Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas from the USA.

Hello Everyone, I made it home for Christmas with minor luggage complications but it is all okay and my luggage arrived in time and mostly unharmed. I will be at home until January 29 and then I will head back to Sevilla. These are the pictures from my trip to Paris. I won't describe it other than to say it was wonderful and I loved it! I'll let the photographs say the rest!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I'll post again when I'm back in Europa!

~ Bye ~

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Okay, I know that it is Not Thanksgiving anymore but I think I can still wish that you all had a happy one!! Now Christmas is sneaking closer and closer and I will soon be coming home! Just a quick update before I tell you all how my Thanksgiving went. First, my grandma is here and has been here since my Birthday and we are going to Paris this weekend and Barcelona next weekend!
I will be home on the 17th of December for anyone who is interested. Also, I would appreciate any prayers for safe travel... : )

So, now for my Thanksgiving story. It started okay. I woke up a little late, around 10sih. Oh, First, I have to tell you all the story inside the story. SO, The oven does not work here in the apartment my grandma is renting. She called and told José the english speaking son of the owner that the oven does not work and he asked why it mattered since we had a microwave, she explained that Thanksgiving was coming up and that it is a major american holiday. So he told his dad. His dad came over to the apartment when I was in class. He does not speak english and my grandma does not speak spanish, so it was interesting. Later, I called him ( his name is Fernando) and he was very polite and said that the oven is too old to fix so he wouldn't be able to fix it in two days in time for Thanksgiving. So, he said we had 3 options. 1, he could buy us a pre cooked turkey. 2, he could take us to another apartment to cook the turkey. 3, he could take us to his house to cook the turkey. We chose option 2.

So back to the other story. It is 10am and I have just woken up, remember? So Fernando, the owner, is coming over in 1 hour to take us to another apartment. I get up and get ready and 11am rolls around and our bags of food, including pumkin pie fixings for the school dinner are all ready to be lugged across Seville to bake. 11:30am rolls around and we decide to call Fernando who assures us that he is only 10 minutes away.

Careful, 10 minutes is not a real number to Fernando, it is a synonym to later ( sometime in the future). So anyway, we decided to run to the grocery store to buy sugar for the pie and we still had time left over. Then he got there and it took us forever to decide who was going where with whom. Basically, I was translating half of what each person said and trying to decide what I thought was the best idea. We still hadn't bought the turkey, honesty, we weren't even certain if there was a whole turkey at the grocery store. We ended up deciding that my grandma and Fernando would walk to the aprtment which was "10 minutes away" together so that she could start baking the pumkin pie for the lunchat 1:30pm. It was presently 12:15ish pm. So they went and I went to the grocery store and bought a whole turkey which I had to ask the clerk/butcher for special, because they don't really sell whole turkeys he was very floored that I wanted the whole thing... NOT cut up!!

So, after a lot of other little things I ended up walking the "10 minutes" to the other apartment with a huge, whole, raw turkey in my backpack. After walking for More than 10 minutes I got a phone call. It was from Fernando, he said " Well, the oven doesn't work here either so we are going to take the turkey back to my house... I'll meet you at the front door of the apartment in 10 minutes with my car, so we can go to my house". I was slightly confused but turned around and hurried back to the apartment. I went back to the apartment and waited for about 20 mintues... if you remember I was 10 minutes away from the apartment and 10 + 20 = 30! Fernando should take a arithmetic lesson. He arrived around 1:10pm and we had the Thanksgiving dinner at school at 1:30. So I told him we couldn't go to his house which was MORE than 10 minutes (who knows how long that could end up being). He offered his to have his wife cook the turkey for us... I wasn't so sure. Carrying the turkey through the streets of Sevilla had really killed whatever faith I might have had in the man. After a game of hot potato with the turkey my grandma finally said, " just give him the turkey and we'll decide what to do later!!". So, I gave him the turkey and the promise that we would call him later to share a copa (drink) and retrieve our turkey from his house. Then we went to Thanksgiving dinner at the school, it was good. There were some incredible sweet potatoes and apple pie but NO pumkin pie which was supposed to be our contribution to the dinner. Some people were quite upset. We also went by the ever popular STARBUCKS to have some coffee after our eventful morning!

