Exam Time

HOLA A TODOS!

Last time I posted, I told you I went to Malaga it was a great beach vacation. But in all honesty, I didn’t really get to explore the city. I look forward to seeing more with my family.

Right now in Sevilla there is a protest over the rising cost of tuition and the cut to education resources from the Government. (Did you know the occupy wallstreet campaign started in Madrid?) Well recently, Sevillanas celebrated the 1 year anniversary of the event. The entire school system is on strike and so the last 2 weeks of classes have been cancelled … but we still have classes. I understand that the students are trying to prove a point, but it is not beneficial to their studies. I feel bad for them though. I’m glad to be going back to American University soon. As much ad the cost of tuition kills me, at least it is more organized. 

Sorry for the short post, but I very busy with my upcoming exams. After next week (my hell week), I will have plenty of time to write. I keep taking hiatuses because I feel like I don’t really have a lot to say and I don’t want to bore all of you. My life is a routine right now of Studying, trying to avoid the heat, and sleeping. REALLY EXCITING I KNOW! I miss you all! 

un beso!

Roses: 

  • No class
  • More time to study
  • The weather has cooled down

Thorns: 

  • Libraries not being open on Saturday nights or Sundays
  • No class = more time to procrastinate
  • Not accomplishing as much as I want to 
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I’m Melting, I’m Melting!

The weather here is already getting ridiculously HOT here! Without any warning or gradual change this is my life from here on out.

What have I gotten myself into??

Un beso!

Roses:

  • Making people at home jealous
  • Finished with Classes for the week
  • Going to Malaga for the weekend!

Thorns:

  • Sweating while sitting in class
  • Sweating while walking slowly
  • Spending money on the tram because it has air conditioning
  • Smelling bad

I MISS MY CAT!

I miss my cat, Gracyn. She is the best thing that has happened to my life (ok that is an exaggeration … sort of). We haven’t gone this long apart, and it is making me go a little  CRAZY!

Reasons why Gracyn is aweeeeeeeeeesome:

  1. She plays fetch
  2. She comes when she is called
  3. She understands Spanish
  4. She loves being the center of attention
  5. She only cuddles with me (and my mom)
  6. She hates boys (it’s hilarious)
  7. She watches you leave and come home every day
  8. She meows a lot
  9. She only throws up when she is sick
  10. She is spunky and has a personality
  11. She is beautiful
  12. She sleeps on the pillow right next to me every night, and will wait for me to go to bed

Reasons why I can spend time away from her:

  1. Her poop smells awful
  2. All of my clothes permanently have white hair on them (I’m still finding Gracyn hairs!

Let me tell you a brief story about how we got Gracyn: Our cat of 16 years (Spooky) died of old age. It was devastating, and left our house feeling empty. After finally convincing my mom to get a kitten (I had to beg for this but alas got my way), I went to petfinders.com at 11pm instead of doing my history homework. We knew we wanted a white kitten (our last one was black, and having it look the same would be too sad). I had tabbed a few kittens, but when I saw Gracyn I had to have her. She was the cutest thing I had ever seen in my life. I immediately wrote the humane society essays I needed to write, and while it usually takes time to hear back from them they called my mom at 9am sharp and said that our essay was the best essay they had ever received. My mom laughed and said that I had written it (she knows how cheesy my writing can be).

So finally we had a meeting date with her foster family. It turns out she was super small and was given to the humane society because the family kept letting their cats breed. She was super playful and kept trying to climb the stairs even though she couldn’t get down them. We said goodbye and hoped to pick her up soon. That didn’t happen. Cats have to weigh a certain amount before they can be fixed (it’s a rule for adopting an animal), we had to wait another week. To this I balled my eyes out. I thought she would be this gigantic animal by the time I got her. Well I was worried for nothing. She was cute and perfect (she still is!) And to this day she is still a favorite feature of the house. Guests love her. (I swear my Grandma loves the cat more than any of us though)

Sorry for the crazy cat lady post!!! I just really need to hang out with a pet.

