GOOOOOOOL!

Wake up. Metro. Class. Metro. Home.

Then came the fútbol game. Rachael, Jess, and I met up with a couple other SLU people to enjoy some tapas and drinks before cheering on Real Madrid. I’ve already discovered that Spain does everything better than the US, but I especially like how at bars when you order a drink, you get 2 plates of appetizers free with it. So we feasted on tapas before we hopped on the metro to the stadium. We were running a little late (as usual) and struggled a bit buying tickets. Thank God I know Spanish because no one in Spain speaks English. I like that I’m forced to speak it though. After I successfully asked for directions to the open ticket booth, we all paid up and entered the home of Real Madrid (only 40 minutes late). It was just a friendly game, so no crazy fans or anything. When we got there, it was already 5-0. I feel like a true madrileña now that I’ve seen a game and have a jersey. It was pretty cool. Madrid never ceases to amaze me. 

Tomorrow we are heading to Barcelona! Looking forward to it, but not the 8 hour bus ride. 

 

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This Is the Life

Today was yet another perfect day in Madrid. Classes were fine blah blah blah and Latin Rhythms is only getting better because I actually know what I’m doing. It’s rather enjoyable now. Two and a half hours went by rather quickly today. 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays SLU takes a group of students to a driving range for free. Jessica golfed in high school and is pretty good, so she got me to tag along. It was something different from the usual go home and chill/do homework until dinner so I enjoyed the change. Obviously I struggled with the whole hitting the golfball part, but I got better towards the end. Jessica is a good teacher. 

Straight from golf we headed to Sol to meet Rachael to shop for cheap soccer jerseys for the game tomorrow. I argued with the vendor in Spanish for quite a while before I decided on a navy blue Real Madrid jersey. Since I spent so long debating between a blue or white jersey, we had to run home for dinner. Madre and padre were concerned that we weren’t home at exactly 9pm for dinner and as soon as we walked in the door they were asking us about the soccer game. We showed them our jerseys and padre was ecstatic. He LOVES Real Madrid. I made a joke about liking Barcelona and he flipped. It was kinda humorous and when I told him it was a joke he kissed me. He’s the most adorable man ever. So he chatted with us for a while about how he thinks Real Madrid is the best team in the world and proceeded to take us into Alfonso’s room so see his memorabilia. 

I must be getting better at eating vegetables because tonight’s green beans didn’t bother me as much as I was anticipating. During dinner Alfonso graced us with his presence. This was the first time that he’d ever done this!! It was fabulous. Now that I’ve gotten a closer look, I’m guessing he’s 26. We asked him if he ever watched American movies and about some typical Spanish food. He was pretty chatty. We love him. He also informed us that he has a hard time understanding our English and never gets it 100% so that’s a plus for us, guess he doesn’t hear us gossiping about him. 

When we’d topped off dinner with pudding/fruit for dessert, we got ready for a friend’s 21st birthday and headed to the Cave Bar once again. There was a bunch of SLU people there, so it was nice to hang out with a bunch of familiar faces and meet some new ones as well. We were all busting out our Latin Rhythms moves, a guaranteed good time. We left to catch the metro before it closed and ended yet another fabulous, perfect day in Spain. Time is flying and I wish it would just slow down. 

I overheard someone talking about how homesick they were getting. Sorry family and friends, but I need some more time on this continent! I can’t get enough of siestas, 3.80 euro flights, and Spanish! Obviously so thankful and still loving every second that I get to spend here. 

What a day. 