We came back to the apartment after the dinner at school and rested. Then we decided to take the bus to go the the suburbs where Fernando lives and where our turkey was being held. I called him, Fernando not the Turkey (who, by the way, we named Fernando) to ask which bus we needed to get on... but finally some good news, he said his wife was going to bring it to us since she was coming into town. Thus, we got our Turkey. And it was beautiful and whole and smelled wonderful! But we did not eat it because we were saving it until we had pumkin pie as well.

We made the 2 pumkin pies the next morning at my Señora's house and watched Home Alone.
Then that night we had a real thanksgiving dinner with my friends Sheila and Afton and it was Perfect even though it was kind of a day late.

And that was Thanksgiving 2008 in Spain. I have no regrets and as it has been pointed out, I will have a great Thanksgiving story for years to come.

~ Happy Thanksgiving ~

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you Everyone!!

Thank you all for the Birthday Wishes. Thank you mom for hacking into my blog and saying happy birthday!

My birthday went well! My grandma came out here on Friday and I have been so grateful that she has been here because birthdays and holidays aren't as fun alone. On Sunday morning we were going to get up and go to church at the Cathedral which is HUGE and beautiful. But since it was the last day of the liturgical year everything was totally different (figures, nothing is ever EASY).
So what was meant to be a morning 30 minute activity at 8:30aM ended up being a much longer activity in the center of Sevilla. First, after trying to figure out the mass times we walked around... then we went back to the cathedral for the mass that we thought was the right one... but that was a "special" mass... a.k.a we weren't allowed to attend. So we went to a café called Café de Indias (which has pretty much the same sign as STARBUCKS) and we had Chocolate (thick pudding like chocolate that you drink. It is warm and delicious. THEN, we walked across the street and had Coffee. Don't judge me it was my birthday and THAT is how I decided to spend the morning! Then we walked around and there was a HUGE parade which completely fascinated my grandma because you could walk with the parade and there was no barrier. It was like a party in the street. Then I finally went to church at 11:30am. Then we went to have lunch at my Señora's house which was really interesting because my Señora does not speak English and my grandma does NOT speak Spanish. Thus, it was an afternoon of translating for me!! My grandma brought flowers and my señora made us Shrimp and fish and some other interesting things. The shrimp was fun considering they still had their heads! She did this because I told her my grandma was a vegetarian. Shrimp with heads and legs was her solution to meat!! When we were getting ready to leave she gave my grandma a gardening book in Spanish (she was trying to pawn it off on someone) her reasoning was that she can't read. NOT that my grandma can read spanish... my señora has interesting logic. Then we came home and I opened my present from my family and from my grandma. Since the oven DOES NOT WORK HERE we couldn't make a cake so at about 10pm we went out looking for a place to enjoy a piece of cake. The only place open was STARBUCKS. We bought a cheescake and a chocolate cake and brought them home and then skyped my parents andwe talked to them as they watched us eat it. And that is how I managed to have STARBUCKS twice on my Birthday!!

I have another interesting STARBUCKS related story.
On monday after my class I thought I would buy a small coffee from STARBUCKS in order to steal a hunk of big napkins (napkins here are small and thin). When I went in I went to say hi to some of my friends who frequent this STARBUCKS and one of my friends said she wanted to buy me a coffee since yesterday was my birthday. So, after a polite refusal she went to order it for me and asked for extra whipped cream, since it was my birthday she told them. I was sooo embarrassed, I felt like a little girl. But they were really funny and excited and the cashier drew a picture and ¡ Feliz Cumpleaños ! on my cup and they really did put A LOT of EXTRA whipped cream and then she went to pay and they said of "no, no, no, it's free for her birthday". It made me really happy!! And so I walked home with the warm Toffee Nut Latte in my hands with the chilly breeze and dark night around me. I was content with a warm cup of coffee and my iPOD playing Christmas music. It actually felt like fall for a moment.

