Sunday, April 10, 2011

adios, españa

Okay, so my last couple weeks in Spain were pretty jam-packed so I won't be able to share everything I've been up to with you, but I can get the main gist across.  Basically, when we realized we didn't have much time left, we tried to pack everything that we didn't get a chance to do into our remaining two weeks.  We went to Los Miserables in Madrid -- absolutely amazing!.  We finally rode bikes in Retiro Park.  And we attended our final charlas and institute activities with our amigos españoles.

And thanks to the curse I must have been given as a child to always get sick during finals, I was sick during my last week in Madrid - with finals to study for and three months worth of European shopping to pack.  So here's a little bit of what we did and I'll put more when I get the pictures.

This is everything I bought while in Spain:

This is our last family photo:

Saying good-bye to Fel

Our friends from the Alcalá institute - ¡los quiero mucho!:

Our good friend Carlos:

My Mamá Española:

Spanish profesoras: Sonia y Mariaje:

I wish I had more pictures from our last few weeks in Spain (ahem, Michael-Ann!) but we'll have to wait on those.  I miss Spain so much already - everything about it.  But I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to be there and learn so much about myself and the country.  I'm grateful for the friends I made and the amazing things we got to see and do.  I hope I can return someday very soon.

Ya echo mucho de menos España.  Estoy muy agradecida por la oportunidad que he tenido para estar alli y para aprender mucho.  Estoy agradecida por los amigos que tengo y por todo lo que hemos hecho.  ¡Te quiero, España y amigos españoles y ojalá que puedo volver pronto!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

8 days left.

Hmm.  It's interesting how I can love something so much.  I love Spain.  I love the friends I've made here.  Me encanta español.  I love my life.

I'm so distraught knowing that we only have eight days left here...

BUT thank goodness for no more long bus rides!

We LOVE Fabiola!  She is so amazing and has made our trip here in Spain so much more fun!  We're still working on David, trying to get him to marry her so we can come out for their wedding :)

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  This has been under  construction since the 1800s and isn't expected to be finished until 2026 or something like that.  How crazy is that -- and we got to see it in the making!  Can't wait to come back to Spain to see the finished product :)

I love Laura.

In Park Güell in Barcelona

I am going to miss my Mamá Española SO MUCH!  

Las Fallas!  Only the most awesome festival in Valencia where they burn statues and have the most amazing fireworks displays I have ever seen.  Really, does it get much better than that?  Although, I definitely would have appreciated it more without all the beer and smoke surrounding us.

I made my favorite - Kraft Mac&Cheese (courtesy of my Mama dear for sending it to me!) for dinner on Sunday night.  Paired with a bottle of Coke and we had a nice little American meal.

Just had to throw this in here.  I love this little girl so much!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

livin' the dream.

So basically, I have been a major slacker with this blog and there is just too much to write about.  So since a picture says a thousand words... here's about 30,000 words. :)

Windmills!  We stopped at these on our way to the south of Spain.  Good ol' Don Quijote.
Our pee picture...pretty much sums up our long trips.
La Mezquita
In Sevilla...the birth place of Flamenco!
A cute outdoor pizzeria we found in Sevilla...definitely beats McDonald's!
La Alhambra...we thoroughly enjoy taking door pictures.
There was so much stuff I wanted to do in Sevilla so we had to pick and choose.  Paddle boats was definitely a good decision, though -- so much fun!  I was designated photographer :)
Group temple trip in Madrid!  Probably one of the best things about traveling to a different country is remembering that the Church is true everywhere and in every language.  I love the temple, I love my friends, I love Spain, and I love Spanish!
Neon Trees concert in Madrid and Laura's first concert ever!
We knew a total of ONE song, but it was still a blast :)
Just spending a weekend in big deal.
Climbing the Eiffel Tower...669 steps.  I guess I needed that to work off all the napolitanas and crepes and chocolate-filled croissants and McDonald's and ice cream....
I was more than happy to stop and take a picture of this so I could catch my breath climbing the Eiffel Tower!  I couldn't decide which one to point to so this photo encompasses ME: The USA, Dominican Republic, and Peru!
Random fact about me: I am terrified of aquariums.
Our first day in front of the Eiffel Tower after a loooong night of gross Paris public transportation and hostel searching.  
Finally, a picture with David!  This was at the Palace of Versailles.  How blessed am I?  The Louvre, The Guggenheim, Versailles, The Prado...I love my life!
This pretty much sums up our feelings towards our hostel.
Crepes!  The best part of Paris.
The other best part of Paris.  After such a difficult time with our sleeping arrangements, seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night from the ferris wheel reminded me why I have always dreamed of going to Paris!
I love these girls!
Our "family tree" in San Sebastian.
La Playa en San Sebastian!
The Guggenheim.  Yes, the Guggenheim Museum.  I LOVE IT!
The Louvre.  I really LOVE my life right now.