This is Exhausting

I think it would be an understatement if I said I was tired after this weekend’s travels. I had slept when we got home from Lisbon at 11am. We relaxed/did homework all day (see Steff and Grandma, more studying!). Rachael and I ended up crashing pretty late after we put in a movie. Fully aware of how tired I was, I set an alarm for noon, plenty of time to get ready for my 2:30 class. Well, noon rolled around and this girl did not wake up. Nearly 2 hours later I woke up in a panic knowing how late I was going to be for class. Rachael and I left the house at the same time; me running ahead to hopefully make it on time and Rachael leisurely walking. It’s normally a 7-10 minute walk to the metro station, but today I cut the time in half. I was booking it. I was standing on the metro platform huffing and puffing, trying to catch my breath waiting for the train as Rachael walked up behind me. My running was rendered useless. That’s the last time I’ll do that. I bolted off the metro at our stop and ran the rest of the way to school. Thankfully at 2:30 I was sitting in my desk. Crisis averted. 

When my psych class was done discussing drugs, I met up with Rachael to grab a bite to eat. After last night’s tomatoes and cauliflower again, I needed a cheeseburger. Per usual, before heading home we stopped at SuperSol (the grocery store). The sight we saw was one of the best/worst yet. In the fish bin in the middle of the aisle today was a giant swordfish just jutting out of the ice. I thought Rachael was going to puke. It was quite a scene. Mortified, we left SuperSol and headed home.

To no one’s surprise, I fell right back asleep as soon as we got home. Apparently this weekend really drained me. The rest of the night consisted of homework, dinner, and planning trips. I really love the conversations we have with madre at dinner. It’s mostly me talking since Rachael and Jessica don’t know as much Spanish, but I try to translate a lot. Yesterday at dinner I mentioned that I have a rough time conjugating the verb divertirse (to have fun) so tonight she gave me a lesson and quizzed me. It’s so much easier to learn when I’m in a chill environment and just talking with madre. 

When I was supposed to be doing homework after dinner, I was on Twitter and heard of a cheap flight to London. I looked up the information online and it happened to be a free weekend for us. Afraid that the low price wouldn’t last, Rachael, Jessica, and I booked a flight to London for Nov. 23-26th! It was super spontaneous but I’m already looking forward to it. 

Tomorrows plans include classes and fútbol game. Stay tuned! 

Our Misfortunes Are Not Normal

“Everyone got their passport, boarding pass, and money?”

“Yep, we’re ready.”

This is how our morning (actually night) started off. We got to the airport around 2am so that we could post up and sleep there for the night before our flight at 7am. We met up with another group of SLU students before we parked ourselves in front of the check-in gates. As we were chatting with the other SLU people, Rachael realizes that she brought the wrong boarding pass. It was a minor obstacle, but little did we know this was going to be the theme of our  trip to Lisboa, Portugal.

Running on minimal sleep, we arrived in Lisbon at 7:30am and were off to find our hostel. Because we couldn’t check in until later in the day, we dropped off our bags and raced to meet our tour guide for the I Hate Tourism tour. The tour was a suggestion from many people who raved about it in the past, so we were all super excited. It was supposed to last for 7 hours, so we planned on seeing a lot of the city and trying local food, especially desserts. The time is now 8:50 and our tour starts at 9. Frantically looking around the plaza for any sign of our tour guide, we decide to ask someone for information. We find a phone number to call, learn that we’re in the wrong plaza, and are told to wait while they contact the driver to see where the tour is. It’s 9:20 when we get a call telling us that the tour is too far for us to meet them and that the only way to catch up to them is to take a train. We were so angry. The tour only had 7 people on it: the 4 of us who were lost and the 3 other SLU students who we were with in the airport. We later found out that we were actually only 5 minutes from the bus (the lady on the phone thought we were elsewhere) and that the bus driver wanted to wait for us but his boss told him no. Nonetheless, we were pretty upset. Our anger eased up a little when the tour company agreed to give us a 100% refund.

Even with our money back, we had no idea what we were going to do for 7 hours on our own. Needless to say, everyone was in a rough mood after missing the bus. Down in the dumps, we wandered back into the information shop to see what else there was to do. We found a tour that took us on a double decker bus around the city for 1.5 hours and then on a river boat cruise for 2.5 hours, and it was even cheaper than our original tour. With our moods slightly raised, we boarded the top deck of the bus and rode around the cute city that is Lisbon, Portugal. We had a few hours between our bus and boat tour, so we had time to grab lunch in the city. Both of the tours ended up being a lot of fun. I think we made the best of it.

