Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm HOME! ( last blog)

Hi everyone! Italic
Let's see...the last few days have been pretty crazy. Thursday I woke up around 7:45 to study a little for my Oral Exam in POE. The exam was at 12:30, and went decently well...not as well as I had hoped. I think I was just too excited that I couldn't think straight! I got back to Jardines and started to pack. It took about...3 hours. We had our last lunch with everyone, and that was sorta sad. After lunch I packed for a little more and then walked with Chryssi, Florian, Adam and Lauren to drop Marisa off at her bus. After that Merete and I walked around a bunch, taking pictures and getting gifts for people. I guess a lot of people had that idea, because we saw a TON of AIFS kids walking around getting presents for people! We had our last dinner at Jardines (hot dogs and eggs), and we said goodbye to some of the people. Marta kept saying "que pena", which basically means 'how sad'. She just sorta wandered out of the comedor, looking sad. It made me even more sad to be leaving! After dinner, Merete packed a little more and I waited for her before we left for the bar Odeon to meet all of the other AIFS people. A few of the kids, Armand, Colby and Max had been taking photos the whole trip of people not paying attention, etc. so they had put together a movie to show everyone. Unfortunately it didn't work when they tried to play it at the bar. We all then went to this disco called Metro, where a lot of the Spaniards met up with us. That was really fun, because it was like a big goodbye party. Everyone was there! We left around 3 to say goodbye at Neptuno to the first busload of AIFS kids leaving to catch their planes in Malaga. It was really sad. However, Colby had brought his computer so we got to see the video they had made! A few people had told me that they saw part of it, and that I make an appearance that was the best part of the movie, so I was a bit nervous as to what that included, haha. It ended up that the song they used at one part was a popular one that goes "Maria Mariaaaa", so when that song started there were like 6 pictures they had taken off of my Facebook and just thrown in there. Haha.
After that bus of kids left, we went back to shower and finish packing. Florian came over around 5am to Jardines to help us bring our stuff to Neptuno to our bus. Leaving with me was Merete, Breana, Will, and then Adam and Florian with us. It was super sad! After we finally made our way to Neptuno (those bags were first one was 83 pounds before I evened them out!) we said our goodbyes. Inma was there to send us off. Florian looked like he was about to cry, and he reminded us about the first day he was there and how he remembered seeing Will and I in the basement when he was getting a tour of Jardines. He goes "you guys were my first friends here! It won't be the same!" Aww. He made me promise that when he goes to New York in July that I'll come visit. That would be so much fun!!!!!
Well, our bus left, and as we pulled away, Colby, Jacqui and Max mooned us. Wonderful. Haha. It was very sad driving out of Granada...
We got to Malaga and Paula was waiting for us. She had been there with the first group of kids. She helped us get through the check-on process, and then said her goodbyes and told us we were on our own! Yikes! There was a rather large group of us...about 20 on that plane, so that was fun, even though it was only about an hour and a half to Madrid. Once we go to Madrid, we ate some food, and then waited for our plane to Dallas/Fort Worth. That plane ride was 10 hours and 55 minutes, but it actually didn't feel that long at all. They showed the latest Harry Potter movie and Madagascar 2, so that helped. We had 2 meals, but I was so confused as to what time it was that I couldn't tell if I was supposed to be hungry, or what, haha. We landed in Texas around 5:30 and made our way through customs. The guy at customs was super nice, and all he asked me about was why I had dyed my hair...he liked the blonde. Weird. Anyway, we said our goodbyes to people who were leaving to other parts of the airport, and those who like in Texas. There were 6 of us (Taryn, Liz, Breana, Yuri, Will and I) on the Dallas to Minneapolis flight. We all hung out while we waited for our flight. It was weird being back in the states where everything was in English. Well, actually, Dallas was sorta a middle-ground for getting back into English, since there were a lot of people speaking Spanish there too. We all got smoothies...yumm...but I almost ordered in Spanish! I kept thinking prices were in Euros, and was like "Geez, a 4 Euro smoothie...that's like 6 dollars. Maybe I'll pass." Haha. Will said he by accident talked to one guy in a store in Spanish, but the guy just answered him in Spanish so it worked out. Haha.
Our plane was delayed by half an hour, so we ended up leaving there around 9:15pm. That flight seemed to take the longest since I was so excited. As we got into the Minneapolis area, I could see the snow on the ground! Yay!! We landed around 11:30 and then headed to the baggage claim. We got our HUGE bags and said our goodbyes. Will and I waited for my mom, and when she got there, we somehow managed to get all of our bags into our Camery! Wow!
Our traveling took 24 hours total, and I had been awake for over 50 hours. The last time I had gone to bed was after Granada 10 on Wednesday night. Haha.

It's weird to be home. I keep thinking in terms of things in Spain: Everything is still in Euros to me, the toilets flush funny here, and it's SUPER QUIET. I miss everyone that I met over there, but I'm definitely happy to be back home. It really is starting to feel like Christmas time now, with the snow and everything.

Well, I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blogs. It really means a lot that you guys could enjoy my experiences with me through my writing. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and I hope I get to tell y'all even more stories the next time I see you! Have a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Thanks again!

Hasta pronto!
M :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guess what...



All packed and ready to 5:45 am. We're all going out and not sleeping, so I'll already be on MN time. Wonderful :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Profesor Florián

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I got up a little early this morning to study some more before my 12:30 Lit test. It is sooooooo much information to remember, but surprisingly, I think I actually memorized my 9 pages of notes. I got to the room a little early to get settled, and it seemed like everyone else was there, studying, as well. Cram session! Mariangeles handed out the tests, and I got started. I wrote an essay on literature in the 50s, and then another essay on literature in the 60s and 70s. Then, we had to analyze this one poem by Blas de Otero which we had done in class, so that was decently easy. Overall, I think it went well, except my hand hurt really bad from so much writing (I basically wrote everything twice because of the scratch paper I wrote on as well). Whew. At least that’s over. Now it’s on to Grammar studying.

Hopefully I get enough done before tonight because people are going out for Chinese food to celebrate Lewis’ last day here before he goes home for Christmas. So far I have about 3 pages of my study guide done and it’s only 3:00, so I think I’ll make it! This is my last big test, and then I just have my POE oral exam and the POE paper, which I already had Mariangeles read through. YAY!


