river until 230am.

Wake up, motivation. Lunch with Manoli, my senora. Love her.

330pm: Head out with Kelsey to sign the report. Walk a very long way to the Northern part of Sevilla. No tourists here. The police station was located in a very hippie plaza; I hope we get to go back and check out some restaurants there.

Met some interesting people at the station. Older German woman who spoke to us in Spanish and laughed at us trying to pronounce German city names, such as Fussen and Munich. Very good-hearted lady who unfortunately had her passport stolen. Also met a Colombian man and his wife and six year old child. Thank god for Colombians-they speak so slowly! Taught the little girl "High five, up high, down low, too slow!" and the game in which you hover your hands over your partners and they try to slap you. The little girl loved them.
630pm: Head back, go to gym. I like working out; it's a good routine and sweating helps keep me sane.
I forget the rest of the night, but I stayed in and watched True Grit online. Awesome movie!

Wake up, work out! Lifted weights but no running. Did the bike for cardio.
Came home, showered, eat lunch.

Went for cafe with my friend Liz, but it was too nice out for a cafe. Bought Fanta Limon sodas at the Chino Shop and walked down to the river to sip our sodas. Laughed. Smiled. Enjoyed the sunshine. The river is hopping! That's where most of the locals hang out apparently, playing the guitar, botellon-ing, and kicking a soccer ball. Catepillars, sun, and bare feet in February? Okay, I'll take it.

Met back up with Kelsey; the three of us went shopping. Bought a cute sweater-my first purchase in Spain, yay.
Home, dinner, make up, and out with friends again!
1150: arrive at THE BEST ice cream in Sevilla. Seriously, if you ever go to Sevilla, try Rayas ice cream on c/ Reyes Catolicos. Devine. I had queso con fresitas (basically strawberry cheesecake icecream) and thought I went to heaven. Later we all went out for Tinta Verano (Red wine with Fanta Limon) and a cool bar without Americans. Heck yes for exploring!

Sleep in. Like, really sleep in. Woke up at 1pm, hice pipis, and then went back to bed for an hour before lunch. Took a walk right after the rain storm-one of my favorite things to do. So fresh outside! Went home, messed around on the computer, did homework, talked to Javier, ate dinner, now I'm blogging. Haven't changed out of my pjs yet, but it's now 1130 and I don't believe I will!
Buenas noches!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Miércoles = X


At least, I think they're silly.

Spanish : Meaning

Eres mi media naranja : You're my other half
You're my orange half.

Tan borracho como la cuba : Really really drunk
As drunk the barrel.

Lameaculos : Suck-up
Butt licker, which consequently made me realize why in brown-noser, the nose is brown. Gross.

Uno, dos, tres, patata! : One, two, three, cheese! (as in photo-taking)
One, two, three, Potato!

Tripas! : Three!
Intestines! (I think it's derived from the word 'tripartito', or 'three part', but the shortened version cracks me up!)

Did you know cats here only have seven lives? My friend Kelsey believes it's due to all the smoking here...badumbump.

Para llevar: To go (f00d)
To wear

Bob Sponja: Sponge Bob.
They have an obsession here. I'm obsessed with their obsession. /Bohbey espoanha/

Hacer novillos: To play hooky
To make/do young bulls.. Don't know why I would know this one...

Te llevo bajo el piel: I've got you under my skin
I wear you under my skin

Lluvia de ideas: Brainstorm
Rain of ideas

Recojo el guante: Accept the challenge
Recover the glove [implied: that has been dropped by you]

Pregunta embarazosa: Loaded question
Awkward, sounds like pregnant (embarazada)

Con pecas: Freckles
Literally means that, but to sin is 'pecar', so I like to think of freckled people as skin full of sin

Mega-super-ultra-hiper guay: Really cool.
Really cool.

or even better...

Rrrrequete guay: Really cool.
Really cool, but "requete" is one of my favorite Spanish words.
Also on that list "luna" y "mariposa".

Chisme: Gossip/rumor
Onomatopoeia anyone?

In reference to el título, 'Miércoles = X', as the days of the week have different names, so do the abbreviations.
L M X J V S D ... lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado, domingo

Man I thought I had more. I'm sure there are lots more, but so far these crack me up.

Feel like I'm back to my normal self. Played hooky from my first class yesterday and went for an hour long run in the rain. Best decision ever. Off to my riding lesson soon!! And London with Megan Dale Marie Dodson tomorrow-Ah I cannot wait :)
PS Sorry for so many ups and downs. It's kind of embarrassing for me to let you all see what a loonytoon I am. But I said I'd share it all. Promise delivered.

Love you all very much!!!
Besos y abrazotes xoxoxox
(Family: Give extras to my puppies!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blog topics

Here's just a few random ideas that have been floating around my head for future topics...

