Monday, January 31, 2011

weekend travelss

Sarah and I just got back from dinner. The Feli Show today was about teen pregnancy and then morphed into abortion which was an interesting topic. For the past couple nights, Feli was getting a little better with dinners aka she gave us a salad the size of a baseball (ill take what greenery i can get) and nothing was fried for 2 days...until tonight. i had the stingrays again dangit. my stomach queezes (sp?) at the thought of any type of food that has oil on it. sarah and i decided to go for a run in the park slash river yesterday despite the frisky weather. after 15 minutes id say what i was doing was somewhere between a dry heave and heartburn considering how out of shape ive gotten in these past 10 days so far...time to check out that gym i think before my poor arteries clog up.

in other news, we had a very fun-filled weekend because it was our first viaje! wahoooo we went to Xátiva which is where they always take the program kiddos on their first weekend. it's a small city (my dad whose been to Spain many times never even heard of it) where they have a cool castle at the top of a mountain.
first we went to a museum which was pretty standard--paintings, sculptures, mini replica of the city back in the ancient days. pretty neat except it wouldve been a liiiittle more interesting had they explained some stuff instead of just dumping us in there for an hour but oh well. before scaling the small hill mountain, we stopped in a cathedral where two popes came out of! of course then we started a very scholarly discussion over the history of the papacy (if only we had taken religious studies...) in which we did not come to too many conclusions. anywaysssssssss

we did it! :)
after the church we started on what we thought was a slight incline but turned out to be a little more than that.
since i am still camera-less (going tomorrow to get one!), jeannie let me borrow (play with?) hers for the trip. i realized how much fun you can have with those things! all the scenery and nature pics looked 93847 times better with the cool settings and we became semi-obsessed with figuring out what looked coolest with what setting. i wanted to try out all the cool settings cuz i knew they were on there somewhere even though most people don't even know how to use them) so here's some of my favsies from the trip.

my mama would be proud
yummy fresh fruta!

jean's personal fave..the miniature effect!
Later that night, we decided to check out a new (to us) place called PACHA. apparently it's supposed to be the "it" place to go around here because it doesn't get busy until 1-2AM and doesn't wind down until 8 and peeps from other countries/cities visit valencia just to go to this place (true story) us being typical american college kids, get there at 12 thinking there's got to be sooome people there. there were about two. but lucky for us because at least we didnt have to wait in any lines and within the hour it got paaaaacked. like shoulder to shoulder packed. the place was pretty crazy and really fun except we were a little thrown off by how non responsive (not sure if thats even the right word but whatever) spanish boys are. i mean one would think when a group of girls walk into a bar/club, the boys would wanna chat but oh nooo not aqui. those boys are really only interested in bromancing each other. kinda strange and then its hard to tell their orientation but whatevsss. sarah thinks its because they can probably tell were american. que lastima.

now im (sadly) off to do some homework even though i really wish i could be watching last night's episode of desperate housewives and drinking a café..ugh the realization of classes es no buenoooo. hasta luego!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

okay so before I begin I just want to say how spanish we are...actually as I'm speaking (writing?), me and Sarah are sitting a cafe con free wifi drinking cafe's con leche (the abundance here is UNCANNY! im in heaven). anyways, some straggler homeless man just walked in and is haggling sarah to buy roses and shes just smiling and repeating no no no but he wont stop hahahahahahahahaha i should probably say something...

okay he's gone. phew.

so back to the post.

the GOOD? Today is a great day! It's Tuesday which means back in Charlottesville it's free chocolate chip cookie day at Calvino Cafe (YUM!!!!!!!) they're really good - you should go get one if you're there! BUT it's also a great day because i booked tickets to go to PARIS!!!!!!!!!!!! cooooool!!!! I"m so sosoooo excited (in case you couldn't tell by my excessive punctuation) because I've never to been there before (or anywhere in France for that matter)!! I can't wait to take really corny pictures (i HAVE to do something about this camera situation..) under the Eiffel Tower that i know Elizabeth is gonna make fun of me for later haha and be supermega euro! yippeeeee :) i'm a happy happy girl because it's going to be our first viaje and we're going to meet up w/ some of jackie's amigos which should be niiiiice. also, the gals and i have been doing a lot of exploring the city like the cool antiguo (ancient) parts. two days ago we were out exploring and we stopped in a cafe to get churros y chocolate which is a really popular "snack" here. it's sooooooo good. first of all, the chocolate isn't liike our hot chocolate, it's more like a melted bar of chocolate (that thick...) with a splash of milk. you dip the churro in it and ahh the heavens open up. anyways, after dinner we're gonna go out tonight despite 6 hours of class tomorrow.