Roses:

  1. I’m crazy and ok with it
  2. Pets
  3. Having unconditional love

Thorns:

  1. Lint brushes
  2. Pet hair
  3. Missing Gracyn

 

Odd Stage in Life

I’ve been thinking about where I’m at in my life, and it kind of freaks me out. A lot of people say that this is “the best time of my life.” I mean I’m having a good time right now, but I’m only 20! If this is the best time of my life, honey, we’re going to have a lot of issues.

No responsibility is great. I don’t worry about bills or taxes or where my next meal is coming. But at the same time, what am I really living for? I’m not saying this in a suicidal way (I LOVE LIFE!!!), but more as a philosophical thought. Maybe it’s more my personality, but I find this time in my life to be very selfish. And while I need to take this time to be selfish and to figure out who I am and what makes me happy, I also can’t spend the rest of my life living this way. I thought about this on my way home from class, what is the purpose of success or life or happiness if you have no one to share with? Don’t worry mom, I’m not rushing down the aisle just yet because I’m not even talking about a romantic  relationship, I’m talking about having a life you share with the loved-ones around you.

As much as I feel loved right now, I also feel very isolated. During my time abroad I feel as if I have changed a lot. It leaves me feeling like no one knows me anymore. My old friends remember me for who I was and haven’t been able to see all of the progress and change for the better I’ve made in my life. My new ones only know what they’ve seen so far and while I think I’ve grown they have a more shallow view of what I am. Granted, I’ve only known them 4.5 months out of my 20 years. It’s an almost freeing and scary moment to realize this change in you. However, no matter how many personal achievements I encounter in my life I feel like they are depreciated because of my age.

People have always told me, “you’ll understand when you’re older” or “you’ll think different when you’re older.” The fact of the matter is, I am older. These are my views and if you don’t like them then I guess we can just agree to disagree. I feel like older generations always say that we’re not listening, but I really think that they aren’t listening. That they spend so much time belittling your thoughts and feelings because they are different from their own. They’ve forgotten the values of discourse. They just think that everyone will “grow-up” and be just like them. I argue for the sake that you hear and understand my point, but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to change yours. I respect the views and arguments of others. Contrasting views help me learn and understand the world and society better.

Change is bittersweet. Sometimes I wish I was in elementary school again, where my biggest worry was if I got a bad report card sent home to my mom. Now I have to worry about graduating early vs. graduating in 4 years, studying abroad again in London, what industry I should enter, and how to beef up my resume. It’s annoying that I keep looking towards the next step. It’s annoying that I feel pressured by peers and society and my mother (haha just kidding on the last one) to find the next path I NEED to take. I want to get off of the path. I am sick of hearing, “so a Spanish major and a Community Action and Social Change (aka government/poli sci/psych/soc) minor what are you going to do with that?” To that I want to yell: WHAT EVER I WANT TO BE, THAT’S WHAT!

I’m sick of having to be on a path. I don’t need to go the conventional way, I’m making my own path and figuring it all out on the way. I know I’m not going to grad school right away. I know I probably won’t love my first job. I know that I’m going to end up in some weird city, at some weird job that I never intended and it’s going to be awesome and we’re all going to laugh about how I got there. Who knows, the world is my oyster. I will do with it as I please.

Un beso!

Roses:

  1. Not caring (but caring enough to get me by)
  2. Finally writing blog posts
  3. Ideas hitting paper (or should I saw webpage)
  4. Drinking ice tea (I’m obsessed)
  5. Milka chocolate with oreo filling!
Thorns:
  1. Not starting my paper
  2. contacts not working
  3. Being able to write a whole blog post faster than I can write 5 sentences in Spanish

 

Reunited in Barcelona, Marbella & Gibraltar

My mom won a work trip to come to Spain, so I tagged along. I was so excited to finally be able to see her. The road to Barcelona was a little bumpy. I hadn’t realized that I had a field trip the day I was supposed to meet her, so I was forced to change my ticket which cost an extra 50 euros. I have no idea why I did this because the field trip was a complete bust and a waste of my time.

