Monday, April 18, 2011

me & mama in madrid!

since my mama arrived in madrid on thursday, i thought id take a weekend hiatus to visit her this weekend & we had sooo much fun! :)

at first i was a little nervous because she just told me to stay in the bus station & she'd "find me" which, after waiting for 30 mins in the bus station, started to get me a wee bit nervous cuz i was still alone in a crowded bus station. but anyone who knows a rabadan knows we're always late but más vale tarde que nunca! (better late, than never!)

for lunch we stopped at a really authentic hole-in-the-wall type spanish restaurant where we both got the menu del día (salads, fish w/ 'salsa verde' & dessert!) mama got this ice cream roll thing but i opted for the chocolate cake w/ dulce de leche. yummmmmmmy it was delish!

then we went over to the palacio real, took some extremely corny pictures, and wandered around the parque de retiro for a little while because it was soo beautiful outside. on our way out of the palacio real we had a really creepy man walk up to us and say an obscene thing that i will not restate on here but basically it was disgusting and my mama was not a happy lady so we went and told the policia about it who then proceeded to run the guy outta the plaza. nice.

we had to grab a quick dinner because we were going to a flamenco show that night so we stopped at a place by our hotel. my mom loves these peppers that they only have in spain (i think?) called 'pimientos de padrón' so she ordered a big plate of those. they basically look like little jalapeño peppers but they're not spicy...well most of them aren't. ya see it's always a toss-up with these little guys cuz u think you're gonna bite into a salty, (temperature) hot yummy pepper, and most of the time you do. BUT sometimes u bite into one that makes smoke come out of your ears and sends you shoveling bread down your throat. that happened.

anyways after we burned our throats enough we ran over to the flamenco place (because obvi we were late....and lost) and grabbed our seats just in time! it was three ladies dancing that we're amazzzzingggg. flamenco is such a cool dance because it has gypsy origins so everytime i watch i feel like im back in the olden days sitting around a campfire and watching the gypsies dance (complete with whiny, guitar-strumming singers too). i tried to take a vid but i got yelled at (sorry guys) haha. the finale was a guy. picture this: 40-year old, slightly-over weight, dressed in a thick, vomit-colored (sorry but its the only way to describe the color) suit. hair is very thin, down to the shoulders, but balding on the head. he has a stache. and tight pants. very tight pants on. i thought he was gonna dance with a lady but he busted out in a solo and basically was going nuts. i mean he was good but i felt bad for the poor guy sweating through his suit and frantically trying to swipe his sweat in between moves. my mama was officially grossed out hahah. wish i got a pic of this dude! 

the show ended at 12:30 and by the time we got back to our hotel and showered, i conked out.

the next morning we arose bright and early, headed out for a quick breakfast and then spent the entire day at the prado. literally, the entire day. it was my dream come true!!!! my must-go-to activity before i left europe was to go to madrid and see las meninas (by velazquez) because i loove this painting. sidenote: my mama always said when i was a little girl i was obsessed with the Goya painting "el gitasol". she said i would cry and insist that we see it everytime we went. i really dont remember this! weird. but back to meninas. so despite having been previously obsessed with goya, i now have been obsessed w/ meninas. and really anything/everything velazquez. we went around to literally every room and saw every painting which was really neat after having a semester of spanish arte class! i knew so much info to tell my mom i felt really cool. eliz would be proud of my art history skills!! 

after our long day at the museo, we were pooped (why is it that museos do that to you!?) so we stopped for some early dins at another really authentic spanish place called "la zapatería" and it had shoes everywhere (very fitting for me, i suppose ;) ). having been famished my mama's eyes were bulging out of her head when she saw all the spanish food and literally wanted to order everything on the menu! haha but since it was just us two, we settled on splitting garlic shrimps (a rabadan fave), more pimientos de padrón, paella, and a salad. as always, it was delicious

after dinner i really was craving something sweet (weird huh) so i made my mama walk around with me until we found a bakery. i thought the plaza mayor was destined to have some bakeries open then but after walking through every side street going off it and not finding one (what the heck?!) we settled on the place next door to our hotel for a late-night sweet. we split this lemony, creamy pastry topped with lots of whip cream and toasted sliced almonds. it was divine even though i don't normally go for lemony desserts.

