Home sweet home!

Alright, please forgive me for not posting one last time before I left Spain, but things were insanely busy! After I got back from Portugal, it was pretty much study, study, study for final exams! Oh, and not to mention, about a week before my finals, my hard drive crashed! So I was computer-less for an entire week. It was extremely difficult, but I found ways to study and keep in contact with people regardless! :)

So, I didn’t have too many crazy adventures when I got back from Portugal, because as I said, I was practically studying for exams and finishing up work the entire time! But it was all worth it. My CIEE classes ended mid-May, so I took one final, and the other class was over when I turned in my final article. Not sure if I told you all – I was taking a class that we wrote and edited a magazine, Mas y Menos. So my final article was on how the television in Spain plays a role in the life at bars. It was interesting, but I was pretty happy with the way it turned out!

So once those classes ended, it was all about studying for my three University exams. My first one was in geography, which I found out that I passed!!! So exciting. And then after the exam for that class, we had “trabajo” aka, like we still had to come to class because half of our grade was based on work we do. So I did all the work, and I passed that as well! So thrilled. :) So geography is done! That’s the only class I know my grade for as of right now, but hey, I’m happy I did well! My next exam was for my Lope de Vega class. That exam I spent SO much time studying for! It consisted of two questions: one on theory, the other was a practical question. So the first question I had to write about the history of the theater in Spain, and the second question I had to take a text from a play she’d given us and write a commentary on it. It was a LONG test, took me the full two hours, but I’m pretty sure I did well! My last exam wasn’t an exam per say, but it was a lot of work. It was for my Critica Literaria class, and we had to write two essays to turn in before we left. The first one we had to read “Una Habitación Propia”, aka, “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf, and write a commentary. So that took quite a while, because I had to do research on feminism and the book itself, etc. Then my next essay I had to write on the differences in classicism and romanticism! Definitely a lot of work, but I eventually got them done and turned them in before I left!

So once all my work and exams were done, it was practically time to leave. I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t believe how fast it feels like it went by. The end of my trip was so much fun though, after exams and everything were done, and even during exams, we did some fun things! A lot of nights we just went out and hung out by the river, which I can safely say is my favorite spot in all of Sevilla. The river is absolutely beautiful and just such a fun place to go to with friends and hang out.

IMG_1454

Here’s a picture of a bunch of my friends and I at the river! (We had also all just gone to my favorite ice cream place, Rayas! SO DELICIOUS!)

Let me think of some other things we did before leaving!

- Toured the bull ring (really cool!)

IMG_1398

- Had a field trip for my geography class all around Sevilla (somewhat boring, but still interesting and fun because there were a bunch of my friends that went on it as well!)

IMG_1348

- We had our end of the year party for Advanced Liberal Arts which was really fun and on top of a GORGEOUS hotel!

IMG_1319

- Went to the beach in Cádiz — seriously GORGEOUS! And so hot and so fun!

IMG_1257

- Went to an amazing pizza restaurant in Sevilla, called Orsini, a whole group of us, and it is DELICIOUS pizza and was SO much fun!

248252_1846293758386_1271910306_31837119_3590291_n

- Went hiking again! I really LOVED going on hikes in Spain and it’s something I want to continue now that I’m home.

IMG_1302

- Paddleboated along the river Guadalquivir (TWICE!) So much fun and so beautiful. Kind of a different view of the river! I loved it.

254882_221593904531045_100000413100067_814115_750464_n

- Okay, and I know this sounds totally stupid and something you could easily do in the US, but we went to see Pirates 4 (it was in English, but subtitled in Spanish), but I was pumped because they REFERENCED SEVILLA! I guess captain Jack Sparrow used to live in Sevilla, so he said that in the 4th movie, and we felt SO cool to be living in the place that was referenced at the time!!!!

253403_218884258135343_100000413100067_795682_2624542_n

But, yeah, so the end was pretty incredible (when I wasn’t studying for finals)! The whole trip really was incredible. I left early June 10th, 5am taxi to the Sevilla Airport. Sevilla to Madrid, Madrid to Boston! Family picked me up in Boston, we stopped for flatbread pizza in Portsmouth, which was AMAZING! And then headed home. Ran into a little issue at the airport when my SUITCASES DIDN’T COME! But it was because my flight from Madrid to Boston had been changed, so my suitcases were in Madrid when I got to Boston! But it’s alright, they were delivered to my house two days later, so it all worked out fine. I have to say, seeing my family in the airport was the most exciting and greatest feeling of my life! I sprinted to them and hugged them as hard as I could. Sister first, then mom, then dad. I was so happy to be with them and I still am now! It was such a great reunion and I had really missed them SO much!

photo

Sister and me! :) So happy to reunite with my best friend.

image-2

SHE MADE ME A WELCOME HOME POSTER!!!! I love it.

And all of you who have been reading I’m sure know that I am a HUGE Dunkin Donuts fan, and so you’ll KNOW that I missed Dunkin Donuts VERY badly for five months! Needless to say, we found one before leaving the airport. :)

image

So now I’m back home, and even though I miss Sevilla, I am really loving being home. Started back up at ‘ol Subway a few days ago, and have been working there and just hanging out with the family ever since! It’s summertime in Maine and the weather is finally getting nice! It was weird going from HOT SEVILLA to cooler Maine, but sometimes Sevilla was just too hot to bare! Especially towards the end, it was like 90′s every day. On days when it’s cold here, I do miss the heat, but I love summer in Maine and I’m just so excited to be back and to see what it brings!

So I don’t even know how to wrap up this blog, because I don’t know how to even wrap up my abroad experience in words. It was amazing, difficult, incredible, hard, stressful, hilarious, life-changing…really everything put into one! There are so many things I will miss about Sevilla.

- My host family

- The river

- The scenery – Europe is just BEAUTIFUL!

- Speaking Spanish

- Some of the food (I will say I do like food here better, but there are things there that I’ll miss!)

