Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Only in Spain...

1) Only in Spain does the principal give out free Condoms and Olive Oil... it shows where their priorities are at.

2) Only in Spain do Gypsies set out tables on street corners and have poker tournaments at 1 in the afternoon. Do these men not have jobs or what?!

3) Only in Spain do they never have soap in their bathrooms. Why do they not believe in having good Hygiene ?

4) Only in Spain do the teachers call in sick every week and never come to work!

5) Only in Spain can a 13 year old girl pick up her father's beer at the local convenient store.


La gente en EspaƱa es muy loca!!

Another random side note ( I have many): Yesterday I was walking to the train station after work and a young girl asked me for a cigarette. I told her that I did not have any and she started a conversation with me asking me where I was from. She was pushing a baby in a stroller which turned out that it was hers. This girl was only 18 years old, she is so young and already has a 1 year old son. I know that accidents happen but I cannot even imagine having a child right now and I am 23 years old. Today during my break at work I went for a walk around town and I ran into her again. This time she was with a friend and she was knocking on a window. I don't know what she was doing but it looked pretty shady as if she was doing a drug deal. It made me sad to think that here is this young girl, only 18 years old, and she had to grow up so quick. I am thankful for the way that I was raised and that I am capable of making smart decisions ( not saying I make them all the time but I am capable of them!). Thank you ma and pa for raising me the way you did!

Okay time for work... Adios!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I survived the Cadiz Carnival!

Wow! This past weekend was beyond amazing! As you can tell, I went to the Cadiz Carnival this past weekend. This is an annual Carnival that takes place in Cadiz, a beach town in southern Spain. During the day there are a variety of parades and performances that occur. They have different singers and dancers dressed up in costumes, unfortunately I was not able to see the performances that took place earlier on in the day. I went to Rota on Friday which is another beach town close to Cadiz. In Rota there is a U.S. Military Base and on base they have an American grocery store. My friend who lives in Rota is good friends with some of the military guys and she is able to get yummy American food whenever she wants it! On Friday when we got there we had a low key night. We made some guacamole, salsa, and tacos! It was delicious.

On Saturday we made our way to Cadiz for the Carnival! We took a ferry there around 3 in the afternoon and we were able to spend the whole day there. By the time we got there most of the parades were over but we were able to eat some lunch and hang out on the beach for a few hours before our night began. This is kind of like their Halloween because everyone dresses up in silly costumes. I noticed that people here in Spain usually dress up in groups and are all dressed up in the same thing. Opposed to in the States where we usually pick a theme such as Disney Characters, and everyone dresses up as a different character. Here they pick one thing and all dress the same... Shows how us American's like to be unique.

For example: We ran into a group of 10 men dressed up as Waldo... My friend Carrie was dressed up as Waldo as well so she had to take a picture with them! Once they saw her they all started to sing and dance around her as if she was part of their family, it was pretty funny.

Check out some of the other costumes:

Raquel found another little princess :)
This is the sunset that we saw while we were resting on the beach, it was BEAUUTIFUL!

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!

I highly suggest if any of you are in Spain in February that you go to this Carnival! It was great!

On a random side note: I have a story I would like to share. At work I get breakfast almost every other day. I always order toast with butter and strawberry jelly. There are only two workers in the little cafe in my school so they know my order by now. SO the owner of the cafe asked me if I wanted to try the homemade jelly that his mom made. I said sure, just being nice. The jelly is this Lemon tart flavor that is good, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to eat it everyday for breakfast, I would rather eat my strawberry jelly! After I was was done eating he asked me how I liked it and I told him it was good. Now, every time that I order toast with jelly he gives me the same jelly that his mom made. I do not have the heart to tell him that I would prefer the other jelly because I don't want to insult his mother's jelly! SO I am stuck, maybe i will just stop ordering my toast with jelly.

These are the hardships that I have in Spain, over what jelly I have with my toast each day. haha... rough life, I know.

