Monday, June 20, 2011

Five Months!

This week is my last week here in Spain. My parents are coming on Saturday. I have had to start thinking about packing. It is crazy to think that it has been five months. It dosen't feel like it at all. My host family has really became my family, and I feel like a part of it. It is going to be really hard to say goodbye. Juana is making all my favorites this week.

I have been pretty busy. I went to the beach for a couple of days. I barely did anything other than be on the beach. It was the same time as senior beach week at home. This week Marta and I have a lot of plans. We are going today to do a little shopping and then I have to buy all the train and bus tickets for my parents and I. Tomorrow we are going to meet her mom for breakfast and then going to a palace. On Wednesday we are going to Granada for the day. And Thursday we are going to the ruins outside of the city.

I think the week is going to go by really really fast. We have so much planned. My parents and I are staying here for two days and then staying a night in Sevilla. We then fly to Pisa, spend a night there, and then go to Florence for the week. After we are returning home on the 6th. I have to go register for classes and take my Spanish placement test the next two days. And then I spend one night at home after orientation at USC and then fly down to Sarasota with Katherine and Kristin. So all in all I will be home on the 15th of July. It will be so much travelling.. But I am so happy I can join Kat and Kristin on their vacation. My excuse for a vacation is "It will help me readjust to American life."

I know it has been so long since I have posted last.. It has become hard to blog about my life because I am so used to it now. Marta has finally finished her exams. While she was studying I went to the Judería a lot. (The Jewsish Quarter and really old part of the city.) I know it really well now. There is a tiny little church that is breathtaking. I have seen all of the famous churches in France and I have seen the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and still this tiny little church impressed me much more than any of the others did. There is one small room and the walls are painted and it is just so old and so the paintings on the celing are crumbling. The walls on the side are dark blue with stars on them. It is spectacular.

I will post again I think in Florence and I will probably post again when I arrive home. I am excited to be home to see my best friend and family. But this week will be hard.. I have a life here. I have friends and I have a family that I am really close with.

Until next time, if anyone still reads this!

Monday, May 30, 2011

I want to cook.

Yes, I want to cook. I cook all the time at home and I can count the number of times I have cooked in Spain on one hand. And it's always omlettes. It is funny the things I miss about home.
I miss the ability to go camping, not that I go camping often. But you just can't pitch a tent wherever you want in Spain. And plus I don't think anyone really does.. I also miss driving. And being able to do whatever I want. I think I had more freedom when I lived at home. So I am looking forward to going home. Mostly, I am looking forward to being with my parents again. I can't wait til they get here in June.

I went to a bull fight last night. The bulls are killed. One fact I learned in Spain. It is really quite horrible. But I am glad I went. There were 6 bull fights in all and each lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes. They irritate the bull to make him made and then stab it several times with small blades every few minutes. Finally they use a large blade and stab it one last time so it dies. If it dosen't die they chase it around til it falls and then stab it again. Really really horrible. But fun to see for one time in my life.

Last week was Feria. It was decent. It was like a normal fair but open all night and there are many dance clubs. Which I really hate in general so it wasn't that much fun. The first two nights I went sucked but the third night was a lot of fun because I went with all my friends. I wanted to go home at 4am but one of my friends literally would not let me go. He said it was illegal in Spain to go home before 5am. So, a friend texted Marta to ask what time I had to be home and she said I could arrive home when I was tired. So I stayed until 6am when Marta was texting my friend saying I was in trouble because I wasn't home. I didn't really get this, and neither did anyone else because she had said I could stay out. Anyways, I got home at 6:30 and wasn't tired and really upset I couldn't stay out because my friends went to see the sunrise. Oh well.

I don't have much else to report. I didn't do much this week other than the feria and the bull fight. Pretty jealous I couldn't be at home for my parents memorial day party. There better be an Anna returns day party! I will make Sangria. And maybe finally cook something. I keep stumblingupon fantastic recipies that look just so good. I am saving them and I will probably be master chef when I get back.

