3 days left in Spain. Un. Real.
Trying to explain my thoughts/emotions upon leaving is useless. One part of me is so excited to go home to see my family and friends and get back into my regular routine, but the other part of me (and bigger part at the moment) is so not ready to leave this place I am have come to know as home away from home. Agridulce, the title of this entry, means bittersweet in English- which is just about the only word I can think of to explain how it will be coming back to the US.
I can honestly say that I never, ever imagined I would love it here as much as I do. Spain has a part of my heart now and always will. I’ve lived in this country for 5 months and have had an unbelievable experience, and no matter what it’s going to stick with me forever. There have been struggles, there have been tears, there have been times when I was scared out of my mind, but through it all I’ve met the most amazing people, seen the most amazing things, and have never felt more alive.
My happiest and most appreciated moments have been during my time here, which makes leaving something no one here wants to talk or think about! I’m so grateful for this experience and everything I’ve got to do and learn. I’m so lucky and appreciate everything more than words can describe. I can only hope to return someday, whether it be just for a visit, or for an internship of some sort.
With that being said, I decided to make a list of things I’m going to miss, and things I’m not going to miss so much!
Things I’m going to miss: My senora, my senora’s cooking (especially my favorite dish: arroz de cubana), Lucia (my senora’s 4 year old granddaughter), the neighbors who think they can sing, churros con chocolate, siestas, discotecas, botellon, the random holiday fiestas that literally pop out of nowhere, the weather, Frederico Garcia lorca park, watching the Barcelona and Madrid soccer games, seeing Gerard Pique and Shakira on the news all the time, taking pics like it’s my job, our tostada cafe we go to every Tuesday and Thursday, shawarma, Flamenco, the beautiful people and beautiful fashion, the cheap prices, the brick roads, vintage windows and doors, the plazas and fountains, Los Italianos ice cream, tapas, our favorite bar Paramos, tinto de verano, talking about things out loud in public in English that we really shouldn’t be saying but we do anyway because no one can understand us, traveling to different countries on the weekends like its no big deal, learning everything there is to know about Spain, learning Spanish swear words with an Andalucian accent and randomly saying them to people, saying anything in general with an Andalucian accent (ha lueoo= hasta luego), meeting new people and making new friends, the music (Ai Se Tu Ee Pego!), the beach, hearing everyone say “bueno, pues…”, saying #studyabroadproblems after something bad happens to one of us, hearing people speak Spanish everywhere I go in general, and of course- my friends.
Things I’m NOT going to miss: My senora’s cross-eyed/mute cat, the cold showers, my uncomfy bed, the gypsies, the pollen, awkward conversations where neither person knows what the other is saying…, not being able to say what I want out loud anything because now everyone will be able to understand me, not being able to hug my mom and dad or see my friends, and keeping up with this blog (hehe ;)).
So for now…. I would like to say to everyone here in Spain thank you for helping me create the most amazing moments of my life because without you I don’t think my time here would have been as special. And to my friends and family back home, I would like to say thank you for always keeping in touch with me here (it always makes me happy knowing you’re thinking about me because I’m always thinking about you!) and supporting me, I’ve missed you all more than you know and LETS GET THIS SUMMER STARTED!!
These last 2 weeks have absolutely flown by. To think that I am leaving in 3 days is unimaginable!! But I will talk about that more in my next blog….first, let’s catch up on these past couple of weeks.
After Portugal, it was back to reality and schoolwork. With finals coming up, this week in class was pretty hard, with lots of presentations and projects. One Tuesday during the evening, I went to an English class for Spanish natives trying to learn the language. I spent a half hour speaking English with someone, and helped them with their grammar, and then the next half hour I switched partners and we spoke in Spanish. I really enjoyed this because I loved getting the feedback from a stranger. They told me that my Spanish was very good, and that I should pass the speaking test I must take when I return no problem! The following day, our program had our Farewell Luncheon. It was held at this beautiful monastery, where we were served unlimited supplies of paella, chicken, tortilla espanola, and cake. We stuffed our faces and enjoyed this last time with the entire group. It was so hard to say goodbye to our directors, especially because they’ve done so much for us! We are planning on stopping by their offices sometime tomorrow to have a final farewell and take some pictures..we can’t stand the thought of leaving their friendly faces!