Just a note: CHRISTMAS MUSIC should be allowed to be played BEFORE THANKSGIVING!! and the only thing better than STARBUCKS is STARBUCKS decorated for CHRISTMAS playing CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!! just so you know ; )

So, Thanksgiving has been very interesting but I think it is going to take anther post on another day so I'll let you all know how that went. It was an ADVENTURE (even though I hate that word). I am very proud of myself I think I have gotten through culture shock and homesickness and have really been able to appreciate obstacles. SO...I'll let you know how that all went tomorrow or something!!


I'll see some of you in 20 days! others not but you are all in my hearts and I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and Advent and CHRISTMAS!
This is a video of the Parade
~ By my grandma

~ Bye ~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Katherine!

Okay, so this isn't Katherine posting this time! But, this is important news and we couldn't leave it to her to post this information!

Today, November 23rd is Katherine's birthday!!!! and since we are not there with her, we wanted to share a song for her here. (Katherine, do not delete this post! I love you!)

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, We love you!
Happy Birthday and may all your dreams come true!
When you blow out the candles, one light stays aglow
That's the love light in your eyes where 'ere you go!!!

Happy birthday sweetie! We love you and miss you! One month!

Blessings, peace, and LOVE ~
Mom, Dad, Emily, Anna, and Samuel

Join in and post a birthday comment for her!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hello Everybody!!

Hello Everyone!!

I am sitting in the Dublin Airport, on the floor next to a the plugs so that I can use my computer to write this… on Word because there is not internet here. I think I will start the tale of my adventure backwards. Mostly because I’d like to vent about the airport.

When I got to the airport I thought everything was great I was 3 hours early. I had successfully taken a train from Maynooth (where my friends live) then a bus from Dublin city to the airport. I was very proud of myself. I got my boarding pass which was 5 euro instead of the 10 that I thought it was. It was all going smoothly and according to plan… Then I had to go through…SECURITY.

If you thought it was stressful in the US or a non-English speaking country I’d like to say that you are wrong. These security people were very rude and had not a speck of patience for me or my plight of unorganized-discombobulated-fright!

Everything went wrong… first I thought I had put my little plastic baggy of toiletries on the top so I could grab it because as you can imagine; I do not actually intend to be unorganized and frazzled while going through security. However, the security lady seemed to think that It was all part of my elaborate plan to hold up the line. I moved to the side and began to frantically search for my plastic baggy. At which point she turns to me and says, “ you should have done that before hand”. UM DUH!!!! I’m sorry I meant to be searching through all of my stuff right now, I thought it would be fun!!

So finally I found the baggy only slightly irritated but not rude, mostly because slightly irritated was overshadowed by completely SCARED. I hate security sooo much anyway so this was not NOT fun. I make it through the weapons detector doorway! It was all clear… obviously, I smiled at the guard and went to get my bag. I was standing waiting for my bag when the other security guard yells to me, “miss, miss, is this pink bag yours?”. It was.
“ Well you need to take your laptop out and your jam and go back through!” OH NO!!!
I forgot about the jam and I forgot that it wouldn’t be allowed (it was blackberry. There isn’t jam in Spain). I also forgot about my laptop (honest mistake due to my headache of toiletry searching) OH… and that lady again. I had already had to toss a bottle of water and the jam AND I had held up the line. I have to admit that my second time through security I got a little choked up… No Jam. I got over it though considering that I was finally through!!! And that was Irish Security!

Now, the rest of Ireland, and the beginning of the story. The hostel was incredible!! Wifi, Clean, Breakfast, Coffee, and in the center of town. It was not at all frightening and actually ended up being quite pleasant. Even though a certain someone ( CATHY) decided to bring up the horror film HOSTEL on HALLOWEEN on skype. Thanks Cathy!!! Actually I wasn’t scared, I’ve never seen it. The first night I went strait to the hostel and went to bed after eating one of my bocadillos (sandwiches) that my Señora made me. She made me enough food for 3 days! I was grateful, and happy that I got to eat it at my own pace! Then I went to bed. On the second day (Halloween) I walked all over Dublin. Really, All OVER! I saw Everything, well except the young- hip arts district that I didn’t know about until yesterday! However, it was great! I walked for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours after lunch. In the evening I went out for cocoa and read my book (BRISINGER – thank you Emily). It was a quite an enjoyable Halloween, I talked to my family and the Talbots on skype and got to see the pumpkin carving ( I could see into the dining room from the library – due to the new arrangement of furniture – THANKS mom). It was nice to talk to people and see what was going on for Halloween in the USA.

