Monday, December 17, 2007

i made it.

well, i'm finally home. it was a long trip. it was an emotional trip. it was a sleepless trip. but i finally made it. i arrived in chicago to receive a voicemail from american airlines that my flight was canceled and rescheduled for the following night. begin tears. i make my way to the AA counter, at the same time saying goodbye to good friends, and ask them to explain. she says, "we've booked you on an earlier flight with united airlines. today. in an hour. please go to their counter to print your boarding pass." at this point i jump across the counter and give the woman a hug. i was so excited. i get to united airlines and they print my boarding pass. no problems. i also give the united man a hug. i'm on my way home! i get to security and they choose me for additional screening. clearly, i am a terrorist carrying a bomb on my being. but i don't care. i'm going home. i tell the security woman to have a "very merry christmas" and i mean it. i get to my gate with half an hour to spare and a gentleman on my flight asks if i'm headed to harrisburg. he then tells me that the flight was canceled. world comes crashing down. i make my way to the line of people trying to reschedule flights and find out that i'm on a flight the next day at 130pm. they ask if i would like to be on standby for a 730am flight. of course i do. i say goodbye to the last of my friends and snuggle in to the chair for a good night's sleep. only the airport speakers were playing christmas music (not my favorite) and it wasn't tuned in right so there was a lot of static. i rise at 5am from my cold, hard, uncomfortable bench and start to walk to my new gate. on the way i see a cinnabon with its lights on. i am the happiest kid ever. i love cinnabon. but as i get closer i realize that they are not yet open. i should have known better. i check in with the woman at the counter and she tells me they will call me if my ticket is chosen for the standby seat. two hours later, my name is called. i am going home! for real this time. i make it in to harrisburg despite the ice storm that is blanketing the region. my parents take me to taco bell where i consume two beef baja gorditas. life is good. i will miss spain and the people i met, but i am so glad to be home.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

say what?

last night we had a good talk with miguel (our spanish dad) in which he informed us that he knows lots of english phrases. here are a few of the better ones:

sank you bery much.
zhour welcome.
meddy chrishmas.
happy babay.
zhou ahre my destiny. (learned from the song by paul anka.)

each phrase was followed by maría luisa trying to repeat it and then giggling at herself like a fool.

it was hilarious and sad all at the same time. i´m going to miss those two.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

this is basically what i know now.

add to that list:

ricochet - karen brown. not a good story at all, but the characters really got me.

the poisonwood bible - barbara kingsolver. one of the best novels i have read in a long time. everyone should read this one.

i can now count the days i have left in spain on two hands. one week from today i'll be back in the good old US of A. weird.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

a strange haze seems to have descended upon sevilla as of late. i don´t understand what it is, but it makes all of the lights on the streets blur. kind of like when it´s snowing lightly, except it´s still warm enough to just be in long sleeves.

also, i am a reading machine. i have read 17 books since being in spain. they are, in no particular order, as follows:
-anne of green gables, l. m. montgomery: it gets better every time i read it.
-empire falls, richard russo: eh. not as funny as they said it would be and definitely not good enough for the awards it won.
-the nanny diaries, emma mclaughlin: not my favorite, but cute nonetheless.
-angels and demons, dan brown: good action book. i would recommend it.
-deception point, dan brown: i don´t know why, but i couldn´t put it down. i would also recommend this one.
-the club dumas, arturo perez-reverte: very interesting book. i enjoyed it a lot.
-smashed, the story of a drunken girlhood, koren zailckas: a true story about a girl who drinks too much. very enlightening.
-the god of small things, arhundati roy: incredible. i loved every page. read it now.
-midnight in the garden of good and evil, john berendt: true story of a murder in the south. mostly just stories of the people he met. i enjoyed it.
-the insiders, j. minter: crappy, crappy book. don´t read it. ever.
-pretense, lori wick: everyone i´ve ever talked to about this book has told me i would love it. well, i didn´t. it was ok, but not very well written. it did make me cry, though.
-p.s. i love you, cecelia ahern: irish story about a woman who loses her husband. it could have been 200 pages shorter and still would have been fine. not my favorite. and now they´re making a movie about it with hillary swank. why?
-the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, mark haddon: don´t let the title fool you, it´s not that good.
-driving over lemons, chris stewart: it´s about life here in adalucía, not all that exciting.
-fame, karen kingsbury: crappy christian novel. not so good.
-90 minutes in heaven, don piper: true story of a man who dies and goes to heaven for 90 minutes. very interesting for the first 3 chapters, and then it´s just about his recovery.
-tales of a drama queen, lee nichols: not very good. i laughed a few times, but is was lacking.