- My friends that I made

- Traveling around

- New adventures every day

- Living in a city

- Learning about culture

But, these are all things that I will always remember and treasure and appreciate from my abroad experience. I am so happy to have been able to have this opportunity, and I would recommend it to ANYONE. I think it’s a chance everyone should take and an opportunity you seriously don’t want to miss out on! Think about it, please. If you ever have any doubts about doing it, please contact me or talk to me! It is 100% worth doing, or at least considering! My time in Sevilla taught me not only a ton about Spain and culture and people, but I also ended up learning a LOT about myself. And that it something I had NOT expected!

So for now, I’m just enjoying the summertime, with family and friends, and working in between! But I will always have Sevilla in my heart, and I will never forget my experience and what it taught me, I know it will be with me for life.

Hasta luego, thanks for reading!

Katie

I’m back from PORTUGAL!

Alright, so like I said, we have this week off from school for La Feria, which is pretty much just a HUGE fair in Sevilla for a week long! It’s really cool, I checked it out for the day the other day, and then went again last night, and I’ll probably go back again before it ends! It’s not just your average fair though, that’s for sure. People dress up HARD CORE for it! Girls wear flamenco dresses and boys dress up in suits! EVERYONE GOES. Even older people go and get dressed up! The streets are lined with “casetas”, which are family owned tents that people pass through and eat in, and then there’s the Carnival with every ride you can imagine. I will definitely post pictures later, but if you want to read up on it, I found a website that explains some of it!

http://www.spanishunlimited.com/spain/fiestas/feriadeabril.asp

Anyway, what I really want to tell you about is what my friends and I did for the first part of Feria — WE WENT TO PORTUGAL! It was SO much fun! Adrienne, Ky, and I left thursday night on the night bus, which I’ll admit was a bit rough. The bus left Sevilla at midnight, and got to Lisbon around 7am. Now, you’d think this would be perfect – sleep on the bus, be ready for the day. No, didn’t get much sleep. Not too comfortable and with all the twisting and turning the bus did, it was pretty hard! But we made it regardless.

Our next problem was finding our hostel from the bus station. Brilliant me, forgot to print the directions. Woops! So after finally finding internet and getting directions, we made it to our hostel around 8:30AM. Problem THEN became that you can’t actually check in until 3, so after we dropped our stuff off we were a bit stranded in Lisbon for the day. All I can say, is thank God for Starbucks! We basically parked it in Starbucks all morning because we couldn’t do much else, not to mention the fact that we were all DEAD and needed our coffee fix!

Anyway, so we were in Starbucks all day and finally were able to check into our hostel around 3, which was nice. Unfortunately we couldn’t really do much after we checked in because it started RAINING! But it wasn’t bad, Adrienne and I played cards for a while, and then we eventually all ventured out and found a mall to walk around and get dinner in, which was fun! We all ended up getting these WONDERFUL salads that we became obsessed with at this place called “Vitaminas”.

IMG_0535

JUST HOW GREAT DOES THAT LOOK! MMM! So then after that we went back to our hostel and ended up hanging out with our roommates, who were, interestingly enough also studying abroad in Spain! Not Sevilla though, Granada. So we hung out with them for the night! We all ended up just talking for a while and eventually going out for dessert which was fun! :)

The next day we were determined to go to Sintra, which is like an hour train ride outside of Lisbon. Sintra was SUCH a cute little village though with so many different sights! I’m not sure how to explain it well. Basically, just think wicked cute town. If you want to know more, be my guest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintra

But anyway, we saw Moorish ruins, and old castles! It was awesome. Took so many pictures and just had a good time walking around. Here are some good pictures!

IMG_0584

IMG_0598

Pena

IMG_0635

Ky and I .. AND ADRIENNE IN THE BACK!

IMG_0658

IMG_0703

AWESOME!

So we pretty much went all around Sintra all day, seeing all the castles, and ruins, and etc! It was great. For the three of us, we can really have fun anywhere as long as we have cameras and our senses of humor! It’s always a blast. Sintra was really cool though, and what I liked about it was that I feel like so many places I’ve gone and things I’ve seen have been cathedrals and that sort of thing, but Sintra, as you can tell, was different than anything I’ve ever seen! AWESOME.

So after that, when we went back to Lisbon, we went back to our favorite salad place at the mall and got our delicious dinner again, and once again walked around and shopped a bit! It was all fun stuff, and a successful day to say the least!

The next day, we boarded the 10:30 bus to to to Lagos, which was WAY different than Lisbon. Lisbon, capital. Buildings, city, etc. Lagos, BEACH. Small town, windy narrow roads, SO CUTE! So we arrived in Lagos around 2pm, and took a taxi to where we thought our hostel was. When we got there, the owner had a “surprise” for us. Basically, the greatest surprise of my life. See, when Adrienne booked the hostel, it had said you can request an apartment in case they have any available for the same price. Well, turns out, THEY DID! And so Helena showed us to our apartment. WHICH.WAS.AMAZING! Our own kitchen, dining room, bedroom, even a little pool outside, ah, it was really the LIFE!

IMG_0751

IMG_0756

So, we were loving our lives! After throwing all our stuff down and dancing around a bit celebrating our apartment, we headed out to grab lunch in the center. We found a really cute restaurant that we sat outside and ate at! It was great. Then we walked around the center a bit, and bought some pasta to cook IN OUR KITCHEN for the evening!

So all was going perfectly, until we got back to our apartment. WE LOST POWER! So needless to say, we were all a bit freaked out and had absolutely no idea what to do. When we got ahold of Helena, she was on her way to LISBON! So, her daughter ended up calling us and telling us how to fix it. Mind you, this wasn’t instantly. We spent a good hour at home without power! A little scary, but we MADE IT! After that, we made ourselves some coffee, and played cards on our beds. It was great! We hung out all night, and eventually made ourselves dinner together, and just had a blast hanging out together.