the BAD? okay so i guessssss school doesnt have to be classified bad because my classes aren't too bad but for the title's sake, we are. today was our second day of escuela and im still trying to straighten out all my classes, but so far I know I have to stay in a survey of spanish literature and survey of latin american literature because i need them to finish my major. as for the other three, we shall see. in the running are literature & cinema (seems really cool but the teacher talks a million miles per minute), translation from spanish to english (despite easy-sounding title, ive heard its actually really hard), and introduction to spanish art (which i think im actually going to keep because i really like spanish art -- velazquez is my faaaavee).

the UGLY? ah what could be so ugly in espana you may be wondering? well my insides for one. by that i mean my estomago because for the past 4 nights, sarah and i have been only eating a plethora (sp?) of fried foods. I mean like everything. is. fried. now my mama didn't raise no fool and taught me about the evil, artery-clogging, rising cholesterol triglycerides (sarah just told me that word) that fried foods bring. and i mean dont get me wrong, i used to BEG for mcdonald's fries (side note: in elementary school i once faked being sick so my aunt could pick me up and "heal" me with mcdonald's fries...FAT) anyway our madre has taken fried foods to a whole new level: fried egg, fried artichokes, french fries, fried fish fingers, fried mini stingray, fried SARDINES (i almost gagged at the table), fried apple (yes, i said apple). can you think of any other weird food? now imagine it fried and we've probably eaten it. sarah and i think its because our madre is pissed that we're vegetarian. our stomachs are in knots and other peeps on the program told us we should talk to the program director about being malnourished. we're gonna give it to the end of the week to see if things change. well, we're off to dinner. cross your fingers it's not something fried!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Table Talk

It's 4:12 here. Me and Sarah didnt wake up until 2 PM (for lunch) today, thanks to "los mirrores" last night but we'll get to that story later. Right now we're both sitting on our computers, wearing sweatpants, sweatshirt, wool socks, and sarah has on underarmour (sp?) because our madre keeps the apartment at a brisk 52 degrees. INSIDE. We literally sit there at the table shivering while we eat but i dont think she even notices. yesterday we asked her to turn the heat on in our room (she harbors the remote to the heater in a secret place) and it was so nice and t o a s t y in our room for two hours until we left. only to find when we came home it was turned off again & 52 degrees again. brr.

another note about our madre...on the first day (i guess that was only like 2 days ago?), sarah and i thought our madre was going to be this really talkative lady who had a lot to say and a lot of questions. perfect for our spanish, si?? Well our madre certainly has a lot to say....not so many questions. at all. the past times we've sat down for a meal, sarah and i try to talk about what we did that day or make a comment about the food, school, city, etc and our madre has about 5 words to say and then watches the TV for the remainder. When she's cleaned her plate (always about 5-7 minutes after sarah and i do...) she puts down her fork and begins what sarah has now coined "The Feli Show." Yesterday we had the pleasure of learning about the Spanish economy for a solid 45 minutes. Extremely jet-lagged and fatigued (not to mention not our favorite topic..) Sarah and i had a really tough time keeping our eyes open let alone follow what she was talking about. we think it had something to do with the gap between the rich and the poor? who knows. so yesterday at lunch time... sarah and i had our usual struggle for conversation while Feli (our madre's name) desperately tried to watch the hottest celeb gossip on the TV. one thing led to the other on the tube and before i know it, feli's talking about how the "desnudos" aka naked people offend her on the beach. she kept referring to them as "monas" so i kept thinking she was saying that naked people on the beach are like monkeys & i started getting really weirded out but then when sarah & i were talking later about our dinner convo she told me mono actually means cute. i can't decide which context is less creepy....naked people as monkeys or naked people as cute. weird. so then she started to tell us about her previous students & our ears perked up a bit because lets be honest thats a little more interesting than the economy. At first we thought it was really interesting to hear different stories about the people she's had...but then it was almost as if she was trying to send us a not so subtle message about the rules in her house. for example...her first story entailed a boy who asked her if his brothers could stay one night at their house while they were in town visiting him. she told him "no, pueden ir por la cena pero no pueden acostar aqui" ("no, they can come for dinner but they can't sleep here"). long story short...she kicked them out when they tried to crash. so basically (1) we can't have visitors. okay next one: a girl who asked her if she could handwash a special shirt of hers because it was really delicate. feli says she neeeeverrrr hand washes anything.  (2) everything goes in the washer and that's it. note to self: wearing the shirt dirty is better than asking feli to handwash. okayyy. we can't forget about the indian boy (feli dwelled on the fact that he wore a turban) who was turning 21 while he was there and asked if he could buy a bottle of champagne. feli was extremely offended because (3) no alcohol is allowed in the house. alrighty feli i think we can handle your rules. for now.