Well, we went out for Chinese food. I had been studying the whole day, so it was nice to go out. In total, there were about 17 of us in the little restaurant! A lot of Lewis’ friends from the University were there (including some of the girls from the other night at Florian’s). It was fun just hanging out with them.

After dinner, Florian came over to help Will with his paper, but ended up trying to tutor us in grammar. It was really funny, but very helpful. We ended up online, doing exercises on different websites. On one of them, (after Florian ‘approved’ the answers) we ended up getting 4 wrong. He was horrified. We went back through, and a few that I thought were wrong WERE wrong! HA! J Because of that, we decided to try one in English and have Florian fill it out. He learned a new word, “whose”, so I consider it a successful night. It was definitely interesting trying the English version of the exercises we do in grammar class!

I hope Sr. Florian’s help follows me to the test tomorrow! Merete and I plan on getting up around 6 to study some more. So…if nothing else, at least I’ll be awake for the test by 10:30…or falling asleep during it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tire su basura aquí.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Today, as I mentioned, it DID snow. However, it wasn’t nearly enough for it to stick, it just looked like it rained a bit. I got up a little earlier than normal (around 7am) to go to school a bit early to study. I went down to breakfast earlier than normal as well, so I sat with some different people. I had my notebook out and was studying some of my notes, so the Spaniards I was sitting with asked me about my exam. They said it was mean that I would have a Spanish test at 8:30 in the morning. They said they’d hate it if they had an English test that early!

So, I took my Culture test, which I was a little nervous about. Pilar told us the format, and once again, it was a bit different. She said since it was a lot more information than the mid-term, that the questions would be shorter. I thought that made sense, and was expecting fill in the blank questions, or just short 2-sentence questions. It turned out it was a 6 page test with 6 questions. We were expected to write everything we knew about a few select topics that she chose. YIKES. I felt bad for the people who hadn’t gone in depth with their studying, because I even had trouble remembering some of the details! (My 15 page study guide was just enough!) I think it went okay in general, though it’s always an odd feeling after taking a big exam like that. At lunch, the Spaniards checked in with me about the test. Luckily I felt like I could say it went well!

I started to study for Literature after lunch. I went pretty well because I had most of the study guide done already. It’s just a LOT of information—from the literature Generation of 1914 to the 70s. Whew. Time for some hard core memorization!

Will and I went to Dunkin Coffee for a short break, but brought our study stuff along as well. While sitting there, we realized that some Spaniards are VERY messy. People just leave their trays on the tables (as we’ve also seen them do in places such as Burger King), even though the trash cans clearly say “throw your trash away here” (in Spanish). There was this one guy at Dunkin who was sitting at the table behind us. He was done with his tray and I watched him get up and walk toward the trash can. I thought for once that maybe he was going to throw his food away, but he stopped about 10 feet short at this table where a group of girls were just leaving. He asked them if they were leaving and when they said yes, he placed his tray down and walked back to his table. The girls didn’t think anything of it, but I was shocked. Why didn’t he just walk the extra 10 feet to throw it away, rather than just leave it for one of the poor workers to clean up! I almost felt obligated to go clean it up myself. It was a very odd situation.

Well, time for more studying. Wish me suerte with my Literature final. It’s gonna be tough!

Welcome, Minnesota. We've been expecting you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

This just made my day:

Scarlett in the kitchen: “¡Elena! ¡Elena!”

Elena upstairs cleaning: “¿Si?”

Scarlett: ¡Hay nieve!”

I went rushing to the window, and sure enough, it’s SNOWING.

Florian (from the Canarias) later at lunch: “Geez, it’s cold outside. How cold do you think it is?”

Me: “Well, about 0, because it snowed.”

Florian: “It didn’t snow.”

Me: “Yes it did!”

Florian: “S*** I missed it!”

I hear MN got some snow as well. I also heard that it might be snowing on Friday, as we're trying to fly into the Twin Cities. Regardless, I guess I'll just have to send Florian a photo of snow when I get home. Oh, and Daryl too.

What'd you do today? Studied.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today I did end up meeting Daryl’s parents. I felt bad I couldn’t go out to eat with them because I had so much studying to do, but studying gets me good grades, not eating. They came back to Jardines after they ate (at our Chinese place!) and so I met them there. Daryl actually brought me leftovers! Aww. They were super nice, and it looked like they were enjoying their time in Spain so far. I just hope it doesn’t snow tomorrow like it says it’s going to! Yikes! That would be an interesting Alhambra trip!

Well, as I said, I spent literally the whole day studying for Culture. That’s the exam for tomorrow. It’s about…50 pages full of info that I decided to make into my own study guide. It only ended up being a 15 page study guide. No pasa nada. My hand just hurts, and you know you’re in for a tough exam when the study guide uses up a whole pen. Oh well. It’s worth it in the end. It’s just hard to watch other people whose grades only come back at pass/fail. They’re all “come play futbol”, “let’s go out to tapas”, but I have to studyyyyy. It’s really an unfortunate way to spend my last week in Spain.

Will went out and grabbed 2 pizzas from the NEW Dominoes. They re-did the whole store, so we hadn’t been able to get food from there, but Will says it's nicer now! It was a 2 for 1 deal, so we both spent the rest of the evening with our study guides on top of our pizza boxes. Mmm.

I was over with Will and Adam, studying when Victor came to the door. He told us that he was leaving in the morning and came to say "farewell". It was first goodbye! He was really easy to talk to, so I enjoyed sitting with him at meals. I thanked him for his help, once again, with our Canarias project. He said we're always invited to visit. Mom? Dad? Let's go!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A crazy meal for a rather boring day

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This morning was really funny. Everyone got up just before lunch (well, I had to get started on some homework so I was up a little before it). Merete and I walked downstairs and everyone was in their sweatpants and sweatshirts, chattering away, waiting for the comedor to open. We went in, and the first thing Elena says is “Alguien quiere cerveza?” Haha, I thought she was kidding because of how everyone looked, but she wasn’t! They had so much left over from last night that she was just going around and pouring people cerveza. Oh, Jardines. Then she came around with Coke and Fanta (I opted for Coke). We had our normal sopa, but then came the meal of the century. It was all of the leftovers from the party last night. Chips, potato salad, thin sliced pork with sauce, fried ham and fish, croquetas, cookies, apples, oranges, etc. It was awesome! (And I’m sure Scarlett liked that she didn’t have to cook…just microave!)