The actual flight was a lot nicer. Since I only had 2 hours the night before, I forced myself to stay awake (for the field trip) and I went to be at 9pm. I woke up super early 5am and headed to the bus stop. You know you’re in Spain when …

  1. The disco across the street from you is still bumping music
  2. People are just starting to walk home in their club clothes
  3. A couple is making out in front of the police, as their friend gets a ticket
  4. You get hit on by drunk men

Word of the wise be careful when flying with Ryanair. The tickets are cheap but they overcharge you on everything, which is obviously where they make their money. For example if you forget to print your boarding pass, for them to print it for you it cost’s 50 euro! Also make sure you measure your suitcase (if it’s a hard suitcase) before you travel. They have this contraption where they make your place your suitcase if it’s a hard suitcase and or looks like it is overstuffed and will not fit in the overhead bin. I watched this poor guy not be able to fit his suitcase because the wheels did not fit. It cost him 50-60 euro to check his bag! (they will not turn your suitcase sideways … because most people do not check bags). If you have a backpack or other bag that fits under your seat you’re fine. But remember ladies do not bring a purse! They only let you have one bag, no matter how small your purse is they will count it, so make sure it fits into your purse. Vera Bradley large duffel bags will fit, as long as they aren’t filled completely! Ok sorry, I just thought that may be helpful to someone someday.

Back to my actual trip! Instead of typing out a long essay (like the Ryanair rules part) I’m just going to list my favorite and least favorite parts of the trip, and of course show you some of my pictures.

Favorites:

  • In Barcelona
  1. The Gaudi buildings
  2. The metro system
  3. The beds at the hotel
  4. The culture
  5. Seeing old friends (from Sevilla and Portage!)
  6. People thinking I was fluent and complimenting my Spanish
  • In Marbella
  1. Seeing monkeys in Gibraltar
  2. Eating takeout
  3. The pool
  4. Tomando sol!
  5. People thinking I was fluent and complimenting my Spanish

Funny story about takeout in both Marbella and Barcelona: The waiters were all Chinese and since it is strange to see someone else with Asian heritage they just assume you speak their language. I certainly do not. The waiter greeted me with Ni hao, which I responded with hola. I think they were just happy that I spoke Spanish instead of English, and when I said thank you in Chinese they were very pleased.

Another funny story about translating, one time we were in front of the Sagrada Familia. A couple who I assume were Polish or German asked in “rough” English (or was it Spanish?) if I know how to work the public bathrooms. I explain in Spanish that they need to use smaller euros (as in 10 or 20 or 50 cents). As I was explaining this, a nice, old Spanish man tried to explain to them where to find free public bathrooms. Turns out this couple doesn’t really speak Spanish, so I had to translate for them where it was in English. I was happy to help them out (at least I hope!)

Least Favorite:

  • In Barcelona
  1. Too big of a city to really learn the language
  2. All the  signs were in Catalan
  3. Having to travel with old people (obviously not my mom!)
  4. NO FREE WIFI
  • In Marbella
  1. It was only a resort
  2. The beach wasn’t all that nice (the pool was a lot better)
  3. An old lady pee’d outside behind a bush
  4. Sleeping on a cot.

Despite the problems, it was 

I loved this market, you could buy anything from …

… meat to …

… candy to …

… fruit and …

… seafood!

Mom in front of the old catedral in Barcelona

Roger and Mom in front of the Sagrada Familia

Ceiling in the Sagrada Familia

The holy family by Gaudi – Christ growing up

My favorite house of Gaudi – Casa Batllo

Such a smart monkey! He’s using the wire to climb down the mountain and then …

… and then he uses the wire to swing to the podium!

“I’m so smart!”

I can’t wait until my brothers come to visit!

Un beso!

Roses:

  1. Wasting another class time
  2. Remembering the fun vacation
  3. Having nice weather

Thorns:

  1. 2.5 weeks until I start taking exams
  2. Only have fast internet at school
  3. Missing pets that I become obsessed with monkeys

Mis Clases en Sevilla

I realized that I haven’t written a post about my classes in Spain. I guess it’s good that I didn’t post this sooner because in all honesty I don’t really like my classes. I find them to be boring and like I’ve become less intelligent while being here. It seems strange but I miss the stress and competition that I used to feel in my umich classes.