SO last night we had an official "fiesta" with the uva hispanic studies program (profs included) and they even gave us a gratis (free) aqua de valencia. its really just champagne and orange juice aka a mimosa haha but that was nice of them. we stayed there for a little while but jackie & anna's madre's neice who's 19 years old told them this really cool place called "los mirrores" that we should go to. so we hopped in a cab. when we got there, in true obnoxious american form, our group of like maybe 10 peeps marched right up to the bouncer at the front (bypassing a good 40 people in line) and demanded to go in which we were quickly shot down. Luckily the niece came out, said a few words to the bouncer, and opa! we were in. i WISH i had pics to show you this place (still workin on the camera sitch...) it was seriously so supermegaguay (super mega cool-- our new word of the trip). PACKED. its like a mini united nations in there with students from all over the world mixed in with some locals and we cant forget about those lovely "dancers" (see Jean's pics). so i guess minus the dancers its like a mini united nations. we stayed until about 5 when sarah and i decided it was maybe time to stroll home until we realized well crap, we still dont know where home is because we are so bad with directions. we found some kind rando spaniards who pointed us in the right direction and when we finally reached home at 6:30, we watched an episode of sex & the city, ate magdalenas + nutella that we picked up at the store earlier, and then passed out. passed out until 1:45 this afternoon when our madre banged on our door for "COMIDA!". so far our madre's been a pretty good cook but today? not so good. we weren't feeling the best when we woke up so we were a little less than thrilled to see a chickpea & potato soup waiting for us. the bowl was literally bigger than my head but obvi i didnt want to leave any behind because that would be rude so we ate it all. my stomach was about to explode because of how full i was so we went back to nap until dinner. sounds really lazy and borderline pathetic but lets be honest...classes haven't started yet and we gotta take advantage of the downtime while we can! anyways so for dinner our madre gave us fries and a fried egg (reminded me of something my mom and dad used to make) except since sarah doesn't eat seafood, she also got cheese. i got fish. i wish i told her i didn't eat seafood. people - this fish was fried and literally looked like a mini sting ray was chilin on my plate - tail and everything. ugh needless to say it was not my favorite and i hope she doesnt give me fish for a while....

since tomorrow is sunday me and sarah are hoping to be (semi) productive and go to a café to get some café con leche (my fav!!) and a chocolate croissant. yum yum yum my mouth is watering just thinking about it. hasta luego!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lost in the City

I wanted to take more pics of the apartment so I can post them but last night I discovered (after fully charging my camera battery) that my camera still wouldn't turn on and thus has died forever on me. great timing! soo until i buy another battery, sarah's pics on facebook will have to suffice. so this morning we had a yummy bfast of cereal & toast. the jelly is phenommm here. she had cafe on the table (i was extremely glad) & poured myself a large cup of it. big. mistake. no wonder spaniards drink coffee in those mini-size cups that look like they should be in a child's tea set. It's SO strong and no amount of sugar made it less bitter (trust me..i tried). anyways so after our madre took us on the bus to the school - about a 20 minute ride- & we quickly began orientation. couple of presentation yada yada we have to speak spanish in the center yada yada etc etc. poor jean's in a panic because she thinks her wallet is already stolen (she put it on her bedside table at night and it was gone in the morning). after some meetings with the program directors and tearing apart her apartamiento, she discovers its actually in her underwear drawer & has no recollection of putting it there. phew at least its not stolen! so after orientation, sarah and i decide were gonna head back to the apt to eat some lunch and take a siesta. we wanna mozy (sp?) on back (it's a 3 mile walk.....) but after staring at the map for 20 minutes and still not finding our street, we realize we have to go back in the school and ask where we live. yikes. now anybody who knows me even the slightest knows i am the absolute WORST with directions. i'm not talkin liiiike i don't know where a bar is because I've never been there before...i'm talkin liiike i still don't know where things in boca raton (where i was born & raised) are even though i've been there like a million times. it's actually kind of embarrassing and my sister alicia gets really angry with me for still not knowing which way is east at home (i know it's towards the beach!) SO. picture me in a city where theres a zapatería and mercado on every street and you can imagine how overwhelmed and lost i was. luckily sarah has more of a directionally-capable brain than i do but not before we got off at the wrong stop that was still about 35 minutes walking distance from our house. cool. some other american girls who heard us speaking english knew we were lost and helped us out with the map so we got baaack on da bus & then after 10 minutes realized we went too far so we hopped off...turned around and walked a couple blocks backwards until we finally reached the casa! hallelujah. i think our madre thinks we're tards now but in our defense she wasn't very clear explaining. after lunch she physically took us to the bus stops again to show us which one to take (89, 71, 90 ??) so hopefully we'll be able to figure it out tomorrow. tonight were gonna meet up w/ some peeps to get a bebida and explore the ciudad! yeyyy we're really excited the city is soo pretty. i can see why alicia loves it urban but has lots of greenery and parks everywhere! its sweet but hopefully ill figure out where i am..........