The next morning, we got up and made ourselves DELICIOUS omelets, and had a nice breakfast together. Just take a look.

IMG_0794

Then we went out into the town and just walked around a bit. It’s not huge at all, but we went into a lot of the little shops, bought ourselves some things, and bought some souvenirs for friends! After that, we came back and had lunch and coffee, played some cards, and then Adrienne felt sick, so Ky and I went out and just explored the beach area for the night. It was absolutely gorgeous! We walked around, hung out, and took tons of pictures, and just had a ball!

IMG_0872

IMG_0897

GORGEOUS RIGHT?!

IMG_0858

So after staying there until dark, we headed back home and made a yummy dinner of pasta and vegetables for our last night in Portugal! It was great, and we all ate together and had tons of fun.

IMG_0925

The next day, we got up and had a last nice morning in our apartment, then got on the bus and headed back to Sevilla around 1:45, and so we got home around 8. LONG BUS RIDE, but it was fun. I got some homework done and Ky and I just had a blast recapping our time in Portugal!

So, now I’m back in Sevilla, enjoying the end of Feria (next post, don’t worry :)) and getting some work done! Only 36 more days left here, seriously can’t believe it. But planning on enjoying every last day! SUCH a blessing to be here!

Thanks for reading! Until next time, hasta luego!

Katie

What a great Semana Santa, now onto La Feria!

So, you may think this is a bit ridiculous, but here’s what’s going on! We just had last week off for Semana Santa, which I have a ton to say about :), and then we were back in school for a week, and now we’re already on break for La Feria, this coming week! So funny. One spring break, come back for four days, and now begins spring break number two! A bit insane, but I’m certainly not complaining! :)

Anyway, so let me tell you about how Semana Santa went here! It was really cool and I’m so glad I got to experience it. Basically the whole week consists of processions of all the churches here in Sevilla, all through out the city, every day. Now, I can explain pretty much what the processions are but if you want to know some more I’d suggest you hit up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Week_in_Seville for some solid information! But basically, the processions are almost like parades, with people walking dressed as “Nazarenos” and carrying “Pasos” of Jesus, and the Virgin Mary, and usually there is music playing. Let me just show you some pictures to give you a better idea. Hard to explain in words! (But I will tell you, it was pretty awesome!)

IMG_0311

IMG_0329

IMG_0332

That’s pretty much what they all are like! Once you’ve seen one, they are kind of all pretty much the same, but still seriously very cool! So it started Sunday, so Sunday afternoon Adrienne and I went out to the city center to watch some. Of course, it was ABSOLUTELY MOBBED WITH PEOPLE! Not exaggerating. Like, couldn’t move. People pushing, shoving, everything! Insane. But I mean, obviously it’s because everyone wants to see these! And it’s worth it.

Funny story though, little side note. Now, you’ve gotta understand the type of person I am first. For me, I am NOT all about dressing up. My sweats and T-shirts are good for me, and now that it’s hot here, all I do is wear T-shirts and athletic shorts. So, Sunday, I’m about to head out the door in my normal clothing, and my host mom stops me. “You’re going to watch the processions…in those clothes?” She basically told me I needed to put on nicer clothes, which was somewhat embarrassing but funny at the same time. So needless to say, I went back inside and changed. Good thing I did too, because EVERYONE out in the center was all dressed up! It’s very much the culture here, something I DEFINITELY don’t get along with! But, I’m just glad that my host mom saved me from hardcore judgment I could have received!

So, Adrienne and I spent the afternoon there, watching the pasos and trying not to get swallowed by the crowds of people. After we were pretty much Paso-d out, we went and hung out by the river for the evening, which was really nice and calm, definitely the opposite of our afternoon!

So then Monday, my host brother Jorge, was in a procession! He belongs to the brotherhood of his church, San Gonzalo. So that was what was going on in my house that day! My host mom was all busy getting his clothes ready, and my host sister, her husband and her 2-year old son Pablo, all came over for lunch. So after lunch, we went out, very close to where our house is, and watched Jorge walk by as a Nazareno. It’s insane though, he leaves at 3, and usually doesn’t get back home until 5am! SO INSANE, but I guess he really loves it and he’s always enjoyed being a part of it, so that’s good! :)

IMG_0356

I couldn’t get too many good pictures but here’s one of him and the baby and you can see a bit of my family! It was really cool to be there and watch him as a family, I felt very bonded with them! And as we watched more pasos, my host dad explained more and more about it to me, so I liked that too.

So that was pretty much my Semana Santa experience, but I felt like I got to see a lot and learned a lot! And then the week got even better because on Wednesday…MY GRANDMA ARRIVED!!!!! :) :) :) She got in around 4:30 and came with her friend Joan, and I surprised her at her hotel! Which was so awesome and I was so happy to see her!

dims

Anyway, so we did a lot when she came! Wednesday we mostly just visited and talked, and then she went to a Flamenco show, which she originally called a “Flamingo” show, and I about died! Haha. Thursday I went over to the hotel and we had dinner in the hotel with her tour group that she originally came with, which was fun and delicious! Friday, it rained, so we couldn’t do or see too much, but we went over to see my host family and she got to see my house and meet them all! It was so much fun, except for the fact that I played translator for a good two hours. But it was great practice I think! And I was really happy to have her meet them, and she liked them, and they liked her, so I was really glad that we all got along so well!

So then Saturday she took me to Córdoba, which is a city like an hour and a half away from Sevilla. But we went with a tour group and it was really fun! We got to see the Real Alcazares, the Jewish quarters, and the Mosque that was turned into a cathedral! It was REALLY COOL!

IMG_0395

IMG_0467

I took a ton of pictures, these are just a few. We had a lot of fun there, and we just missed the rain! It started to rain right as we were leaving, around 4, so we were happy to be on the bus back missing the rain! That night we went out for dinner at a nice restaurant by her hotel, called San Marco, and I had delicious Salmon, spinach, and vegetables! :) YUM!

