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.