The next day I woke up and had breakfast, packed up, and checked out! Then I got about five cups of coffee and chatted with my mom on skype while I waited to leave to meet my friends at the airport and to head over to Maynooth where they go to school. Oh, so something not so great about Ireland even though I thought everything was absolutely incredible, is the cost of transportation. SO, I took the 6 euro bus to the airport and then had to take it back to the city to take the bus to Maynooth… It was slightly ironic. I got over it. Maynooth was beautiful. I can’t explain everything that happened, obviously, so I will give you some of the highlights.

DONUTS, BAGELS, COFFEE, APPLE TURNOVER, PIZZA, and CHICKEN NUGGETS. Not all at once of course. But these were all things I had been missing oh, along with Muffins, and Ketchup. For all of you who live in St. Joe and have eaten the heavenly food of the BROAD STREET CAFE then you will understand that it is something to be missed, and it has been. So I was very happy to come across a bagel shop! I had something like and eggwhich (though not quite as good, it was still awesome) . I got to see three of my friends and meet some other awesome people. I was able to watch TV in English. I watched F*R*I*E*N*D*S and the Simpsons and American Idol.

Also I got to go to a REAL Irish Pub. It was really, really cool! I tried Hard Cider (really good) and I did try… drum roll please… GUINNESS. It was bearable. It was not my favorite but I would drink it again if someone else paid for it. I did finish it! We also were graced with the company of two extremely drunk Irish men who wanted to talk about… you guessed it… POLITICS! However, we had some fun with them and by the end of our conversation we had changed from American citizens with our own names to people from all of the world including Canada, Argentina, and Germany. And one of us (Elyse) had Tri citizenship because she had been born on a plane from Germany!!! They were very confused. It was amusing! So that was the pub. Guinness and BS, if you haven’t ever tried the combo I recommend it!

So, I’m going to stop writing now because I will be boarding soon! But I thought I’d try to be a little better with my updates! Talk to you all soon (hopefully) oh and Happy November, I’m coming home next month!!

See you all and talk to you all later have a wonderful November, it’s the best month you know ; )

~ Ta Ta for Now ~

OH!! PS. I wrote this on Monday but today (Wednesday) I write this as we have a new president… it is kind of weird because I know this is a historical moment and It was my first election so it was kind of interesting to get up and watch the news (In Spanish of Course) of our New President. It was a weird feeling knowing that I had participated in this election so that when I woke up at 6:30am (12:30am Eastern time) I was excited to see what had happened and who will be in command for the next 4 years… at least!

I hope you all appreciate your right to vote and I hope you all voted!!

AND now that I have gotten on a tangent I just want to say… I am really excited to have peppermint mocha coffee this Christmas and I am hoping that they still have that kind of creamer!!

~ Hasta Luego ~

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's been awhile!

Hello Everybody!

Okay, so I’m not as good at blogging as I thought I would be. It just seems that there is always something better to do, then to send news of what I have done into a cyber oblivion.
However, I do realize that NOT writing anything would be a mistake because, why do things unless you can tell the story afterward… am I right?

I am not sure how many things have happened since my last post. Obviously a lot, considering I have hardly written anything. I’ll start with my visa. Some of you already know that I had some issues with my visa. For the rest of you I’ll try to tell the story in a coherent manner! (those of you who already knew probably got the frazzled/ freaked out version anyway so you can read this too!)

So, since I am staying in Spain for longer than 6 months I needed to apply to be a legal resident. When I got to Spain I had a message within the first few days saying that I had to have a meeting with one of the professors at CCCS (my school) about how to go about applying for my residents card. In this meeting the other girls staying for the year and I were told that we would need to get more passport photos #1, that we would need to bring our passports. Obviously! #2. That we would need to get there EARLY early EARLY! #3. "What is early?" we asked, thinking around 8 or something. "Around 6 or 7am" she said.