Anyway, so then on Sunday, which was of course Easter Sunday, we went to the Cathedral for mass, and we actually met my friend Ky and her dad there. It was not a long mass, and pretty typical, but we just liked saying that we went to mass in the 3rd largest cathedral in the world on Easter Sunday. :) And then we all went out for lunch which was really fun too! I was so glad our families could meet, and we all got along really well, which was great!

IMG_0500

IMG_0515

So that was Sunday, and then I just went back to the hotel with my grandma and Joan and hung out for the rest of the afternoon! I stayed until around 8ish, then it was time to say our goodbyes which was pretty sad. Won’t lie, I cried a bit. It was just so nice to have her there and I hated to see her go, but I was so thankful that she came and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful grandma, I truly am.

So, Monday began another week! But a very short one at that! I just have one more class today and then I’m on break for Feria, like I told you. Feria is like a big festival, they have a fair and it’s more of a party then Semana Santa! So I’m excited.

But it has been a great week because 1. I got a package from my mom in the mail of baked goods on Tuesday! Yum, blueberry coffee cake and oatmeal brownies!! 2. We visited Canal Sur Radio Station yesterday with my Comm. class and it was AWESOME and SO COOL TO SEE!! and 3. I’m going to PORTUGAL TONIGHT!!!! For the first part of Feria :) We leave tonight on the midnight bus, and it takes about 6 hours to get there, but we’re SO excited! We go to Lisbon first, and then to Lagos, and then back here Tuesday night! After Tuesday we can see what Feria is all about! So it should be fun, but right now I’m just doing some last minute packing stuff and just getting excited to leave for PORTUGAL!!!!!

So that’s what’s been going on! It’s been pretty crazy but I’m loving it all! Always something going on and always something to write about. But just so you know – I only have 43 days left! I come home JUNE 10TH! Not too far away. So for now, I’m just trying to enjoy every day I have here! So, I’m off to Portugal! :)

Hasta luego!

It’s here..Spring break NUMBER ONE!

Alright, so it’s been two weeks, I know, but I finally feel like I have time to breath because I’m on vacation! Next week, as I’m sure everyone knows, is Holy Week, or Semana Santa here! So we have it off from school, which is REALLY REALLY nice! So, since I don’t have class fridays I’ve been on break for two days now, which has been really great and I finally feel like I can breathe and start catching up on my LIFE!

So let me back it up, the last time I posted, I talked about my Barcelona visit which now feels like ages ago! So since then, I haven’t gone anywhere too incredible but I have done some pretty fun things around Sevilla and stuff.

So, like I said in my last post, the weather here has been absolutely GORGEOUS! So two weekends ago we went to the beach, called Matalascañas, which is only about an hour from here! We took the bus and it was awesome to be laying on the beach for the entire day! The beach was gorgeous too, it had some sort of upside down tower in the water! Very interesting.

IMG_0080

Wasn’t so awesome, though, when I didn’t have sunscreen and came home with the worst sunburn of my LIFE! I’m not exaggerating. I swear the sun here is different, because I have never been burned so badly. I know it was totally my fault, but still, I thought Spain would go a LITTLE easier on me! Nope. Pretty bad. So needless to say I loaded up the aloe and lotion for days after that!

That saturday, my friends Ky, Adrienne, and I also went to see the Real Alcazares, which are some Moorish ruins in Sevilla! We had decided that even though its so much fun to go outside of Sevilla to see things, THERE IS STILL A LOT HERE LEFT TO SEE! So, we walked around the cool palace and gardens, and had fun reading history and taking ridiculous pictures.

IMG_0165

IMG_0134

IMG_0176

The weather that weekend was nice, until SUNDAY! My friend Ky and I went on a hiking trip with CIEE, and it RAINED ALL DAY! We hiked all day through the rain, which looking back is funny to think about, but at the time we were NOT pleased! The place we went to was really gorgeous, but it was unfortunate the views were tainted by the rain! But we had fun. It was a pretty tough ride back, in our soaking wet clothes, but it was just another experience, and I never say no to a good hike! :)

IMG_0223

Trying to grin and bear it!

IMG_0229

So that was a great weekend, definitely full of mixed weather extremes, but I had fun! The week was pretty normal, classes have just been the same! Then last weekend was a lot more chill! Adrienne and I decided that we wanted to start visiting all the parks in Sevilla, because I think there are 5 or 6! So we went to Parque Alamillo on friday, and then Parque de Maria Luisa on saturday! They were both very different. Alamillo is more of a park for Spaniards to go and hang out at and spend time together. I don’t think we saw any tourists there. Parque de Maria Luisa, on the other hand, a bit more touristy! I think because it’s right next to Plaza de España, it’s a pretty popular park for tourists! But it was nice. We had a nice, chill couple days and then Sunday we went on another hike! This time we had MUCH better weather and I was much happier! It was in Aracena, which I think is part of Cádiz! Regardless, it was awesome, and instead of being wet with rain, pretty sure we were  wet with sweat haha!

best

But it was a great weekend in general, I felt like I spent the entire time outdoors which I was really happy about!

So this week has been pretty good, just another normal week of classes. I’m starting to really try to buckle down on my work, because my exams are going to start coming up faster than I know it! So, I’m glad to have this week off to do that. But I’m not just going to spend the time studying — because MY GRANDMA IS COMING ON WEDNESDAY!!!! I’m so excited. She is actually in Spain right now, she and a friend are on a tour of a bunch of cities, but they are finishing in Sevilla and will be here for 5 days! I can’t wait. I think it will be AWESOME to see them and we’ll be able to see Sevilla, the Semana Santa activities, and hopefully go some other places too! I’m just so excited to see a familiar face :)

So that’s life right now. Just here, watching everything get set up and everyone get all excited for the Semana Santa activities, and waiting on Dma! (That’s what I call my grandma!)