That weekend, my friends and I went out to our favorite club called Camborio for the last time and did our favorite thing of course (dance), and Salobrena beach the following day. It’s now at that stage where we feel like we have to say goodbye to everything..like “goodbye beach, we will never see you again! Goodbye sidewalk, this will be the last time I will walk on you!” Que triste :( On Saturday, some friends (including my housemate Becca) and I went to a jazz club to see a Beatles coverband. They were surprisingly very good, but we unfortunately didn’t recognize many of the songs they were singing!
The following week of class was hard once again, and extremely hard to get through because my friends and I were too excited for our weekend to come. Since it was our last one together in Granada, we planned everything out day by day! For Thursday, we decided to go see what Granada’s Oktoberfest was all about, located right in the middle of the Plaza de Toros. We made the right decision, because once again we were submerged into care-free, never-ending, friendly atmosphere Spain always seems to offer. We made some great friends, and danced to American classics on the tables ;)
The next day, we went to the beach again. This time though we went to beach in Malaga called Nerja. This is the same beach I went to when my dad and grandparents were here, so you know how much I love it! This time it was even better because it was a beautiful day out. We laid out, played in the waves, and had a fantastic last time at the beach :)
Saturday was the day we were reaaallly looking forward to…we even gave it a name!! For the night, we were planning on starting out by grabbing some tapas, then head over to the botellon (outdoor area where students are allowed to hang out), go to our favorite club called Mae West, and then head on over to Cafe Futbol for our favorite breakfast dish- churros con chocolate! Since there are four steps to this amazing plan, we called this the “Cuatrofecta!” I told my senora about our brilliant idea and she absolutely loved it. The night turned out even better than I imagined. We all had so much fun, and were pleasantly surprised with ourselves when we actually made it to Cafe Futbol at 6 in the morning! When I came back home around 7am, my senora was already awake and making her coffee. She laughed at me and told me to sleep until lunchtime. I clearly had no objection to her suggestion :)
The next day, I slept until lunch just like she had said. This night however was especially hard, because I had to say goodbye to my housemate, Becca :( I cannot explain how lucky I got with having her down the hall! She was always so friendly and helpful with everything, and I’m going to miss our regular rants and gossip sessions!! Hopefully I can make it out to New England someday to visit her! She gave Lucia, (our hostmom’s granddaughter) a Snow White costume before leaving, so I thought you might like to see this picture and how ADORABLE she is!
So it is now Wednesday, May 23rd, and I am officially DONE WITH MY FINALS! They were very stressful, so I’m extremely happy to have them over with…but it was very bittersweet to leave the CLM (my school) for the last time, along with the teachers and everyone else I have met there. We had to say goodbye to all of our professors who we’ve come so close to and who have helped us so much in many ways. I think a main reason of why I can understand the language so much better is because of them, not to mention my new knowledge of the history of Flamenco, the culture and civilization of Spain, grammar, and Spanish literature! But I think I’m going to leave the rest of the sad/sappy talk for my next blog… for now, a picture of my flamenco class :)
The day after Dia de los Cruces, we all had to wake up nice and early to meet our study abroad group at 6am to leave for Lagos, Portugal! This trip was included in the cost of coming here, so just about everyone in our program (which is a little over 80 people) went! The bus ride was about 8 hours long, but with movies like There’s Something About Mary and Point Break, we were very entertained. We also had 2 rest stops to be able to grab some food and stretch our legs. Arriving to Portugal, we were so excited to see the skies were blue and the sun was shining, since the forecast predicted rain for the whole weekend. We were also happily surprised to see the hotel we were staying in. It was very clean and super nice. I shared a room with Sara, Kaitlyn, and Rita, and our room was huge with a cute little kitchen! After putting our stuff away, we relaxed for a little bit and then headed out to the dock to go on our boat tour. Since we were with our program, we had a set itinerary to follow everyday. The boat had such a fun atmosphere, with tropical music playing and fruity drinks in our hands. It was a little chilly, but we still felt like we were in paradise :)
About 20 minute into the boat ride, another small motor boat came to take groups of 7 or 8 into the cave area. This was my favorite part of the whole trip. The caves were SO gorgeous, and the water was so clear. No pictures can do the caves justice! A lot of the rocks reminded me of those in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
After the boat ride, we all went back to the room to take a shower and get ready for the group dinner. We went to a nearby family type restaurant (it reminded me a lot of a Cracker Barrel atmosphere..which is kind of weird) where we had an amazing salad, french fries, and chicken. How American! After the dinner, my friends and I were all so tired, so we went back to our room and hung out for the rest of the night, listening to music and talking about life :)
The next morning, our program took us on a little tour of some beaches. The first place we stopped at wasn’t exactly a beach, but a beautiful lookout where we all got some awesome pictures. It overview the caves we went into the day before.