So, we went about making our preparations and two other girls and I decided to meet up at the bridge in our neighborhood and walk together, about 45 minutes to Plaza de España. I woke up at 4:30am so that I would have a few minutes to myself before I left the house around 5am to get to the bridge by 5:45am. I never know what the weather is going to be like in Seville so, I wore a long sleeved shirt. #1 bad decision on that day. IT WAS FREEZING! So after our walk to the Plaza de España, we arrived to find a bunch of other immigrants waiting outside (oh yeah, the doors don’t actually even open until 9am) . The thing was, these people were all very familiar with the system (which doesn’t actually make any sense if you ask me). So, we get there and everyone is just sitting around. No line, just wherever they want… there are some lucky people who are sitting in their warm cars or who “reserved” their spot in “line” and left.

SO, what is the system? When you get there you are supposed to yell out so that everyone can hear “¿quien es el ultimo?” (who was the last one here?) then you are supposed to remember who that is and when the line actually starts to form everyone swarms into order. Luckily someone came and told us this system or we never would have had a place in line.

Finally at around 8am they opened the gate into the patio of the building and everyone swarmed to their spots in line. We got our spot right behind a huge and slightly scary looking man. And there we waited. Katie (one of the other girls) and I had to go and make photocopies of one of the forms for all of us, since forgot to do that earlier. So, we left and the other girl held our spot in line. We made the copies and then decided that since we had a lot of time and since we had been up for so long to go into the STARBUCKS right next door to the copy place. It was wonderful! I bought a Caramel Macchiato (it was Very expensive) but I thought worth it since the day was going to be crazy. Katie and I were sitting inside Starbucks waiting for our coffee when her phone rang. It was the other girl in line. The line had started moving!!! Even though it was a half an hour early (we were told that if there are a lot of people they open the door early). So, we quickly got our coffee and began to speed walk down the streets of Seville. Then we got another call! SHE WAS THE NEXT ONE TO GO IN!!!! We ran. I spilled my 8 -9 dollar coffee all over myself. And continued running. We made it just in time to walk right in and find out that the copies we had just made were expired and we would have to fill out new copies anyway. That was act one of a crazy day.

So, after we filled out the papers and caught our breath, we waited. We waited for a long time. Then another girl from our school who had come, but not with us, came to share news of her experience. "The meeting is short" she said, "But… you know we can’t leave the country until we get our residents card and we aren’t going to get our residents cards until December so we can’t go anywhere because our visas don’t allow it." WHAT WHAT WHAT? My mind was spinning or rather revolving around one thought “ THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE.” Maybe a little dramatic… but my entire day started with waking up to see if my internet worked, it didn’t. It was the seventh day of no internet at my house, which I took to mean that it would never work again. I mean, if something doesn’t work for a week it usually doesn’t start working after that.

SO anyway, I went in and had my meeting, and the news that this wasn’t my last meeting (we have to go back at the end of October) and the news that we can’t travel… well only for 5 days to a Shegnen registered country. I don’t know a lot about that except Morocco and the United Kingdom aren’t part of the Shengen club. Also we have to pay 10 E and there were just a lot of little things that weren’t discussed. Thus, they became about 80% more stressful because we were excepting something else. And so went the second part of my day.

The third part is short and wasn’t that bad. It was simply going to the Archeological museum of Seville for my Spanish Civ class. We got there late due to our problems and had a tour about the Phoenicians, and Carthagins and all that good stuff. Our guide was our Civ professor. A week later he asked if anyone could tell that he was extremely hungover during the tour. He doesn’t remember I was as there, which is good because he probably doesn’t remember that I was NOT paying attention at all. I was about to fall asleep. Then, after the tour I walked an hour home and CRASHED.

Our professor who gave us all of the wrong info about the visa went and had a meeting to see if we could travel. This was a week later, and they said yes and the man who checked our visas must have been confused or something. Although, the day before I found out that I could go to Morocco ( somewhere I want to go more than most places) I cancelled the trip and booked a last minute trip to Lagos, PORTUGAL. Minutes after returning to the school, after booking my new trip and paying for it. I was informed that… yay! You can go to Morocco. I just sat there. And then I just laughed and laughed. Fate really seemed to have it out for me!