i am currently reading into thin air which is the true story of a mount everest climb gone bad. it´s interesting. so, as you can see, i have read some pretty crappy books here in spain, but i have a lot of down time and the library at school is just a bookshelf. my goal is to read 20. i think i will succeed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

thank you for everyone´s birthday wishes. my actual birthday was uneventful but enjoyable nonetheless. i mostly studied for my test that was today and slept off the weekend. and what a weekend it was! jackie came to visit me from madrid! it was delightful. and it´s still blowing my mind that i´m five hours older than i would be if i were in the united states right now.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

El día de acción de gracias (yes, that´s actually how they say thanksgiving here)

feliz thanksgiving kids! today has not been a typical thanksgiving for me. normally i would wake up in time to catch the end of the macy´s day parade while i ate some of mom´s homemade cinnamon rolls. then the purina one dog show comes on (my favorite part of the day) and my sister and i argue over which dogs are cute, which deserve to win, etc. then we help mom finish up with the cooking and eat the best lunch ever. seriously, no one can top my mother. then, drunk on turkey, i fall asleep on the couch while dad watches a football game that he doesn´t really care about. then we get up from our naps and eat leftovers. thanksgiving always produces the best leftovers.

well, today i woke up at the crack of dawn to come to school to catch a bus to itálica, an ancient roman city just outside of sevilla. we walked amongst the ruins, which are really nothing more than piles of bricks and rocks, and are so not impressive (other than the fact that they are from the 2nd century). we arrived home to find our señora´s best china on the table and her busily cooking in the kitchen. she made us a huge meal (lasagna and like 5 different kinds of tapas plus three desserts!), and gave us wine. at least i think that´s what it was. it was so strong. it was called "la gitana, manzanilla" which has something to do with gypsies and apples. it was literally like drinking straight liquor. it was awful. and just when i thought i was in the clear she passes us glasses with ice and whips out another bottle of liquor. this time it was "la crema de catalana." it was light orange and smelled like room freshener. and it tasted like my grandmother´s perfume used to smell. really gross. but, i gagged it down and lied when my señora asked if i liked it. then she brings out dessert, which was a really pretty apple tart cake she had made and two plates of various cookies and chocolates. she cuts us each a piece of cake and says, "esperate." (wait.) at which point i had flashbacks to the firewater cake incident. sure enough, she pulls out a bottle of liquor and dumps some on the cake. this time it was sweet, though. an all through lunch she kept saying, "drink, drink. you´re just going to siesta anyway..." it was so bizzare and un-thanksgiving like. at one point after two glasses of wine and a cup of the crema she said something to the effect of not being able to have anymore because she wouldn´t be able to see or walk if she did. she is hilarious.

tonight we have a fancy dinner at a cuban resturaunt (but they´re making us a traditional meal), followed by salsa dancing. this is the weirdest thanksgiving ever.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

mallorca (said: my-zhor-cah)

well, it´s official. i am sick of traveling. however, we had a lovely time in mallorca where i got to play with the kids (nate, patti, and barden). it was great to see family, especially in the setting of a spanish island paradise. we ate incredible meals and risked our lives on the wooden train across the island. the train ride provided breathtaking views and led us to port de sóller in the north. we drank lemon beer and orange liquor in honor of the island´s main produce. we saw baby jesus in a cave (which was kind of creepy). we froze our baguettes off (or at least i did...) and we had a great time! plus, i got to play with da babay!! i like to call this "baby genius. philosophying."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

mail call! and, translation, please?

in the last two days i have received two packages and four letters! woohoo! and the packages both contained pringles and slim jims. my family knows me so well...

in other news, as you know, i tutor two older gentlemen once a week so they can practice their english. this week, miguel angel was talking about a formal affair he had to attend the previous weekend, and was trying to describe the type of suit he wore. he called it a smokin. to which i replied, "nice. smokin´." but i don´t think he got it. and then augustine says, "what are these called?"(while pointing to his suit jacket.) and i said, "the lappels?" and he said, "yes. the napples are of glossy...with bright." it was awesome.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


well i finally got all of switzerland loaded. next step, portugal.