I’m sure I will have a TON to write about when Semana Santa is over, but that’s all I have for now!

Thanks for reading! :)

Katie

It’s SPRINGTIME in Sevilla!

Alright, well I have a lot to update on, because I’ve been very busy these past two weeks since I got back from Barcelona! I have tons to write about, so get ready! First of all, just HAVE to say, because this is probably the most important thing, that it is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous weather right now! Today, 70s, tomorrow, supposed to be 80s! (So of course we’re going to the BEACH! Yes, the BEACH on April 1st! SO EXCITED!) Oh — another update, before I begin, I am now WITH CAMERA!! My lovely grandmother (who by the way is coming to visit in 20 days!) gave me money to buy a new one!!! So needless to say, I’m at peace again.

55

Alright, so where do I begin? BARCELONA! We went two weekends ago! Okay, Barcelona was AMAZING. We left thursday night, and came back Sunday morning. So pretty much we packed everything into Friday and Saturday. (Sadly, I was camera-less at the time, but I have pictures from Adrienne to show you!)

Friday, we went to the BARCELONA SOCCER STADIUM which was my favorite part of the entire trip! Haha, obviously I’m a little biased because I’m a soccer player, but whatevs! So the stadium is amazing, HUGE, and there was a museum there too that pretty much had every little historical fact/detail/etc about the Barcelona soccer team! It was so amazing. The field was my favorite though, I just wanted to touch the grass! But it was such a sick place.

CIMG5894

TROPHIES!

CIMG5833

Yeah, so we took about a million pictures there of course! So after that, we went to Las Ramblas, which is a pretty famous and popular street in Barcelona. People told me before I left though, be careful, because it’s also pretty famous for PICKPOCKETING! But after my episode the week before, I wasn’t going to let anyone touch me! (Seriously though, ever since then, I’ve been WICKED alert.) So we got some lunch there and then walked down the street. I bought a Barcelona team scarf! Everyone here wears them for games and stuff so I figured it was a necessity! Wish I could have gone to a game, but whatevs. So then we continued down that street, which led to a Christopher Colombus statue that we admired for a bit! But the best came next..THE BEACH!

IT WAS ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! We first saw a landing area, with lots of boats and such, but then as we continued down we hit the actual beach and it was awesome. We took our shoes off and walked in the sand, which felt SO nice! Touched the water, ah it was great!

CIMG6055

So after that, we took the metro to Placa de España (Plaza, but in Catalan! Forgot to mention they all speak Catalan there, so that was interesting. But there’s also a ton of English, so its fine.) So we went to a FOUNTAIN WATER SHOW! I don’t even know how to explain it. Every weekend I guess from 7-9 in this place, they have this magical fountain show! Basically, water, music, lights, and it was awesome! We parked it on the grass and were mesmerized for a good two hours!

232323232fp73395>nu=325->933>454>WSNRCG=35;--559<-32<nu0mrj

After that was over, we went back to the hostel, where we met some new friends who were from Northern England! They were brother and sister, and we also met someone from Australia! So we went out that night with them for a while, which was pretty fun!

We got up early Sunday and went on a walking tour of Barcelona! It was pretty cool! We got a lot of Barcelona’s history, which isn’t always the most exciting for me, but it was pretty interesting! We walked through the city and she told us all about the history, a lot of history about the Spanish Civil War and yadda yadda! So after that, we got lunch in Las Ramblas again, and then went to see the Gaudy houses! They were really cool! I didn’t go in any of them, but the outside architecture was definitely enough to look at!

CIMG6171

So after that, our great plan was to do the Sagrada Familia. It was around 6 when we got there, and unfortunately for us, it closed an hour early for some type of special mass thing? So we were PRETTY BUMMED ABOUT THAT! But, we still got to see it from the outside which was seriously the sickest looking thing in the world! We circled it and just kind of stared at it for a while! I’d put a picture up but I haven’t gotten the rest of Adrienne’s pictures yet! :/ Sorry, but I have my camera now so it’s all okayy! :)

But after that, we went to Parque Guell, and by this time it was night time. It’s another one by Gaudy, and it was really cool! Lots of cool architecture, and from there you could see a gorgeous view of Barcelona all lit up! :) It was kind of a perfect way to end our time there. Just looking on the city and stuff, it was seriously gorgeous. That was kind of all we did for the night, grabbed dinner and ice cream and then headed back for the hostel, because we left at 5am the next day to head back to Sevilla!

So since then I’ve been back here in home sweet home, Sevilla. And again, gotta say, every time I travel, it just makes me love Sevilla more and more! Ever since I got back, the weather has seriously been INCREDIBLE and I’m obsessed! 60s-70s every day! AMAZING. Needless to say, last weekend I went to the BEACH for a day! My friend Adrienne, my second cousin who is studying here, and her friend all went to Isla Canela, which is off Ayamonte! It was GORGEOUS. A little windy and sandy, but seriously awesome to be lying on a beach in march!!

IMG_0025

So pretty much last weekend and this week, I’ve just been outside a lot enjoying the weather and just doing work. I’ve had a lot lately, but manageable! It’s worth it to work hard during the week and then have nice relaxing weekends! Tomorrow, like I said, 80s, so we’re going to the beach! It’s Matalascañas, two hours away by bus, but we’re going for the day! Not sure about my plans for Saturday. But Sunday I’m going hiking! So it’s a packed weekend! I’m excited.

So I should probably get some sleep, considering its 1AM here! But I feel like this was a long one, so if I forget anything I’ll write again! But, that’s the update for now. Just loving springtime here :) So glad I’m here. Loving it more every day!

Thanks for reading!

GRANADA :)

Well, it’s only been about two weeks since I last blogged, but I have SO much to write about, so get ready! So last time I wrote I’m pretty sure I was getting ready to go to Granada for the weekend with my program! We went last weekend and it was great — left Saturday morning and came back late Sunday night! Let me see what I can remember.

