Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Last Day in Sevilla

I'm so depressed. Don't get me wrong, I really am so excited to see all of my family and friends. It's still so weird to me how long it's been. Obviously the longest I've ever gone without seeing you all, and it has been hard, but I am NOT ready to leave this place. I already miss it and I haven't even left. I'm just so not ready to go back yet, I almost wish I was a little homesick so this wouldn't be so hard. I just spent a couple hours wandering around the centro and it really hit me, tears were just flowing out of my eyes, I was praying I didn't see anyone I knew. There are obviously going to be some things I don't miss, the creepy spanish men, the thousands of aches and blisters my feet have to deal with everyday, and other things that I can't even think of right now because all I can think about is all the great things. Walking by the third largest cathedral in the world today, and walking by the rio, and the plaza de toros and the beautiful european buildings just made me realize that I won't be able to do that again for a long time.

The weirdest thing for me I think is leaving the friends I have made behind. Some of my friends that I see almost everyday here, I may never see again in my life. Yes a majority go to Penn State, but when am I going to have enough money to visit them. The group of friends I have made here is indescribable. They are the most fun, interesting, intelligent, and funny people I have ever met in my life. They are all from the mid-west/east coast and are almost completely different from my friends at home. And not in a bad way, or a good way, just different. I know I will never meet people like them again, but I also know that there are certain ones that we will keep in touch for ever. And thank god for facebook. Tonight CIEE is throwing a going away party for us at this beautiful palacio. I think it's free food and drink, and our whole program is going. And then we are going to go out after for a little bit.  I can't believe I have to say bye to them. I'm just so not ready. It's weird how my emotions have been so bi-polar here. I remember at one point I was so homesick and so annoyed, now I can't even remember why.

Another thing I was thinking about is how this was honestly the best/hardest experience I have ever been through in my life, and I can't get over how lucky I am that I got to do it. It was the best experience for obvious reasons, who wouldn't want to live and travel in Europe for 4 months, learn another language, and make some of the best friends anyone could ask for. And it was the hardest for multiple reasons. For one, the language barrier, but thankfully my spanish has obviously improved. Second, coming here not knowing ANYONE. Yes, one of my best friends came but through a different program so I wasn't worried, but little did I know I would never see her. I had to find people that I fit in with right away and just be as open and friendly as possible to everyone. Obviously first impressions are important. And somehow I ended up meeting Alicia, who amazingly had bbm and lived a block away from me in the neighborhood that literally only 5 of us live in. Can you say fate? She will by far be the hardest to say goodbye to. Third, living here has made me realize how spoiled I've been my entire life, but I never would have thought it was considered spoiled before coming here. In the beginning it was FREEZING cold and I couldn't even sleep, and I could only leave on my heater for like an hour. I had to be really careful about electricity  and my shower is only 4 ish minutes long with hot water! All these little things made me realize how good I have it back home. It was just such a huge adjustment for me here, but I got through it and now I feel like I can do anything. I can't even explain how much I feel like I have grown up here. (Sorry this is SO cheesy and lame.) Then the food is a whole other story. Thank god my señora cooked super healthy and really delicious food, but honestly it's so repetitive, like we had the same dishes every week. And once it started getting hot here, coming home to only hot meals wasn't the most refreshing thing. But it was just another thing that made me realize how much I've adjusted to. And I hope it doesn't seem like I'm complaining because really I'm so thankful that all of these things happened. It's exactly what I wanted to happen here, I think I needed to grow up a little and actually be challenged.

The worst thing about being here was the money situation. I know I put my dad through hell every time I had to send him a stupid email asking for more money. I never thought I would have to ask for as much as I did and I have no idea how I will ever thank/repay my family. It was just annoying how the dollar is so bad here, and a lot of the money was being spent on taxi rides and going out so I hated having to ask money for that...but at the same time I think it's understandable that I'm not going to just stay inside at night, and cabs were the only safe way home. Yes I did a little shopping : ) but nothing compared to other people! I bought my señora a flower plant on my way home a few minutes ago, I just gave them to her and she loved them. I actually will miss her a lot.