Monday, November 5, 2007

shamrocks and pasta...

ireland: in a nutshell: we went to dublin, where we saw trinity college, temple bar, grafton street, and all of the other typical things you´re supposed to see in dublin. we went to the pub across the street from our hostel (which was previously the recording studio for u2, van morrison, and david bowie!), and met a man named ishmael. to which i replied, "is that what they call you?" either he didn´t hear me, or doesn´t read, because i don´t think he got it. i thought it was funny though. after meeting ishmael, a very old man danced on his knees in front of us. apparently the irish are always drunk because the only things open after 6pm are bars. they were crazy. our roommates at the hostel were interesting, to say the least. but i guess that´s what you get when you pay 20 euros a night. we decided we were over the city and wanted to see some legitimate irish country side. so we went to the bus station and asked the man where to find some. he said we should take a bus to drogheda. so we did. when we got there, it was not the country side at all, so we got on another bus to newgrange. which turned out to be the oldest thing ever! newgrange is a neolithic burial tomb from something like 4000 b.c. it´s older than the great wall, the pryamids, and stonehenge. and we went inside it. not only that, but it was surrounded by sheep and cows and beautiful country side! also, when the man was giving us the tour he said, "do you see that wee little mound over there?" all in all, i would most definitely return to ireland. and the people were very nice. and i like the cut of their jib.

italy: in a nutshell: roma! the eternal city. it was beautiful. whoever said you can´t see all of rome in one day lied. because we did. we saw everything there was to see and more the first day we were there. despite the bitter cold and rain, we conquered at the colosseum, threw coins in the trevi fountain, went to the pantheon, ate gelato, ate pasta, ate pizza, ate more gelato, and the list goes on. we saved day two for the vatican city. well, it turns out that day two was actually day one, that is, november 1st, which means that it was a vatican holiday. which means that the sistine chapel was CLOSED. we blamed this on throwing coins in the trevi the day before because legend says that if you throw a coin in you are guaranteed a speedy return to rome. what better reason to return than to see the sistine chapel? damn fountain. however, our luck quickly changed when we found out that the pope would be making an appearance that afternoon. that´s right, i saw the holy man himself! he stuck his head out of a window and spoke in italian for 15 minutes, followed by a blessing in six different languages. plus, i got a really awesome pope keychain and postcard. so it was a good day after all. after rome, we took a train to florence which is beautiful, but extremely crowded. it was very stressful and we didn´t see micheangelo´s david because the line was three hours long and we had to go to pisa. i´m ok with that though. i figure if i have to go back to rome, i might as well hit up florence again too. however, in florence we did have the best gelato ever. and the little man who served it to us spent a good 15 minutes trying to get his tv to play MTV for us, but to no avail. i think it just ended up being broken instead. it was a very nice gesture though. after we were too stressed out to stay in florence any longer, we went to pisa and practically ran through the town to get to the tower (which happens to be as far away from the train station as possible) before dark. it really does lean. after one last incredible italian meal, we headed to the airport to wait the night for our 6am flight. it turns out that the airport closes for three hours every night, during which we were forced to sit outside and "freeze our baguettes off" to quote a favorite movie of mine (10 points to anyone who can name it). i was very thankful for my impulse buy of wool mittens at the market earlier that day. but, we made it back to sevilla in one piece and with all of our extremities, so all in all, it was a good trip. even if i didn´t have to go back, i think i would. not to mention the fact that italians are SO nice. all of them. it was so not like spain...where it smells weird and im still missing a shirt.

Friday, October 26, 2007

no. that´s mine. get your own!

yesterday maría luisa came into my room looking for a shirt she had lost. she said it was a white tank top that was a gift from the mother of a former student. i said, "well, i have a white tank top, but it´s mine." and i showed it to her. she said, "sí, sí, esa es la mía." (yes, yes, that is mine.) and i said, "no i don´t think so." and she went and got a beige one out of her drawer that happened to be the exact same brand. but i know that it´s mine. she went on to tell me that she had washed hers this week and that it was missing. and i went on to tell her that i had also washed mine and that i was pretty sure it was mine. and then she took it. communication is ridiculous when you don´t speak the same language...

in other news, i leave tomorrow for a week in dublin, rome, florence, and pisa. i expect that it will be lovely!

Monday, October 22, 2007

romancero gítano

we went to see a flamenco show the other night, and i´m still feel like words are inadequate to describe it. but i will try. the show was called "romancero gitano" which means, gypsy romance. it was based on the poetry of Lorca, who wrote a book of 12 poems based upon the lives of gypsies. these 12 poems were set to music, and were sung by a woman and a man in typical flamenco style. very passionate, and very emotional. if the singing didn´t get your emotions flowing, the dancing did. it was so incredible. i didn´t even know that people´s feet could move that fast! and the scenes were about romance, lost and forbidden love, and the ongoing battle between the spanish civil guard and the gypsies. it was all in spanish, and i didn´t understand most of what they sang about, but it still spoke to my heart and rendered me speechless. music is incredible in its ability to transcend language...