Now it was time for us to check into our hostel. I had no idea what to expect. We go to check in only to realize that our bad luck has not run out. Our booking had been wrong, and I only reserved a room for 1 night. And the hostel was completely full. Here we were trying to find some place to sleep in Portugal. Because it was such late notice we were all a little nervous. Thankfully the workers at our first hostel gave us some recommendations and we found a place to crash the next day. Yet another bullet dodged, we were exhausted and called it a night after walking around the city, stopping for dinner, and enjoying some pastries.

Saturday was beach day. Our only plans were to take the train to Escoril and soak up the sun. The clouds covered a majority of the sky, but we still enjoyed our day of relaxation. It was such a change up from what we’ve been doing the past 4 weeks. We’re constantly on the go, so I definitely appreciated the time I spent laying in the sand. When my skin couldn’t get any more sunburnt, we headed to dinner and then back to the new hostel.

Both of our hostels exceeded my expectations. It’s like girl scout camp on steroids. Everyone there acts like this is your actual home and that you’ve lived there for years. It was clean, down comforter blankets, free sangria, free dinner, and free breakfast every day. Everything you’ll ever need. And it’s chalk full of people our age so I loved it even more.

We were exhausted by the time we got back to our first hostel, so we traded free sangria for a few more hours of sleep. However, at our second hostel we were more than ready for some sangria and socializing. We walked into the lounging area to a couch full of about 6 German boys, all very cute. I’m socially awkward and didn’t talk very much, but by the end of the night they were convincing us to go on the pub crawl hosted by our hostel with them. We had saved 15 euros on the tours and the pub crawl cost 15 euros so it seemed like fate.

The pub crawl included a total of 3 bars a disco club which gave us 2 shots, a mojito, and an hour of unlimited drinks (and of course a fun night with cute German boys). Pretty sweet deal. The Germans pretty much kept to themselves at the first bar, a little upsetting. So when we had gotten our drinks and were heading towards the dance floor, I tried to get the one I was crushing on, Ralph, to come with us. Unfortunately he turned me down. Rachael struck up conversation with one of the more chatty boys so I chimed in on their talk. They were playing the “Fun Fact” game. His fun fact about himself was that he didn’t like Americans…good one. But really these German boys said that Americans were loud, obnoxious, rude, and uncultured. Those were the stereotypes they told us anyways. I was really adamant on hanging out with Ralph, so Rachael slyly threw it into the conversation that I thought he was cute. These Germans were so socially awkward; they were not picking up any hints. So all night it was a constant struggle to keep a conversation with them let alone dance with them because they hated the American music that was playing. At one point in the night I thought I’d attempt the “Fun Fact” game with Ralph. His fun fact? “I’m boring.” Then he walked away. Rough times, but he was so cute. All in all it was a super fun night. Finally around 3:00am we left for the hostel to get at least a few hours of sleep before our flight back home to Madrid at 11am.

Portugal itself was a beautiful city. I’m glad that I got to spend a weekend there, but it definitely wasn’t what I expected. It was super touristy and almost everyone there spoke English. I never would have thought that that would bother me. I realized how much I love speaking Spanish in Madrid. Personally, I feel that the US is doing it all wrong. I’m also slowly realizing how much I dislike about America. And it upsets me that every other country hates Americans. For example, I can’t even travel to Morocco because they hate Americans that much. Can’t I just live in Madrid forever?! By the time the weekend was over, I was ready to come back to Madrid. It’s crazy how fast this place has become home for me. I almost missed it while we were gone. And to think it was only for 3 days. Oy vey. On a negative note, I only have 3 months left here. Doesn’t seem like near enough time. Guess I’ll have to come back.

Our first weekend trip around Europe started off a little bumpy but ended up being a weekend that I’ll never forget.