Until next week!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

From Córdoba to Paris

Let me begin by apologizing to my entire 13 blog followers. I admit I had forgotten to update my blog, and then I remembered but I was too busy. I guess many things have happened over the past few weeks. I don’t go to school anymore. I have been spending my mornings exploring the Judería (Jewish Quarter) and the afternoons with friends. I am being responsible and not sleeping till noon every day. I think the latest I have woken up was around ten, but mostly I try to get up early to beat the heat during my walks. Two weeks ago Córdoba was filled with tourists admiring the Patios, which are the gardens in the courtyard of the homes. Córdoba in May is quite famous actually, and quite beautiful. I went and saw the Patios two times and was impressed. I also discovered that the Royal Stables are centered here and they have shows of their spectacular horses, which I am hoping to see soon.

I walked with my class here. It was really nice because I am not able to graduate with my class at home. It was terrifying. I had to wear heels and walk down a sloped walkway and walk across a stage. Absolutely horrifying, but thankfully I didn’t trip. After the ceremony we had a lovely dinner at a hotel and an after party there as well. The teachers partied with us, which was very strange to me. Boys who are usually shy and don’t talk to me came up to me and all drunkenly declared their love for me… About five of them at the same time so I was obviously confused. I had to leave early, around four, so my friend Javi called a cab for me and I went home. Marta didn’t even come in til nine in the morning the next day. By that time I was sitting in the airport in Sevilla waiting for my flight to Paris.

So, yes, I went to Paris. Another reason why I haven’t updated in a while. The city is gorgeous. The monuments, the churches, the food, the beautiful people. I have almost nothing to complain about, other than the smell. You see, Spain is quite a lovely smelling country, what with the ubiquitous orange trees. There is really nothing lovely to smell in Paris. The smell of urine by the Seine and the tuberculosis of the homeless people really covers up the smell of crêpes and pastries. But, to say the least, the city is amazing. I stayed with an old friend from middle school who happens to be an au pair in the city. She has a small apartment about two minutes away from the Pantheon and about ten minutes away from Notre Dame. She lives in a perfect area. Of course, I fell ill the first day I arrived in the city. But I fought it off and woke up every day around 8:30 or 9 to start my explorations.

I saw it all, probably every famous church and monument in the city, but sadly I only saw the Louvre and Rodin museum. I am absolutely not an art buff, so it was okay. I think after a take a few art history courses and have confidence in my art knowledge I can return to the city and go on a museum tour. Luckily, since I am an EU citizen with my visa, I was able to enter everything for free, except the Pantheon, because the French woman working there was not friendly at all. Even though they were supposed to let me in free, she did not.

I met up with my 7th grade science teacher who is a friend of the family’s which was really fun. I also saw a girl from my high school on the street near Notre Dame. I stopped and greeted her in a daze. I didn’t even know she would be there. I am sure I was extremely awkward because I was just so surprised to see her.

I went to Shakespeare and Company and Tea and Tattered Pages, both famous english book stores. I bought one Agatha Christie, a Sherlock Holmes, and The Great Gatsby. Fantastic souvenirs If you ask me. I also saw Midnight in Paris while I was there. If you don’t know, it’s a new movie with Owen Wilson that premiered at Cannes two weeks ago. It was so surreal because I had been to all the places in the movie and they even had a shot of the movie theatre I was actually in. I thought it was a lovely film and I really think it displayed the magic of the city. It was light hearted, go see it.

So, on Friday I got on the metro to take an hour long bus ride to the airport to go back to Spain. I took a train from Sevilla back home to Córdoba. When I got in the car I told my parents that I think I had to go to the doctor. I didn’t mean right then, but I guess I sounded really sick. We went to the ER and waited almost two hours to see the doctor for three minutes. They gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and cough medicine, which are helping. I hope to be able to leave the house on Monday. This week is Feria. I can see the lights and fireworks from the roof of my home. I think it will be spectacular.

Anyways, I know I really didn’t go into great depth, but so much has happened and I don’t want to sit here for hours talking about stuff when I am not sure anyone actually reads this. Actually, my host sister reads it. So here you are, Marta, a whole blog dedicated to you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I feel pressured to come up with a good blog title...

This past week has been sort of a nonevent. I finally went to school for a complete week, the first time in like 6 or 7 weeks. It was hell. But I only have two more days left of school.

Friday was the confermation of everyone in my grade. I went to the party with my friends from school. It was really fun because everyone from my class was there. On Saturday Marta went out with her friends and I stayed at home with the parents. We went grocery shopping and made hommemade pizza. We ate in the living room and watched CSI. I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at 2:30 and they were still watching CSI, but Carloman was snoring. Sunday was mother's day and the day before Carloman and I made Honey Lamb. So for lunch on Sunday we sat in the dining room and had a very elegant meal. It was delicious too. Marta went out to see a friend and she was supposed to come home and pick me up, but she came home at like 11pm and we couldn't go out. So I never got to see Cruces this weekend. And I was in the house for almost the whole weekend. It kind of sucked. But I really enjoyed spending time with my host parents on Saturday.

