Monday, February 23, 2009


Highlights of the week
Monday- went to see Slumdog Millionaire!!!
Wednesday-joined my fellow Americans in climbing a rope jungle gym while simultaneously drinking wine. From a carton.
Thursday- found a place that serves mojitos. Unfortunately, this bar has decided to use some very interesting cartoon drawings for its wallpaper that made me a little uncomfortable. Went out to Buddha again and saw everyone from the group. Had a great time dancing with Coop until a guy 5 feet away from us threw up. We left the club at about 3 and grabbed some churros before walking home. Perfect ending to a memorable night.
I left for Granada and slept the entire way there. Surprise surprise. As soon as we got there, Andrea, Elle and I all showered and then proceeded to nap for 2 hours. Although this may seem like a waste, after having 6 minutes *if that* of hot water to shower for a month and half, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. After we woke up we headed off to see my FAVORITE city in Andalusia, Granada! I love Granada for its Arabic feel and more importantly its shops. There’s a large Muslim population there and they have very cool shops filled with pillows, blankets, wall coverings, jewelry, hookahs, lamps…everything is so beautiful and exotic! So after our nap time, we tried to meet up with Derek and the boys for a drink because a glass of beer or wine here comes with a free tapa. Tapas are an important part of Spanish culture. They’re little appetizers or snacks that range from mini-sandwiches to a plate of cheese to meatballs….it’s a great addition to the social life. Anyhow, we call the guys and try to give them an idea of where we are in the city. Elle informs them that we are next to a large fountain. Very clear description as there is a large fountain at just about every intersection.  Anyhow, I was starving at this point because I had decided earlier that I was too good for my bag lunch. Bad idea. We finally arrived at the teteria (Moroccan tea place) called Kasbah. Coop let me know that it is highly recommended by Rick Steve’s travel book (I’m pretty sure he has memorized the book). Anyhow, great atmosphere but my order got lost in translation. I specifically pointed to the Moroccan/Indian bread for one euro. I was only looking for something quick and cheap to hold me over until dinner. I got exactly that. Apparently, Moroccan bread is a tortilla. A cold tortilla elegantly folded on a plate. It was disgusting—but I still ate it. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for a 3 course dinner. Salad with tuna, pork with French fries and yogurt with fruit. No one was a really big fan but it was free so I guess we can’t really complain. That night we all went back to Kasbah to smoke hookah for Kali and Katie´s bday....I was terrible at smoking hookah compared to everyone else. I guess I have small lungs. Anyhow, it was fun and we had a good time just laughing although our friend Zach snapped a lot of double chin pics of me. oh well. haha. We had such a great time (although Elle aka Dragon was feeling light headed afterwards :( ...) but I was ready to go to bed at 2 when we realized we had to be up the next day at 8:30.

8:30 bright and early the next day we were off to the capilla and the cathedral. Outside the cathedral are a large amount of gypsies. Beware of the gypsies. 1) they are not magical beautiful women dancing in long skirts. they are old unattractive women trying to steal your money. 2) they hand you these little plants as a "gift" and then demand that you give them money for it. this is how they get you. do not fall for their tricks. our friend john lost money to a gypsy last time we were here because he was being too nice. don´t let them take advantage of american friendliness. 3) some gypsies do play music or perform in some sort of way. some are cool, like this one little band we saw and some are a little lame. one lady painted herself gray (i guess to be a statue) and then had a hat for money. I guess if i could have the job of just being painted gray, i would do it but i think its kinda a lame talent.

anyhow, la capilla--inside are the remains of ferdinand and isabel. interesting fact: their tombs have statues of them sleeping and isabel´s head is imprinted further into the pillow because she was more important and had more influence. Their daughter and her husband are buried next to them and they are facing opposite directions because the husband was unfaithful and they had lots of problems in their marriage.

The cathedral, beautiful but freezing. We saw a reproduction of John the Baptist...but just his head cut off. Our tour guide Rafa started telling the story and I was thinking ¨this sounds a lot like john the baptist" and then i stopped being blonde and realized he was talking about john the baptist....

break time: 1) andrea and i bought indian pillowcases which we are psyched about. 2)i bought donor kebap (gyro) and wasn´t able to eat it because my stomach was upset. disappointment of a lifetime. luckily i found one sunday night in seville and ate it in 30 seconds.

la alhambra: i would talk about how amazing this was but after spending 3.5 hours there, im still a little scarred. i might comment later but with the attention span of a 5year-old, i really thought i was going to die.