Then, we went to a small beach for an hour, where people swam out to a cliff and jumped off! I would have loved to have done this, but the water was too cold and I couldn’t suck it up! Everyone who did it though said it was awesome.
After this beach, we went to the main beach in Lagos, Portugal, where I played soccer with some other people in my program. I think I lasted for about 20 minutes and then I had to call it quits. Running on sand is hard work, but it really made me realize how out of shape I am! I’m really looking forward to getting back into a workout routine when I return home.
Our beach-packed day was coming to an end as the sun was setting, and we decided it was eventually time to go back to our rooms to get ready for the night. This night, our program was taking us to a cliff known as “The End of the World.” They call it this because people from Portugal would come to this point and look out into the ocean and think that this was the all there was, since they didn’t know the United States existed. The pictures we took here all came out so great, mainly because we went right around when the sun was setting. It was breathtaking, and also very fun to see because there were scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean shot there.
After watching the beautiful sunset, we went to dinner. Our program took us to a hamburger joint called Nah Nah Bah, which, according to International Cow is number 25 on the list of 50 of the Most Amazing Burger Joints in the World! And after eating this massive burger, I had no doubt that it very well could be number 25! First off, it was humoonnggouuss! It was cheese, lettuce, pineapple, tomato, bacon, barbecue sauce, and more. It was one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had, and probably will ever have (besides my grandma’s of course :) )
After dinner, my friends and I walked into a random bar called Inside Out. We instantly LOVED this place, because all night long they were playing classic american music from the 90s, like Aerosmith, Brittany Spears, and many more classics. Every time a new song came on, we would all start screaming out of excitement. It may have been a little obnoxious, but the bartender absolutely loved it.
The next day after our fun night out, we had free time until we had to board the bus for our travel back to Granada. We laid out by the pool, and sadly packed our things. One weekend was nearly not long enough in Lagos, Portugal! We were so lucky to have such amazing weather the entire weekend, and have such an amazing program that did so much for us and took us to the greatest places.
The following week was back to reality and schoolwork. With final exams right around the corner, professors are starting to cram in the group projects and papers. On Wednesday, May 9th, we had our “Farewell Reception” at a beautiful Carmen (type of Spanish restaurant normally outside on a patio.) The food was AMAZING and never-ending. First, we started off with paella, then chicken and fries, and then chocolate cake for dessert. Our program directors gave small speeches telling us how great of a group we were, and that they are going to miss us. They were the best directors ever, and I know we all felt the same! It was so sad to hear anything remotely close to closure for this trip- I don’t want to hear it yet!
This past weekend, my friends and I went to the beach (must take advantage while we can still do this!),a Beatles cover band show, and then on Saturday I went to Becca’s (my housemate) Farewell Reception for her program with our senora. The place her reception was held was beautiful, and it was nice to do something out of the house with our senora for once. This upcoming weekend will be my last one here in Granada. It’s so bittersweet!!!!!!! I am going to miss it here more than I can describe, but at the same time I’m so excited to return home to my family and friends for the summer and get back into my regular routine. For now, I’m going to enjoy my last days here and soak it all in!!!
