Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I’m so excited because I finally got my Sevici card---which is a bike pass for the city. To most it probably wouldn’t be that exciting but I think this will be much better than walking all the time and will save me a lot of time. I got on the bike yesterday and realized how long its been since I’ve rode a bike….we’ll see how me weaving in and out of pedestrians works out…

Bomba (the dog) is sick. I generally end up walking him at night to help the family out some and it seriously took the dog 15 minutes to attempt to pee. When we were in Mijas, we saw a bulldog puppy that cost 1100 euros. I never realized how much people were willing to pay for a dog….there’s plenty at the animal shelter 
I have found out that my exams end June 3rdish and I can either go home, stay in Sevilla or go travel. Problem is that I’m not sure how many people will be staying in Sevilla and I’m not sure where I’d travel to. Andrea wants to go to London and Meagan is going to Greece but I’m not sure if the dates will work out.  Travel plans can be stressful.


So I tried to use the Sevici card today and check out a bike. After using a card that's supposed to last six months for one day, it has apparently expired. I'm not sure if that's a testament to things not working properly in Spain or my bad luck.

Went to what seemed like hours of class today and realized that I'm going on a week of vacation to Italy and getting back the day before my history exam. Hopefully what the professor says is true and 80% of our grade is attendance...TIS (also known as This Is Spain, meaning only this could happen in Spain.)

Finished a very good book today---The Glass Castle. All should read it.

We went out to The Sweet Party at Caramelo's tonight. Sure they had free beer. But they also had waiters walking around with free candy, which was way better. Except for the fact that the marshmallows kept getting squished onto my boots. I can deal with that if I'm getting free sour patch. Just about everyone from our group was there tonight dancing. I think everyone is starting to get the feeling that we're running out of time. Especially the LSCS students who are here one month less than us. I can't decide if I'm ready to go back or not. While I am very comfortable and accustomed here, I still yearn for American culture. I'm forever going to be stuck in between wanting to be in Spain or traveling and wanting to be with my family and friends in the U.S. Anyhow, I have Paris, Berlin and Italy still to more complaining from me. I'm going to travel in more countries in two weeks than I have the rest of my life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Semana Santa

So the fam has come and gone. Alas, it was quite the adventure. Coop and I backtracked to all of the places nearby that we had visited and showed my parents around Ronda, Gibraltar and Granada. Finally for the last two days we came back to Sevilla to see the pasos and my family came to meet my Senora on Easter and enjoyed a very nice meal with them.
Highlights of the week:
-Coop learning how to play cards with my family….ending with a rather violent game of spoons
-me being terrified and simultaneously fascinated by monkeys at Gibraltar
-Coop being chased and surrounded by monkeys at Gibraltar
-watching my mom speak English to my Spanish senora like she’s speaking to someone mentally handicapped
-watching my dad take caramel shots with my senora’s friend after she insisted
-Philip refusing suntan lotion and getting a very awkward and intense burn on his back
-Coop and I swimming in the Mediterranean and then not being able to feel my body afterwards I’m so cold
-receiving much needed supplies from America including DVDS, books, easy mac and Dr. Scholl’s gel foot pads
-Dad going mute after a very stressful drive to and from Gibraltar….
-Chelsea beating Liverpool
-escaping Granada just in time to beat the crowds of the parade
-eating a meal of donor kebap on more than one occasion with my family
-riding a cybersport bike with the whole family and Coop…disappointment of a lifetime was not being able to reach the pedals
-playing charades with the family. Dad goes up to act his out and forgets the third word in the name of the movie halfway through…..Aliens vs. Predator. The performance was needless to say, unforgettable.
-my mom getting claustrophobic in her hotel room….
-supermarkets in general….first my dad confuses the word mercadona (market) with Madonna then we discover that tortillas are not really carried at Spanish grocery stores after getting everything for Mexican. And finally all grocery stores close at around 9 and are completely closed Sunday, Maundy Thursday but not Good Friday.

Random Commentary

I’ve noted that I have gone far too long without commenting on the regular happenings of Sevilla, which is quite the injustice since it is really a wonderful place to “study” abroad. Some of the latest and greatest:
Food: Food here has been interesting to say the least. Since this is such an important subject to me, I will note a few of the phenomena.
1) I have the exact same breakfast of toast with garlic and oil every morning. Bread is also present at EVERY meal of the day. I’ve never had a single meal here without bread.
2) I have some sort of bean soup two or three days a week for lunch. Spaniards must have the strongest digestion systems ever.
3) Lamburgers. No explanation needed.
4) Dessert=fruit or yogurt
5) You always drink water with the meal, which is good because I think I’ve broken my addiction to diet pepsi.
6) Mexican food is rationed. The portions are TINY compared to the U.S. Also, no free chips and salsa.
7) Burger King and McDonald’s are always very crowded. While they don’t have the breakfast menu because they don’t open until oneish, both BK and McDonald’s serve beer. So I guess they kinda counter each other.
8) Donor Kebap is the greatest thing to happen to Coop and I. So far the city with the best DK has been Madrid…Although we did find one on the other side of town that was pretty good…
9) I am not a fan of fish here. But my Spanish family tries to get me to eat it because it’s good for me, which of course is very nice. However, their last attempt of frying fish and saying it was chicken was unsuccessful.
10) The best sandwich to get is a Spanish tortilla (potato omelet) on bread. But it does need ketchup.
11) If you go out for breakfast, the best thing to get is either churros con chocolate for obvious reasons or bread spread with oil and tomato juice. Sounds gross but it’s very good.
12) TGIF is alive and happening in Sevilla. Our group frequents happy hour but unfortunately only drinks are half off so we just sit there salivating over all the American foods we wish we could order.
13) Drinks here are MUCH stronger than in the U.S. A mixed drink is about half alcohol. On the flip side, the coffees are MUCH smaller. But of course, Starbucks is ever present for anyone’s caffeine fix.
Off the food subject…
• So everyone is getting ready for Semana Santa—except the large majority of UNC-Sevilla students are traveling to Morocco. The Moore family, however, is coming to reconquer Spain. We’re hoping to make it to Morocco for a day at some point, but on the whole we’ll be spending our time in the tourist hotspot, Costa del Sol. I’ve very interested to see how they will like Spain…..the only disappointment about the upcoming trip is that Cosmo couldn’t come. Similar to his twin Baxter, he can speak Spanish.
• I read For Whom the Bell Tolls. It’s a good book, especially to read in Spain. Spain has an interesting history…
• Spaniards are obsessed with game shows. Everything that is on television: game shows, reruns of Smallville, a few reality shows, CSI and the news. And then the other fifteen channels are dedicated to palm reading/fortune telling.
• I went on a class trip to see the churches that have pasos leave from them. Pasos are like foundations with the Virgen or Christ on them that are made of gold or silver and are carried through the streets by 40 or 50 strong men on a specific day of Semana Santa. Then they are surrounded by men who wear costumes similar to the KKK except sometimes in different colors: black, purple, etc. Everyone in Spain is Catholic so this is a very respected ceremony and the whole city pretty much shuts down for it. They even turn the stoplights off at night to avoid any distractions.

Picture Links

Most of these have already been posted but I thought I'd make it more convenient and put it in one collective spot. Many more to come...

Barcelona Pictures

Semana Santa Pictures

Lisbon Pictures

Madrid Pictures

General Random Spain Pictures