Then I did more homework…until about 11:30 pm. I did some more of my Literature study guide, and then started on my Grammar. I took a short break around 7:30 to go see all of the Christmas lights in the streets turn on, except they never did. That seemed normal though, because Spaniards are never on time! We waited until about 8:10 and then gave up. A lot of people were waiting around for them…oh well. Will and I wandered up to our Shwarma place to get one last one before we leave on Friday. It was soooooooooo good, as usual. I continued with my homework and then Will and I watched Good Luck Chuck, and then I went to bed. It was a rather thrilling day. I assume Sunday will be about the same.

Oh! Daryl’s parents are in town…I get to meet them tomorrow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My last Friday in Spain...

Friday, December 11, 2009

In the morning I headed over to the AIFS office to give Paula and Inma these little “goodie bags” that Mom had sent over to me as thank-yous. They included some candy from MN and a homemade bracelet by my mom! Inma wasn’t there, but I gave Paula hers and she LOVED it! Well, first of all she said she loves Nut Goodies…who woulda known. But, she also said green is her favorite color, so I guess that made the bracelet even more perfect for her! She put it on right away and said she was going to wear it to our goodbye dinner later that night. I left Inma’s for her, so she’ll get that on Monday!

After that, I did homework for about 4 hours. I started working on my Literature study guide and only got 1/3 of the way done. Ick. I guess that will be what I do tomorrow too.

Then, at 7 we left for Neptuno to meet all the AIFS people for our goodbye dinner. There were 3 little mini-busses that were there to take us. There was a LOT of traffic, but somehow our bus driver managed to not go below 30 even in the tiny streets of the Albyzin (where our Flamenco restaurant was). It was crazy…and a bit terrifying!

Dinner was…decent. All it really was were a bunch of plates of tapas. First it was jamon Serrano, then we got little tortilla espanolas, then we had some fried shrimp, calamari and fish, and then some pork. There was a dessert tapa too! At around 9:30 the Flamenco show started. There were 4 musicians on the stage, 2 singers, one flute player and one guitarist. Then there were 4 dancers who came out and each did their own sort of “showcase”. I really liked it…but I actually think the show we saw in Nerja was better. Regardless, some of them were very talented! And I liked having the live music, rather than recorded music! After they finished, we left, but a lot of people took pictures with the band, etc. It was too crowded for me, and I sorta just got shuffled out the door. Oh well. It was probably good I saved my camera battery anyway, because…

We all got dropped off at Neptuno, and people were saying “come to Babylon, come to the Chup”, etc. but I just decided to go back to Jardines. I heard that Jardines was having their annual party, but it seemed odd that they had planned it for the same day they knew all of the Americans would be gone. We were all a little upset with them. We got there, and EVERYONE was in the lobby (Eugenia, Scarlett, Elena, Fig, Julia, ALL the residencia kids…) and there was music blasting from someone’s room upstairs. It was ridiculous. Florian answered the door and was super excited to see all of us, but it seemed like no one else was. People started shuffling into the comedor and I saw there were plates and plates of food. All sorts of appetizers. I was still hungry from the lack of food at our dinner, so it all looked good, but the Spaniards gave us weird looks, and Elena and them disappeared and didn’t say anything. I felt like the kid who didn’t get invited to someone’s birthday party across the street. Everyone was there and you can see them all, but you couldn’t go over there. Marisa, Adam, Daryl and Chryssi left for the Chup to meet up with people, but Merete, Will and I just hung out in my room for a bit. I decided I was hungry, so I went downstairs to leave. I was caught by Scarlett, Eugenia and Elena who were all like “porque no?” and said that they wanted us to join in. We kinda said that we thought it was just for the other kids, and they were horrified. Scarlett said she made so much food that they would never be able to eat it, haha. So, I kinda felt stupid not knowing anything about the party in the first place, but they really seemed to want us there, so the three of us joined in. It was totally fine by then, because a lot of the kids already had wine and beer and were up for chatting with whomever. As soon as I walked in, Elena handed me a glass with some yummy sparkling wine. Then, Florian made me a large plate of food (that I never finished). It was a LOT of fun. We literally spent about 3 hours just taking pictures with everyone, singing with the songs, and trying to decide what to do next. The 5 Jardines ladies were all dressed up. Well, everyone was really dressed up, but it was fun seeing Scarlett and Elena in their normal clothes for once! I gave the 5 Jardines ladies their little goodie bags of MN goodies (no bracelets though...), and they were SO happy. They couldn’t stop smiling, and Elena just started munching away on some of the chocolate I had added in.

There were some Jardines “alumni” who came over for the party. There were about 4 kids who had stayed here last year that aren’t here this year who know just about everyone. It was funny to see them come back. Then, Scarlett and Elena hosted the “Jadines royalty” election. I guess everyone voted for a king (rey), queen (reina) and orange (naranja…the person they like the most). Eloy (a boy) got a lot of votes for reina, because Florian and friends decided he needed to be treated like a queen (haha, they had already started treating him like one yesterday...bringing him his food, bowing to him, running him through "crowds" like they were his secret service, etc.)…but at the end, Isaac and Maria Ramos won. I’m pretty sure they’re sort of a “thing”, haha. Technically I got a ton of votes, because no on wrote down which Maria they were voting for. Haha, sweeeeeeet. Elena got voted the naranja even though it was a close match between her and Scarlett. I think some of the boys have third-grade-esque crushes on her.

As I said, we went around and talked with everyone, and took pictures with everyone. Elena told me she wants the one of us, so I’ll have to email that to her at some point. Scarlett liked hers too, and continued on to tell me that I look like Bella from Twilight (but Will doesn’t look like Edward…harsh). Haha, crazy lady. I have a lot of funny pictures. A LOT.