SO, I went to Portugal! It was incredible. There were some minor complications like, it rained. But the sun came out on the day of our boat and beach trip! I did not get drunk. I actually ended up switching rooms with the girls I was staying with as they began to get drunk they asked if I would like to trade rooms and sleep with the other (yet sober) girl. I agreed. I had a good night, I had some good drinks… and watched, amused as the other girls lost their sense of self control. I left around 2am, when a girl almost knocked over my drink for the third time as she pole-danced on the bar. Bars are not as fun when you are the only sober one there. So Yaru ( the only other sober girl) and I left and went back to the hotel). The hotel had free wifi… which doesn’t exist in Spain. So that was nice. I talked to my aunt and my mom on skype. I sat in the lobby and watched the wasted girls come in.

Maybe you have noticed that I say girls whenever I am talking about people in Spain. This is not an all girls program. But there are hardly any GUYS at all. It’s weird I wasn’t aware that study abroad (at least in Spain) tends to be monopolized by girls. Maybe it’s just the program I’m in. It’s just kind of interesting, like horseback riding, mostly only girls. It’s okay, just must be a little weird for the guys, they kind of band together like a pack of wolves. So, I’m guessing it is a little awkward.

So, when I was in Portugal I got an email from one of my friends going to Morocco and the trip was cancelled due to bad weather on the Gibraltar Strait. Maybe Fate doesn’t hate me after all! I felt bad for the other girls but very happy that I had come to Portugal. It’s interesting how things work out.

Last weekend I went to Gibraltar. It was incredible. I saw monkeys, and the Rock of Gibraltar and AFRICA! We could see Africa it was pretty cool. My camera died because I forgot to change the batteries. But I let it go… I think my experience with my visa and going slightly mad from all of Fate’s crazy twists I have started to learn to let (some) things go. I’m not a pro yet.. But I’m working at it. I had a really good time!

Yesterday I went to FATIMA! It was beautiful and a wonderful experience. I went with two very good girls. Actually, I felt spiritually inadequate around them but it was wonderful just the same and I couldn’t image having gone with anyone else. We took a red-eye bus (if that exists) there spent the day there and took another red-eye back. We got there around 7am and went to Mass first thing. Then we had COFFEE. It was the cheapest coffee I’ve had in Europe and the best. Then we went shopping for HOLY paraphernalia. Then we had lunch. Then we began our walk around the stations to the chapel. We prayed the rosary as we walked. This woman was by herself and asked if she could join us. It was really awesome she was the sweetest woman and she prayed with us the whole way. When we got the chapel at the end and went in they were actually just placing the monstrance for Eucharistic Adoration. WE stayed. That was really cool.

(Anyone from THE GROUP that is reading this? I heard one of the songs…. In Portuguese! It was “ HE ROSE FROM DEATH”. It was really cool to know that there were other people there from the way. Pretty cool stuff. It made me happy to hear it.)

We saw the houses were Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco lived. Then we had more cheap coffee and went back to the Basilica. It was really awesome and an all around wonderful experience. Short though it was, I will never forget it. It was wonderful to see so many people there to deepen their faith and grow spiritually. Really cool. I got back this morning at 5am but it was really 4am because of the time change which I completely forgot about. THUS, has my time been spent.

I’m sure I forgot to share a lot of things that happened. But I’ll try to be better about keeping everyone updated. A lot of it was because my internet wasn’t working which makes it hard to update a blog. Also, I was really stressed but I’ve gotten over it and I’m having a great time! I’m going to Ireland for my fall break starting next weekend. I’m really excited. I am loving Spain, Life, and my opportunities here. I’m not really going to write anything about my classes other than I have Spanish History, Latin American History and Spanish for the Medical professional. None are easy but I’ve kind of given up on being the #1 student and I’m just trying to make it through. I have to tame my competitive side so that I don’t worry to much about them or else I get really stressed about it… but It’s all cool.

I Love it here… and simultaneously I am ready to go home (I’m really excited for Christmas) and I miss you all!

~ bye ~

A few photographs





Monday, October 6, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My house!

