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.