Then, around 2am, Daryl, Chryssi, Marisa, Adam and some other AIFS people came to Jardines. They were like “WHAT is going on” haha. Everyone was back out in the lobby dancing to ridiculously loud music. Armand showed up, and he hadn’t ever been to the residencia before, and we had to try really hard to convince him that this WASN’T how it was every weekend, haha. They left after a bit, but so did all of us. We walked up to El Camborio, up in the Albyzin…right next to our restaurant! Geez, what a long walk! Let’s see…it was me, Will, Florian, Merete, Marisa, Adam, Luna, Esteno, Ricky, reina Eloy, and Gerardo. Florian knew the girl who as working the tickets (go figure), so we got a discounted price. WOO! Anyway, Camborio was a lot of fun, even though we got back reeeeeeeeally late and my throat hurts from all the smoke in there! The walk home was a bit painful too, because the flats I was wearing didn’t quite agree with my feet during the 4 mile walk (there and back). Whew.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Classes, ceremonies and cantantes

Thursday, December, 10, 2009

LAST DAY OF CLASSES! YAY! I really like Mariangeles, so I was a little more sad to be done with POE and Literature than I was to be done with my classes yesterday. However, I won’t miss sitting through 4 hours of her talking on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I mean, I figure I understand about 80-85% of what she says, but it’s just the LENGTH of the classes that gets to me! Anyway, we reviewed a bit for the finals, and then after class I asked her to take a picture with me. She was so embarrassed that she was “SO” much shorter than me. Even though she’s not really. Then, at around 2:45 in the middle of the CLM courtyard, they had the trophy presentation ceremony for the intramural teams of basketball, volleyball and soccer. AIFS almost got the sweep, but ended up as “subcampeons” for volleyball. Oh well, they still got a trophy! Inma was there with her little video camera, getting all of us yelling ridiculously. I got some photos on my camera too! The soccer trophy was the biggest of them all, and some people said they wanted to bring it to botellón tonight or to our goodbye dinner tomorrow night to drink out of it, haha. We also got t-shirts…hunter orange t-shirts. Very classy, CLM. I said we should all wear them the day we leave for home, so we can all get off the bus at the Malaga airport and look like some funny tour group…just in case we already don’t stand out enough! Haha, it was a fun little ceremony!

Oh! On my way TO school, I found my first fire hydrant. I had been wondering about that, since I hadn’t seen one yet…and I started wondering in general what they do about fires and stuff considering I still have yet to find a fire alarm in my room… Anyway, the fire hydrant is actually just this red rectangle on the ground in the middle of the street that says “BOMBEROS” (firefighters). No wonder dogs just pee in the street! All they’re trying to do is pee on the fire hydrants! J

On the way home from the ceremony, Will and I decided that since we weren’t going to make it back to Jardines in time for lunch, that we would go out…to celebrate. We chose Burger King! I mean, it’s literally RIGHT on our way home, so it worked out. We got their “King Ahora” meal which is 3 Euros for a chicken sandwich, fries and a pop. Yum!

At dinner, Florian told us that the movie the Spaniards had wanted to go see with us was only showing really late, so he decided to have a party at his flat instead. I figured it’s one of the last days to hang out with people, since I’ll be stuck in my room studying the rest of the weekend and next week, so I said I’d go. Marisa, Chryssi, Adam and I went from Jardines, and Lauren and Erika met us there too. Victor, Lewis and Florian live in the flat, so obviously they were there. Florian also invited some girls from his class (he’s such a ladies man), so those 5 were fun to meet. At first they didn’t think we knew much Spanish, but then picked up on it when we laughed at things they said. We shared funny Youtube videos with them, which was really funny to hear what they thought about them. Apparently one of them is from the Ukraine, one is Latvian, and one was from Sevilla, etc. They were from all over! They thought it was really cool when we told them where we were from. I said “Minnesota” and Alicia goes “OOOH! Cerca de Canadá, ¿no? Canadá es muy, muy bonita!” Haha, so at least she knew where Minnesota was…I was impressed! After a while at Florians, we went to Hannigans for some Karaoke (but stopped for a Shwarma on the way). It was super crowded, and by the time we got there they were almost done with the songs for the night (well, it WAS like…2:30), but Florian charmed his way into getting us a song to sing. What did he choose? White Christmas. Haha. All of us went up there when it was our turn…it was pretty funny because the Spaniards knew the song better than us! Haha. I’m sure those photos will be fun to see! Some German kids were singing a German song right before us, and before that there were a bunch of Spaniards singing Lady Gaga. It was just a fun mix of people.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

¿Quién es Luis Rosales?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

AHH! No one knows anything about Luis Rosales! I have to interview at least 3 people, and everyone I have asked so far doesn’t know anything about him! Mariangeles was sure people would know something about him because he’s from Granada…I guess it’s like asking someone in MN to talk about Charles Shultz. Anyway, I asked Florian, Victor, this other kid at dinner (whoops, forgot his name…Lloyd? No…that’s not Spanish), Esteno and even Elena. Victor goes “the first time I heard about him was just now.” Elena told me to go online and look at peoples’ thoughts on him and then put her name to one of those thoughts. Uh oh, I might have to!

Anyway, today was rather boring because it was just a lot of review in class. Pilar was back finally, so she just went over everything for the final. It’s a LOT of material! Then, in grammar, we finished up the Subjunctive verb tense and did this funny exercise where we had to go around and ask people if they knew someone who…can do/has something weird with them. We found out a lot of weird stuff. For example, we talked for a long time about the pregnant man, and then about this girl who has 2 different colored eyes. Then Will talked about color-blindness, and then Emmy told us that her brother (who we all met at Thanksgiving dinner) has 2 left feet and 2 right hands. No wonder he wouldn’t take his jacket off at the bar! Lola didn’t believe her, haha. Then we got into an interesting conversation about sex changes, because apparently it’s free here in Andalucía. Lola said that everyone here has to pay for dental work, but if you want a sex change it’s free! Mom…Dad…there’s something I need to tell you. Just kidding, the name “Mario” doesn’t suite me quite right.

I worked for a long time on my project today (even though I don’t have my interviews done yet!). I sent it to Mariangeles, so hopefully she gets a chance to read through what I have so far before tomorrow! I was surprised by how much I could actually write—without help from Google translate! Here’s a clip from it: Luis Rosales Camacho nació en Granada el 31 de mayo de 1910. Fue un ensayista y poeta español de la generación de 1936. En 1930 se traslada a Madrid para estudiar Filosofía y Letras, y finalmente obtuvo el doctorado de los dos a la Universidad de Madrid. Inició su actividad literaria con una revista dirigida por Pablo Neruda y José Bergamín, se llama Cruz y Raya. Rosales nació en Granada, pero eso no es todo lo que lo ataron a la ciudad. También había mucha familia y buenos amigos de aquí. Fue buen amigo de Federico García Lorca, que se ha refugiado en su casa de Granada durante la Guerra Civil. Lamentablemente fue finalmente ha detenido allí en agosto de 1936. Blah, blah blah.