5 lessons on how to become una Sevillana

5 lessons on how to live and survive in Sevilla:

1. Love to walk

2. Love to eat

3. Hate to shop

4. Hate to sleep

5. Have no fear of cars driving on the sidewalk!

Everyday I am learning more about the culture here in Sevilla. Some of the things we have discussed in my cultural realities class are things like food... there is a lot of it. Driving is a lot more wild than it is in Guatemala (if anyone remembers what I said about driving there, if not, lets just say it was "crazy scary"). Also, education is very different and about $38,000 less each year. Some other huge differences are that children sit at bars filled with smoke late at night, children run down the streets unattended by an adult, everyone smokes, everyone drinks, people take personal calls during a church service, lunch and dinner are huge, everyone walks a lot, people don't say "sorry" or "pardon me" not even Spanish :) and obviously the language is different.

But, there are some similarities that are comforting and some new things I love as well such as; there is a church on every block, there is Starbucks in Sevilla but I haven't gone because my Señora makes wonderful coffee, there is a McDonalds (though I could do without that), fathers walk with their children a lot (carrying pink diaper bags and all!), people are friendly and only settle for kissing cheeks (NO HANDSHAKES), believe it or not I watch (American) MTV in the morning while I eat breakfast and sometimes Nickelodeon, The Simpsons or ...A Miracle on 34th Street was on last Sunday! I have also been watching TV shows that are from Spain and they are very funny there is a comedy channel here that my Señora watches every day!

In relation to food. I have enjoyed having Activia yogurt for breakfast, but not the marmalade as much (jelly / jam doesn't exist here). I am getting used to the abundance of soup and potatoes. I am enjoying the coffee! I am trying not to eat too much of the fresh bread! And I am really enjoying all of the fresh fruit! I am adjusting to the fact that tortillas in Spain are actually omelets (my señora's specialty is a potato tortilla. People in Spain are crazy about potatoes even when they take pictures they say ....patata, patata, patata, patata...etc. I guess Americans probably like cheese too much then!

That's all for now folks! I'll put some more pictures on in the next few days! Have a great weekend!

~ Kt

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Here are some MORE pictures!

I took off most of the descriptions and added more pictures so you can enjoy and have no idea what you are looking at.

Some pictures are are replicas of the Pinta, the Niña, and the Santa María.
Some are of Christopher Columbus' monastery.
The new pictures are of Seville and of the Castle here Alcazár.
Some are of the beach in Seville and then there are a bunch of other pictures too!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bebidas y Café

Yesterday was my first "night out" in Spain. If a Spaniard heard me say that they would just laugh because here a "night out" ends in the morning... however, I did stay out until 3am. We spent about a half an hour using the bathroom and one of the girls houses and deciding who would walk me home. I live in a very dark out of the way apartment complex and paying attention the book that my aunt gave me, I listened to my "Gift of Fear" and didn't walk home alone. So, for anyone who is concerned I am being safe. We had a pretty low key evening we went to a little café and had Tinto de verano con narajana (red wine and fanta orange soda, I think?) Then went home and had (free) dinner at our homes. I had a Spanish tortilla made of egg and potato it was like a potato omelet. Then we went to a place on the river where you just get your drink and sit on the sidewalk. There I had Sangria. Then we went to an Irish pub... by accident. We were walking by the cathedral and we heard a bunch of people speaking English so we sat down on the patio and this man comes up in a green button down shirt and asks in a thick Irish accent "what would you like girls?". We just sat there and looked at him for a second because we weren't expecting English. Then one of the girls asked him where he was from and he said "Ireland of course" and then she asked if he could speak Spanish and he said "of course". All of the girls had "caronitas". I got one but I didn't really like it I had like four sips... I am not a beer person... but it was okay the other girl just drank mine and payed for most of it. So that was my evening/night out. Which was only possible because I now have coffee in my house which I gleefully sipped this morning as I woke up! I am feeling a lot more comfortable here now and am really starting to develop a sense of "home" here. I am getting used to hearing Spanish everywhere and on the TV.
~ bye ~

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Katherine is (sometimes) online

So, I have come to find out that I am a internet pirate. My host mother knows that the internet in her house is not hers but she told me that it should work and has worked for all of the other students who have lived in her house. However, the internet only works during the day and shuts off totally at night... which is kind of annoying considering I am at the house a lot more at night time. But (there is good news) I do end up with about 2-3 hours of free internet in my room, so I don't have to walk through the streets of Seville with my mac as it screams "steal me! steal me!".
So I have come to accept that at about 8:30 the internet will shut off and I will be able to use it sometime after 1pm.