my train left madrid on sunday at 12 so we woke up early to grab some cafe con leche and tostada con mermelada but had trouble getting prompt service because there was a marathon in the middle of the streets and a billion ppl outside. later on i found out it was actually the largest marathon in spain that morning and there are approximately 35000 runners that particpate. fancy that! luckily i made it to the bus station amidst the craziness and made it home to mi falsa madre safe & sound.

the pictures are being finicky on the site so ill try posting them later. also apparently were having senior skip day with our program on wednesday hahaha and on thursday i meet up with my mama and tia linda for spring break!!!! we have an amazing line up of places and activities so stay tuned! :)

also side note, in case i dont update before then, this Friday April 22nd is Earth Day and in honor of it, starbucks is giving away FREEEEEE coffee or tea if you bring in ur reuseable mug!! (plus 20% off their mugs!) so go and get some free coffee with that reusable mug and conserve some energy while you're at it (aka unplug appliances). thats my starbucks plug for the day! i'm outtie

OH and the next day April 23rd is HANNAH SHATZEN'S 21ST BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!! so happy birthday hannie!!!!!!!!!!! make sure if you see her you give her a big hug and kiss from me because i wish i could be celebrating with her on her big day!!! and please, somebody look out for her ;)

¡hasta luego!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My day

...sooo this is what I did today.

I woke up early to finish a paper...handed it in...finally watched the season finale of desperate housewives (really good!)...went to spanish arte class (a total snoozer until he put on a video of Velazquez aka my favez)...

then i went to Starbucks.

After 3 months i would say i'm pretty accustomed to all the....customs...and while i do love all the cafe's here, i'm sorry but i like to keep a little piece of america in the form of starbucks while i'm learning all about all these cool places/things. Every tuesday and thursday i tutor from 6-8 but i have about an hour and a half between when my class ends & tutoring time and i juuuust happen to pass by a starbucks on my way to their house. stop judging me the spaniards LOVE starbucks. and caramel macchiato's with extra whip cream..

anyways so i like to switch it up while im here so since it was hot out today i decided to go w/ a cold drink. i ordered a venti passion fruit iced tea but somehow that got lost in translation and i ended up with a venti mango frappuchino.....

it wasn't all that bad except for it was essentially a fruit smoothie (which i really wouldn't ever order at starbucks.....) oh and it was FIVE EUROS


that's like $6.50.

now i don't mind paying a little more for american comfort/coffee but i mean c'mon that's like TWO take-it-away sandwiches for a smoothie. i don't even pay that in the states for my usual venti sugar free vanilla soy latte! whatevs i will NOT be getting this in the future but i felt bad giving it back to the guy...especially since afterwards he came around with samples of their amazing bakery display and let me try every flavor sample! aww. maybe he felt bad for me because who orders mango smoothies at starbucks? well i guess me.... case you were wondering, the white chocolate cookie and chocolate muffin were AMAZING.

anyways so afterwards i went to tutor, got owned by a 9-year old in Never Have I Ever, and then learned some more history about the politics of Spain in the Feli Show. her shows actually have been getting quite interesting..sarah and i have come to learn that she's actually a pretty smart lady...we also talked about the differences between catalán and valenciano (dialects of Barcelona & Valencia, respectively) which is always a heated subject in these parts. linguists say it's basically the same because valenciano is a derivative of catalán but if you ask a barcelonian (?) or valenciano, they will FREAK if you try to say they are the same language. there you go again with the spanish pride. why can't they all just get along?! i swear this country is still in a civil war...did you know that Catalunya (the region where Barcelona is) wants to separate from spain and become their own country with Spain's money? and so does the Basque region!! (from the north). How weird is that?! that's like saying california and florida want to become their own countries but use obama's money to do it....liiiiiike no. not gonna happen. 

anyways i'm off to bed because i'm getting up early tomorrow to catch a bus to madrid. guess who's there???