Oh, then I took a break from my homework to make this masterpiece that all you Twilighters will enjoy:

Haha, ‘ta luego!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Cause you're hot then you're cold...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Will and I are some of just a few people who are still at Jardines…which I guess it’s good for the people who aren’t here because there still isn’t hot water! Ugh! They said that a moto hit our hot water…which I don't quite believe... No one’s trying to fix anything, and she said it’ll be back on tomorrow morning. How convenient.

Anyway, Merete got home pretty early this morning from Barcelona. I got up and began on my final project for POE. I have to choose a famous Granadian and find their plaza or street, etc. that they have named after them and do a short paper about them. I chose to do Luis Rosales, but had a rather hard time finding my little plaza! I Google-earthed it, but it still was hard to find. Will chose to do Manuel de Falla, who was a composer. He has this huge orchestra hall named after him, conveniently placed next to the Alhambra. So, we hiked up there today…in t-shirts and tank tops! It really felt like fall(a…haha), with all of the tress with leaves falling and such.

We wandered over to Dunkin Coffee for breakfast/lunch. After that we walked around a bit more down towards Neptuno Mall. They have an ice skating rink outside of the mall…it’s kinda funny just to go watch everyone because it literally seems like almost all of them have never seen an ice rink before. I kinda wanted to join in and help hold some of them up. It looked painful falling that much! Haha. They all looked like they were having fun anyways! Hopefully I can make it over there sometime this week…before finals and everything starts! Yikes! Only a little over a week left!

People started arriving back at Jardines once we went back to start on our papers. I was a little upset when we watched older Julia walk into the basement room (where the presumed hot water valve is) and then walk back out. I’m still waiting for my warm water! It’s freezinggggggg!

Once almost everyone got back, we went out for Chinese food, since the staff here is still on “break” (meaning they don’t cook/clean/do laundry over holidays or the days that follow). It was quite yummy.

Well, time for a sink-bath. Yay…

Palm Christmas trees?!

Friday, December 4, 2009, Saturday, December 5, 2009, Sunday, December 6, 2009, Monday, December 7, 2009

Well, like I said, we left in the morning on Friday for Marbella. The bus ride wasn’t that bad, as it sometimes is on the way to Nerja. We just found our little hostal and got settled before we wandered around. It was a very pretty town, and my favorite part was just walking around and looking at the cute little buildings on the side streets. It feels a lot bigger than Nerja! Unfortunately, my camera died basically as soon as we arrived. I thought I had packed my charger, but it turns out I grabbed my wrong “electronics” bag. Well, at least I had my flashdrive incase I needed to transfer some files, haha.

It wasn’t warm enough to swim either of the days we were there, but that was okay. I hadn’t really planned on it anyway. It was obviously “off-season”, because a lot of the tiendas, and even some of the hotels near the beach were closed until around March. Regardless, there were still some touristy stores open, and we found a nice pizzeria and a Mercado to get some food.

Sunday we made our way from Marbella to Nerja. The guy at the hostal laughed when he saw us there again (for the 3rd time), but was very happy to have us back and offered us coffee with him right away. We got settled in, and tried to make it over to see the donkeys/pigs/horses again before they closed at 2, but we were just a bit too late. Oh well…maybe next time, haha. We headed over to the Balcon, where they were setting up Christmas lights all over. It was weird to see Christmas lights on palm trees…that was a first for me! Then we walked over towards Playa Burriana for a stroll along the beach during the sunset. It was kinda chilly, but nothing like the -6 or so I heard they were having in Minnesota! I couldn’t believe it was December and I was just in my sweatshirt! Anyway, after our walk along the beach, we hit up our regular Indian place for dinner. They were funny when they saw us again, too. Will walked in first and the woman goes “Welcome back, Will!” Haha, the people in the restaurant probably thought we used to work there or something. The food was wonderful as always, and they even threw in some extra Chicken Pakora for us! Yay! After dinner we went back to see the Christmas lights. It was SO cool! The whole Balcon was lit up, and there were TONS of people. I didn’t even know that many people were in Nerja, since it’s off-season! It was fun to watch all of the families with their little kids. It made me miss home though…I want a Christmas tree!

The next morning we got up and wandered around some more, heading up more towards the mountains. We considered going to the small town of Frigiliana before out 7:15 bus home, but decided against it, considering the river still wasn’t even visible (they dam it up, and I still have yet to see it un-dammed…if that’s a word).

Well, we caught our bus home to Jardines. It really is starting to feel like a second home! Except for the fact that they had turned off the hot water…I don’t think my mom has ever done that to me! That was an unfortunate end to the weekend, but it was still a lot of fun and I’m glad we went!

The empty garden

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Well, Merete left this morning for Barcelona. Adam, Marisa, Daryl and their group left at 2:30, and Chryssi is leaving tomorrow morning at 5am. Jilian is leaving sometime in the morning too. I’m pretty sure Mirella’s going somewhere…so it seems like it’s really empty here at Jardines!

It seems as though that trend followed us to class today, because in POE there were only about 7 of us, and in Literature there were literally about 12 out of the 30 or so. It was nice and relaxed, but we still got stuff done! Mariangeles definitely isn’t a slacker! We read this theater piece in Literature, and I volunteered for reading it. I ended up being the guy who is in love with this other girl, but whatever. It was funny…and I got my participation points.

Will and I finally figured out what to do over the break…finally. The hostal we’ve stayed at in Nerja has a sister hostal in Marbella, another town we wanted to visit. They said that if you book both they’ll take a 10% discount, so we decided to stay 2 nights in Marbella and 1 in Nerja. Fun, fun! So we leave in the morning on a bus.

At dinner, we had an interesting conversation with Marta and Florian. They were trying to come up with interesting English words that they think are funny…like “broad”, so we had to tell them certain things they can and can’t say. They told us some in return. (Like the difference between ‘de puta madre’ and ‘te puta madre’…)

Time to get some sleep before Marbella tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A whole mezcla of things

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pilar was sick again, and we had Amelia as the sub for the second time. Sadly, a lot of people just left when they saw it was her again. Since we had already finished the book, we just sorta reviewed some stuff about flamenco, and then watched this documentary by Carlos Saura about flamenco (one of the filmmakers I wrote about in my Powerpoint). It was really cool! It really made me want to go buy some traditional music like that!