Thursday is my last day of school so on Friday I am going to go to Cadiz. It will be really fun. I get to be with my friends and be on the beach. The weekend after is graduation and then I go to Paris. It is weird because I have plans for like every weekend this month. For feria, hopefully, Kata will come and stay with me for a few days.

So grocery stores in Spain: you can find every type of meat. You can buy tongue, brain, kidneys... All types of fish including octopus. They even sell rabit. The fish section seems super unsanitary to me but I haven't gotten sick yet!

I also learned about wines this week. The montillo or amontillado wine is from Córdoba and is really famous. I tired a glass with Carloman and I really liked it. It is made completely differently but I can't explain it without a diagram. The taste is very different though.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Feliz Pascoa!

Happy Easter!

I haven't updated in awhile- but it was on purpose. I was waiting for Semana Santa to end so I could write about it. Seriously.

"Easter" is not celebrated here. Semana Santa is. A whole week dedicated to Easter. But really, if you are regligious, you celebrate Semana Santa too. It is the whole week leading up to Easter- like Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday. Instead of having an ash cross on your forehead all day- there are processions in the streets. These are no ordinary parades.. First there are people dressed in robes with hats like the KKK. They march in the streets with huge walking stick-candles and little kids make balls out of the dripping wax. Then there are the huge floats. They are incredible, intricate, and very heavy. Carrying these floats are young men. They move to the music a marching band plays. The motion is very impressive because the floats are so heavy and the streets are so narrow. There are statues on the floats of different significant parts leading up to the crucifixion. Many are of Jesus- some are of Mary. It is an incredible sight. The processions go late into the night. Sometimes 4am.

You might think this fun. It's not. It is beautiful- but religious. You don't really go to have a good time. It is about seeing these people carry such a collosal object with such grace and celebrating the gift of God. Juana told me that when it rains the people cry, because the processions can't exit onto the street. I didn't understand this until I saw it firsthand. I went to see my friend Carlos' procession and it rained. The procession was cancelled. The people were so sad. I felt very sad too. It is a shame because the men who carry the floats practice very hard for a long time and they can't show what they have been practicing. It continued to rain for the remainder of the week. Many processions were cancelled.

On Easter Day- we did nothing. This was really different for me and a bit hard to be away from my family on a day we are normally all together. I think last year I was with almost my whole family. All the Derians and Derian-Toths. So literally not doing anything on the holiday was difficult. My mom sent Marta and I mini Easter Baskets. I loved it. I took a 5 hour nap for the remainder of the day.

So now for what I was doing when I wasn't seeing the processions. Obviously, I did not have school. My friend Tessa came to visit me in Córdoba for a few days at the beginning of the week. It was really nice having someone who understood me all the time. Carlos took us exploring.. And we went to his soccer game. The Spanish are just so much better at soccer...

After she left I didn't really do too much. I went to the old part of Córdoba to explore. And Marta and I would go to a friend's house everynight. Which was extremely boring for me. Her friends only speak English with me. It is really frustrating because this week I have become worse in Spanish. It is not fair for my parents to spend money for me to live here so I can learn Spanish when people only speak English with me. Maybe I should start a little tutoring business to make money. Hahaha!

Next weekend I think I am going to Cadiz to visit Tessa. My last day of school is a week from this Thursday.. Marta has to study for exams.. and so does everyone else in school so I won't have anything else to do for the entire weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Que Roja.

Yes, I have the worst sunburn EVER.

Last weekend I went with my American friends to Sevilla and Cadiz for the weekend. Cadiz is a small peninsula in the far south with amazing beaches. I fell asleep and now the front of my body is so red.

Both the cities were incredible though. Sevilla is a bit large for my liking and I think it is expensive to get around because of the size. I saw everything famous though. I also went to Granada yesterday with my class. AMAZING. I loved it. My host family is taking me back soon to see more.

Obviously- I have been busy.

My favorite are the tiny streets with bricks for the road and different color buildings. Granada is surrounded by huge mountains- Sierra Nevada. It really is incredible.

