Hola! Once again, sorry it has been so long since an update.
Anyways- a few weekends ago, I went to Barcelona! It was AMAZING. I’m absolutely in love with Antonio Gaudi, so to experience his architecture in real life was just… mesmerizing. The Sagrada Familia was probably my favorite part. He started building it in the early 1900’s and he passed in 1926. During the time he was building it he would get asked a lot if it would ever be finished. He would always answer saying some variation of “God’s timing can not be rushed.” He had complete faith that what he was doing was for God’s will and that if He wanted it to be done, it would get done. To this day, there is still construction. It’s just really awe-inspiring. We went to pretty much all of the major tourist attractions and the beach. My feet were finally in the Mediterranean. We didn’t swim in Barca because we already had plans to go to beach the next weekend, but it was really amazing to see. I was also terrified that I wouldn’t understand anything because they speak Catalan in Barcelona, but most people spoke Catalan, Spanish and English… made me and my major feel pretty worthless.
The following week I had exams. KILLER. I’d rather not talk too much about it, the whole week was a blur of papers, no sleep and so much studying. At the same, the semi-finals for the Euro Cup were going on and I couldn’t be bothered with studying during that time… ya know. I feel pretty good about the tests, but we’ll see when I get my grades back.
Last weekend, Simply, Logan and I went to Alicante, which is directly south of Valencia. We spent the entire weekend on the beach- no sightseeing or anything. We just wanted a weekend to relax. We made friends with a guy from the hostel named Diego. He was 32 and from Buenos Aires (I love Argentine accents). We invited him to dinner with us and he was just the nicest guy ever! We went to this amazing seafood restaurant. We got to pick the raw fish and they cooked it for us- oysters, calamari, octopus, mussels… anything you can possibly imagine, we tried it! And it was so stinkin’ delicious. I’m the most light-skinned of the group as well… so after spending 3 long days at the beach, I was majorly burnt. I took good care of it though, mom. And now I’m tan! It’s a stinkin’ miracle. ;) Pre-gaming for Vero Beach.
I’m back at school now and I started 2 new classes- Phonetics and Spanish Media- which is a conversation class. I’m REALLY enjoying both of them. I think it’s going to be a much simpler semester. A whole new batch of students came in for July when the others left, so it’s kind of funny not being new anymore. I like it. Also, did you all hear we won the Euro Cup? Ya, no big deal… more like huge deal. I cried with my host mom over how wonderful this country is. That’s how much I love it. And she knows I like soccer a lot, so she kept pointing to players saying, “guapisimo, para ti.” I wish mama, I wish.▲
Sorry it has been so long.
Finals came up, the semi-finals for the Euro cup came up & I’ve been stressed / having a blast. It’s 6:15 AM and I’m getting ready to take the train to Madrid to get on a bus for Alicante. I’ll try posting something when I get back to the hostel tonight about my wonderful trip to Barcelona. Pictures won’t come until later.▲
Alright, so life got crazy when school started.
First of all, Saturday! Saturday was AMAZING. It started out with the whole UTC group going to Madrid. Our field trip was supposed to be to el Museo del Prado, but since it wasn’t free until 5, a lot of us did our own thing. First we went to el Rastro which is like a giant flea market. It had great souvenirs for really cheap. After that we walked around el Parque de Madrid. It’s almost like Central Park, but a lot more awesome. There is so much to do there, it’s ridiculous. But there are a lot of gypsies who try to give you rosemary and read your palm, ha. Dr. Purkey got suckered in and had to pay 10 euros. Anyways, after eating lunch in the park, we went to the botanical garden- so pretty! We went souvenir shopping and some of us got tapas. When it was free, we went to el Museo del Prado. It was so cool to see works by Goya, Rafael and others that I’ve loved for a long time. Next we to a game. Holy frijoles, we watched an actual Real Madrid vs Manchester United game. SO. MUCH. FUN. I catch myself chanting Madrid! Madrid! Madrid! every so often.
Now that school has started, we don’t have time for much. I’m taking an Introduction to Latin American Literature class. It was really hard for me yesterday because I’m not great at reading things as a class, out loud. I’d much rather read something on my own and fully grasp it. So it’s even harder when it’s in another language… and it’s 9 in the morning… and it’s a 2.5 hour class. I don’t know, it will probably get better. My second class is over the culture and civilization of Spain. I LOVE IT. I’m a history nerd and the time periods we are talking about are my favorites. The teacher for that class is incredibly patient and I just really like his style. Really looking forward to that one.
Anyways, probably won’t have any new news until we travel again on Thursday!▲1
My third day in Spain is already gone! This is crazy! We got to see Dr. Purkey’s apartment today. It is literally 2 apartments down from mine and Logan’s. We talked for a while and asked her questions about school and about various weekend trips. It was a lot of fun- I’m so glad that Dr. Purkey is here. After that, Logan and I went home for lunch- delicious stew with carrots and potatoes. YUM. I got to talk to my mom some and I found out that her favorite movie is Pretty Woman! Que adorable. Also, my mom has housed a whole lot of students from all over the States so she is very patient and understanding. I feel very blessed to have her as a host mom on this trip. After lunch, I took a huuuuuge siesta. Logan and I ate dinner (empanadas!) around 8 and then went out to find Simply. We got more helado and walked around la Calle Mayor. Later we went to a salsa club. It was a very interesting experience. Really fun to watch the couples dance though!
This picture shows my favorite part of the day. Each year, once a year, this group performs in la Plaza de Cervantes. It was so fun to watch! Also, I’m so excited that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to write in English. It’s the fourth day now and my Spanish has improved so much!
Hope you all had a good day.▲4
This is my school, guys. Seriously? I go here. The University of Alcala de Henares. I am absolutely in love with it.
Today we got to school around 8:30 for orientation. We took a placement exam and went over public transportation, classes, safety… you get the idea. During our break, the class went to the cafeteria and I got a cafe con leche, which is not coffee, it’s espresso. SO DELICIOUS. We went back for a tour of Alcala. After our tour we went home and ate lunch and then went back to the university at 4. We took a tour of Madrid after that! We learned how to use the train and the subway, etc. Madrid was breathtakingly beautiful. I love everything about it. I’m pretty sure we’re going to el Museo del Prado this Sunday, but I posted some photos from my small excursion. When we got back, we ate dinner and then went out for tapas and froyo. The froyo here is kind of like greek yogurt- it’s so good!
Anyways, it’s around 1:30 am and I. AM. BEAT. So, buenas noches!▲4
Headed to Spain, guys! After talking about this trip for an entire year, it is finally happening. Logan, Simply and I leave at 4:45 pm today and we should arrive around 1:10 am eastern time and 12:10 am central. But it will be 7:10 am in Madrid. It’s gonna be a long, weird day. Lots of sleep deprivation headed my way.
Hope you all have a wonderful day! Keep us in your prayers.▲5
I will be here. THIS IS SO CRAZY.▲16