What a weekend.

T’was the Night Before Portugal

I don’t feel the need to go into detail about how my classes went today. Same old, same old. But Latin Rhythms is always a gem. We learned yet another new dance, rueda cubana. It’s like the Spanish Version of the Hokey Pokey. I’m surprised at how many dance steps we’ve learned and how I’m actually remembering them. The show at the end of the semester is going to be quite the scene. 

After school we took a shopping trip to Sol. We’d been passing by so many stores since we’ve been here but never actually had the time to go shopping. We took advantage of our free time and Rachael and I walked out of a store called Sfera with our first European clothes purchases!! I got a pair of shorts for 3 euros (I was in desperate need since I only packed one pair of norts) and a cute white blouse. Stay tuned to new photos to spot my new shirt; it’s going to make an appearance in Portugal. 

We had to be weary of the time while shopping so that we would be home for dinner. After yesterday’s meal choice, I was a little worried as to what surprise was going to be on my plate tonight. I sit down at the table with a plate of eggs in front of me. It wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it was better than the zucchini and tomatoes last night. Hoping that the second course was edible, I scarfed down the eggs. Señora brings out a dish of rice and cauliflower and rice; also not my first choice, but not bad either. See mom, I’m getting better at eating!!

When we had stuffed our faces with all the food and desserts madre had thrown at us, it was time to pack for Portugal. One weekend, one backpack. This is our first weekend trip so I’m sure it’s going to be a great adventure. We signed up for a 7 hour “I Hate Tourism” tour Friday, going to the beach on Saturday, and coming home Sunday. Our plane leaves at 7am tomorrow. The metro doesn’t open until 6am, and we need to be there by 5:30, so that route was out of the question. The busses also don’t run to the airport that early in the morning. So our best option (as suggested to us by a señora) is to take the metro before it closes at 2am tonight  and sleep in the airport. 

I’m just about done packing and we’re leaving in t-minus 1 hour!! Here’s to new experiences and new adventures. 

What a day. 

Hump Day

With having so much homework this week, it has actually started to feel like a real school here. I actually had to go to the library so that I could focus and get some homework done today before heading home. My anticipation for this weekend might also have something to do with this week passing by so slowly. Just one more day until we are off to Portugal for the weekend!! But of course, I have to survive the death that is Spanish class before I can lounge on the beach. Spanish has me worried. We’re reading older works of literature so the language is a bit more difficult than I’m used to. And one of our first assignments was 15 pages long. I spent 2 hours working on it and only read 6 pages. It’s a major struggle when I have to look up every other word. Here’s to hoping I will get better by the end of the semester, after all, Spanish is my major now.

Tonight Molly got another gold medal for dinner. The first course was cooked zucchini and tomatoes. I tried to eat as much of it as I could, but the second madre walked out of the kitchen to answer the phone, I threw some onto Jess’s and Rachael’s plates. They’re troopers. Even after I dished some on their plates, I still had a solid portion to finish on my own. It was rough.

After Rachael and I finished dinner and our homework, we rewarded ourselves with a night out.

A guy from SLU works as a club promoter here, so we get lots of deals: free drinks, free entrance, and skipping lines at the door. I don’t hate it. One of the clubs he promotes is Café Orange. He advertised a foam party tonight, and since me and Rachael have never been to one, we thought we’d check it out. This is what we were expecting (with good cause because this is what Curtis showed everyone):

Image

Expecting a bubble bath, we dressed down in running shorts and t-shirts, unusual in Spain. We definitely stood out on the metro and couldn’t wait until we got to Orange. We skipped the lines, got our free cup, and headed down the stairs only to find no foam and girls in dresses. And here we were in shorts and t-shirts. So awkward. At this time it was only 12:20, so we’re thinking ok, maybe the foam starts at one. Let’s note that we have to be on the metro by 1:40 because it stops at 2:00. We push through the crowds to get our free drinks and hang out on the dance floor hoping that the foam will start by 1:00. 1:00 hits and still no foam. And we’re starting to get weird looks from everyone around us because we’re dressed like we just came from the gym. The night went on, still no foam. It’s now 1:30 and we have to leave to catch the metro when an announcement plays over the speakers, “Foam Party will start at 2am”. FABULOUS. It was quite a disappointment. And a little embarrassing. All in all it was better than sitting at home.