and speaking of music and dance, my señora came home the other day and said "estaba bailando hee-haw (with a throaty j/h sound)" (i was dancing hee-haw.) and jackie and i said, ¿qué? (what?) and she went on to say that it was a modern type of dance, at which point jackie said, "hip-hop?" and my señora nodded and giggled in agreement as she proceeded to show us what she had learned. look out missy elliot, here comes maría luisa! she did all kinds of moves, complete with pelvic thrusts and a crotch grab. i was stunned and paralyzed by laughter, and she was loving every minute of it. and that´s why i love my señora.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

fame, fortune, etc.

this is how it all starts. one little article in the pittsburgh post gazette, and the next thing you know, i´m famous. don´t worry, i won´t forget the little people that made this possible...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

i´ve added some more photos:
i hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

well, i just completed report number two of the semester. once again on our friends, the amish. i got suckered into doing that topic again by my professor because he was speaking spanish and i didn´t have another topic in mind. it went well and he was especially impressed by the "levantando los graneros" aka: barn raisings. but i don´t want to do it again. so, next time i´ll be ready for him. i need a 15 minute powerpoint presentation, and i´m open to suggestions. anyone have any ideas?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

get out of my nose!

it smells here. i mean, really smells. every day as i walk to school i am greeted with the lovely scents of paint thinner, moped fumes, dog droppings (which causes me to walk with my eyes glued to the sidewalk instead of enjoying the beauty of the city. seriously people. get a pooper-scooper.), horse droppings, dead fish in the river, dead fish on the sidewalk, bus fumes, cigarette smoke (from everyone i pass at 9AM! they are crazy here), and worst of all, the stench of the human body. Body odor. i don´t even know why they sell deoderant in spain. clearly, no one wears it. they must waste millions of dollars every year importing deoderant from factories around the world. not to mention the countless hours of shelving it in stores. i´ve decided that men here forego deoderant and choose aftershave instead. i don´t know why. it doesn´t work. and every day as i walk through the streets of this lovely city, i want to say give it a chance. it´s not all bad. you might even like it! but instead i just hold my breath and pray i don´t pass out on my way.

Monday, October 8, 2007

"portugal? yeah, i´ve been there. it´s nice..."
ha! i love that i can say that. lagos was wonderful. the beach was great. the food was great. the company was great. we went to sagres and stood at the end of the world. or, at least the southwestern-most point in europe. it´s easy to see why they thought it was the end of the world, though. standing there with my feet in the water as huge cliffs shot up around me, i felt very small. it was an awesome emotion. everyone go there. now.

Thursday, October 4, 2007 some photos.

CAUTION: if you would not like to view the photos from the bull fight, please view the pictures in set form (the side column), instead of scrolling through them all.

this is not even close to being all of them, but the computers at school are gank. this is all i could do.

lagos, baby!

this weekend i am taking advantage of our neigboring country and heading to the beach. portugal. my life is so crazy right now.