Sorry this was such a depressing post. I swear I am so excited to see you guys!! And I'll try not to be a brat and complain about how bored I am at home, because it really will be amazing to be home and in America and being able to see all of you guys anytime I want. But leaving this place is going to be the hardest thing in the world. Love you all and see you so soon!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

más feria

Last night we went to Feria again. I went to my friend Paige's apartment beforehand because her señora left like 4 flamenco dresses for her and her roomates to wear because she went out of town. So I went over to borrow one! I loved it so  much but it's actually really heavy on the bottom and hard to walk in. I showed my senor and senora the pictures and they were loving it. Then we had another great night at feria. Went to this girl Sara's, she is from Sevilla and was one of the CIEE guides at the beginning and some of my friends are good friends with her now. It was so much fun I already miss it. I don't really have much else to say except here are some pictures, and it's just crazy how there are only 4 more full days left here! I have to start packing because I'm going to be spending as much time with my friends and doing stuff around Sevilla as much as possible.

 Cate, me, Angela, and Carolona. Angela bought her own flamenco dress but decided not to wear it for a third night in a row. It cost  her 100 euro but it's beautiful!
 Traditional feria/flamenco dancing. So fun to watch.
Me, my friend Ian, and then Sara, it was her families caseta that we were in last night.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Feria was so cool. It's basically just a celebration of flamenco. If you are wealthy or lucky enough you own or know someone who has a caseta, a tent, and you can buy food and drinks in there, etc. There are also some public casetas. At about 7 last night my friends, Alicia, Cate, Kyle and I walked over to Los Remedios which is a neighborhood in Sevilla where the Feria grounds are. On our walk over we saw so many pretty spanish women and children dressed in there flamenco dresses. And the men wear short jackets with these interesting hats. We first met up with our friends Jesse, Cj, and Michael at the pub Pheonix where I had dinner and a couple drinks. Then around 9 we got a bottle of wine and drank it before we entered Feria. The enterence to Feria was really cool. It had the traditional no8do. I'm not sure if I've blogged about this before but this "no8do" is EVERYWHERE in Sevilla. The 8 is to resemble a loose coil of yarn, (spanish word for yarn is madeja) and when you read aloud, "no madeja do" sounds like "no me ha dejado" which means "Sevilla has not left me" Basically it signifies the time when King Alfonso struggled to fend off an attack from his own son, Sancho. And in a battle for the thrown, Sevilla stayed loyal to King Alfonso and he rewarded Sevilla with the slogan.
 Cate and Alicia

 Paige and I
 Everyone walking to Feria in their dresses

   Kyle and Cj

Us 4 girls with our flamenco flowers

 Entrance to Feria

 Pretty flamenco dress

Our friend Cj's señora told him to come by her caseta and so we hung out outside for a few minutes but once we all started chatting and everything the family was very nice and let us come hang out inside theirs! We drank this traditional drink, it sort of tasted like a white wine spritzer or something. It was so much fun, the children dressed up are so cute and everyone is just having a great time.
 Cj and his host family
 Some of the children Cj lives with.
Inside the Caseta

Alicia dancing in a different caseta we went to that was public. I got some fries there.

It was so much fun. It ends tomorrow (Sunday) so I'm sure I will go there again tonight. Although, I forgot to mention in my last blog post, I'm like deathly ill. Halfway through the Canary Islands I like woke up and couldn't breathe out of my nose, couldn't swallow because my throat hurt so bad, and my head hasn't stopped pounding for about 4 days straight now. Seriously it's like the worst cold I've ever had. I'm in a lot of pain.

I'm trying to start packing but I don't even know where to start. It's so depressing. And I really don't think everything is going to fit in my suitcase. I just got in really big trouble from my señora because I left my straightener on last night when I left for Feria...woops. But it's like the first time I've ever done that AND  they caught it like 20 minutes after I left. Christ. I mean ya that was pretty stupid of me but it's not like I've ever done it before. Anyways I have a lot to do today so I'm going to get to it. All I did yesterday was catch up on about 8 tv shows. Miss everyone lot's, and Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Las Islas Canarias

Sunday night when we got in we just went straight to sleep. Monday we woke up and bought some groceries at the market, and went to lay out by the pool. Tenerife is beautiful. Palm trees everywhere, huge volcano in the background, the water is so clear. It was too windy to go to the beach that day though so we just hung out by the pool, grabbed lunch at a restaurant, hung out at the pool some more, and got ready for the night. We pre-gamed in our apartment/hotel and then went around to some bars. Sang some more karaoke and had a great time. The next day we went to Siam water park. IT WAS AWESOME. One of the biggest in Europe. I went on all the rides. The very first ride was the biggest one, called Tower of Power and it just goes straight down and it's reallllly tall, and when I got out, I had a GUSHING bloody nose. Alicia was like catching the blood in her hands, and it was all over my face. Finally when we got to the bathroom this little girl saw me and just had a horrified look on her face. It was in my hair, all over my face and all over my hands. I think the pressure and the elevation of that ride was a littleee too much for me to handle. All of the rides were amazing. And not many people were there so the lines weren't bad at all! It was definately one of my favorite days.
                                                        Laying by the pool : )
                                                 Creepy cockroach. Saw about 5 more of those...