Well…I think you can officially call me a Spaniard now! On May 1st, my friends and I went to the Plaza de Toros for the first bullfight of the season in Granada! Before going, I definitely had mixed feelings about it. I love animals, and to think that I was going to watch one die before my eyes seemed like a terrible idea. However, all throughout high school and my time here, I’ve been learning about the history and how special it is to the Spanish culture, so I knew it was something I should take advantage of seeing since I will probably never get the chance again in my life. To our dismay, my friends and I couldn’t sit with each other because we all bought our tickets separately. This made us all even more nervous than we already were, seeing that we were planning on just squeezing each other if we didn’t like what we saw! Now we were all thinking, “well…good luck to whoever is sitting by us!”
I ended up having a really good seat. I sat in between the most outgoing little old lady, and an old man who you could just tell waits all year for these bullfights. Once the first bull came out, I was instantly intrigued. The bullfighters are so brave to face them head on the way they do- I couldn’t believe it. The way they move around the bull was almost like a form of dance. Maybe this is why my host sister told me that she views a bullfight as a form of art. The people sitting next to me could tell this was my first bullfight, so they were telling me random facts here and there, it was great. Once the bullfighters started being mean to the bulls though is when I looked away. I really didn’t like the idea of them hurting a bull just for their entertainment. The crowd would cheer and yell whenever the fighter would stab the bull, and the old man next to me would yell “mátalo!” or in english “kill it!” everyone 2 minutes… how sad!!!
While I didn’t like this aspect of it, what I did like was the whole atmosphere of the stadium. There are 6 bulls total, and after the 3rd one, everyone pulls out food to share with everyone. I wasn’t aware of this, so after saying no to all of the sandwiches and pastries, they told me “This is what we do! This is tradition, take the food!” So of course, I stopped being shy and took all that they offered :)
Overall, I’m very happy I went and got to have this experience. I wasn’t a fan of the bull dying, but the atmosphere of the day made up for it. I loved feeling like I was really a part of their culture.
May 3rd was Día de las Cruces here in Granada, or in English, Day of the Crosses. On this day, decorated crosses (usually made of flowers) are put up around plazas, and most popularly in the Albyzin (the arabic quarters.) People will give offerings to the cross, so normally there will be pretty plates and and ceramic pots surrounding it as well. It’s very common for all the girls to dress up in flamenco dresses on this day.
My friends and I met up with one of my friend’s host brothers and his group of friends. Together, we all went up to the Albyzin to look at the crosses. At one point, all the girls decided to put on red lipstick. So very Spanish of us :) Once night time came around, our Spanish friends started to flamenco dance. They taught me how to, but I was absolutely terrible, so I kept to the clapping!
Once again, I was so grateful to have such a traditional, Spanish cultural experience!
On the weekend of April 27th, I took a trip to Ibiza, Spain with 5 of my friends (Kaitlyn, Sara, Shannon, Ryan and Michael.) Our hotel was right on the beach, and we had a beautiful view of the water!!
For those of you who have heard of Ibiza, you’re probably thinking: “Wow, the party island!!” And indeed it is… however, we unfortunately weren’t there during its “prime season” so we didn’t get that summertime party feel. BUT make no mistake, we still had an amazing time soaking up the sun and enjoying each other’s company :) Ibiza was beautiful and so clean. The water was the bluest, clearest water I’ve ever seen. It was nice to have absolutely no sight-seeing to do, and relaxing to not have to go by any schedule- I’m pretty sure none of us knew the time during the whole trip! For three days we just laid out on the beach and soaked up the sun. For meals, we went to the local supermarket and got as much food for as little money as possible- life of a broke college student abroad! Our favorite meal was probably Sara’s invention of a grilled cheese sandwich with scrambled eggs on top….