After la alhambra: we were sneaky and watched pineapple express on derrick´s computer. about halfway through the movie, zach says "i really can´t see the screen." then everyone in the room minus derrick admits that they really haven´t been able to see the movie because of the glare. nice.

dinner: white soup. not good. fried chicken and fries. delicious. dessert: something very similar to the box cake veanetta if anyone remembers it. my gma used to always have it but it went out of business or something. someone informed me at the table though that its coming back....i can´t wait.

going out: Andrea convinced me to go out despite my exhaustion because Philly Tilly demanded her to force me to. So I went and had a great time. Andrea and I danced around and were stupid at this really awesome club with metallic gold couches. Sass and I really do know how to have a good time. Unfortunately, everyone else felt they needed to go to a bar before dancing so Andrea and I stayed until about 3 and then headed home. But I had such a good time with my date DREA!!!

Granada is my favorite city so far. I wish I could go back now. Unfortunately I have noticed that even only one month in, our wknds are running short. On Sunday Coop and I are booked trips to go to Paris and Berlin the last week in April and Barcelona the second weekend in March. I CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So I’m very behind on the blogs and unfortunately as time goes on, I think things are just going to get more hectic. But anyhow….GIBRALTAR!!!! On Valentine’s Day, I headed off to the British city of Gibraltar with the majority of my American friends at EUSA to get a glimpse of the monkeys, the rock of Gibraltar, as well as the caves. Obviously, I mainly went for the monkeys but the views at Gibraltar were really amazing and I’m pretty sure that those were the first caves I’d ever seen. So we boarded the bus at the crack of dawn and watched Old School until we got there. Once we got there, we flew through the border checkpoint and boarded these little minibuses up the mountain. I felt very lucky to be on bus number 5 because our guide was hilarious. But then again, I find all British people to be funny. The sights were great and the cave as well but those monkeys…it was pretty hard to concentrate on anything else when you’ve got a monkey giving you high fives in exchange for peanuts. I wasn’t particularly interested in having a monkey climb on me and it turns out for good reason. One girl had a peanut drop down her shirt and the monkey was kind enough to reach down her shirt and get it for her….The monkeys are so smart—they know to check your pockets and your backpack for food. Coop and I both got a picture taken with the monkeys but neither one of us really wanted to put our backs to the monkeys long enough for a picture so we both look pretty anxious in them…I was taking a video of a mama monkey and her baby and in the middle of it, the mama swoops over my head and I’m trying to run away….pretty lame to be scared of monkeys but they do bite and some of them are pretty big….anyhow, after the much too short tour of the monkeys and the rock of Gibraltar, we had some free time and we looked at some of the shops. Andy ordered an English breakfast and I was so excited because I had a bite of his beans and they tasted like pork and beans. I must confess, I’m a little sick of Spanish food at this point….so luckily for Valentines day, Coop surprised me by taking me to a Italian restaurant located in an old Arab bathhouse. Needless to say, I was thrilled. We really had a great time although one old man did stop me on the way out asking me who paid and where was my boyfriend. I think he was trying to find his grandson a valentine’s date during the wait for dinner. A little late….I assured him that I already had a Valentine and left a little creeped out. Afterwards we went for coffee and attempted to find a Moroccan tea place. We never found it so we went to the Club Buddha. Coop was pretty tired so I bought him a beer and just when he was beginning to perk up, WE GOT KICKED OUT OF THE CLUB! …but not as dramatic as you might think. Our one friend was wearing white shoes and couldn’t get in because of it so Coop and him were covertly attempting to switch shoes. Unfortunately, the bouncer noticed and they both got kicked out. But then it turns out that for one reason or another, most of our friends got the boot so we all ended up outside Buddha just hanging out laughing about being ridiculous Americans. It was a good bonding experience…In Spain, things don’t run on time, work properly or always go smoothly but the attitude here is so laid-back that you can’t really worry about anything. It’s kinda just go with the flow….also known as hakuna matata. Haha.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spain: One Month Mark

What happened this week:

-two end of course exams Friday (i.e. the end of my month long class from 5-9 yayyy)
-I got a roommate for two days but for complicated reasons, she is gone now so I'm back to being pensive in the room.
-The two soccer teams of Sevilla played (Betis vs. Sevilla) and Betis won!!!!! My Spanish family cheers for them as well as Coop and I. Betis is the underdog in the rivalry and when we watched it in a local pub, we definitely high fived and celebrated with some really cute old men who sang the olay, olay, olay, olay song...
-I have realized that a large majority of the bars and clubs do not enjoy the presence of American college students in their city. A very mean bouncer has rejected us on more than one occasion from entering. Although he was a huge jerk, I can't blame him for not wanting us to enter. While watching the Betis/Sevilla game, one person from our group got sick in the bathroom and another broke a glass. And the large majority did not buy anything. Yes, we represent the very broke and unclassy social status of American college students.
-MY SPANISH MADRE GAVE ME A FLAMENCO DRESS!!! So one day after dinner, my madre just starts pulling clothes out of a bag that she wants me to have. Not all of them were gems...but she did give me a flamenco dress that fits perfectly. Her daughter wore it one year to Feria and then didn't want it. Paloma told me it cost 300 euros. I'm seriously feel so lucky to be here.