** Side note before I begin — this blog will be limited on pictures but I’ll get to the reason for that later .. :(

We did a TON of stuff, LOTS of walking around! On Saturday we went to the town and started off at the Mirador de San Nicolas, which is an amazing view of the Alhambra! We took tons of pictures there, and then walked through the town with a tour guide giving us information on places and history and etc. One of my favorite parts was when we stopped at a convent area and bought muffins from a nun! We never actually saw her, she used a lazy susan to give them to us! It was SO cool! Anyway, we walked all the way through the town to the Capilla Real, which is like a really famous beautiful cathedral there! Very cool stuff. After that, we went to this street they kind of call a “hippie street” where they have “tettorias” aka, tea places! So we went in and all got tea together! It was delicious, we got the house special, which was pretty similar to chai but it had honey and cinnamon in it :) Gah, SO good! And so then we walked around where there was a ton of little stores! I bought a cute scarf for 3 euro! LOVED IT :) My friend Ky has a matching one too. Great stuff!

After that, we all went out for tapas! My friends and I went to a Morrocan tapa place, which was SO delicious! The couscous was AMAZING and everything else I got was so good too! I think I’ve told you before, but just so we’re clear. Spain is all about tapas, which are like little portions of dishes that are pretty cheap! So you go out and get a few tapas for dinner, and it’s really fun because you can get a bunch of different ones! :) It was pretty late when we finished tapas, so we got some ice cream and then headed back to the hotel for the night! I was really tired from the day, and I knew we had a long day ahead of us Sunday too!

Sunday we got up, had breakfast in the hotel, and then set out for more adventure! We went to the Alhambra, which is a city constructed by the Moors! It was seriously beautiful. We started in the Generalife, which was like a garden area, and then walked all the way through to the Alhambra, which took about 3 and a half hours! So we pretty much spent the day there learning about everything and taking pictures! It was a really cool place, with a TON of history and so much to learn! Good thing we had a guide there to tell us everything we needed to know!

So after that, we headed back to the hotel for a nice big lunch, which was of course delicious, and then boarded the bus to head back to Sevilla! It was about a 3 hour ride, and most of us were exhausted, so it was nice to rest on the way back! So that was pretty much the weekend, it was really awesome to go and learn all about Granada! And it was beautiful there! So I’m really happy we went :)

Bad news is…I don’t have pictures from it. Well, I did. I took over 300 — but, had a pretty awful experience this past week which I want to share because if you ever study abroad you NEED to be aware of this. Europe = pickpocketing. Last week one day I got my camera, wallet, and iPod all stolen. :( I think I was eating lunch one day in an area with a fountain and a ton of people, and when I wasn’t paying attention they got taken out of my backpack :( Seriously, such a bummer. I’m pretty upset about it and I have been for days, but I suppose it’s a good lesson. LUCKILY, my Granada pictures are not lost! I just happened to give my memory card to my friend Ky to upload to her computer, so I still have the pictures! Just gotta get a new camera! But yeah, so that whole situation is slowly working itself out. It’s all going to be okay, I’m just going to HAVE to be more careful next time.

So that’s about it for now. I wanted to blog about Granada because I also just got back from Barcelona today, but I didn’t want to cram you with information, so I split it up! I’ll blog about my AMAZING Barcelona trip later this week, so you have that to look forward to! But for now, there’s Granada :) Enjoy, and BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR BELONGINGS WHEREVER YOU GO!!!

Hasta luego :)

Classes, Cádiz, and Grazalema!

Hey all,

Well, I had thought that maybe after coming back from Madrid, things would slow down a bit, but of course not! Haha, it’s been very busy! The week after Madrid was just the usual week of classes, which are still going well so far!

I’ll let you know a bit about my classes. My journalism class is a class where we edit a magazine for the semester, mas and menos. The magazine focuses on one topic, like for example ours is the television this semester, and then we all write articles surrounding that. Mine’s a little weird, but I think it’ll come out good. I’m going to write about the television in bars here, and how it plays a role. Like for example, everyone watches during soccer games, and etc. I’m going to visit bars and tell the stories of all the different televisions. What channels they play, how old they are, how popular they are, etc. We’ll see how it turns out. My other class with CIEE is Mass Communication and Society in Spain..we’re learning about communication of course and what influences messages that the public receives. It’s interesting.

My other classes are at the university. Geography of the Iberian Peninsula is somewhat insane. The professor talks SO fast and it’s full of freshman who talk over her! It’s crazy. THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN AT GORDON!!!! Ahh, so crazy. So it’s hard in that class to get anything during the lectures, but luckily I have friends in my class AND I met our tutor last week, Rocio, who has already helped me learn a ton! My next two classes are literature based. One is about Lope de Vega and his plays, and so far we’re just learning history of theatre and Lope, etc, which is so interesting and I really enjoy it, but this professor ALSO talks extremely fast so I have to really be on my game to listen! And my last one is Literary Criticism, and for this class I just finished reading The Odyssey! Of course it was hard to JUST read it in Spanish, so I combined that with some Sparknotes, and it went well! :)

So classes are good, definitely keeping me busy! But I definitely have to write about last weekend! Basically, everyone here last weekend was celebrating Carnaval, which is pretty much like a party before Lent starts. There are parades, fiestas, etc. Mostly everything happens through the night, so we took the train at 9:45pm to Cádiz, where a big celebration was! Everyone was dressed up (I was Peter Pan), and everyone just kind of hangs out, big street party! It was full of people! So we stayed there through the night, and came back on the earliest train Saturday morning! INSANE RIGHT?? 6:55 train back to Sevilla! It was insane. Not sure I’d do it again, but I’m glad I got to experience Carnaval because it is a big event here.