Monday, October 1, 2007


day 1-
2300: board a bus at the plaza de armas in sevilla. destination: madrid.
2400: the bus smells of BO and a strange man behind us keeps sucking air through his teeth,
making the world´s most disgusting noise. also, he has gotten up to smoke in the bathroom four times already. it´s only been an hour. his lungs must literally be black.
0455: awake to the bus finally arriving in madrid. estacion de sur. my god, it´s cold here.
0515: we sit and wait for the metro to open. people in this country must not be able to read. there are "fumar prohibido/no smoking" signs everywhere. everyone is smoking. it still smells like BO.
0600: the metro opens. we wander in, clueless as to our next step.
0615: we still can´t figure out what to do. we have purchased tickets from the machine. they don´t work. a bag lady gets through and holds the gate open for us.
0700: we arrive at barajas airport, madrid. walk for what literally must have been hours to get to our gate. this airport is unnecessarily large.
0830: board plane. destination: switzerland.
1045: step off plane in geneva, switzerland. it´s raining. it´s very cold. realize that i should have gotten that coat yesterday.
1115: try to figure out the train. we don´t speak french. are trying to put 50 swiss francs in the machine when a lovely little british man says, "come with me, i´ll help you." he uses his card to buy us tickets and we pay him back. he gets us to our platform and we make it to the city center. my love of the elderly is reaffirmed.
1245: arrive at saint pierre´s cathedral. the place where john calvin preached some of his most important sermons.
1330: after hundreds of steps, arrive at the top of the north tower. the view is worth it. lac lémac, nestled in the midst of mountains and a quaint city, looks haunting in the cold swiss rain. the mountains are covered by clouds so close it seems as though you could reach out and touch them.
1700: after some more exploring of the city, we check into our hostel. we´re all sick.
2045: wake up from our naps, shaking with cold, to find that the window has been left open. shower. bed.
day 2-
0245: awake in a cold sweat. my face is radiating heat, but the rest of my body is shaking with cold. i have a fever.
0400: awake wanting to rip my nine layers of clothing off for fear of combustion. i literally might catch on fire. my fever is breaking.
0830: awake, feeling somewhat better, but not 100%. go to breakfast and meet an old man from holland, who is fascinated by the fact that we´re american.
0930: the sun is shining! what a gorgeous day. more mountains are visible. we sit by lac lémac and take in the incredible surroundings.
1100: due to my instincts and savvy map reading skills, i get us to plan de planplains flea market. we browse for hours. we still don´t speak french, but it seems that most of the natives speak english, or spanish at the very least.
1330: still not feeling so hot. we decide to head to the country.
1400: catch a bus to mont saléve. we are determined to see some alps.
1500: ride the cable car to the top. a sliver of apls looms in the background.
1501: we decide to hike. my face is beginning to radiate again. onset of fever number 2. and i´m hiking a mountain.
1545: a clearing in the trees. the view literally takes my breath away.
1600: we decide to keep going for a better view.
1615: thank god we did. we walked right into a painting from a fairy tale book. i break into a little sound of music, as i feel it is only appropriate. we sit, enjoy the stunning view, and eat swiss chocolate. the air is fresh and crisp and there is no BO, no moped exhaust, no dog poop. only pure air. i feel like i might hurl, but it´s worth it.
1800: after exploring the town of saléve, also story book worthy, we head back to geneva.
1900: search desperately for cheap food. every café window we pass has a sign that says "french, french, french, blah, blah, blah...all for only 19 swiss fracs!" as though that´s a good deal. and these are the cheap places.
1945: finally find paninis for 8 CHF. not the best price, but at this point i literally don´t care. my fever is raging. i think my head might explode.
2100: walk back to the lake to see the jet de´eau lit up at night. it´s a fountain that shoots straight into the air at 124 mph. it´s pretty impressive.
2300: bed.
day 3-
0315: time to get up. our taxi comes at 0400.
0400: try to speak spanish to the taxi driver, praying that he´s actually taking us to the airport. i´m too tired to care either way.
0430: arrive at the airport to find out that our flight doesn´t actually leave at 0615, but at 0730 instead. we´re there at least an hour earlier than we need to be.
0730: repeat day one in reverse order, only this time without the metro issues.
2045: arrive to my house to find my señora cooking tortillas de españa. god bless this woman.
2400: bed, finally. and i´m no longer sick.

that´s right. i saw the alps.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

you speaka de ingles?

dinner at my house usually consists of us eating in silence while maría luisa talks to the tv and then looks at us expectantly. at which point, we make the appropriate nod or "i know. i can´t believe it either" face. occasionally, she talks to us at length, but is very hard to understand so we never really know what´s going on.

the other night, we were peacefully enjoying the awesome tortilla de españa that i´ve grown to love (and will make for everyone when i return), when maría luisa starts talking to us. she started out slowly, so i was able to catch "two men....known a long time...very" then she got fast so i just kept nodding and smiling because we were in "what the heck is going on?" territory. when we left the table, i asked my roommate if she got any of it, and we came up with something like this: maría luisa and miguel have two old man friends who might be lawyers and want to speak english. and we´d practice our spanish with them. but we have to pay. and i think we agreed to do it already. crap.

the next day, miguel approached me with the same proposition. however, he is much easier to understand to i was able to get this: "two men...i work out at the gym with them....very nice...they want to practice english...they pay." at this point things started to make sense. i like this idea. we go, once a week, and speak english to these two men, and they pay us!

last night was our first class. it wasn´t until we left that i actually understood what was going to take place every week. just like miguel said, they´re lawyers who took english classes a long time ago and want to stay fluent. they pay us 7.50 euros a week for an hour to sit and discuss topics and read to them and translate. they´re hilarious too! when we got there, they were only speaking spanish to us and they explained what was going to go down in spanish, so i still wasnt too sure what we were getting into, but it all turned out ok. the only problem we had was getting out of the building. there´s a button you have to push for one door, and a button for another door, and the elevator´s really confusing. we were locked in for a little while because he explained to us how to exit the building, but it was in spanish. don´t these people get that i don´t understand them?! oh well, it was an adventure, and now i´m 7.50 richer, so all in all, it´s a good deal.

Monday, September 24, 2007

they call me the wanderer...

this weekend: GENEVA, switzerland
oct 5-6: lyon, france?
oct 26-nov 3: ireland and italy
nov 30-dec 2: brussels, belgium
dec 6-9: munich, germany

so many countries, so little time...