  • Freud: la importancia del mundo de los suenos--es una mitad de la vida
  • Revisiting poetry as a means of describing the little moments in Spain-I miss writing descriptive literature; maybe mixing it up and writing one verse in English and the next in Spanish
  • Funny translations
Anything catch your eye?
(...Aside from the crazy pic from a Skype session with Kevin, lol)


Things I Love About Spain Today:
  1. Postcard worthy views.
  2. Crossing the bridge at sunrise, with the sun lighting up the Catedral & Plaza de Espana.
  3. A wonderful host mom, Manoli. Always ready to laugh, explain, and feed me.
  4. Making Spanish friends!! Good-hearted ones who enjoy my game of charades when I try to explain myself.
  5. Awesome, passionate professors and small, intimate classes.
  6. Starting horseback riding lessons-tonight-AHHH
  7. Kebab turco: It's kind of like a taco: thick tortilla, amazing spices on beef, lettuce, mayonnaise, wrapped in chipotle style aluminum foil, and eaten para llevar (to go!)
  8. Siesta. Even though almost no Spaniards sleep during the siesta, I am about to take advantage of it now.
  9. Language bloopers.
  10. Opportunities to travel. Off to Valencia for the weekend-Paella!
  11. Germans coming up to me and speaking to me in German. Then having to explain in my extremely limited German that I don't speak German. Then switching to English, then Spanish.
  12. Plazas and people watching.
  13. Tomando cafe. Best tradition ever-the coffee is fantastic here.
  14. All the little children dressed to the nines-they have a better wardrobe than me but I can't hate them because they are so adorable in their little outfits!
  15. Being able to wear my horseback riding breeches as a fashion statement. haha

Monday, February 7, 2011


Here's that swing I was talking about. Yesterday I'm in love, today I have an I hate Spain list. Let me vent; I'll feel better about life after I get some sleep.

Things I Hate About Spain Today:
  1. People let their dogs and children poop/pee in the streets. Nothing is cleaned up.
  2. Everyone and their mother smokes here. All. The. Time.
  3. Spanish professors that yell at you for not having done the homework for your first day of class. Side Note: We have had no access to a syllabus and she doesn't know where we can find it, but we better before Wednesday because our next assignment is due.
  4. No grass. I just want to take a nap in the sun in the grass.
  5. Cold showers and no central heating. IE taking an ice cold shower and then huddling in front of a space heater for 45 minutes because its 50F in your house.
  6. STOP STARING AT ME. If I dress up you stare and catcall. If I wear my gym clothes because I went to the gym, you look at me like I'm an alien. Lay off.
  7. Sports bras costing 34.5 euro. One hot pink women's running shorts, size XXS. Extent of women's running apparel.
  8. Fried, refried, and triple fried food. Floating salads.
  9. Having to be rude in order to get anyone to listen. Yes I'm American. I've asked nicely three times. Now I ask rudely. I am such a stereotype.
  10. Understanding what you're being told then being completely incapable of expressing yourself in response.
  11. Botched travel plans. I have a round trip ticket to Valencia; my travel partner thought I bought our tickets together. There are no longer tickets available for that weekend.
  12. Being fat and not having the willpower to change it. Yes, I go to the gym everyday. Yes, I still eat enough to be a lard.
Things I Love About Spain Today:
  1. My Bed.
  2. My Space Heater on super high 6" from my back.
  3. Skype.
  4. & a boyfriend that loves me even when I'm a total pain. Javier Ortiz, you're the best, even when I'm not.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Experiencias sevillanas :)

Hello all!
First and foremost, a very happy birthday to my dearest Kendall O'Connor!
She turns 21 today in the States, and I'm sure she's enjoying the bars even more because of the snow day. I cannot believe the storm you all got. Kind of jealous I wasn't in Chicago for the snow, but then again it's 50s and sunny here so I can't complain.

Another whirlwind week in Sevilla. I cannot believe I've only been here two and a half weeks. It feels like at least a month already. Every day it grows on me :)
I'll write a short list of all my fun adventures, and hope to one by one describe them in later posts.

Amazing. It's a pilgrimage site for many Spaniards. A beautiful white church on a lake/river/not quite sure called a "marismas". Beautiful!! Fiesta all day with 65 years + Spanish women, singing, dancing flamenco, crying in mass-it was so moving, and eating, clearly. Best memory yet!

Met and talked to real Spaniards the other day at a tapas bar. Really nice. Good to talk to people and have a respectful conversation with people my age. No pics, unfortunately. We exchanged numbers and hopefully we'll meet up again soon.

Calle Betis:
Lee, one of my best friends from IU came and visited me for a night in Sevilla. He is studying abroad in Barcelona this semester. We visited a tapas place and then went out to the bars. Thank the lord he was with me; Spanish men are very forward and adore blondes (Rubia rubia! Strange to think of blondes as exotic). Drunk Spanish men are worse. Lee was my body guard and I had a blast. Went down to the river with a few girlfriends after Lee left. They ate churros and we talked boys and overall had a great night.

Visited Sevilla's famous Catedral, the third largest gothic church in the world (behind the Vatican and a church in London). "Dios es el mas grande."
Absolutely incredible and I was fortunate to get a guided tour, so I learned some history and saw some secret rooms. More to share on this. Climbed the spiral ramp tower called La Giralda. Stunning views of Sevilla-you'd never know it was that big until you're up on top.

Senderismo (hiking):
Went on a hiking trip today to the countryside of northern Sevilla province, a town called Cazalla de la Sierra, creo. Exactly what I needed! We hiked in a group from 9am until 6pm. It was perfectly sunny and amazing. I loved our guides; one was the tallest Spaniard I've seen yet. We talked a lot and I laughed the entire time. He was hilarious.

Other than that my intensive session is now over. I gained 3 credits in two weeks, and now the real schedule begins. I'm taking four 3-credit classes, and I don't have any classes Friday which is grea
t for traveling. I'm excited to begin! Keep you all posted.

Saludos, Besos besos besos!!!