Sunday, March 29, 2009

A stomach can change in 3 months

Devin and I have a friend in Madrid who went to Auburn but has been teaching in Madrid for 2 years and he also plays on the waterpolo team in Madrid. We have attended a couple of their games throughout the semester and last night we went to another one which was a nailbighter and then they tied....but afterwards Matt wanted to make us a good southern dinner. We were so excited to see how American food would turn out in Spain. Spain does not have a lot of the same ingredients or spices needed to make a lot of food thats why we were excited to see how Matt would do it. Anyway the menu was as followed; Fried Green Tomatoes and Mozarella cheese sticks for appetizers, homemade mac and cheese(amazing), biscuits, potato salad, wings (with 3 different kinds of sauce), fried shrimp, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and a homemade ranch sauce. Ranch does not exist in Spain so he made his own (i do not like ranch so I didnt eat it but everyone else said it was really good) and chocolate chips don't exist and neither does brown sugar so he had to cut up his own chocolate chips and he spent a week hunting down molasses to make them...I was too full to try one but Devin, Lauren, and Sarah loved them!....His roommate Carlos is from the Northern region of Spain called Asturias and his family homegrows everything they eat even the we ate some of the honey straight from the bee WOW...I will never eat honey normal again. Also when I say Matt made homemade southern biscuits, I mean HOMEMADE AND SOUTHERN. He used LARD to make it and he told us after I took one bite out of one (I stopped eating it immediately)...BUT the problem now is that I feel soooooooooo sick. I think my stomach has stopped being able to eat this kind of food (WOO HOO) I am not complaining! But it was an amazing dinner and the mac and cheese made me feel at home...Thanks Matt! He took pictures of it all so I will try to get some from him to put up.

By the way we are now 6 and 7 hours apart again. We time changed last night.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don Quijote

There is a class at my school called 'Cervantes and hiw works' for those of you who have never learned anything about Spain, Miguel Cervantes is a very famous writer who wrote "Don Quijote." I live in the town where Cervantes grew up. Anyway, yesterday the class went on a field trip to all the destinations where Don Quijote goes in the book and had to act out the scene at each destination. I decided to go on the field trip, too. Basically the story of Don Quijote is that he is a crazy guy who believes himself to be a knight and goes around fighting trees and windmills and empty armor thinking they are real people or giants. This is the second most read book in the world (only second to The Bible). The skits the class put on were pretty funny. Don Quijote is kind of seen as the hero of Spain...his statues like the one below are EVERYWHERE!!! Literally every town probably you can find something of Don Quijote
Don Quijote at the well he was "knighted" at en La Mancha
A tile depicting him "fighting" a solider (really just his empty armor)

La Mancha

The windmills he fought thinking they were giants
We got to go up inside one of the windmills and were explained how they worked...and Yes Dad it was all done in Spanish

Sunday, March 22, 2009


This weekend was las Fayas in Spain (a big festival that I get off school for) and also spring break for Auburn so I feel like I got two spring breaks, one for Auburn in two weeks one for school in Spain. Anyway, me and macon escaped to Tenerife, an island off the coast of Africa but it is a Spainish territory. It is kind of how I picture Hawaii to be but with a lot of Spanish. What we did not know was that Tenerife is paradise for those over the age of 60...I don't think we saw someone our age the whole five days we were there. O and did I mention that most of Spain's beaches are nudest? 60 years and nude....sorry I didn't take pictures. But the weather was AMAZING and the sights were so beautiful and our hostel was pretty good for how little we paid for it. There were a lot of little restaurants and bars around. We kept hearing music from our window thinking it was a karaoke bar so we went out looking for it our first night and discovered that it was actually a band that was PAID to sing at this bar. The over 60s loved it of course but we could not stop laughing because we thought it was karaoke. We also so a Meatloaf cover band...interesting...again we thought it was karaoke but he was being paid too. We basically just laid on the black sand beaches (trying not to look around at the NUDES) or at the pool. Friday we took a boat tour on a pirate ship, saw dolphins, jumped off the boat into the water, and had paella. It was a very enjoyable and relaxing trip. The island
Tenerife has a volcano right in the middle of the island so everything is built of volcanic rocks...our hotel was off the side of a cliff.

Volcanic rock cliffs...again my camera does not quite capture how beautiful this really is!