My friend Tessa is coming to stay with me this weekend. We have a lot of fun things planned so it will be exciting.

Yesterday I spoke so much Spanish and thought so much Spanish that today I am sooo dead. I also had an exam in my Spanish class- pretty sure I did really well.. I think I am going to join a gym though. I feel disgusting. Lately all the food I eat in the house is unhealthy. I want to just make an eggwhite omlette for lunch- not have like giant helpings of something super heavy. I have lost weight here but I still feel gross. I think I just will go on a diet.

So I have a roommate. I can't remember if I have already written that. We are planning what our room will be like. I have a lot of scholarship money and financial aid now too so I am pretty excited to go to college.

My friend Carlos and I are going out to search for hotels for my parents again. It is very important to me that they stay in an awesome one! Haha (: I just found out my hair is now long enough for me to tie it in a knot. I know, random, but interesting fact?

I think that my Spanish has imporved so much! It is incredible. I want to go to a language school after my school ends in a few weeks- but it is really expensive.

So my host mom is like psycho about how clean the house is. She got mad at me for taking my makeup off with a towell. Also she gets mad when my room is "disorganized" It's not disorganized, I have things on my desk. I don't have any drawers... and I need my things. I'm not just going to put my crap in the closet. So weird. The window has to be open a certain way during the day too. The window wide open but the blinds halfway down- and the door to my room MUST be closed. I don't understand. Oh well.

Okay, I am currently really tired and don't really want to write more. Adios!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Viva Madrid

This past weekend, as you all know, I went on my trip to Madrid. It was more fun than I even had expected. I roomed with all of my friends in the hostel and we went out every night and had excursions during the day. I saw the "Guernica" in the Reina Sofia and my new favorite painting "Saturn Devours his Son." Really really cool. There are two of these paintings. My favorite is the one where it looks like Saturn is sucking out the soul of his son. I did not see any Picasso's in the Prado so I ventured on to Reina Sofia while I had the chance. How cool it is to see a huge Picasso exhibit, in Spain... The most famous Spanish painter! I thought it was awesome. I have never studied art before and I have a new found love. I am going to buy a museum pass for Paris! I saw all the main things in Madrid. It is an impressive city- huge! My feet hurt so bad after the trip... and during the trip. My American friends in Spain are so cool! We are planning a west coast road trip for the summer.

This weekend on Thursday I am going to Sevilla with my friends. I have a friend who lives in the city and so Tessa, Kata, and I are going to go and visit for four days- but we are also going to Cadiz for the day on Saturday. Cadiz is a southern city that is a peninsula and people claim it has some of the best beaches in Spain. I could use a relaxing day at the beach. I will eat some Paella too! Paella is very very typical of Sevilla, as is Flamenco. I really am happy I live in Andalucia. I think it hosts the most Spanish culture. And is incredibly beautiful. I have to study abroad for college for my major ( International Business) and if I can I will choose to live in Sevilla or Grenada.. somewhere here in Andalucia.

I now realize that I have an extremely busy summer planned ahead of me. My parents are coming to Córdoba on June 25th and we are leaving June 26th. We are going to go to Rome for a week or so and renting an apartment. I come home on July 5th because I have orientation on July 6th at USC. The next day I am going on vacation with my sister- and then before I go home I am going to Michigan for a few days to be with my family. So- I will be home around July 20th. That gives me a good 24 days at home before I have to go to college. In those 24 days I hope to go to Washington and go on a road trip down to California with friends I met here in Spain. SO BUSY. I love it.

Today I am going with my friend Carlos to search for hotels in the old town for my parents. I have taken to walking alone in the center during the afternoons to explore and know my city. I love it. It is so beautiful and the weather is perfect. Being alone is nice too. I had my first glass of Sangria in the center last week, and yes, it is that good.

Oh! Almost forgot. My friend Tessa is a trimester student and wants to stay for the whole semester. She is living in Madrid right now but I am trying to find her a host family here in Córdoba. She is coming next weekend to visit too. It will be exciting to have her here! Especially since school ends in just a few weeks. Marta has to study for the huge exam and so I think I will be a bit lonely. I need someone to keep me company at the pool.

On a side note- Spanish people can't pronounce the difference between boogers and burgers and beach and bitch. I can't say boogers now either. I can still say Bitch, however.