IMG_1773

Needless to say, Saturday I was pretty exhausted, so I didn’t do a ton! But Sunday was a GREAT day. They have lots of free trips through CIEE here to different places, and my favorites are the hiking ones! So on Sunday, I went to Grazalema to hike! It’s also in Cádiz! We left Sevilla around 9, got there around 10:30, stopped for coffee/breakfast, and then got to the hike start at like 11! It was really cold at the beginning, but it started to warm up as the day went on! So we hiked a ton, and stopped at the top where the view was gorgeous and had lunch. I seriously felt like Maria from the Sound of Music the entire time, just because the view was SO amazing.

IMG_1829

IMG_1837

The other part I loved about it was that I was speaking a ton of Spanish! There were three other girls from my program who went, and we tried to talk in Spanish for most of the hike! It’s hard and it’s very draining, but it was really good for me to practice! I mean, I only have three months left here and I’m nowhere near fluent! :(

So after lunch, we probably hiked for another hour and a half or so, and got to the town a the end. I think the town was called Benecaoz, and it was just a cute little town.

IMG_1875

So we stopped there, got some café, and the bus picked us up to head home! By this time it was probably like four, and we got home around six! It was definitely a long day, but it was seriously so much fun! I’ve never even been into hiking before either, but I really enjoyed it and I’m so happy because they offer these pretty much every other week! :)

IMG_1831

So that was my weekend! I’d say it was solid. This week was pretty much your average week of classes, nothing too too exciting. One of my professors didn’t show up the entire week though! We heard he’s sick, but it’s just so interesting to me how different it is here, no e-mails, just no-shows all week! Pretty insane. But yeah, for the most part, just another typical week!

Well, I can see this is already way too long, but I hope you’re still with me :) Tomorrow I’m heading to Granada with our program! We’re going overnight, I’m really excited! I’ve heard its beautiful there! So I’ll be sure to blog about it when I get back and I’ll be taking tons of pictures of course! But for now, gotta get some sleep because our bus leaves at 8:30am!

Buenas noches :)
Katie

To Madrid and back!

Alright, so life has been SO awesome here! I finally sorted out all of my classes these past two weeks. I’m taking two classes through CIEE, one is like a journalism seminar, and the other is Mass Communication and Society in Spain! Then I’m taking three classes at the University of Sevilla; Geography of the Iberian Peninsula, Literary Criticism, and a literature class on the works Lope de Vega, a famous Spanish playwright! So far I really like all of them! It’s lots of work but I can handle it!

Other stuff going on…well I had a pretty chill weekend last weekend, we were kind of tired from the weeks of classes and figuring all that out. So we didn’t do a ton, but this weekend was AMAZING! We went to MADRID! We left on Friday and came back Monday, because we had Monday off from school for Día de Andalucía! It was SO much fun!

IMG_1468

A bunch of us from my program went this weekend, but I went with five girls and we all stayed in a hostel together which was really fun, and it was good that we were all together because I felt pretty safe. I’d never stayed in a hostel before!

So the bus ride there took six hours, but it went by pretty fast! From the minute we got there, we were pretty much go-go-go! The first day, we met up with Andi Lau, who is from Gordon and studying there this semester, and she showed us a beautiful park, Parque de Retiro I think, which is where the first picture I just posted is from. Here’s a group shot :)

IMG_1473

So I won’t bore you by going through every little thing we did in Madrid! But I’ll just tell you some of the highlights and cool stuff we saw/did! We went to two museums, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, I liked Reina Sofia better because it was more modern art. It had Picasso’s Guernica which was AMAZING, huge, and so surreal to be standing in front of! We also went to the Palacio Real, which was like an old palace, again SO cool! We also saw Madrid’s version of the Plaza de España, which was a pretty park area with a Don Quijote statue! Of course we took a picture with it!

IMG_1617

IMG_1537

Here’s a group shot of us at Plaza Mayor, which is just a big plaza with restaurants and other activities going on all the time! It’s huge and always filled with people.

IMG_1754

In front of the Palacio Real!! :)

So aside from all the touristy stuff we did, we also had a TON of fun going to some cool places! One night we went to a seven story club called Kapital, which was absolutely HUGE, and amazing! Live performances, dancing, CRAZINESS! SO COOL! We were there until 5:30 in the morning! I’m STILL tired. And another night we went to the BEST churro place! Amazing churros dipped in rich chocolate! So delicious :)

IMG_1731

So I mean, I’d say it was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life! We did SO much more, but I could probably take up five more blog posts with all we did, and you might get bored, so I think I let you know all the good stuff :) Just know, I’m exhausted, my feet are killing me, but I had an amazing time! But I definitely appreciate Sevilla after Madrid, and think I made the right decision on where to study. Madrid is an amazing city, but I like the smallness of Sevilla and I think its just very fitting for me! So that was good too.

But anyway, I should get going. I have class in a few hours, and I have to get back into school mode after such a fun weekend! Tough, but I can do it. But there ya have it, I’ve been to MADRID! If you want to see more pictures or know more about it, please e-mail me or facebook me!!! Katie.zarrilli@gordon.edu, or facebook: Katie Zarrilli! I’m more than happy to show more pictures and tell more about Madrid, or even life here in Sevilla! Please don’t hesitate!

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll be posting again very soon! Hasta luego. I’ll leave you with one last picture..let me just find a good one!

IMG_1571

Almost a month in!

Wow, I’ve been here almost a month already and I can’t even believe it! Life is flying by so fast here, but I’m enjoying every minute of it that’s for sure! So, as of now, our intensive classes ended, which we had every day for two weeks 3 hours a day at CIEE, the program place. I was in Advanced Spanish Grammar, which as you can imagine wasn’t a BLAST, but it helped me to recognize some mistakes I make and such!