So I realized I only have about 6 weeks left. CRAZY! I feel like I have been waiting for this trip for forever and now its over half way complete?! How is that possible...I had so many things I wanted to do and plans to travel and now all those plans from so long ago lead up to my last trip to Italy...can it really already be almost time for me to go to Italy?! In December when I booked my trip to Italy I felt it would take forever for Spring Break to get here but now its only two weeks away. There are things I am missing about the USA but its basically Im just tired of talking through a computer to everyone...otherwise I dont want these six weeks to fly by like the last 2 1/2 months have...where did January and February and now almost March go?! I definitely feel that my spanish has improved a me I am still learning so much and I am going to have to keep working hard when I get back but I'm soaking in all I can while I am here! Hope everyone's weekend went well and that the weather is as glorious there as it is here!!! (although it has gotten a little chilly again) praying for me! I have a lot of papers due before spring break and of course I feel like there is never time to finish it all...I'm just laying it all down!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ireland pictures!

So I took 140 pictures...if you want to see more they will be on are a variety from what I saw! Glendalough

Okay this is the first building I saw with our name on was a fruit store!

Avoca cafe...the most cafe I have ever been to

The Coast

View of Dublin from the top of the Guinness factory

My first pint of Guinness

Grafton Street

St. Steven's Park

Trinity College

O'Connell Street

O'Connell Street

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I am in Love...WITH IRELAND!!!

Alright I was going to upload pictures first but the blog is being weird and not letting me! So I will tell you all about my weekend and pictures will hopefully come later tonight! WE arrived on Thursday night and as I was going through customs the guy had not even looked at my passport and said "Are you visiting family?" and I said no and he said "Well I can tell your Irish (opens my passport) Yep you have one of the five Irish lastnames (haha)" and he asked where my family was from, I told him and he asked if I was going to get to go to Cork and I told him no because I was only here until Sunday and then he stamped on my passport that I had until April 1 incase I changed my mind and wanted to stay in Ireland...and let me tell you that if I did not have school I would have stayed in Ireland until I was kicked out.
Friday we stayed around in Dublin. We were so lucky not to have any rain which is very unusual for Ireland. We bought passes for the bus tour which was hop on hop off so we were able to see almost all the major landmarks of the city. I will recommend doing this if you go because the city is very big. We walked through Trinity College, Grafton street (major shopping), Temple Bar district (Bourbon street of Dublin), I saw Oscar Wildes house, St. Steven's Park, St. Patricks Cathedral, Molly Malone (a famous women they sing songs about), O'Connell Street, we went to the Guinness Factory and I had a pint of Guinness, and I am not going to lie I saw a Subway restaurant and freaked out! I had to have a sandwich and I did...amazing!!! I was kind of bummed because I never saw our last name anywhere in Dublin but thats okay. That night Macon and I went and saw some Irish dancing and traditional Irish band at a bar called Legends. It was so much fun and so enjoyable. I loved all the people there!
Saturday was probably the best though. We decided to take a guided tour of Wicklow and Glendalough...two littlier towns near Dublin. We were able to see the coast which was amazing and green! I have not seen very much grass since I have been in Europe so it was so nice to see it. There were all these crazy locals going swimming in their bikinis (pretty much all old ladies...does cold water keep the blood flowing better or something?) Our tour guide was hilarious and took us through all the little roads so we could see all the houses and coast of Ireland including Bono's house and Enya's. Our first stop on the tour was at this AMAZING cafe called Avoca! I had the most amazing brownie and scone I have ever had in my life and the other food looked amazing too. I did not want to leave there but then we went for a drive through all the hills and saw all the sheep and green and I loved it. We saw where Braveheart was filmed and scenes from P.S. I love you. OUr tour guide said that after the release of that movie they had to add more buses to the tour in order to accomadate all the young girls who fled to Ireland to find a man like the one from P.S. I love you...he then told us that they are a dying breed and do not really exist. We drove a little bit further till we stopped for lunch at an authentic restaurant for beef stew and Guinness. Unfortunately food is VERY expensive in Ireland so I do not suggest eating out although shepards pie is amazing! We traveled a little bit further after lunch to Glendalough and the two lakes (one which P.s. I Love you was filmed on) IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!! Everything was so green and the water was so blue (my pictures unfortunately do no justice to any part of Ireland...if you visit bring a nice Canon or Nixon in order to really capture the beauty)...There was a graveyard full of Byrne's most of who lived to be about 70-80 so I think I have some good genes going for me! When I went to the name crest place that tells you the history of your surname, the man said we originated in Wicklow but all I knew was that my great great grandfather moved from Cork but when I went there and saw all the names on the gravestones and the shops it was so cool!
So I think everyone needs to drop everything they are doing and take a trip to Ireland. I think its impossible to ever regret it!!! So I will try to get pictures up soon but on Tuesday I am off to the beach for a school is good!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today is the 5th anniversary of the train bombings in Madrid. The four trains that were bombed all left from the Alcala de Henares train station a place a frequent almost everyweek and pass on my way to school everyday. There is a big candle light ceremony in the plaza tonight in remembrance of the 200 who died. It is kind of weird to imagine walking through the same ticket booths as those four men did that die and boarding a train on the same tracks as they did.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Women's Day