MY MAMA!!!!!! im super duper excited :) and will have new pics & stories when i return!

also, if u are reading this and i told you we'd skype tonight, i'm really sorry!!!!!! you already know im bad with technology communication but i will chat with you when i get home!

have a great weekend everyone!!!!!!!!! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action

i know thats a really lame-o title haha but i wanted something to describe how i'm feeling right now.

let me explain.

lately, i feel like i'm in the middle of a movie set here. my first feeling came the other day when i was on my way back from the beach. i hopped on the bus and since there's always a lot of old people on the buses i chose to stand. As I stood, i watched this real cute old couple chatting away/gossiping about their friends, etc. at the next stop this older man, dressed in a really nice suit and some fancy shmancy pins on his lapels, comes on the bus and instantly makes friends with this older couple...gabbing/laughing away. he recognizes another one of his compañeros sitting in the back, goes and chats with them. then the guy starts casually tap dancing on the bus (while we were moving, mind you) and everyone started applauding i mean i thought it was a joke i couldn't believe what i just witnessed on a public bus. and then just got off at his stop and everything was back to normal. like uhhh whatttt?? sometimes i cant help but smile when i overhear some of these conversations too. i'm not trying to eavesdrop but its so fun when you can understand what they're talking about! sillly them, they think im a tonta americana.

anyway, on a sadder note, my second movie experience came tonight at dinner. madre's been really starting to open up to sarah and i and liking us more! which is good...(now how do we tell her we loathe that mushroom pasta?!) yesterday was her sister's 70th birthday and her nephew threw a surprise birthday party for her. our madre was basically in tears last night telling her how amazing it was and how nice to have everyone there for her birthday because (and here comes the sad part...) "nadie sabe la soledad..." ("nobody knows the solitude") she's referring to her husband who died 15 years ago :( . madre only has one daughter (unmarried, no kids) who lives in london now and is a professor. madre told us how no one was there for her 70th birthday or her 75th birthday and how lucky her sister was that they all were there to celebrate because it was so agradable. i think my eyes were tearing up i felt so sad for her! then she started to tell us how her daughter (who's now 40 yrs old) still refuses to talk about her dad. madre talked to us about the days leading up to his death (she just says "enfermo" so i think it might've been cancer??) and how the doctors at the hospital told her that her husband was "wasting a bed" because there was no remedy for his illness and he was definitely going to how horrible! it was really sad...and when she was talking..i couldn't help but feel like i was in a movie set because here was this ...essentially stranger telling me these really personal things about her past. it just felt so weird.

soOoOo now that you know my thoughtsss lets talk about what i did this weekend! if you had the pleasure of talking to me within the past 96 know i was very distraught. remember that really crappy airline i told you about before with all the weird baggage requirements and stuff?? yeah well DON'T EVER TAKE RYANAIR FLIGHTS!!!!! for realz though. like im fuming mad with them. this weekend two of my friends were going to visit our other friend who's studying abroad in london this semester. i've never been to london before and i know i dont really wanna make a trip across the big pond juuust for london in the future so i figured a weekend getaway would be perfect to see all the touristy stuff & get a feel for the city etc. SO since i waited till the last minute to decide, prices were a wee-bit high. i asked my dad if i could go anyways and he graciously and nicely said i could charge it to the credit card!! scoreeeeeee i was sooooo excited. plus it was our last weekend to travel before spring break plans & i was itching to see a new city. i frantically tried to book the tickets in-between classes because dumb ryanair told me there was one seat left.