Tomorrow starts our busy weekend so here’s to minimal sleep and new adventures!

What a day.

Between Travels

School days. They’re getting in the way of my traveling and touring of Madrid. Tonight will be spent submersing myself in my spanish book as opposed to the spanish culture. 

I wish I could say that spanish class is getting easier, but it’s not. I don’t particularly enjoy literature classes in English, so I can’t say that I enjoy them when they are in Spanish either. I analyze poems wrong in English so it’s a disaster when I try to analyze a spanish poem. I’m a hot mess in that class. On the plus side, I’m starting to enjoy history more. It’s probably because a) I can’t get enough of the teacher’s accent and b) he’s super sarcastic. It’s kind of like I’m at home. 

Latin Rhythms……….

I have 2 left feet. I’m pretty sure my teacher is starting to hate me because I’m so uncoordinated. Everyone has to dance with her throughout the class. Whenever it’s my turn to be her partner, she’s either telling me to maintain the rhythm or to take smaller steps. I also had to tango with a boy who could not lead. And class was the full 2.5 hours today. All kinds of struggles. 

There was no new adventures today. Maybe that means I’m actually settling down here. Whoa. Still loving every second of it.

My Heart Is Smiling

I don’t think today could’ve been any better. For starters, I got to sleep in. After the celebration of Jess’s birthday last night, it was much needed. I dragged myself out of bed to school for my one psych class. After surviving the hour and fifteen minutes of class, Rachael and I were off to the party store to get some birthday decor for Jessica’s room. With our luck, we got lost and when we finally found it, it was closed for siesta time. Since 21st birthdays aren’t a big deal here, it was a little tricky finding appropriate decorations. We picked out a banner and a balloon and were ready to surprise Jess.

The metro has posed as quite the obstacle on our way home. The workers are on strike so in the morning and evenings (the busiest times of the day) only 46% of the trains are running. So instead of trains coming every 3 minutes, it’s now every 15 min. ¡Que pena! The metro wasn’t our only obstacle. We have a serious problem with the lock on our front door. With rarity, I unlocked it just fine. But when it came to pulling the key out of the lock it was impossible. No lie: Rachael and I stood there for 10 minutes tugging and pulling at the key but it wouldn’t budge. Padre finally came over to help us. Except he was also unsuccessful. After 15 minutes of locking/unlocking the door, pulling and turning the key, padre fixed the lock. It was quite and experience and bonding moment with padre.

Thankfully we made it home before Jess to decorate her room. We made it pretty, and went back to our room to wait for Jessica to come home. As we were lounging on our beds, madre comes in with a box of Ghirahdelli chocolate brownie mix. In broken English she tells us, “I buy, you cook.” Rachael and I were more than eager to do some baking. Struggling with my kitchen vocabulary words, I managed to get all of the ingredients and supplies needed for the brownies. 45 minutes later our brownies were topped with “21” candles that madre had. Obviously this wasn’t the first 21st birthday she’s celebrated.

