Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Raquel found another little princess :)
AANND I dressed up as a Panda! I don't have very many pictures of me with my Panda outfit on.. but you can kind of see my Panda hat here!
The people at the Carnival stay out all night drinking in the streets and having a good time. It was so lively and just a fun place to be. The streets were literally FLOODED with people. Spaniards come from all of Spain just to go to this Carnival. It was neat because all of the bars had walk up bars set out on the street so if you wanted a beer you didn't even have to go inside. You could just walk up to the bar outside, order something, and keep walking. There were random drummer groups that would go around playing songs and they would stop in the middle of a street and people would just crowd around them and dance to their music. Most people stay out ALL night. As for me, I took the 1am ferry back home but the majority of my friends took the ferry back between 5-8am the next day. I was not prepared to stay out all night like that in the cold!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Gibraltar is famous worldwide for its dramatic Rock. It is located in a strategic position at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It overlooks the Straits of Gibraltar and is linked to Spain by a narrow isthmus.
Gibraltar is imposing but small. It measures less than six square kilometers in total. It is inhabited by around 30,000 people made up of Gibraltarians, British, Moroccans, Indians and Spanish. There is also a colony of the famous apes, the only ones in Europe to run free in a semi-wild state.
Due to Gibraltar's unique geographical position it is very diverse. The official language is English, but natives are typically bi-lingual, speaking Spanish as fluently as English. It is not unusual to hear languages of neighboring areas such as Arabic and Portuguese. Italian and Russian are not uncommon tongues in these parts either.
When people think of the history of Gibraltar they often think in terms of the bloody 18th century sieges when Spain tried to regain the Rock from the British. However, the history of Gibraltar very much reflects that of the Mediterranean and it could indeed be argued that it reflects that of man himself.
When you first see the Rock of Gibraltar, it is its impressive stature, towering isolated above the surrounding countryside that causes the greatest impact. Gibraltar is a beacon which signals the position of the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow neck which separates Europe from Africa and provides the only link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. So why is Gibraltar, a lump of limestone, so different from the surrounding countryside? It all has to do with events which took place long before any kind of human had appeared on the face of the earth. The first thing to remember is that limestone is made up of millions of small shelled animals which have died and settled in the sea bed; slowly these shells harden and become rock. So another point to remember is that when you walk on the Rock you are stepping on an ancient sea bed! Many still refer to Gibraltar as an island. Historically, biologically, even politically it has been an island even in recent times, but physically it is a peninsula.
The first stop on our tour is Europa Point, the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, and the home to the lighthouse. The first thing you’ll notice as we make our stop here is the beautiful views of the Northern coast of Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
So I have been back in Sevilla now for about a month now and so far my time here has been a lot different from when I was here before. I took on a second job with a lady who is trying to start up her own study abroad program. I have been helping her write emails and proof read her work. Also, I have been giving private lessons to these 10 year old twin girls. They live right around the block from me so it is very convenient to teach them their class because it is so close. Tomorrow I will start another “lesson” with a 6 year old girl that lives close to me as well. So when I said that I wanted to get more involved, I did!
This picture was taken at the outdoor bar, that it is one of the nicest bars in Sevilla. Check out the view for this place!
As some of you know I just celebrated my 23rd Birthday here in Spain. It was a great day! I went to the Spa with my roommate Raquel. There was a groupon for a 15 minute massage and access to their Jacuzzi pools. They had saunas, steam rooms, cold pools, hot pools, they even had little stone paths where you are supposed to walk on the stones barefoot! It was the coolest thing I have done in a while and It was soooo relaxing! At night I went out to an American Diner ( of course) with some friends. It was funny because they ordered me a brownie sundae and they all started singing in English. There were about 10 people signing to me so the whole restaurant was looking at us because they were thrown off by the English version, it was quite funny. After dinner we went out to a few bars in Sevilla. One bar we went to is probably one of the most expensive bars in Sevilla because it has a nice bar on the rooftop that overlooks the Cathedral. It was a little cold out so we did not stay super long but it was definitely a good view to see! Overall my birthday was a lot of fun, it was weird being out of the country and not with the people that I love from home but nonetheless it was still a great day!
Here is the group at my bday celebration, minus 5 other people! The diner was so cute!
I am planning a trip for the end of February to go to Switzerland and visit my cousin Megan! I am going with 2 ( maybe 3) other girls and we are flying in and out of Geneva. We are still working out what cities we want to go to other than Geneva but possibly Interlaken or Bern. This weekend I am taking a day trip to Gibraltar! I have a friend coming into visit so we decided to make a trip down there.
Now that I am about halfway through my time here in Spain ( wow the time is going by so fast!) I wanted to share a few things that I have learned so far about myself and just life in general. First of all, I have learned that in certain situations you just need to learn to put yourself first and make yourself your number one priority. I first started learning this lesson when I was trying to lose weight and I needed to put myself and my goals in front of everything else. A few years ago I would turn down plans just so I could get my daily workout in. I started to learn the process of putting myself first in front of others. Because I did that I was able to lose 50 pounds, if I did not put myself first then I would have never lost all of that weight. When I came to Spain I put myself first again. I did my best to look past all of the negative aspects of leaving the country for 9 months such as missing my loved ones at home and instead I focused on how much this experience would make me a better person. I knew that I needed to take this year for myself to be able to travel, experience new cultures, and learn more about myself. And that is exactly what I am doing J
I have also realized the importance of being straightforward and honest with others. Here in Spain everyone is very literal and they will tell you exactly how they feel. They are not afraid to say things how they really are and they do not like to sugarcoat. Being honest is a necessity in life because if you cannot be honest with others you are just hurting yourself by making yourself look like someone that you aren’t. If only we could all be a little bit more like Spaniards in this sense I think our society would be better.
Lastly, I have noticed the importance of having alone time. Growing up I never wanted to be alone. I wanted to constantly have plans with my friends and to always be moving, doing something, constantly! Now I look forward to having time just for myself. Even though this may be lame, I sometimes prefer to stay in (such as tonight) and have some peaceful time to rest and regroup. Having a teaching job, I am constantly around people all day. So once in a while it is nice to be able to have some time where you do not need to worry about anyone but yourself.
Well folks, that’s all for now. Next post will be about my adventures to Gibraltar!!