Our last day there, we had some time to kill before getting onto our flight back home, so we decided to walk around Ibizatown for a little. We walked through some neighborhoods and went to a lookout where we got a gorgeous view of the city and ocean.
While this was all worth it, I was definitely struggling because I decided to bring my suitcase instead of my backpack for this trip…going up the cobblestone with that thing was a huge pain!!
We walked over to a dock where we also saw a cool looking pilgrim-type ship, and some amazing yachts. This trip was definitely too short for our liking, but grateful to have had it nonetheless.
The week after my long break, my mom and her fiance Don came to visit!!! I was soooo excited to see them after 3 long months. Being able to Skype really helps, but nothings beats a hug from your mommy! We spent about 3 days in Granada, and 2 in Madrid. Although the weather was terrible for them (it never rains here!) they said that Granada exceeded their expectations, and they understood why I love it here so much :) The first day, I took them around to see the Cathedral, and the Albyzin- where they got the gorgeous view of La Alhambra and some traditional Spanish homes.
That night, I decided to show them what the night life in Spain has to offer, and took them for some tapas and met up with some friends. We had a great time…as you can tell from the pictures :)
The next day we took it pretty easy…. for various reasons. It was raining all day long, so we were feeling pretty lazy. We eventually walked over to the river and then headed back to our hotel to pack up since we had a flight that night to Madrid.
It’s amazing how much different Madrid is compared to Granada! I would compare Madrid to New York City. It’s really big, with lots of traffic, people, and colorful streets. I’m so used to my little, charming Granada fairy-tale town, so I was having a hard time navigating us through this massive city! However, we managed to cover a lot. First place we went to was the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). The outside was huge (and very comparable to the Versailles in Paris), and the inside was GORGEOUS. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures, but I was very impressed. All of the rooms of the palace made it all seem very real. We were imagining the Royal people moving from one room to another. Very cool. We also went into the San Miguel Market and enjoyed some goodies. We later stopped into the well-known, modern museum, Reina Sofia. In my opinion, nothing was very interesting there besides Picasso’s artwork, especially his well known piece called “Guernica”, which I had learned about in school.
After so many amazing meals, laughs, conversations and catching up, I was very sad to leave them :( 5 days just isn’t enough!! But they are currently making their way through Italy, so I know they are enjoying themselves. If you are reading this-thank you again for everything, love and miss you, one more month!!!!!!
For those of you who are not familiar with Semana Santa (Holy Week), it is a seven day tradition in Andalucia where “brotherhoods”/organizations lead a parade with incredible floats and marching bands. They call the parade a procession, and the float a paso. The pasos are carried by volunteers who are underneath and must walk very closely to each other, making sure every step is in sync. Because of this, they must practice months in advance. Since the people of Semana Santa represent brotherhood, their costume strongly resembles that of the KKK (Semana Santa came way before the KKK). There are several processions throughout the entire week, each dedicated to a different thing, and could be roaming the streets for as long as 12 hours! The first one I saw was the Gypsy Paso.
Words nor any photo can explain how beautiful these floats were! They were absolutely stunning, and the music of the marching band really made an impact while you were watching the dramatic floats come down the street. Seeing everyone’s feet walking step by step underneath the float was amazing to see. Walking under something that is heavier than a car for hours and hours must have been so difficult.
The next day, my friends and I took a bus ride ride to Sevilla since it is known to have the best processions in all of Spain during Semana Santa. Oh, and did I mention it was at 3 in the morning? We are insane! However…. this was not a problem whatsoever, because Sevilla was PERFECT!!!! I have not visited a city in Spain that I have loved so much (besides my home, Granada)!!!!! If I ever return to Spain, this is where I am living. I literally fell in love with this city- and I hope from my pictures you can see why! The day started out nice and sunny, so we took a walk along the river and walked around Plaza de Espana- just the most magnificent, beautiful and biggest Plaza in all of Spain. In the center of this plaza is a gorgeous fountain, and is surrounded by a little pond you can also rowboat in. There are tile images of each province in Spain, so we had fun taking pictures of each one we’ve been to.