Friday, September 21, 2007

club habitación?

so lately my bedroom has become a constant discoteca. at first i was comforted by the ghetto music blaring out of my downstairs neighbors´ apartment into the courtyard. i enjoyed hearing old-school rap and 90´s pop set to techno beats come floating up on the warm spanish breeze and in through my window. "i´ll be missin´you" became my new theme song and n´sync sang me to sleep at night. but now it´s just getting ridiculous. even during siesta, the sweet, sweet time set aside just for rest is drowned out by the sounds of awful spanish pop. the kind of songs where there are only enough beats for four words, but to say it in spanish they have to use twelve. and it´s not just on, playing softly in the background either. the tiny courtyard that my window looks out over acts as an amplifier for the already blaring music. not to mention the man that lives there who tries desperately to sing along with the english songs in his broken, tone-deaf spanish...

sometimes i let it get to me. sometimes i want to shout at them to "shut it off, for the love of god. please, shut it off."

but every now and then, i get up from my chair where i´m trying to read my book and strike a pose to the sweet sounds of madonna...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

well, tomorrow i give my first spanish report of the semester. my topic is...the amish. my professor thinks it´s hilarious that i´m from pennsylvania and live near amish. he´s always asking if i´ve ever talked to them and how they do things. so right now, i am supposed to be researching and translating things for my presentation. but i´m too excited about the chinese food awaiting me at lunch! yay for chinos!

side note: i talked to sam yesterday!! yay for friends in south korea! it literally made my day.

Monday, September 17, 2007

córdoba, málaga

friday we went to córdoba with the school and walked among the ancient muslim ruins that are older than our country. this is still blowing my mind a little bit. it was beautiful. if i ever find a computer that isn´t slower than something so slow i can´t even think of a comparison for it, i´ll post pictures of the trip. we also went to the mezquita which is an ancient muslim mosque. way cool. again, pictures later.

saturday, we went to málaga to meet JACKIE and swim in the mediterranean. that´s right, the MEDITERRANEAN! i swam in it. and it was so salty that you didn´t even have to tread water to float. you could just stay there, suspended in the water. it was so surreal and i still can´t believe i did it. jackie had a friend in málaga that was an exchange student in her high school (josé), so we met up with him and he showed us around. we had paella for lunch (delicious and filling for so cheap!), and went to the beach, and then we partied. hard. (don´t worry mom.) josé showed us how to botellón málaga style, and then we went to a boat club. and when i say boat i mean ship. and when i say club i mean discoteca. complete with strobe lights and music so loud i think i was a little deaf when we left. we danced our hearts out. until 6:30 am. this country is insane.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

the rain in spain...

it´s been raining here for the last couple of days (which i love due to the break in extreme heat) and the spaniards just don´t know what to do. the other night we went out for tapas and then wandered to the plaza de san francisco where the symphony orchestra was playing. there were thousands of people there to watch it and the show was incredible. just as the orchestra reached their final crescendo and rose to take a bow, rain started to fall. at first it was just a few harmless drops, at which point, panic struck the faces of the natives as they started to high tail it out of there. then it actually started to rain. mass chaos ensued. people trying to run to the nearest overhang were knocking over chairs and old people and children and whatever else was in their path. i´ve never seen people in such a frenzy over rain before. my group guide, isaias was screaming at us that we had to run to starbucks because he knew it was open and we had to stay dry! it was hilarious. there were literally thousands of people lining the buildings along the streets hoping that the six inch ledge would shield them from the rain that you would think was going to kill them. it´s as though they thought they were made of peeps and were therefore going to melt. thankfully, i´ve lived in beaver falls for the last three years, where for the number of sunny days we have had here, it´s probably been raining there. a seasoned veteran, i sucked it up and raised my arms to the sky, enjoying the cool breeze that came along with it. crazy spaniards...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

so i fully intended on posting pictures and explaining the bull fight today, but none of the computers are letting me upload my pictures. this makes me angry. i´ll try again another day.

recap: dancing! oh boy, spaniards are crazy. we went out at 2 and got back at 6 which is the norm here, and when i left the club at 5:30, they were still letting people in. it was packed the whole time too. the thing i like about spain is that everyone here can dance. and i mean, actually dance. it´s crazy. it also makes me realize just how much rhythm i actually lack. we met some people, which always proves to be interesting, and danced until we couldn´t dance no more. all in all, it was fun. i´d definitely go again.

barrio santa cruz what an awesome place. it´s right in the middle of the city and used to be reserved for jewish living quarters. it´s streets are too small for cars to drive on, so everyone walks or bikes through it. it´s so easy to get lost, but then you kind of hope you do so you can find awesome little shops and cafes. i love it. i´ll probably go at least once a day to try and find something new.

bullfight like i said, more to come later, but for now, it rocked. i absolutely loved it. even though we saw a fight with only half grown bulls, it was totally worth it. most of the girls that went with us cried, but i guess i´m a terrible person with a lump of coal for a heart and no soul because i found myself cheering and clapping when the bulls (all six of them) went down. it was such a cool process and they present it like it´s an art. way cool.

this weekend: córdoba on friday and málaga on saturday and sunday (with jackie!!!) i´m pumped.