Not too long after, Jessica came through the door. She loved the masterpiece that was her room, as did madre and padre. They were all so excited. Padre came into Jessica’s room and gave her a talk about boys and drinking wine now that she was older. He’s just so cute. We migrated to the kitchen where the brownies were being prepared when padre walks in singing “Happy Birthday” IN ENGLISH. We couldn’t believe it. We’re also fairly positive that this is the only English he knows because when we don’t understand him, madre tries to translate in English. We spoke a lot with padre today. Madre noticed that we were having a hard time comprehending his spanish because he mumbles, so she yelled at him to pronunciate and open his mouth. They’re adorable. After lighting the “21” candles and singing Happy Birthday, we sat around the dining room table, chatted, and enjoyed the brownies. It was absolutely fabulous. When we were finished eating, madre went into her bedroom and came back with a present wrapped in used Christmas paper. She bought Jessica a scarf as a gift; too cute. The gift giving was followed by lots of kisses and hugs. Madre and padre were so happy. My heart was smiling all night. They were so kind and thoughtful all day. I think it’s safe to say we have the best host family.

Now that we’d stuffed our faces with brownies, the birthday festivities continued with dinner at Plaza Mayor with our  friends, Lead and Alex. I was thrilled to get to visit the plaza two days in a row. I just love it. The birthday girl chose the restaurant where we sat outside and had one of the best meals of the semester. It was what I had been waiting for for the past 2 weeks: MAC N CHEESE. Let me tell you, it was fantastic. I am slowly learning spanish restaurant etiquette. First off, make sure you actually sit at the tables that belong to the desired restaurant. We accidentally sat at the tables of this crazy expensive restaurant before we found the correct seating area. Awkward situations occur when you do that, FYI. Secondly, don’t eat the bread on the table unless you want to pay 7,50 for it. Thirdly, you have to ask for the bill because it is considered rude for the waiter to bring it to you. So, I downed my mac n cheese pretty quickly, as did everyone else. Ready for dessert, we stopped at one of the ice cream shops in the plaza. It was a perfect night. Don’t worry Steff and Grandma, when I got home I had to do some homework before I could call it a night. To the rest of my family and friends, please relocate yourselves to Spain because I am not leaving and I think I will start to miss you all in a few years 🙂

I’m so thankful that I am here to have days like today.

What a day.

The Day My Legs Fell Off

Julio tried to kill us today. This was our second day trip in a row, so when my alarm went off this morning it was a little rough getting up. The bus ride today was a little shorter than yesterday, only an hour and a half. Segovia is known for the aqueduct that runs through the whole city. It’s 2000 years old and is held together without cement or anything, just stones. It was pretty phenomenal.

In addition to the aqueduct we toured a lot of churches and cathedrals. That got a little repetitive. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. We spent the entire day walking around the city. Not leisurely walking, because our tour guide Julio was a speed demon. We’d all be snapping pictures and before any of us knew it Julio was 100ft ahead of the crowd. Not only did he walk quickly, he dragged us down this mountain to stand in front of a castle (he didn’t let us go in it). Going back up the mountain was torture. Everyone, even the guys, were huffing and puffing when they reached the top. And before we knew it, Julio was off to another location. He was impossible to keep up with. It was a long day of walking and sight seeing.

When it came time to head back to Madrid, our group was dead. The bus ride home was silent because everyone was asleep. But our naps didn’t end there. As soon as we got home, my roommates and I all went straight to our beds and slept until dinner. Our señora didn’t come home for dinner so padre got it ready for us. Padre doesn’t know any English so we could tell he was nervous as he heated up last night’s spaghetti. He held a conversation with us in his super thick spanish accent while we ate. I kept up with him as much as I could and responded accordingly. I think he was happy to actually talk with us.

After dinner, we cleaned up and started to get ready to go our for our friends’ Jessica and Hannah’s 21st birthday. While we were getting ready, padre comes into mine and Rachael’s room with a bottle of wine. He told me that we were spectacular daughters and that this was a gift to us, but that we had to keep it a secret from madre. HE”S SO CUTE. So, we chatted with him a little more before we headed to the Cave Bar.

We met up with a bunch of friends at the metro stop to go to this Cave Bar. The inside obviously looks like a cave and they pour drinks from the ceiling. It was pretty neat. They’re famous for their fishbowl-sized drinks of leche pantera, which we ordered. It was a super fun, chill night out with some new friends. It’s looking to be a fantastic semester.

What a day.

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