Across from this plaza is a gorgeous park called Maria Luisa. This park was so calm and precious! There were trees, dirt roads, horses and carriages, doves, flowers, ponds, fountains, vines, and basically anything else you would think of when thinking of a perfect get-a-way/heaven.
While waiting around for the Pasos, we were becoming worried because our beautiful and sunny day was turning into a cold and gray one. Sure enough, while we were eating in a cafe, it started to downpour! We asked some locals when they thought the floats would be coming around, and they told us that they are all canceled due to the rain :( We were very disappointed, but still happy we got to spend an amazing day in Sevilla. We headed back to Granada that night.
The following day, my friends and I grabbed some ice cream and went to go watch another paso. Again, my pictures don’t do these floats justice, but watching come down the streets them is simply breathtaking!
Some of my friend’s families were in town visiting, so that night we all went out. It was so fun to show them around and tell stories! We all had such a great time. My Semana Santa week shall not be forgotten!
March 30th-April 8th was my “spring break” here in Spain. For this nice long break, my friends and I decided to travel around the country. First place we went to was Barcelona! I had already been there over the summer with my family, so I already knew what it was like and that it was somewhere I really wanted to return to. Barcelona is so different from the rest of Spain. When I’m there, I feel like I’m in a summer music video. Everyone is happy and energetic and alive! There are palm trees everywhere, and the beach-town vibe was very refreshing. Our hostel was right near Las Ramblas, which is the main street in Barcelona with all of the shops and bars, so we had great location.
While we were there, we spent a lot of time on the beach. We are usually so used to running around to every touristy spot in every city, so this was a very relaxing change :) We even saw a lady doing yoga on the beach…
After the beach our first day, we went to Parque Guell, designed and constructed by artist/architect Antoni Gaudi. This is my absolute favorite part in all of Barcelona. It is so peaceful, colorful, and beautiful that I could literally spend a whole day there! Some of it might look familiar for those of you who watched season 7 of America’s Next Top Model ;) The mosaic tiles and curvy architect is very common throughout the whole park. The extremely green trees and bushes everywhere make it even more beautiful.
The next day, our very first stop was La Sagrada Familia- a large Roman Catholic church also designed by Gaudi, which is not only Barcelona’s most visited site, but also all of Spain, and when I went inside I clearly saw why! When I went to Barcelona over the summer I didn’t go inside the church, so I was very lucky to do so this time around. First off, the outside of it looks like a castle. It is so gigantic, it’s hard to believe it’s real. In fact, they are still constructing it and most likely will be for years to come. A lot of the architect on the outside reminded me of melting wax. The inside of the church was a different story. The architecture was so different than anything I’ve ever seen before. It almost looked as though everything was made from clay. I read that Gaudi meant for the inside to have a “forest-like appearance”, and it definitely did. My friends and I decided to pay a little extra to take a lift up to one of the balconies of the church. We got a great view of the whole city of Barcelona!
After the church, we walked to both of Gaudi’s houses. Both were so unusual-looking and really stuck out. There’s no way you could pass these things on the street and not take a second glance! He really was a genius.
Then, we made our way to the well-known market, La Boqueria. I remember from my previous visit that I was disgusted by all the fish and other raw meats with their heads still on and eyes still intact…and I was just as disgusted this time! I made sure to stay away from those areas as much as I could. Only fruits and candies for me, please!
The next day, we realized we had seen the majority of what Barcelona had to offer (or what we could afford anyway) and enjoyed our last day on the beach once again! That night, we had to catch a late, 7-hour bus to Madrid so we were trying to take it easy that day. After laying out for a while, we did some souvenir shopping in the Gothic Quarters, and then made some friends from London at a cafe.
The 7 hour bus ride to Madrid was not as bad as I was expecting. I slept for most of it, and we arrived in Madrid pretty early in the morning. After dropping our stuff off at our hostel, we headed to the train station to grab a train to Toledo. In the train station, there was a little indoor pond with a bunch of turtles! We got a little too excited to see these lil’ guys… they were just so cute!!