So I went to Ronda today--VERY FUN, cheap and simple day trip. I met up with Coop at 9 and we strolled to the bus station. Bought tickets to Ronda and realized that besides Coop, Elle, Andrea and I, 9 other people were going to Ronda that day.

Classmates + bag lunches + bus rides = field trip

Speaking of bag lunches, whenever we go on a trip all of our spanish madres pack us bag lunches. For me, it consists of two sub sandwiches (one with pepperoni, one with ham and cheese) and a fruit. Within 15 minutes of being on the bus, I already had started eating my lunch. The rest of the sandwich as well as Coop's tuna and tomato sandwich were gone by the time we got there despite the 5 signs in the bus that say no eating for higienic reasons (since when did Spaniards start worrying about sanitation--milk and meat are not refrigerated in the grocery stores). And then I found 5 euros on the bus...

After the scenic trip of mountains and sheep, we finally arrived in Ronda.

-mountain village. the guadalevin river runs through it and has created a huge and beautiful gorge.
-Ernest Hemingway used to spend time here and the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls is based loosely on Ronda. Of course, Coop is reading it right now. How intellectual...
-the oldest bullfighting ring is located in Ronda.

Walked there, took about a million pictures at an overlook spot, randomly ran into an old man, who seemed a bit racist. He definitely asked Derrek, a friend of ours who happens to be black, if he was related to President Obama. I’ve learned here that Spaniards are not very sensitive. My Spanish family continually calls a family friend fat in front of her face and she thinks its funny. Also because there’s so few black people here and there’s no historical tension like in the U.S, Spaniards make note of black people in odd ways (i.e. they have the best tan, are obviously related to Obama, etc.) But it’s definitely not in a racist way. Spaniards LOVE Obama. My senora had a party for him winning.

Anyhow…after that, Elle had a great idea to hike down the gorge area and eat our lunches down there. Even though the hike back up was pretty rough, it was really awesome. You will understand if I ever get the pictures up. I didn’t even bring my camera because everyone else gets so camera happy and Coop takes really good scenic pictures. But seriously, at the end of the day, I was refusing to get in any more pictures. FB will be ridiculous.

Three more extreme highlights of the days:

-a kitkat bar (I’m really starting to miss American food. Huge Mexican food craving today)

-we hiked down a water mine of La Casa Del Rey Moro. It was a big zigzagging staircase carved in rock that led down to the Guadalevin river.

-Coop and I finally found him a hat. Pictures to follow….it’s amazing.

After a long day of hiking, I slept the whole way home on the bus. Surprise Surprise. Rice and Spanish omelet tonight YESSS. Classes at the university tomorrow….

Monday, February 2, 2009


I've realized that as time goes by, it's much harder to keep up with the blog. So I'll just recap the week a bit...

*It is monsoon season here in Sevilla. Rain predicted for the next week and it has rained on and off for the next three days. With no dryer, this could become a problem as two pairs of my jeans already are soaking wet.

*Last Wednesday night my family took us out to see Flamenco music (at a bar called Louisiana haha). I love how women just get up and start dancing Sevillana. I also love how my family always invites Coop and I to everything. We're their nice but mute friends. Actually I'd have to say that understanding Spanish here has become easier. Or they're using easier phrases because they've realized how bad my Spanish is. I think I'm more comfortable just talking and not worrying about whether its the right tense. Anyhow, my family (which basically includes Paloma and her best friend Luisi) always know where to go to get free drinks or just buy us our drinks. It's kinda awesome. But I mostly just feel cool because I'm not standing in a crowd of 50 Americans and calling it a cultural experience/study abroad.

*On more than one occassion, I've punked out on going out. Andrea has thus corrected my ways and in the future, I will be making better use of my time here.

*I went running a few days last week and I think that the free techno music that I get on my cell phone has improved my endurance. Unfortunately, I was so out of shape I could hardly walk the next day. Also, I see Spanish men running here but no women.

*Saturday night we went out and walked miles in the rain. Boo. But it was worth it because we saw a ridiculously dressed band very drunk serenading Andrea, Angela and Elle. It was hilarious. We then proceeded to dance at a Irish bar to Shania Twain and the Grease Soundtrack. WOOWWW...

On Sunday night we somehow ended up at another Irish bar ONEILLS which is very close to our house, very expensive and the owner is very nice to us Americans. So as a gimmick to get us all to come, the owner promised free hotdogs. I don´t know why I expected a legit hotdog but I definitely fought for a room temperature hotdog. And then I bit into something hard in the middle of it. And then the Steelers won. booo...

Andrea and Elle planned a group trip to Ronda this weekend which will be perfect. The end of our intense three hour class every day is Friday as well. Ronda is one of the white towns (pueblos blancos). Hopefully I will get my computer and computer cord so I can post pictures! :)