Monday, June 20, 2011

And so it comes to an end...

So I have finally made it back to Colorado, 9 1/2 months later.  Therefore, this will be my last blog post for awhile at least. This past week has kind of been a blur or despedida dinners and goodbyes.
Somehow I managed to get all of my stuff into only 3 bags (1 checked bag, 1 carry on bag and my laptop bag).  Amazingly my checked bag was 100 pounds lighter than my bags on the way home.  I am very proud of myself.  
It is still kind of surreal.  I don't completely feel like I'm home, but I know that I'm not going to back to Spain.  I'm kind of in a limbo position.  The only time I've been sad so far was on the plane from Madrid to Philly when I realized that this amazing chapter of my life was closed.  I am really glad that this chapter was able to close without any regrets except that I never met Antonio Banderas.  Of course there are more places that I wish I had traveled/gotten over the fear of traveling by myself, but I wouldn't consider that a regret. I had such a great time in Murcia this past year and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

¡Besos para siempre! 

Monday, June 13, 2011


This past week has been an interesting one to say the least.  On Tuesday Annalisa and I had our despedida dinner, although neither of us are leaving until this weekend.  

We went out for tapas at Madre de Dios and then to Badulake for one last crazy Tuesday, and let me assure you all that it was crazy.  And then on Wednesday we had a picnic. Which was actually held inside because it was supposed to rain.  I made stuffed mushrooms.  And then after that I went to dance and later my flamenco class and I went out for dinner after class.  We figured last week would be a better time to do a dinner since last Thursday was some holiday or other.  On Thursday I studied for my exam and then Friday I took my 20th Century Spanish poetry exam.  He started it off by saying that he fully intended upon passing everyone, and that he did.  I got an 8.  Friday night I went over to my family's house.  I actually babysat the girls and stayed the night. The next morning Javi made churros, btw homemade churros are way better than any store bought ones, and then we went to the beach.  We spent all day at their beach house with another family (the girls' science teacher, from England, her husband, and their three kids who are all the same age as the girls).  
 You can't really tell, but we're having a seaweed war (best quote to come out of the day..."I hope you guys aren't fighting." "No Mom, we aren't fighting, it's a war.")
Yesterday, I took Bre to the airport to help her negotiate all her luggage and then I came home and spent the rest of the day recuperating from the beach.  I spent today working on my linguistic commentary, which is a lot more time-consuming than it should be, and I went to flamenco.  For some reason I feel absolutely dead today and so on my way home from flamenco tonight I was being 'guapaed' and I snapped.  Like I literally started bitching these guys out on the street.  Oops.  You know it's time to come home when...

¡Hasta la semana que viene!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Study week 2

Well...I have officially passed 4 out of my 6 classes and only have 2 more finals left.  On Friday I had my first final, with was actually the second half of the test that we took in April for my stories class.  She has already posted the grade and I got a 7.1 which gives me a 7.7/10 for the year, which in American grading terms is about a B (no, it doesn't match up).  Today I survived my final on the history of the Spanish language.  It was actually a lot easier that I had anticipated.  I was expecting really detail-oriented questions, and a lot of them, but it was only 5 questions with a total of 7 points.  I think I passed, but I'm not sure I got much higher than a 5 (which is what you need to pass here).  Yesterday we all got together to take a group picture of our Murcian family.
My Erasmus family 
My American family
  And for the big wow-finish...
 Yes, I did dye my hair red again, I was bored and it was in front of me in the grocery store. 
And thus was my week.  I did not do anything particularly fun this week aside from study, watch Project Runway and NCIS, and do some work for my summer internships.  I have one exam, one linguistic commentary, and 11 days left until I return to the beautiful Rockies!!!