But this week, we started our regular University classes! What we do for the semester is take one or two CIEE classes, and three regular University classes. For CIEE classes, I’m taking a journalism type seminar, and Mass Comm and Society in Spain! It was crazy trying out all different types of University classes, but I think I’m settled on the three that I’ll be taking. Comedia: Lope, it’s like a literature class on Lope de Vega who wrote plays, Geografía de la Peninsula Iberica, and Critica Literaria! They seem pretty good so far. Universities here are SO different though! First of all, sometimes on the first day of class the professor doesn’t show! And in my geography class, the whole class talks over the professor the whole time. It’s so different, because its like the students are more expected just to learn the stuff, and the professors just give the exam at the end of the semester! There is not a lot of homework, and our grades basically ride on our exams. Definitely freaks me out a bit, but I think I can handle it! So it was a stressful week, but now that I figured all of that out, I’m feeling pretty good!

Weekends here are a blast! Except, if you like sleep, your somewhat out of luck. Everyone goes out for the night, to hang out by the river, or find some discotecas for dancing, and so on! I’ve been to a couple really fun ones, and even though I’m exhausted the next day, it’s worth it, such a blast, and a great way to meet Spaniards! Sometimes we don’t get home until 4am! It’s pretty insane, but a blast at the same time! It’s just the culture here, they come alive at night!

When I can, I also try to do some touristy things too. Of course! Yesterday my friends and I went to the Ruinas Italicas, which are some ruins located just fifteen minutes outside of Sevilla! It was actually really cool, and we took tons of pictures!

IMG_1285

Today was a pretty nice day. The weather is getting to be really nice here! Today I think it hit the 70s! So I went for a nice run in the morning, and then some friends and I went out and hung out by the river, which is what so many people here do during the afternoon! After that we went to El Centro — aka, the City Center, and did some shopping and such! Not sure what tonight will bring! But I’ll keep you posted :)

IMG_1344

A part of the ruins. We posed as if we were gladiators :)

Oh! One last thing I thought I needed to share. This past Sunday, my friends Adrienne (who goes to Gordon too) and Ky explored a church! It was called Sala Encounter, and we heard of it from a Gordon girl who studied here last year. It was a bit outside the city, and the building was a little sketchy, with some graffiti on it and what not. But when we saw a woman go in with her kids, we figured it was safe. It was SO different! First of all, pink, green, blue lighting. And there was SMOKE machines on the stage! It was really really small too. Lots of young people. So at first I’ll admit I was weirded out, but once it started I actually liked it! It was really cool singing worship songs in Spanish, and I understood most of the message! We’re going back again tomorrow and I’m excited. Everyone was nice and inviting! This was totally something I wanted to do here, so I’m definitely excited about finding a church. :)

Other than that, not much to say! This has been somewhat long though, so I’ll let you take a breath. I’ll update again soon with more things going on! There’s always something. But I am really loving this experience and to anyone studying Spanish, THINK SEVILLA! :)

171760_1641503354641_1148520255_31739553_2142401_o

This is just a picture from last weekend, on Sunday night we stayed up and went at midnight to watch the SUPERBOWL! It was a blast but so tiring. And Spain didn’t have American commercials. :( No fair, but it was great!

Alright, now I’m really done. Hasta luego!

FINALLY AN UPDATE FROM SPAIN!

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I haven’t posted since I got here, but you wouldn’t believe how absolutely crazy busy I’ve been! I don’t even know where to start! I got here last Tuesday, so I’ve been here about a week and a half. So far, SO GOOD! We had all orientation things to do last week, like meetings about what class to take, walking around the city trying to familiarize ourselves with it, and just learning about this awesome country! We were in a hotel for two nights, and then Thursday we moved in with our FAMILIES! I love my family. I have a madre, a padre, un hermano Jorge who’s 28, and una hermana Nuria, who is 37 and has un hijo, Pablo who is 2! They are awesome. My mom cooks great food and I love to practice my spanish with them! I think my favorite dish she’s made has been Tortilla de Patata, which is potatoes and eggs kind of as an omelette! DELICIOUS :) They eat differently here. They eat breakfast light, like toast and coffee, then they have a big lunch at like 2, and then a smaller dinner between 8 and 10! Takes getting used to, but I’m working on it! I also have my own room, and my own bathroom! I’d say I’m pretty much living the good life here.

We started class on Monday. These two weeks are what they call an intensive session, which you take one class for three hours a day every day for two weeks to prepare yourself for university classes. I’m in Advanced Spanish Grammar. It’s not bad, I definitely need the work! So after these two weeks end, we start our university classes. I’m excited but nervous at the same time! It will be really interesting to see the differences in school here and back home, and I’m excited to share it with you! :)

The program I’m with is CIEE, and so far they have been GREAT! Last weekend they took us to Cadiz for an immersion weekend. We got to meet Spanish kids our age, and we were ONLY supposed to talk in Spanish! It was so much fun, but my BRAIN was definitely hurting by the end of the day!! But Cadiz was beautiful, and we also went to a town called Arco de la Frontera, which was also beautiful! I’ll put a picture up so you can see!

So you can tell, I’ve been pretty crazy busy! Hence my not updating for a while. But I’ll get better :) Once I start getting into a routine, I’ll be great. I’m just glad it’s the weekend now. Today, I think my friend Adrienne and I are going to the Plaza Nueva to do some shopping! And maybe later we’ll find a café to hang out in and get some work done! :) I’ll be updating soon on what else is going on, but here are some pictures to enjoy!!

I think this should work, I put on some pictures from the Arco de la Frontera, the Plaza de España, a picture of my orientation group, a picture of the gorgeous bridge I cross every day, and a fruit market that I loved! Enjoy :)

Visit

While you’re here, sit in on a class, talk with a professor or coach, attend a chapel service and chat with current students. A trip to Gordon’s campus will give just a glimpse of the exciting opportunities that await you here.
Click here

Apply to Gordon

Currently accepting applications for 2011. We’ve made the application process as easy as possible. And remember we’re just a click or call away if you need anything.
Click here

Info Request

We are looking forward to getting to know you better!
Click here