Today in Grammar, Lola started trying to tell us about something that happened on the plane when she was flying to the US. Since she learned “British English”, so she was not used to the pronunciation. I guess the stewardess asked her if she wanted “water”, and she didn’t understand at ALL. She was used to the British “wah-tuhr”. Well, you get the point. Anyway, she picked up on it finally, and when she was in the states, she was in Texas and her friend who TEACHES English in Spain couldn’t understand a THING. She was proud of herself for understanding the southern accent, haha and related it to us being able to understand her and her fellow Andalucians. She said we’re ready for ANYTHING now…except Chinese (I beg to differ! J).

On the way home from class Will and I stopped at the AIFS office to fill out their evaluation form. There was a form for Jardines and one for AIFS. I think I was pretty nice, except I said older Julia (Fig) can be difficult to get along with considering how controlling she is over everything. That seemed legitimate.

On the way back to Jardines Will goes “we should send our Culture project to Pilar.” And right as he says Pilar, I look up and Pilar’s staring at us, walking towards us! Que Misterioso! She said she had gone to the doctor to get tested for Gripe A (Swine flu), and told us about how she was really sad she couldn’t teach about Gitanos and Flamenco because they’re her favorite topics! That’s too bad…she really did seem sick. Will says “well, at least we got our participation points for today”. Haha, true. Speaking of Gripe A, Victor is over his case of it, finally after over a week. He walked in to lunch today and got a round of applause, haha.

Tonight we went to this bar for Catherine’s birthday. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of people were there, so that was nice for her. It was really random though, because they were playing Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam on 4 of their TVs. Of course, people who have friended me on Facebook have slowly begun to figure out about the “circus thing” that I do, so I spent the evening trying to get out of answering 5 billion questions about it. I left sorta early because I have class early in the morning, but they were on their way to the disco called Vogue for the Michael Jackson themed party. Some people even had white gloves and sparkly shirts! Haha.

Gracias, Father Dease

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today in POE we talked about tattoos and piercings. That was interesting. And then in Literature we finished up a lot about the poets and writers of the 40s and 50s in Spain. Only 2 more classes of each of those! AHH!

After class I worked for about 5 hours on my Culture project—a Powerpoint on Spanish cinema. I think it turned out pretty good! At 8, Will, Adam and I went and met Tim Dohmen at his hotel. Briana and Catherine were there too. Horray for St. Thomas! We decided to go to this Indian restaurant, because Tim really had no idea what would be a good place to just sit and be able to talk. He said he didn’t go much for the “traditional Spanish” food they had at lunch…so he was glad we chose the Indian place! He studied abroad for a while in England, so he was knowledgeable in the different Indian foods! I got this curry that had pineapple and chicken in it. It was really good! We all laughed about how Father Dease had just bought us 2 bottles of wine and a 100 Euro meal. Bueno.

Anyway, it was really interesting talking to him, and hearing his perspective. He said the same about us. We basically told him that we would all definitely recommend AIFS to anyone who was interested in Spain/Granada. The side trips are very fun and since they’re already planned for you, it’s fun to just be able to relax too! He told us about how the people on the board that is with him here in Granada right now come from all different aspects: some teachers, some advisors like him, and some heads of universities, etc. They sat in on some classes, and while some of the teachers were a little more picky about how they rated the classes, he said he thought they were wonderful (which I guess Paula liked to hear since she told us later that she like him and trusted his opinion most of all of the people on the board). He leaves to go see the AIFS Salamanca campus on Wednesday morning, and then is off to Poland or something for the weekend. Then he goes back for an unofficial visit to some UST kids in Barcelona and Madrid. Sounds like a pretty fun job!

Well, Catherine, Briana and I left dinner after about an hour and a half. Tim knew it was someone’s birthday and that we sorta had plans, but I felt bad leaving him and they boys there! We literally ran to the movie theater to meet Merete, Mirella, Chryssi, Kara and Marisa. Yay for Luna Nueva again! I was sad I missed out on tapas and crepes that they had while we were at the Indian restaurant…but free food is totally worth it! (Sorry Merete!) Will said that he, Tim and Adam had fun talking some more once we had left for the movie. At first at the movie it was Kara, Catherine, Briana and I, but then Catherine and Briana went to the bathroom before we went into the theater. Kara and I got seats, and when I went out to get popcorn, I ran into Merete, Chryssi, Marisa and Mirella. Marisa and Chryssi went to the bathroom, but Merete and Mirella came back into the theater with me. Marisa and Chryssi showed up just a bit later, and I was super confused as to where Catherine and Briana were...they still hadn't shown up in our theater! It turns out they had gone into the wrong theater, and it was already half over. Neither of them really knew the story that well, so they didn't realize it until the movie was over after only an hour! They said they just hadn't looked at their tickets to check the theater! Haha.

Overall it was a pretty fun day! …If it only hadn’t been for that Powerpoint I worked so long on!

Monday, November 30, 2009

sweep, sweep, sweep, scrub, scrub, scrub

Monday, November 30, 2009

Well, today was obviously they day the study abroad advisors were coming to visit Jardines. The plants were trimmed, our rooms cleaned double, and we even have a Christmas tree and decorations in the lobby! WHOA. I met Tim Dohmen at school today, between classes. Paula introduced us as I walked to Grammar. I’m pretty sure I’ve met with him once or twice, but whatever. He said that we can pick wherever we want to go tomorrow for dinner (and it can even be expensive, since it’s on Father Dease’s tab)! Haha. Hmm…well I’d like to go to the Indian restaurant in Nerja—is that too much to ask? J

We had a sub today in Culture. It was the same sub I had had in POE, so I think she recognized me. People in the class were being so stupid—I felt like I was back in grade school! They were trying to tell her we were doing something different than we were supposed to. I had talked with her before class for a little and I think she just stuck with what I told her. Ugh. People can be annoying! Well, regardless, we finished our book, so I don’t know what we’re gonna do for the last 2 days in that class! YIKES! Only 2 more days of Monday-Wednesday classes! Grammar was the same old, same old…I’ll be glad to be done with that class!