Monday, September 10, 2007

fooled again...and again.

lately, my señora has proven herself to be a master of deception. it all started at dinner one evening last week. each night, maría prepares our plates and hands them to us through the little window in the wall. it´s always an adventure, waiting to see what it will be, whether or not it´s recognizable. this particular evening, my heart soared, my spirits lifted when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a plateful of mini corn dogs! anyone who has spent any time with me knows that mini corn dogs are my #3 favorite food. i could not believe it. and i shouldn´t have. it was too good to be true. i placed my fork to cut the "mini corn dog" and expected some resistance (due to the delightul little hot dog hidden inside), however, my fork slid right through it revealing some sort of white paste. i think a little part of me died right then. but i thought, what the heck. i might as well eat it. there´s no other option. it´s consistency was that of the paste you make from flour and water as a child. and that´s about what it tasted like too. it turned out to be a combo of flour, potatoes, eggs, and ham (although i couldn´t seem to find it) fried in batter. fool me once...

incident number two: see post entitled "my chest is on fire!" fool me twice...

incident number three: we sit at the table and hear the deep fryer going in the kitchen. great, i think to myself. more dough nuggets. at least i know what they are this time. sure enough she passes though a plate with dough nuggets, doritos, and ONION RINGS! this is also reason for celebration as my roommates can tell you i often have cravings for onion rings. i couldn´t have been more excited. i saved them to the very end, i even ate all of the doritos first. i smelled the delicious deep-fried O and prepared to enter heaven. i took a large bite and what the heck??!! why is this CHEWY? oh crap. please god, don´t let this be what i think it is. it can´t be right? i mean, it´s in a perfect O. that doesn´t make sense. "señora, what is this?" "es un pescado (seafood)." unbelievable. she duped me into eating squid. deep-fried not oniony goodness at all squid. thankfully it didn´t taste like anything, so i was able to finish it. however, i do not enjoy chewing on deep-fried rubber. fool me three times...

incident number four: (as you can see this is becoming a pattern, but i´m telling you, the woman is tricky) we had finished our dinner, safely might i add, and miguel came home from work with a bag of food. he put it on a plate and literally shoved it at me, saying, "comer!" (eat). i asked what it was called and he replied with something like "tismichi con patates." i thought, well, he didn´t say potates, which means potatoes, but it was close, and those things look an awful lot like french fries. i might as well. as soon as i put it in my mouth, i could have kicked myself. squid again. those people tricked me into eating squid TWICE in the same week! fool me no more, i say! never again will i be exploited in this manner. from now on, i am on my guard and always expecting the worst.

more to come on the bullfight later...

Friday, September 7, 2007

este fin de semana (the weekend)

i believe we have plans for dancing tonight, which should prove to be note worthy in later entries. we also might go to the beach tomorrow. and we have a bullfight on sunday (which i am very excited for). ten un buen fin de semana!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

you´re wearing that? and, my chest is on fire!

the phrase, "you´re wearing that?," often spoken by my mother before i would leave the house, runs through my head on a daily basis here. i always feel completely underdressed. to say that spanish women "get dolled up" would be an understatement. every day before leaving the house, they put on their best clothes. they would never be caught dead in public in running attire, unless they were actually running. even jeans here are very casual unless you are wearing three pounds of jewelry on your neck, arms, and ears to take the attention away from your jeans. anyone who knows me knows that this is not my style, so i am sucking up the curious, "she must be american" stares i receive on my walk to and from school, and rolling with it. occasionally, i get a little dressed up, but that is increasingly becoming an impossibility as my señora has yet to do our laundry. packing only one suitcase seemed like a good idea at the time, but now i desperately wish i had more clothes! at least my undies supply is holding up...we´ll see for how long, though.