the Launching post

***This post was supposed to be posted yesterday but my comp died on me and I forgot to bring converters aye****
So here we very first blog post. As I write this, I'm sitting at the JFK airport ticket counter. I've been here for about an hour and a half and still have another 3 1/2 hours to kill. Thank goodness for free internet! My morning has started off a little rocky but I think once I get some Starbucks in my system I'll be much better. After a solid 3 hours of sleep due to last minute packing (typical me), my first flight had to make a detour emergency landing in Orlando because the A/C was leaking??? Luckily they just happened to have an identical spare plane lyin' around there so we hopped on there and took off. 
When we landed I managed to collect all four of my bodybags (see pic) 
             not the best pic...taken via iPhone since my camera esta muerto (dead)

& pile them onto a cart. I rode the little AirTran over to the terminal and here I am! I'm hoping someone I know is gonna get here soon because I already ate my Luna bar and peanut butter sandwich and I'm about to gobble the whole bag of white choco chip cookies my mama packed me. Alrighty so while I've got some time to kill here, I might as well mention a few tidbits.

Numero uno. I have only ever heard about 2% of all cliche sayings and I usually don't know what they mean. My kind best friend Elizabeth pointed this out to me first year when I asked her what "looking a gift horse in the mouth" meant. She hasn't let me live that down (hasn't lived it down??) since. SO if i use a saying that doesn't exactly make sense, try to pretend you know what i mean.

Numero dos. this blog is going to be PG-rated because the parentals as well as my favorite second grader in ze worldddd is going to be reading this (hi Isabella!!!!)

Numero tres. I won't be using correct punctuation most of the time. Capital letters and correct periods seem way to serious to me for this blog. plus its easier to write like this wooopsies sorry

So fast forward a couple (like 15) hours later and me and sarah are chillin in our house. after that nice  layover, I finally met with the rest of the crew and hung out/bonded until our flight boarded. Luckily they had a Starbucks and I got a venti coffee (sorry mom) and then to my extreme delight someone informed me Starbucks is now making a size BIGGER than a venti called a TRENTA!!!! I can hardly believe it. Anyways everyone was so excited to see the movies that would be on those great personalized TV's that are on international flights (Jean mentioned how great the video games are) only to see when we boarded there were no. personal. TV's. Strike one Iberia airlines. I mean i didnt even know they made planes without those tv's. oh well. luckily dinner time came soon after when we were presented with our options: beef or chicken. For those of you that don't know, I am a (fairly new) vegetarian so I asked for a vegetarian option. none. Strike two Iberia. My stomach is about to eat itself as I quickly demolish the cheese and bread on the tray (reminiscent of prison food). 8 hours later, we arrive in Madrid, get our equipaje (luggage), and boarded the bus for Valencia. Another 4 hours later, we arrive at the bus stop (you can imagine the greasy hair & eye bags to the cheeks we were rockin at this point) we met our adorable madre at the bus stop & she was so excited to see us! She's a super nice - me and Sarah lucked out!  Talks a little fast but it keeps me on my toes ha.
After dinner, we couldn't figure out the password to the internet (our madre knows zippo about internet) so we bummed it off some guy upstairs named "thomson" and watched reruns of sex & the city until we passed out. orientation at 9:30 tomorrow morning! yippeeeee