¡Hasta la semana que viene!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Study Week 1

This post is not a day late because I's a day late because the website was being weird yesterday.
Now that we have that out of the way I can tell you about my stimulating week...NOT...I've been studying, or going to class, literally every minute since Alyssa left.  Occasionally I will meet Bre at a cafe to study as opposed to getting distracted by my computer whilst studying in my apartment, but it pretty much all centers around the studying.  
On Thursday I did get a chance, finally, to go to the farmer's market (which I haven't done since the beginning of the semester because I had class on Thursday mornings).  Bre and I got churros and I bought lots of fruit and a bouquet of peppermint roses (which I can never resist, they are my favorite flower).  
On Saturday I went over the Paige, Hilary, and Bree's for dinner and then to Tammy's 21st birthday party but since I'd been studying all day and had more to do, I left at about 2:30.  Other than that it's been pretty chill.
Yesterday I got to see my girls again, I had dinner with them and helped them study for their English finals, which are today.  Later tonight I am heading over there for a couple hours to babysit while their mom gets fitted for her dress for her brother's wedding at the end of June.  My job is to make sure they study for math, why they put me in charge of that particular subject I will never know.  At least it is elementary school math, I think I can still handle that...
In addition, this week officially marks the beginning of my countdown...17 days until I am back with my family, I get to meet Wally, and I can breathe Rocky mountain air again!!!

¡Hasta la semana que viene!

Monday, May 23, 2011

When you hear a bell, run like hell: Bicycle dodging in Amsterdam

So for Monday-Wednesday morning I had classes so I did that and Alyssa read...A LOT...and we just hung out and walked around a bit.  On Wednesday afternoon we left for...Amsterdam!! Yea, that's right, Alyssa and Sarah in Amsterdam, AND our friend from high school, Ali, who is studying in Scotland, met us there.  The first night our flight got in a little late so we just went straight to dinner, and Italian restaurant (Dutch food is not so good).  We were there for three hours just chatting and drinking wine.
Thursday: We started the day really early, met downstairs at 8 am so that we would have enough time to get breakfast and walk to the Anne Frank House.  We got there right before it opened so we were some of the first people in line and were, in fact, the only people in each room that we saw as we went through the museum.  We weren't allowed to take pictures, but I will never forget it.  The Secret Annex was a lot bigger than I had imagined, but I suppose spending 2 years enclosed anywhere would make it feel small.  I think what struck me most about it were all the quotes that had been painted on the wall from her diary.  Most specifically I was struck by the quote about her wanting to be a writer when she grew up since that is exactly what I wanted when I was her age.  (The picture is of the warehouse from the outside, across the river).  From there we went into a little cafe for coffee and lox & bagels (delicious!  My Jewish taste-buds were satiated).  From there we walked over the the Central Station for our 3 hour free walking tour.
The tour started with walking through the red light district, there were many more women in windows than I had anticipated for 11 am.  We also walked through the old Jewish Quarter, which is now an ugly street because they had to rebuild all the houses following the Winter of Starvation (local people took the wood from the furniture and supports out of the old Jewish houses after they had been deported so as to heat their own).  
The colorful building is from the old Jewish Quarter.  They decided to let architecture students in the 60s rebuild the houses...Silly idea.  The other building is an example of classic architecture, no I was not holding my camera oddly, the building was leaning.  All the buildings on the canals have their building foundations on pilons which are driven into the canal floor and the wood on this one must have been rotting.  No worries though, apparently they are checked every year.  Also, the buildings all used to be warehouses so the spices were stored in the top floor and in order to get them up there they had all the buildings leaning forward to avoid the boxes smashing in the windows...they could have made the cranes longer, but that would have been too easy.  From there we went back to the Dam Square and had a little break for lunch.  We then saw the Royal Palace