Once I got back to Jardines, the ladies were cleaning even MORE. It was ridiculous! Fig was upstairs frantically doing laundry (thank goodness!), Julia was scrubbing the marble floors, and Scarlett was making lunch. I was half convinced they were gonna stay here! When the group finally arrived, I had been on the other side of the residence giving Fig some more laundry to do and had to walk past them. Paula goes “well, there’s one of our students, probably going to clean her room…haha.” Funny, because I actually DID. Fig was a little scary about making sure we did… Anyway, I heard them walking around, but they never made it into my room. I think they liked it…

Lunch was unfortunate. I thought that because we had those people stop by that maybe we’d have something good. I guess it’s a good thing they didn’t say for lunch because we literally got 2 appetizers. It was this salad that we sometimes get before the main course, plus this other stew that we sometimes get for a starter. I was confused. Regardless, it was pretty tasty…just not that filling. Maybe a Shawarma is in the works for this evening if dinner isn’t up to par either.

I started working on a video of all of my photos and video clips that I have so far. Well, the ones that are on THIS computer…and I’m really hoping to get the other ones off of my old one! As of right now, it’s running at about 1 hour and 35 minutes. Maybe I could afford to lose those other photos! Haha. I just thought this would be a good way to show people what I did. I’ll put in little titles and captions where necessary, so it’ll be like you all were right there with me! (Except for that hanging camel-head photo. You really had to be there to get the real feel for that.)

Well, I’m off to finish up some homework and work some more on the video!

Sorry, tortilla.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I got to sleep in a bit, which was nice. Since it was almost lunch time by the time I had gotten ready, Will and I went to our favorite Sunday Chinese food place, just off of Plaza Gracia. I got my normal pan Chino, pollo con salsa curry, helado limon but this time also tried their arroz frito (fried rice). It was preeeeeetty good, and I’m pretty sure Will ended up eating more of it than I did! After that we settled down to do some homework. Yippee...

Later in the evening we were wandering around trying to find some cheap snacks for dinner, but since it was a Sunday evening, most places were already closed. We ran into Sarah on our way home in defeat and she told us she was meeting some people for Indian food. We took her invitation to tag along. It ended up being Will and a bunch of girls, haha, though I’m sure he didn’t mind. It was Will, me, Liz, Sarah, Daryl, Debbie and Mirella. They had just come from a bar where they were watching the Madrid-Barcelona game. I guess the fans were getting pretty rowdy!

Will and I split some rice and tried their Chicken Tikka Masala. It definitively wasn’t nearly as good as the place in Nerja (or Anupma’s!) but it hit the spot! The serving bowls were so cute—they were basically mini woks, set on thick wood paddles. What a creative idea! They also had really good music, a lot of which sounded almost Cirque-y! Apparently Sarah used to do some sort of Indian dance, because she kept going “OH! I USED TO DANCE TO THIS SONG!” Then she proceeded to talk a tiny bit with the waiter in Hindi! This was all after she first spat out “Thanks! I mean, shokran! Wait…gracias!” I guess that’s proof our minds really are going for a spin over here!

Merete and I cleaned up the room a bit because the board of study abroad advisors is coming to visit Jardines tomorrow. WOW. I have not seen Fig, Julia and Eugenia clean that much, EVER. Well, I guess it’s good for us!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sierra NevadAHHHHH!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

3 months and counting!

Today was the trip to the Sierra Nevadas. A lot of people still weren’t feeling very good, so it was only Mirella, Daryl and I who went from Jardines. Total, there were about 25 kids of the 54 in AIFS that went. Paula went with us, which was fun to get to talk to her. She was working on the Summer AIFS Granada guide for online, so she was asking us about things like how much Shwarmas cost, entrances to Discos, books, etc. I assume she’s trying to get that ready before the study abroad advisors come on Sunday! This group includes Tim, from St. Thomas. He emailed all of us St. Thomas-ians here in Granada and offered to take us out to dinner on Tuesday. Yippee! Free food on St. Thomas!

Anyway, the Sierra Nevada trip included an hour ride through windy mountains. I guess it was a good thing that some of the people who weren’t feeling so great didn’t go. I even started to feel a bit woozy. Well, we made it to the small ski town, which is just outside of Monachil. The actual ski season doesn’t start until next week—the long weekend, so nothing was really open. Actually, there wasn’t even any snow! Paula said she hadn’t seen it that bare since 1994, the year she got married. They were just starting to make snow further up the ski runs, but I’m guessing they might have to postpone opening day if it’s still like that next weekend! That didn’t really matter. I wasn’t really planning on going skiing anyway. I just wanted to see what the mountains were like. A group of us (Jasmine, Daryl, Erika, Kara, Lauren, Paula and I) sorta walked around together for the whole time. We found these fun Alpine Slide-type things, which were a ton of fun! They weren’t exactly like the ones in Lutsen, because they were more rollercoaster-esque. They were the same cart things but attached to a rollercoaster track! Lauren didn’t want to go, so I had to convince Paula to ride with me, haha. Daryl and Jasmine were in the front cart, and then Kara and Erika, and then Paula and I in the back. Paula made me drive because she didn’t trust herself. Great. The guy at the station was trying to talk to us in very broken English, and we basically responded in Spanish. Then Paula gets up there and goes (in Spanish) “you know they all are Spanish, right?” Haha, the look on his face. We all started laughing and he caught on. Oh, Paula. Always making things awkward. Anyway, we got our carts going, and were taken up the hill on a tow-rope thing. Since everyone else was in front of us, we got to watch them head down the hill before us. That was pretty funny. Then it was mine and Paula’s turn. The signs said “despacio” (slow), but she goes “let it rip, girl”, so we go flying down the track. She starts screaming, and once we get to the bottom, everyone’s ready with their cameras, haha. She tried to jump out of the cart without unbuckling, and since it was automated, the cart kept going with her in it. Luckily I got her unbuckled before she went around for a second time, but that was pretty funny. I’m sure someone got a picture of it! After that, we went to see if the ice rink was open. It wasn’t even frozen yet, so we went to one of the few cafes that was open and sat down for some hot chocolate. It was fun just hearing about other AIFS groups Paula has been with (apparently ours is small with only 54 kids, they usually have 90!) and other details I wouldn’t have known otherwise about Spain and the AIFS programs. We ate our bocadillos there, and then went on a walk to see the view down the mountain. It was beautiful! However, it was super cold too! After a while we went back to the bus. A lot of other people had tried to hike up part of the mountain, but they said it wasn’t very interesting. Oh well! I had fun on the alpine slides and stuff, anyway! The town was really cute and fun to walk around in!