Here is a list of classes I’m taking here:

  • Filosofia Moderna (Modern Philosophy): My professor is adorable and only expects that I show up for class. My program director told me that I had to do something, so I’m writing him a book report on the philosophy of Harry Potter. It is a long class it’s 2 hours long, but most of the time I do other work during it. Mostly because philosophy is way over my head.
  • Geografia del Mar (Oceanography): I had to take this for a natural science credit. It is super boring. The professor is nice, but I have a lot of homework due at the end of the year and he doesn’t exactly spell out what we are supposed to be doing. I guess I shouldn’t complain, because we get to take a field trip to Gibraltar … but I get sea sick. We’ll see how this goes …
  • Grandes Maestros: This class is about the great Spanish artists, sculptors, and architects. It would be interesting if the teacher had any structure. He is really old school, and shows us slides of all the works. This doesn’t bother me, he just jumps around the works of each artist a lot and never really writes down the name of the work and or artist. However, when he writes it down it isn’t much better. He is on the other hand extremely nice so I guess I can’t complain too much.
  • Historia de los EEUU: US history post-revolution to President Obama. This stuff is my jam. I got a 6.2/8 on the last exam which is the second highest grade in the class. If it wasn’t in Spanish, I wonder if I would’ve done better? I was pretty proud of myself. I also love the professor. He is this very old man, who can’t hear me. I also have a lot of Spanish friends in this class, probably because this is the only class I participate in. This is my last exam in June and after this I’m home free!
  • Paisaje y Medio Ambiente Urbano: This class is about Urban environment and planning … I think. I have no idea what is going on in this class. I did pretty awful on the exam; however, I did pass. I can’t understand either of the professors, nor do I think I would if it was in English. I took it because I need an indiscipline class to graduate. Which praise the lord I’m graduating early!

Wow this is a debbie-downer post! To cheer you up after reading me vent, you get to look at this website! https://www.kittybloger.wordpress.com

Un beso!

Roses:

  1. Graduating on time
  2. Feeling academically challenged
  3. Looking forward to going home to UMich
  4. Crazy excited for next semester

Thorns:

  1. Not getting football tickets (the internet order wouldn’t go through)
  2. Feeling stupid
  3. Not caring about my grades
  4. Not paying attention in classes

 

My first vacation alone: Malta

WHOA WHOA WHOA, where have I been? I’ve been on two vacations and bogged down by a lot of work but don’t worry, because I’m back! Let me start off with my first vacation!

Semana Santa or Holy week is a really big deal in Sevilla.

(Here is the only paso I saw, it was raining the entire week. Each local church carries a paso or float to the Catedral. These cofradias (brotherhoods) dress up in traditional outfits which look like colorful versions of the KKK)).

This is the time when tourists from all over flock to the city, thus most Sevillanos leave for the beach. We had the week off, so my friend and I decided to leave for the beach as well, our beach just happened to be an island in the coast of Italy.

To be honest we only went there because it was super cheap, but it terms out it is very beautiful. We spent the week relaxing and exploring the island. Successively Malta is a party island. Maybe that is only the case when it gets warm out, because Caroline and I didn’t find it to be all that exciting. Instead of partying we went to 2 movies and sat around in the hostel. The island isn’t that big and the scenery isn’t all that diverse. There are a lot of rocks and water and to see everything you have to take a bus. The buses were an interesting experience, mostly because I get car sick. Instead of writing more, I’m just going to let you look at some of my favorite shots.

Caroline walking on the beach.

A side street in Valletta (the capital of Malta)

All of the buildings looked pretty dilapidated and the windows had cool balconies

Malta the land of lions and … unicorns?

Another interesting window

Flowers in the Blue Lagoon

Malta has good rocks to climb …

…and good places to fish!

Pretty flowers!

More flowers on the top of the Dingli Cliffs

We spent the day in Gozo! (an island a part of Malta?)

Azure Window on Gozo. We climb around the water to get a closer look and we climb to the top to get a better look of the island. Little did we know but this is dangerous, oh well I survived to tell the story!

I fell in love with this house in Mosta!

I want to say this is the 3rd largest free standing Dome in the world (I could be lying)

A picture of the dome from the inside. I had to snap it fast because mass was in progress!

High fives all around for Malta!

Un beso!

Roses:

  1. Having fast internet
  2. Vacations!
  3. Beaches

Thorns:

  1.  Internet in class
  2. Not wanting to take my finals
  3. Thinking about all the work I have to do!