Well, this weekend I leave to go to Switzerland to meet up with Megan! Me and 3 other friends will fly into Geneva and spend the night there. Then all of us ( including Megan and her friend Bonnie) will go to Montreux to see Chateua, a famous castle there. The next day we will go hiking near the Rochers de Naye ("Marmots' Paradise, The mountains around Hauts-de-Montreux are threaded with forest trails, isolated villages, caves, grottos, and wildlife. Rochers-De-Naye itself is home to an odd little compound called "Marmots' Paradise" where marmots from all over the world live in an observable system of underground burrows.

After Montreux we will work our way back around Lake Geneva, not sure exactly where yet, but we are looking at stopping in Vevey and Gruyeres and eventually getting to Lausanne where we will spend the night. On Tuesday we will head back to Geneva to see Megan one last time and we will head back to Spain on Wednesday!

I am so excited for the trip, I can't wait to share with you about my experiences!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feliz Dia De San Valentin!

Happy Valentines Day!! I hope all of you had a good day and got spoiled from your loved ones! Just wanted to share with you how I celebrated Valentines day this year...

First of all, I got a little surprise from my Valentine this year...

He sent me flowers!! I was so surprised :) He is the best! Not to mention the flowers are GORGEOUS!

For dinner my roommates and I made a nice romantic dinner. Raquel made some delicious pasta and we each made something to add to the meal, my dish was the garlic bread and desert. Unfortunately, we ran out of gas for our stove and we had no way of making our meal. So Raquel was brave enough to ask our neighbors if we could use their stove and they gladly let us, thank god! Dinner was a success and was sooo delicious!

It is surprising because in Spain they do not celebrate Valentines day as much. When i mentioned it to the kids that I tutored they barely knew what I was talking about. It is just funny how we all find different holidays important. Obviously to us American's we find this one important.

Thank you all for being such wonderful people in my life. I would not be who I am today without you! Love you all!

Muchos Besos!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day trip to Gibraltar!

(The big rock in Gibraltar!)

I just got back from a day trip to Gibraltar, it was so much fun! From Sevilla it is about a 2.5 hour drive. I went with the Discover Sevilla group ( the same group I went on the trip with for Morocco). I did not know much about Gibraltar but for those of you who don't know, Gibraltar is owned by England. So in the town everyone speaks English, which was a nice change! It was pretty neat to be able to drive 2.5 miles away and be in an English speaking "country"! In the tour we went to St. Michael's cave and we went to Europa point (the southern most part of Europe) It was really windy today but it was cool to be able to be by the ocean. We then stopped in the Monkey's den. In this part you can play with the monkeys and try to get them to come on your shoulders. We had some pretty playful monkeys, I even got a monkey to come on my head! We saw monkey's doing random things like scratching eachother, playing around, and even doing their "monkey business"! It was intense. After we played with the monkeys for a while we were dropped off at the main square where there are a variety of restarants and shops. We went to a place with fish and chips (although I got a burger) and we had lunch there. While we were eating the fire alarm started going off for a good 30 mins so we all got 2 free rounds of drinks! So that was pretty sweet. After lunch we walked around at the gift shops and I got an amazing milkshake, yuum it wasso soo good!

Here are some of the pics...

I felt bad for one girl because a monkey peed on her while he was sitting on her, I would have been so grossed out! The monkey's are so friendly, they were jumping on the vans and trying to come in the window of our tour guide because he had peanuts. At one point the Monkey was in our van trying to get food from our driver, ive never seen that before!

Here are a few more cute pictures of the Monkeys, just Monkeying around.

This next picture is of my friends and I at Europa point- the most southern part of Europe!

The trip was so much fun! I am so glad that I was able to go and experience that. I am loving all of the things that I am being able to see while I am here. That is all for now but...

Here is some extra information about Gibraltar if you want to know more about it:

About Gibraltar

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.

The Rock

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.

Europa Point

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

Back to Sevilla!

Hello everyone!

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!!