We purchased a ticket for the bullet train, so the ride was only about 30 minutes! Toledo was beautiful. It is very small, but well-known for their Toledo steel and swords. It has a very historic, medieval feel to it. Since it’s so small, we literally just wandered around the town for about 5 hours! We came upon a beautiful Cathedral, and saw gorgeous views of the entire city. We were definitely dragging the entire day from not having a very good nights rest, so it was nice to just enjoy the city without too much to see. This little town reminded me of a medieval fairy tale. There was even a cute little train passing through the streets!
The next day, we were supposed to hop on another bullet train to the nearby city of Segovia, but we sadly missed our train :( So instead, we spent the day in Madrid! How can one complain about that? We went to Retiro Park (which my friend Rita likes to refer to as the happiest place on Earth) and rowed a boat while listening to Shakira and trying to avoid the boats with 15 year old boys trying to splash us.
We also passed by little outdoor bookshops, the oldest restaurant in the world, and stopped to watch some entertainment in Plaza Mayor.
After our fun time at these amazing places, it was back to Granada for the beginning of Semana Santa!
March 16th was Fiesta de Primavera here in Spain! Fiesta de Primavera (Spring Party) is a day all the students celebrate (beginning in the early morning, lasting until the late hours of the day) because it initiates the beginning of Spring and end of exams. This celebration takes place in the same spot as Botellon does (as explained in my previous blog) and all my professors and friends here told me that it’s something that I definitely have to check out since it is such a big deal.My friends and I decided we would go see what it was all about…. and we were definitely surprised!! The amount of people there (at only about 4pm) was insane.
The atmosphere was amazing- with the warm weather coming and stress of tests being over with, everyone was having a blast! We stayed until the sun went down, and were completely exhausted upon returning home. In one of my classes, (Civilization and Culture) we learned about how the Spaniards love to fiesta. All they do is fiesta! They really know how to celebrate things—which is something I could get used to!
The following day was St. Patrick’s Day! My friends and I started the day out by going to get gelato at a local shop that opens up every March for the summer called Los Italianos. There was literally a line out the door, and now I understand why. I got my favorite flavor- avellana (hazelnut) and it was deliciouuuus. We then headed to our favorite nearby irish pub, Hannigans. We only stayed for a little bit (planning on returning later) but we received these awesome free hats, so it was definitely worth stopping by!
After stopping at the pub, half of us realized we don’t own anything green to wear for the night, so we stopped at a clothing store called Springfield to look for some. They had a deal going on where if you danced for 30 seconds in the store, you would receive your shirt for half off! Of course we couldn’t pass this deal up, so a few of us got in line and proudly (and quite badly) danced for our shirts!
Later that night, we went back out to the pubs and had a great time. I have always wanted to celebrate St. Paddy’s day in Europe, so there is one more thing I can cross off my bucket list!
The next day… MY DAD AND GRANDPARENTS ARRIVED IN SPAIN! Words cannot explain how excited I was to see them!!! Walking to their hotel to meet them felt like the longest walk of my life because I was so anxious to see them. When I finally got there, my grandma was waiting outside for me. I ran and gave her the biggest hug ever- I couldn’t believe my family was actually in Granada with me! Next I saw my dad, and then my grandpa. I didn’t realize how much I really missed them until I finally saw them.
The time they spent here was great. They seemed to love everything that I have come to love about Spain. My dad loved the windows and alleyways, which is something I’ve also loved and appreciated here. They were here for a week, so we had plenty of time to cover everything in Granada. We went to see the Alhambra and the Albyzin, the cathedral, the river, ate at delicious restaurants and ate churros con chocolate. I showed them were I go to school, the park I enjoy running and spending time at, and where I live with my senora. They really enjoyed meeting her and getting to see where I’ve been spending my time! My grandma speaks Spanish, so the language barrier between my senora and my family wasn’t too terrible! We also spent a lot of time shopping and just walking around and enjoying the city. I even got them into watching a Barcelona futbol game (soccer game), and shared with them my love for Gerard Pique ;)
Que guapo, no?! Anyway, I had my midterm exams during the week they were visiting, so I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked to, but we made up for lost time during the weekend! We went to see a flamenco show in a cave up in the Albyzin! It was an amazing experience, and I really appreciated it since I’ve been learning all about the history of flamenco in one of my classes for the past 2 months.