                                                Black sand beaches because of the ash from volcanoes

                    This was the wave pool at the waterpark. It was awesome. HUGE  waves
                                That tall tower to the left was the one i got the bloody nose was the scariest thing ever. It was seriously a vertical drop, you had to keep your head back the whole time. And the ride with the funnel and the dragon was our favorite one. 4 people to each raft and you swung back in forth in it. So fun/scary.
Alicia and I going out for the night.

After the day at the waterpark we were all exhausted but we went out for a little bit anyways. Then the next day we just layed on the beach all day long. It was beautiful out and the sun there is soo strong. It was so relaxing and the water was warm and everything. That night we went to this amazing dinner in the nicer part of Tenerife. So it was a little expensive but really good pasta and calamari. I can't WAIT to not go out to eat anymore and to stop spending thousands of dollars a day. Like I came home to 9$ in my bank account...scary. The next day our flight was at 9 am, and then the bus from Madrid to Sevilla was not until 5 pm. So we went into Madrid for lunch, then went to the bus station and took the 6 hour bus back to Sevilla.  The bus was miserable but it was so nice to be back in Sevilla and to see my señor and señora. I cant' believe I only have one week left here. Only 6 more full days. For the rest of the weekend I'm going to be checking out Feria de Abril, which is only celebrated in Sevill and is why we had another week off of school! I'm going in about an hour so I will do a seperate blog post about it and once I know more about it. I think it just celebrates flamenco...not really sure. But if you're lucky you own a "caseta" which is a tent ,and there is a bunch of dancing, eating and drinking. I'm so excited!

The only problem is that I'm SO homesick. Like just craving to see my family and be in America. But I'm just going to soak up these last days and really enjoy them and hang out with all my friends that I won't see for who knows how long. I just wish I didn't feel so sad because I miss home so much. Time to get ready for Feria : )


God I feel like I have been gone from Sevilla forever. Last Friday my sports interest group went to Madrid for the weekend. Friday we toured this sort of like YMCA gym...I thought it was really weird we were touring it until I found out it's where the olympic team practices. It was ok, it was basically just a really big gym.  Then we went off on our own for lunch, and afterward met up to tour the Real Madrid fútbol stadium. It was so much and really cool.
                                      Alicia and I at the stadium
                                              Some old jerseys of the team
                                    MVP awards and others
                                                Team bench
 I forgot to take a picture of the guy....but it was this spanish guy who played for the real madrid basketball team, and he was the first spaniard to play in the NBA... for the Portland Trail Blazers!
                                      Me down on the field
                                                 Where they do press conferences.

After the stadium we all went back and napped and got ready for the night. We went out to dinner and then hung out in the hostel for a while and went to this club called Joy which cost 20 euro to get into...what a rip off. But it was actually very fun.
                                Alicia me paige and cate in the hostel
                                                 Wild club Joy

The next day we had to be up at 10 in the morning to go to the Botanical Gardens. They were beautiful! And the tour guide and I chatted about the red wood trees in California because I was the only one who lived on the west coast.
                                             Interest Group at the gardens
                                              Me, Alicia and Kyle

                                 Couldn't figure out how to fix this. Me with my large iced coffee since we didn't get home until about 4 in the morning and had to be up by 9:30...

Right after the gardens we went on a 2 hour walking tour of the city. I actually really like Madrid. We basically just saw a bunch of plazas but it's a cool city. It rained a little bit but only for a few minutes. After the walking tour we went and had lunch, and then went to Reina Sofia, a museum with lots of Picasso and also Salvador Dali. I got to see one of Picasso's most famous paintings the Guernika. After that long day we went back to the hostel, napped, got ready for the night. Went to dinner at this place where if you ordered a 6 euro mojito you got a bunch of tapas with it for free. It was prettttyyyy delicious. Then we went to this club called Kapital, and it was 7 stories! We sang karaoke and had a great time dancing and hanging out.

                                                     Picasso's Guernike
                                             Another Picasso

Hanging in the hostel before the night.