i got a payment error.
i tried it again. and again. and again.
by this time i was late for class and in crisis lockdown mode so i frantically texted everyone in my whatsapp contacts asking them to try to book the tickets. they all got payment errors...WHAT is going on here. i asked my sister in the US, my mom in the US, my friend in Spain...tried in on my comp, sarah's comp, school comp - NOTHING WORKED! i was basically on the verge of tears because alls i wanted to do was book the freakin ticket! when i got home i called my credit card companies...nothing wrong with my credit cards. by this time, it was past business hours so i waited until the morning to call ryanair. after arguing with the guy he finally let me book it over the phone and lo and behold PAYMENT ERROR!!! i think by this time there was smoke coming out of my ears and my heart was about to leap out of my chest (also could've been the 3 cups of coffee i had 10 minutes before..) but i took it as the universe trying to tell me it wanted me to stay in Valencia our very last weekend to travel.
soooo see ya lata london. maybe next time.
since we didn't have class and it was a balmy 78 degrees & sunny, we went to the playa all day. all sorts of rando stuff happens in valencia when the weather gets nice. for example, on the boardwalk, valencia this weekend happened to be hosting a renaissance festival. really it was more like an arabic festival (complete with donor kebaps & evil eyes) but it was still cool because i love those things. PLUS me and yacks scored some free candy which was tight. that night we hit up that cool underground discoteca in the artes y ciencias buildings which is always a good time. since sarah had amigos from high school in town, she took them to go see all the touristy things on saturday and i opted for the beach. brought my bocadill and my libro and parked it on the playa for a good 5 hours. (got a nice tan goin too!) it was great. very relaxing. and i think my heart was finally starting to slow down from the earlier fumes...

saturday night i had another long dinner with madre (now i forget what we talked about...) but i remember it was good haha.
on sunday me and srams and her friends went to mass in the catedral - it was really neat! cept they didn't have any music which i thought was weird (no organ or choir?!?!) but it was still cool going to a service in español.
then in the afternoon we decided to take a mini-excursion to a pueblo nearby called la albufera. it's basically a little town set on a lagoon but the weather was beauuuutiful and they had boat rides that went through the lagoon! so we took one of those, the motor burned out, and we had to be rescued but it was quite the adventure!

only 9 more days until i see my mama and tia linda!!! im soo excited for our trip even though coming back will be hades because of exams. booooooo.
sorry for blabbing and being short by the end, i just wanted to update you guys real quick cuz now i gotta go write a paper and it's already midnight! ayeeee

¡hasta luego!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

¿Más playa, por favor?

I had a great weekend.

No Friday class. and it was sunny! really sunny!  so i went to the beach - TWICE! oh boy did it feel good to plop down in the scorching sun with my ipod and trusty Arbonne tan-enhancing sunscreen.

Friday morning I finally got around to checking out the Mercado Central, mainly because it closes at 1 everyday and I am not usually in that area before then. nevertheless i got another one of those horchata/banana/strawberry smoothies and headed over there. it was so cool! you guys know how i love those markets...This one was all indoors and if you could make a beeline past the nasty-smelling fish section, a whole new world awaits! thats actually  exaggerating but they did sell everything you could possibly imagine. including garbage-sized bags of tri-color pasta in really fun shapes that i really wanted to take home with me. instead i settled for apples, plums, and lots of dried apricots (my new obsession fyi!)

I spent the rest of the day here.
 apparently all the spaniards think its too early to go to the beach just because its the beginning of april (they clearly dont check the weather forecast that says 76 and sunny!) so it was empty! by far the quietest beach ive ever gone to and it was sooo relaxing. just what i needed.

friday night some peeps in our program's intercambio's were selling these 12euro tickets for an open-bar extravaganza. the crowd was younger than the typical late 20's/early 30s doods at the discotecas so it was a fun time. we also ran into our favorite bartender from fallas which was kinda funny/cool because we love him haha

Anyways saturday me and yacks went the beach again all day. later i went for a run in the parque and then madre and i had dinner. i should probably tell you that sarah's been in italy all weekend with her fam (jealous!) so its just been me and the madge around here. good news though- she likes me now! haha only took 3 months but whatevs. we ended up having a 2 1/2 hour dinner because we were talking (well, she was talking). i put in my two-sense (?) when i could but like i said earlier, madre's got a lot of opinions. anyways im starting to like her stories...well, kinda at least. hey it's a start! plus she gave me strawberries and whipped cream after lunch today which means she really is starting to like me. niiiice.

at the moment its 8:30 and i still have another hour before dinner. my body lotion smells like vanilla cookies and im about to eat my arm off. just thought i'd share. can't believe i only have a month left here and only 3 weeks till i see my fam! i cant waiiiiitttt to see them! :) also to eat endless amounts of these and these and these and these. okay im done. can you tell i'm hungry?
¡hasta luego!