This is also from whence Louis Bonaparte uttered the immortal words, "Ik ben uw konijn" meaning I am your rabbit...he was going for koning which actually means king.  At this point we walked along the canals and back to the near the Anne Frank House.  From there we walked back to the Dam Square, got hot dogs for lunch and then went to the Sex Musuem for giggles.  From there we decided we needed a drink so we went to the Bols Cocktail and Genever Experience.  Basically they had a lot of different flavors of liquer and at the end you got to try some and got to print out the recipe for a special cocktail.  It was delicious.  From there we went back to the hostel and then out to dinner.  This time we had Chinese food.  
Friday: Alyssa and I went to the Van Gogh museum right as it opened, and as my father's daughter I made up lots of information about the various paintings.  After that we went on a Canal Cruise Tour in the morning.  And after the tour we walked over to the flower market.  Unfortunately none of the tulips were open so we just kind of walked up and down.  There was also a cheese store so we tried some delicious different types of cheese.  I ended up buying some delicious pesto goat cheese.  After that we found a Indonesian restaurant, which is supposed to be the best type of food in the Netherlands since Indonesia was part of the Dutch colonies.  After that we headed back to the hostel to grab our bags and on the way to the bus stop we passed the Diamond Museum and decided to go in, we got the I AMsterdam cards so the entrance was free.  After that short detour we finally got on the bus and off to the airport.  
This weekend we spent lazing around the apartment, watching movies and such things, and last night we had dinner with my family.  I think they wore Alyssa out with their constant talking and  WII Just Dance.  All in all it has been a good week.

Here are some pictures from Amsterdam that I took:

 bike parking garage
 the little old lady who lived in the shoe...

¡Hasta la semana que viene!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sangria in Sevilla

Alyssa finally showed up in Murcia this week!!  As if it hadn't taken long enough for her to get here (I've only been waiting since September) all of the flights got screwed up too so she ended up getting into Murcia 7 hours later than initially excepted.  Not cool Madrid airport, not cool.  Anyhow, she's here!!  Last week I had, and still have, a lot of work to do so it afforded lots of time to get over her jet lag.  Another great tool?!...goblets of sangria! As it turns out, whilst I was drinking that lovely goblet, there was an earthquake in Lorca.  Everybody in the city of Murcia is fine, but unfortunately there is not a single building in Lorca that did not suffer some damage with 63% almost completely uninhabitable.  It is certainly a sad story and all the students from Lorca in my classes have only been attending sporadically for the past week.  But as I said, luckily no one I know has been hurt, and Alyssa and I are perfectly fine, although I'm not sure the same can be said for our livers.
On Friday we left for Sevilla and due to the severe heat in the city (btw it's only May...July supposed gets up to 120 degrees F) we immediately cooled off with a caña.  Unfortunately the lunch itself was really rather disgusting dry chicken, but at the time we were too hungry to notice.  We then walked around the area where we were staying, near the Plaza de Encarnación (which contains the Plaza Mayor...each street in Sevilla has about 6 names because they couldn't make up their minds which stories were the best ones).  After a few hours of getting our bearings we met up with the tour group that was doing a free, three-hour walking tour of the city.  The tour was fairly interesting (the one in Paris was better) but it did help to get us oriented really well.  Our guide showed us where the cathedral was (not that it's really all that hard to's the tallest building in the city), the Alcázar, a little bit around the Barrio Santa Cruz (the old Jewish quarter), and a major park where the statue commemorating Isabel and Ferdinand sending off Columbus is.

We had a really nice time and then decided to walk over to the Cervecería la Internacional because we could...unforunately there were no seats and our feetsies were tired from walking for 3 hours straight so we decided to try to figure out how to get back to the hostel area and then we would grab some dinner.  We got quite a bit lost, but managed to make it back and ended up having dinner at an amazing restaurant.  Alyssa had an avocado salad, which she said was good and I took her work on, and I had an orange glazed duck breast (perhaps one of the best things I have EVER eaten...I made sure to repeat that quite a few time).  Dinner definitely made up for lunch, and then some.
Saturday we woke up early to get to the Cathedral before it got too hot.  We ended up standing in line for a bit, since it doesn't open until 11 but we managed to make it inside.  We then promptly walked through the cathedral to the Giralda tower entrance which we climbed.  Luckily it wasn't that hard since the iman used to climb up it every day, five times a day, on the back of a donkey (thus there were ramps) for the call to prayer, because like any good Catholic building in Spain it was once Muslim.  The climb was made up of 35 ramps and 17 steps.  The views from the top were spectacular though!
From there we got straight into the line at the Alcázar Real (royal fact, the royal family still stays there when they come to visit Sevilla)