para mis otros amigos como Andrea y Marilú y Moises...
Ayer sufrí de choque cultural y le eché de menos a mi familía mucho pero hoy llaméa mi madre, otra vez porque he hablado con mi madre cada día, y hoy estoy bien. Mi señora me dijo que hay días buenos y malos en una cultura nueva y hoy ella compró una buena cafetera para mi y hizo un cafecito con el almuerzo. Pienso que puedo sobrevivir aquí en Sevilla por un año.

¡Adíos todos!

PS. I hope you are all doing well!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Much ado about Terimisu!

I am online. (luckily because most houses don't have internet) I have Wifi in my house. Which means I will be able to blog and chat with people. Today we went to the monestary of Christopher Columbus and to see a museum to see replicas of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Then we went to la playa (the beach) but it was cold and raining so we went to an Italian restuarant (go figure) and had terimisu and café capucino. Both were wonderful!!! Three other girls from Saint Mary's and I sat talking for about two and a half mabye three hours. It was very nice. Then we walked on the beach after it stopped raining. There were shells everywhere. It was much less of searching for shells and much more of gathering them up. On the bus we all ate our bocadillas (aka sack lunches). When I got back from the beach I walked home and went up to my apartment door. I started to unlock the door but it didn't work then I realized it was the wrong apartment and started unlocking the wrong door. A man came to the door an looked at me like I was a trying to break into his apartment I just said sorry, sorry and hurried out of the building. Then I realized I was on the totally wrong street. I eventually realized it was the street over. Now I am sitting in my room clean from my first shower (ducha) at my house. All in all it was a great day... long but great! And that's how my first Saturday went in spain. OH PS. Tipping isn't necessary in Europe/ Spain.

Friday, September 5, 2008

After a bumpy landing in Sevilla and a night in a youth hostal I have arrived at the hotel for the ~CCCS orientation. Arriving at the hotel was very nice after the ordeal this morning. I woke up at 11:3o which just happened to be check out time. In a panic I woke up the other girls who rolled out of bed and got ready to leave. Then two of the girls walked down the block and got two taxis and heading over to the hostal with the taxis following close behind. We got in the taxis and headed over to the hotel. When I got to the hotel I found that my my shampoo had (inevitably) come open and spilled. So, I spent an hour cleaning off my things in the bathtub.
However, there is a silver lining... I finally was able to take a shower, change my clothes, have a wonderful lunch and take a nap. I also managed to talk on the phone and watch the Disney channel. Oh one more beautiful piece of lining...STARBUCKS! There are tons of STARBUCKS! I haven't gone there yet but it's a comfort just to know it's here!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I finally made it... to Frankfurt.
I'm not sure what the worst part about long (economy) flights is? The fact that you cant move, that there is no possible way to get comfortable, the babies screaming and the old lady in front of you trying to mark her territroy by jolting her seat backward every few seconds. Maybe it is the fact that one may be asked to change from a perfectly comfortable seat to a less comfortable seat for the convienance of a perfect stranger because if they refuse their neighbor will make them regret it. Or maye it is the fact that once moved one's bags remain in the overhead much further away. Or maybe it is the crazy wacky nanny with too many piercings to count sporting a short black dress and a bleach blond wedge sprawled over two and a half seats. No. the worst thing about a long (economy) flight is knowing that in business and first class everyone else is laying down sleeping with plenty of leg room and a nice fluffy pillow! All in all it went well though... they let me take my take my guitar and they put it up in first class! So I (at least) guess my guitar was comfortable!

I'm waiting to fly to Barcelona and then to Seville but this time I am not switching seats!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

So. I am leaving to Study in Sevilla for the upcoming academic year. I am leaving on the second of September and I am getting nervous and excited. I will be living with a host family in Sevilla and will begin my time there with intensive immersion. I am a sophmore at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame. I am majoring in Spanish and Social Work. and I love life! I am so excited to travel and to be able to see Europe. I am getting ready to have fun and learn a little!
I'll try and keep everyone posted