Today was Women's Day in Spain. Spain does not celebrate a Mothers Day and instead have a whole day devoted towards all women. It was down in the plaza and began with a 1 mile run. A bunch of girls I go to school with and I ran the race. It was free and you got a free tshirt in Spanish (it is very rare to find any shirts with Spanish on it) After the race there were dance classes in the plaza and a bunch of different sports to be played. It was a gorgeous day so it was fun to just hangout. There was a also a little market set up so I did some shopping for little things. Tomorrow I go to see Congress. Should be interesting.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Alright I figured out the reason why abuela was talking about her underarm fat now. Her granddaughter, Jolie, was having surgery to remove the fat under her arms because they found some kind of balls that did not look normal. She was in surgery all day yesterday but is now doing just fine. Glad I got that cleared up!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Change in the Weather

The past two weeks I have been in summer. The weather here was absolutely beautiful and reaching 80 degrees everyday...I spent much of my time in the park or running. The only bad thing is that when it gets warm here it starts smelling really bad. The sewers seem to be overflowing with the stinch of what is down under the streets BUT no matter, I would still take the heat! Unfortunately it has become VERY cold again. The wind is insane and I unfortunately have gotten sick. Whenever there is a drastic change in weather, I usually end up feeling pretty yucky so today I am just resting in my room, curtains drawn, listening to the wind howl outside and playing on Itunes...(I dont plan on leaving my bed only for the bathroom) I am glad I had not made plans to go anywhere this weekend since I am not feeling well. Perfect time to work on my ten page, single spaced papers one on Economics and one on the Spanish war of independence.

Yesterday I had a class fieldtrip to the Museum of Money...yep it was about as exciting as it was basically just a bunch of old coins from the beginning of Spains history. Spain has been ruled by a lot of different people so their money was always changing and they have only used the euro for about 8 years. I thought we were going to get to see where the money was made but that did not happen.

(all the clothes just blew off the lines outside my window...thats how windy it is)

I had a very disturbing experience yesterday. I was downstairs watching my usual programs on spanish television "El Diario" (a really dramatic talkshow) y "Ven a cena conmigo"(cooking show where five people switch off each night cooking for each other and then they vote on whose was the best dinner and someone wins money)...Anyway, Abuela and I usually watch these two together and sit and chat about the crazy people on the shows and how we think they should solve their problems...Last night same old routine but we were silent for quite sometime and then abuela starts talking about something that I could not understand one bit of and ALL OF A SUDDEN she lifts up her shirt to show me the fat under her arms!!!!! (obvisouly I did not know the words for underarm fat so of course I had no idea what she was saying) I WAS HORRIFIED...and she thought it was completely normal...O ABUELA!

I was also able to talk to my whole family (minus the husbands) on Skype conference call last night! It was so fun even though we were all talking over each other and the nieces were a little tired. Chrysti said she had to take my number out of the speed dial so the girls would not try to keep calling me and wonder why I was not answering. While on Skype, Ally kept wondering why she couldnt see anybody and kept telling me all the yummy snacks she was going to make me when I got back (cupcakes, brownies, maple syrup something) Chrysti I am so glad you broke down and got internet at your new house. Just like Becca said on her blog, If you dont have SKYPE get it! Its free and you can talk to me for the next 56 days im here (as Dad informed me yesterday that thats how long I have...I think he misses me!)

Well next Thursday I leave to go to IRELAND!!! I could not be more excited. I will be in Dublin on Thursday and Friday and then Saturday I am hopefully going down to Cork to see the town where my family is from. I have a friend, Megan, from high school who is studying abroad there so she said she would show me around. Its actually funny because Megans roommate at Boston College is actually here in Alcala with me (small world). After I get back from Ireland on sunday I have two days of class and then its off to Tenerife in the Canary Islands for Las Fayas! Las Fayas is a BIG festival that I get school off for even though I wont be celebrating it...I will be at the beach RELAXING!!! I talked to the guy at the hotel and he says the weather is wonderful!!! If you have a chance you should go online to look at pictures of this island. Its off the cost of Africa but it is owned by Spain...the hotel I am staying in is called Hi!Tamaimo...I need the beach...I am more white then I think I have ever been in my life. My teacher actually asked me if I was sick the other day because of how pale I looked. I did not bring a bathing suit here with me but tank tops can work...Who cares about tanlines when your on an island off the coast of Africa!!! Its going to take us three different buses to get to our hotel (exclusive much!)

Hope all is well State side...although everyone here from Auburn seems to be very into politics so I have been kept informed of the good and bad... We shall just wait and see!