From there we felt that it would be very wrong of us not to get something to drink, so that is what we did.  We walked into the Barrio Santa Cruz and somehow managed to find a square we had seen the day before which a cute restaurant so we sat down and had some drinks and a light lunch of the most amazing gazpacho with watermelon puree in it.  
Lys had sangria and I had a gin & tonic with saffron (mostly because it sounded weird)
best gazpacho ever!
From there we wandered around the Barrio Santa Cruz for awhile and then over to the Plaza de Toros.
According to what the tour guide said, the Plaza de Toros in Sevilla is the oldest plaza that is still running today and they have bull fights almost every weekend starting the week before Semana Santa.  The next fight was the next day so we missed it.  From there we wandered back over towards our hostel and because it was so freaking hot we decided that now would be an appropriate time to have some more disappeared rather rapidly though.
Very sad.  We then went back to the hostel to pack up a little bit (sober up a little bit) and get ready to go the flamenco show.  Because we weren't leaving for the show until 9 and we were ready at 7:30 we decided what better thing to do than go to the Cervecería la Internacional and hope that there were seats open this time...there were!
These are all the different types of beer they had...quite impressive if I do say so myself.
After that little adventure we made our way back to the hostel where we met up with the group going to the flamenco show.  

The show started with just the guitarist and the singer doing a piece and then the male dancer came out.  He did three pieces.  Then there was a fifteen minute break and then the same thing but with the female dancer.  They were both absolutely amazing.  There were bits where there feet were moving so fast I couldn't even see them.  It was a lot of fun though because not only were they amazing dancers, but I was also able to distinguish different movements and the different sounds your foot makes depending upon the way you hit the ground.  It was exciting to know that I've actually learned something in the past 5 months of flamenco class!  
Sunday we got up early to check out and eat some chocolate con churros for breakfast and then back to Murcia.  We spent most of the time in the airport chatting with an older gentleman from upstate New York, who now lives in Rome.  We then got on the plane, which somehow managed to land early, and got on the bus, also early, and were back in time for me to do some homework, talk to Mom on skype and spend a good 20 minutes trying to teach Alyssa's parents how to use skype!

Altogether a very fun weekend!!
¡Hasta la semana que viene!


Monday, May 9, 2011

And so it begins...

This week not only signals the beginning of a lot of studying, but also of friends visiting.  The week itself was really boring since all I've been doing is going to class and then studying in the afternoon, but on Saturday my friends Jeanette and Jessica, who I was visiting in London last weekend, came to stay.  It began with a bit of an unfortunate miscommunication because I had written down that they were coming to visit from the 6th-8th which actually was perfect since it gave me a day to study and detox before my beloved Alyssa comes to stay (!!!), but sadly it is cheapest to fly on Saturdays and Tuesdays so they actually are going to be here the 7th-10th.  I was not informed of this change until after I had already been sitting at the bus station waiting for them for an hour, on the 6th.  Oh well, cest la vie.  Anyhow, they got into Murcia OK on Saturday evening and then yesterday we spent the day at the beach.  I was soaking in the sun, but much more concerned with studying.  Jeanette and Jessica were just excited to be near the ocean, both of them are from Southern California but study in London (not so much like home).  We had a really nice time and then went out for dinner at Dad's favorite, Lizarran.  Today they went to Cartagena, they should be back in a few hours, and I am supposed to be studying/really I am just enjoying having lots of space to spread out to study while not actually reading a thing. 
This is us on the beach...aka I've been too busy to remember to take pictures this week

Also, my newest blog post came out on Pinkpangea: Sleeping on London's streets for the Royal Wedding
And that's all for this week folks!

¡Hasta la semana que viene!