The next day we went to this cool street market where I bought a friendship bracelet and a Real Madrid hat. Then we had a lot of time to kill until our flight to the Canary Islands so we decided to see a movie...I saw Country Strong and it was AMAZING. Then we went to the airport and our flight for the Canary Islands was at 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

So much school and a bullfight.

Since Sunday night I feel like I haven't stopped moving and I've gotten no sleep. Sunday evening my friends and I (about 11 of us) went out to dinner, a few boys and us girls. It was so yummy and nice to be with everyone after Semana Santa. Then a few of us got a beer afterwards at the food festival. It was the last night of it so there was this big dance thing going on, sort of fun to watch.
                                                           My friend Cate and I

Then Monday was just a full day of class, didn't do anything Monday night. Tuesday layed out at the river all day long. But I studied for a few hours because I had a final the next day and a presentation. Like literally from 11 until 4:30 until I went and bought a swimsuit for Canary Islands and bought my bull fighting ticket. Then went home, had dinner, and got read to go out for the night. Had a great night out, and didn't get home  until 3 in the morning and I had a final at 9 AM....woops. But it actually went totally fine, I mean I'm getting a C in the class, but I feel like that is acceptable while abroad...and for a history class that is completely in Spanish so I have no clue what's going on. Then had class for another 2 hours, home for lunch, and had to memorize my presentation on bull fighting for my next class. Turns out I didn't even have to memorize it though because everyone just basically read of their paper. So I ended up doing that too. Except it got a little awkward when she asked me what a "muleta" was and I didn't know because I had translated it on google and didn't really pay attention to what google had transferred from instead of me explaining it to the class she had to...haha. So we'll see what I got on that presentation. Then Alicia and my plan was to go to a café and work on our presentation that was due the next day, but instead we decided to go to this pub and watch the Real Madrid vs. Barcelona soccer game...(great game, Barcelona won by 2, Messi scoring both goals) It was totally worth it to go because our friends came and we ended up having a great time BUT the game didn't end until around 10:00 pm, so we didn't get back to her homestay until about 11:00 and started the project and I finally left her place at 3:00 in the morning. Had the class at 9:00 am. AND THEN WE DIDN'T EVEN END UP PRESENTING because the class ran out of time. So that was awesome. I literally feel like a zombie. Then came home, organized my room, ate lunch. Met my friends Jesse and Alicia for sangria before the bullfight.

The bullfight was definitely an interesting experience. The plaza is called La Maestranza and it's one of the oldest bull fighting rings in the world, the first fight there was in 1765! So at first all the participants come out and present themselves and there is really fun music and stuff. And then the first bull comes and runs around, and then the matador comes out, and these 2 men on horses come out and stab it in the back of it's neck so it weakens it. And then the bull like runs through capes and these other participants run from like the opposite side of the ring with these other 2 weapons and stab it to weaken it more. And you can sort of see  the blood gushing out. And then the matador comes out and uses a red cape (to hide the blood) and the bull runs through that a little bit more. And then the matador grabs a sword and somehow manages to stab it in the heart. And this is the worst part, when the bull is like totally fine one second, and then suddenly it's legs sort of collapse and it stumbles around for about 30 seconds and then just drops to the ground. And the matador like stands up really proud and boastful that he just slaughtered this bull. THEN these 3 horses come out with this thing attached to them and they put a chain around the bulls neck and attach it to the thing on the horses, and the horses DRAG the bull around the ring in a full circle and drag it out of the ring. I'm pretty sure they use the meat in restaurants though. During one fight the horses ran away from the people that lead them to the bull and one guy got trampled...but he seemed fine after it. And then they repeat this 5 MORE TIMES. So they kill 6 bulls every time they do this and there are like 5 bull fights a week now in Seville, and they started like last week and go through summer I'm pretty sure. I'm really glad I went but I don't really need to go back. Then me, kyle, cate, and alicia got tapas at Levies and now I'm home. I need to pack for Madrid tomorrow and Canary Islands, and we leave at 7:15 in the really I haven't caught up on sleep at all. Sucks. Here's some pics of the bull fight!

 So ya this is when the bull gets dragged around the ring....just a little cruel...
You can sort of see here the sword, and that thing hanging off the bull is stabbed into it to weaken it.

Alright well I have lot's more pictures that you guys can see later. I won't be blogging for quite some time because I won't be back until late Thursday night (one week from now). 2 weeks until I'm home!