And to top it all off, Kailie and I have bought our tickets to go to Italy for six days after the program is over and then I'm on my way to London before heading home.  I have been so so so blessed to be here and have this great adventure!
I've learned so much and met some wonderful people.  Spain has become my home over these past few months!  So I'm pretty sad to be leaving (just a few more weeks) but it's a good thing we take so many pictures so we can never forget this amazing adventure!

Gracias por leyendo, ¡ciao!

Monday, February 7, 2011

salamanca & portugal.

Okay sorry it's taken so long to post on here, I kept feeling like nothing special has happened but then I remembered....I'm in Spain!  Everything that happens here is important.

So first of all, two weekends ago, we went to Salamanca!  It was such a fun trip.  We were exhausted, of course, but I loved it.  We toured lots of cathedrals and monasteries, enjoyed the views, and found the frog on the wall of the Universidad Salamanca which is supposed to mean I will now ace all my exams!  Oh, and we also managed to get in a little late night clubbing.  Thank goodness for long bus rides to sleep on!

Okay now on to the most exciting news....I just spent this last weekend in PORTUGAL!!!  By far the best weekend of my LIFE.  We left Thursday evening and arrived in Lisbon tired and starving.  Michael-Ann (using her excellent navigating and map-reading skills) took us down the streets of Lisbon and to none other than the Hard Rock Cafe!  Okay, I know that's American food and it was ridiculously expensive but I'm not gonna lie, it was one of the best meals I've had in a looooong time!  

Anyways so on Friday we got up early and headed for Sintra.  We ate breakfast by our hotel - some ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches.  Kailie and I asked for apple juice and were getting really excited when they told us they had some!  But when it arrived at our table, turns out it was freshly crushed -- LITERALLY.  Hahaha it was seriously just a cup of crushed didn't taste bad but it was not good to drink...needless to say, we left that on the table.  Anyways, after our train ride to Sintra, the guy at the tourism office told us about this company we could rent bikes from and ride up to the castles and get free admission.  I was SO excited for this...only for all my hopes and dreams to be CRUSHED in an instant once again.  The tourism guy called the bike guy and apparently he was out somewhere and "couldn't make it back in time".  I mean, what the heck I was so upset!  So that kind of put a damper on my mood, but we were still able to go to Quinta da Regaleira and the Moorish Castle on foot/bus.  They were both absolutely gorgeous.  And from the Moorish Castle, we were able to look out and see Lisbon -- absolutely breathtaking!  For lunch, we found this cute cafe called Cafe O Torque where we had the best restaurant experience we've yet to have (besides the Hard Rock, of course) in all of Europe!  It was absolutely delicious!  Tortilla Española, delicious salad, cheese sandwich, and a cinnamon sugar crepe.  Best.  Meal.  Ever.

On Saturday, we headed to the coast and saw the beautiful beach I've been dying for!  It was absolutely gorgeous.  We ate lunch on the beach, took lots of pictures, and just enjoyed warm sun on our faces!  How spoiled is it that we were so sad to leave Portugal to come back to Madrid??  But the best part was probably when we rented SEGWAYS and rode them up and down the coast with a gorgeous view of the beach.  Um, most "legit" (that was for you Michael-Ann) thing ever?? YES!!!  Oh, and also, my bartering skills are getting really good.  I bartered with a store owner for the cutest Portugal mochila and with a different one for a dementor-hooded striped pullover!  I knocked like 2 or 3 euro off of each purchase....despite my not knowing a lick of Portuguese.  

Anyways, this was pretty much the best weekend ever and now I'm so excited to go to Sevilla and Granada this week and Paris in a few weeks!  I basically love my life right now.


There's la rana! (the frog)

Plaza Mayor Salamanca

Our first night in Lisbon and we're eating like Americans!

Squint your eyes and look really can see Florida!

From the Moorish Castle