We also took a bus to a nearby beach called Nerja for a day. It was rainy and chilly outside, but the town itself was so cute, so we enjoyed walking around the shops and stopping in restaurants. The week they were here seemed to go by way too fast! It was very hard to say goodbye, but I am so lucky they were able to come out and see what I’ve been up to for the past 3 months!!!
It was nice to see my friends the following week at school. They all went to Sevilla for the weekend, so I really missed them! We have all gotten so close that it literally only takes a weekend for me to miss them…. well anyway- they made this picture that we can all not stop laughing at! Everyone in this picture is from ISU, except for our friend Phillip, so they put my face on his body..sorry Phillip!
I am so lucky and blessed to have such an amazing family, friends here in Spain, and friends back home!! Now I just can’t wait for my mom to finally get here!!!
Hello fellow followers, time to catch up on lost time!
Let me just start out by saying that everyday that goes by, I’m loving Spain a little bit more. I am always finding something new that convinces me that I never want to leave! Even though I wish my Spanish was improving faster than it has been, I’m really feeling like I have adjusted to this culture and lifestyle very well. The people, the atmosphere, and the customs are all so charming and hard not to fall in love with.
So what have I been up to, you ask? Hmmm where do I begin! Well, a few weeks ago, my good friend Sara’s older brother and his wife came to visit. We all went out to dinner one night, and introduced them to the infamous churros con chocolate dish (a deep fried stick of dough you dip in a cup of hot chocolate syrup…delish). They really enjoyed Spain, and loved hearing us talk about the crazy adventures we’ve been having!
Another night out, my friends and I decided to go to “Botellón” which literally translates to “big bottle.” Botellón is basically just a big open space outdoors (a previous skating park, in our case) where people from the ages of about 18-25 go to hang out before going out for the night. I would compare it to a tailgate, but without a big game to go to afterwards. Anyway, this was a great idea because it was a fantastic way for us to make friends! We were going around, talking to Spaniards who were just as eager to practice their English with us as we were to practice our Spanish with them.
On a random Sunday, my friends and I decided to hop on a bus and head to the closest beach, Salobreña. Even though it wasn’t exactly hot out, we still had a very relaxing time just laying out and enjoying our time together soaking up the sun. In fact, because I was so chilled, I didn’t put sunscreen on and got SO BURNT. I wish I had a picture to show you how red I was… it’s safe to say my señora was not very happy with me! Anyway, we played volleyball for a little while, and went to lunch at a little cafe on the sand where my friends ordered an amazing-looking paella. I don’t eat seafood, so I unfortunately couldn’t share this traditional Spanish dish with them, but they really liked it!
All I really talk about are my weekends, so I’m sure you’re curious to know what goes on during my weekdays! Well, I am here to study abroad, and school is still challenging. Since all five of my classes are in Spanish, it can be difficult to not only learn the material, but having to really concentrate on what the teacher is saying. If you miss one little thing you could be in trouble. However, I should not complain because I love all of my teachers, and my mid-term exams went really well! The other day, one of my professors came up to me after class and told me he really liked my attitude in class- it was a great compliment to receive! I also have an intercambio, which in English translates to “exchange”. I meet with my intercambio from time to time to grab a coffee or what-not to talk about anything and everything. The point of this is so that he can help me with my Spanish and I can help him with his English. It’s very helpful and I always look forward to learning something new!
During the nights during my week days, my friends and I enjoy going out for tapas, or just roaming around the city. One day, we decided to check out this pretty park that over looks the city. We were pleasantly surprised, because the park was absolutely gorgeous!
My next blog is going to be all about Fiesta de Primavera, St. Paddy’s Day, and my family’s visit here!!