in other news, i literally ate fire yesterday, or so it seemed. after lunch and before siesta, a common practice is to eat la merenda (or afternoon snack). we hadn´t done this until yesterday, when my señora brought us out pieces of the breakfast bread i´ve been eating every day. it´s kind of like a marble pound cake and is delightfully delicious. when i saw it i thought, "nice. finally something i recognize and enjoy." that thought was quickly replaced with terror and confusion when as we started to pick up our spoons to eat it, our señora shouted, "espera!" which means wait. so we waited as she went to the cupboard and pulled out a bottle of liquor that i took to be a sweet liquor that accompanied desserts. i waited with excited anticipation to try the spanish delight as she doused my cake in this deceptive clear liquid. i took a large bite and my mouth exploded as though i had done a shot of fire water. i thought, something is terribly wrong here. i can´t feel my tongue and my lips might just fall off. my señora said something at this point which i could not hear due to the intense ringing in my ears. i don´t know what it was, but i know that after i finished the cake i found myself checking to see if i had hair on my chest. each shot-filled bite made me wish i had gone in for siesta when i first had the notion to. needless to say, i slept soundly after the approximately two shots of mystery booze that had accompanied my dessert...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

my address, for those of you who have been asking, is:

Joanna Willits
Semester In Spain
Paseo de Cristina 1-3
Entreplanta A-B
41001 Seville

...hint hint.

Monday, September 3, 2007

this is where it all goes down

la plaza de españa

la plaza de españa

this is the street where i live! (i couldn´t rotate these two)

el catedral at night

and the day
that´s all for now because it literally took me two hours to load these.
this weekend was pretty uneventful. we mostly just slept or read or whatever because it was too hot and we were too tired to do anything. the food has been great here lately. we went out for pizza on friday night! something familiar! as of now i´ve tried gazpacho (cold tomato soup with cucumbers), arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), la langosta (a little lobster complete with head that i had to rip off and suck out...please god never let that happen again), tortilla española (basically like a potato omlette) and many other things i can´t even begin to describe. it has definitely been a stretching experience. especially for my stomach since my señora insists on making us eat more and more and more. i´m convinced she is fattening us up for some wierd spanish sacrificial ceremony. we´ll see.

today was our first day of classes. not too rough. it was pretty funny to hear our spanish professor try to speak engilsh to us. we don´t have homework yet, so that´s nice. and i already knew most of what he was teaching. however, it didn´t really help with not knowing what everyone else in this country is saying. it has helped to watch movies that are originally in english and dubbed in spanish. for example, the other night, we watched "como dios" (bruce almighty). hilarious. and they have commercials here for american products but give them spanish names. like here, mr. clean is don limpio. tv is the highlight of our day as it is very important in the spanish culture. it´s on during every meal and stays on for most of the day.

i´m off for lunch...i wonder what it will be today.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

day 2

well, it´s still hot here, but i think i´m getting used to it. i don´t know about the food, but i´m eating what i´m given. today we had orientation and it was so overwhelming! so much information on so little sleep. it was really helpful though. we had el almuerzo (lunch) at about 2:30 which will be the case every day. then we had siesta! greatest idea ever. everything closes from 2-5 because it´s the hottest part of the day. lunch is served (the biggest meal of the day. and when i say big, i mean big), and then everyone lays down for an hour or so. then everything opens up from 5-9. we did a walking tour of the city with a sevillano (seville native) today. it was awesome, but tiring. we found out where all the cool spots to be are and saw a lot of historical architecture. well, i´m off to walk home for la cena (dinner)! hasta luego. pictures to come soon...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spain: day 1

we arrived in madrid this morning to find that spain is hot. really hot. and they don´t use air conditioning much. i´m convinced that my core temperature will never go down. after waiting for hours in a sleep-induced stupor, we flew to sevilla. from the airport, we were split up and taken by bus to our new homes. they basically parked the bus, got our stuff out, and left us with two people who don´t speak english. there was a lot of smiling and nodding going on. my señora, maria luisa and her husband, miguel, walked us home and showed us our rooms. almost immediately after doing so, maria luisa started to remove her pants in the salon (living room). she went to her bedroom and came out wearing a flowered mumu house dress thing. at least she was wearing something. miguel went to the bedroom and came out wearing a button down shirt and his underwear. we ate a very filling lunch and then took naps to combat the extreme jet lag we´re experiencing. my roommate and i left this afternoon to explore and found the school where we´ll have class every day. it´s close to where we live, so that´s nice. tomorrow we have some orientation stuff and a walking tour of the city. for now, i think i´ll just wander some more and try to figure this whole thing out. i can´t believe i live in spain.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

this is the plaza de espana! my school is right next to it. time is quickly running out. i'll be in spain in two days!

Friday, July 20, 2007

bienvenidos a mi mente

translation: welcome to my mind.

this is where it all goes down, kids.