Once back at Jardines, I just worked on some homework and looked up some possible things to do next weekend for the long weekend (we don’t have class Monday or Tuesday). I think I either want to go to the town of Ronda, which is a little past Malaga, or I want to hostel-hop along the Costa del Sol. Either would be a fun way to spend the weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

my make-shift family

Friday, November, 27, 2009

Dinner last night was VERY good. I wasn’t nearly as good as food from back home, but who can blame them for not knowing how to make stuffing. We had about 5 courses: bruchetta stuff, soup, main course, dessert, coffee, etc. All of it was pretty tasty! I really enjoyed the blueberry sauce they had for the turkey! The ‘pumpkin pie’ wasn’t really pumpkin pie. It was more like pumpkin flan—a consistency I just couldn’t handle. Well all each had about 5 glasses in front of us: water, white wine, red wine, champagne and a Coke/Fanta. It was funny to watch people decide which glass to drink from. We all sat at one big table, which reminded me of Hogwarts (even though the obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving there because it’s England, haha). I chose a spot at the far end so I could get some good pictures of the whole group. Once we all sat down, I then passed my camera down the row and said “take a picture and pass it down”. I think that was the most brilliant idea I’ve had yet, haha. And now I have some very interesting photos that I never would have gotten otherwise! A few other cameras started coming around the table, so I guess other people thought it was a good idea as well. We had a few people make toasts and Ashley sang “I’ll be Home for Christmas” (because we will be)! It was a really fun night—especially seeing everyone dressed up all fancy!

After dinner, we all went out for a bit. We ended up at a karaoke bar, and this other bar called Babylon. Emmy brought her 2 brothers along with her, so that was pretty funny to see them in the middle of the Spaniard’s dance circles every once in a while. Some people had to run home to change shoes, since heels weren’t the best choice for all the walking we were doing. Good thing I packed my flats!

All in all it was a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though I really did miss being with family. I guess, like Paula said, the AIFS group has turned into my make-shift family. Aww.

Anyway, today was a very laid back day. It was the first time in a long time that I actually had the chance to sleep in! We’re always on trips and such and the days are always planned out to start very early. I was happy to wake up in time for lunch J After that, we walked around a bit, enjoying the weather. In the evening, we went to see La Cuenta de Navidad (A Christmas Carol). It said it was for all ages, but I definitely heard some kids crying. I was even terrified! I didn’t know Disney animated movies could be that scary…granted the sound was just super loud as well, so it made it even worse! Overall, it was a very good movie. The detail of the animation was amazing. I had thought it was real people until we actually got into the theater. The posters and such look so realistic!

Time for hot chocolate and some more Monk episodes! I hope we can take over the basement again! Crazy Spaniards and their sneaky tactics of stealing the basement.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

¡Feliz día de acción de gracias!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well there’s not much to say. It’s a month until Christmas! And…classes were pretty boring. We learned about the Gypsies in culture class, which was sorta fun because we watched a movie. I plan on going to one of their markets our professor told us about. I guess there are 2 main ones in Granada, neither of which are very far away from Jardines. I have no idea what I’d buy (I don’t really need any spices or woven baskets), but I’m sure it would still just be fun to look!

I wish I was back in Morocco! Everyone’s really sick, so it’s kinda quiet around Jardines. I spent most of the day doing homework and just trying to blog about everything. It’s hard to remember everything that happened!

In the evening, we had chicken nuggets for dinner! Will ate almost the whole plate at our table, which was ok considering Daryl and Merete were both sick and eating tortillas, and I just wasn’t very hungry. Still, that doesn’t top the 21 (!) he ate on Daryl’s birthday last time we had them, haha.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

¡Feliz día de acción de gracias!

Tonight we’re going to the nicest restaurant in Granada for a Thanksgiving dinner. It won’t be nearly as nice as having Mom’s food, but it’ll be close (plus I hear they’re having tofurkey anyway…). We get sweet potatoes, turkey and, of course, pumpkin pie! I really hope they have good recipes, haha.

Today in class, Mariangeles felt bad we had to be there, since we’re so used to not having class Thanksgiving day…but that didn’t change anything. Work, work, work. However, almost half of both of my classes were gone anyway. “Traveling”.

After class Will and I walked around a bit to try and work up an appetite. We didn’t make it far…only to Dunkin Coffee before Will decided he wanted something to snack on. And by snack on, he meant buy a box of 6. Oh well, no complaints.

We went back to Jardines and I streamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was awesome! I didn’t watch the whole thing because Ill wanted me to cut his hair. We’re supposed to dress up really fancy for the dinner tonight, so he thought it would be nice to have a clean-cut hair cut for the evening. I think it looks good! Now I’m all dressed and ready to go. Yippee! I feel bad for everyone who is still sick…maybe they can bring home a plate of food and freeze it until they feel better!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Mrs. Jacob Black

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I had class at 10:30, so I didn’t have to get up SUPER early. Though I did spend about 2 hours working on a project for Literature after we got back to Jardines the night before. It was a group presentation on a poet/writer named Damaso Alonso. Pretty interesting guy.

A lot of people from AIFS weren’t in class because they had trouble with the food from Morocco. I’m really glad I took the stomach protector!

After school I just did some homework and actually had the chance to watch a little TV. I managed to get downstairs before the Spaniards infiltrated. I went back to my Disney Channel and then watched some of this game show called Password (I think we have it in the states to) that is basically Catch Phrase. Then I watched some Will and Grace, which was funny in Spanish because they talk SO fast. I sometimes even have trouble understanding them in English!

That evening Will and I went to go see Luna Nueva (New Moon). It was in Spanish (obviously), but I understood almost all of it! It was sooooo good, I might have to go again! Merete wants to go for her birthday (December 1), so maybe I’ll go with her then!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

رحلتي الى المغرب

Friday, November 20, 2009

Well the day started early, as I mentioned. Us Jardin-ians left around 4:30 to make it to Neptuno. It was funny to be walking in the streets, surrounded by Spaniards and other people who were still out partying! We walked past Kapital, the disco close to us and there were a ton of people in the plaza. Then when we made it to our bus, it was parked right below Mae West, another disco connected to Neptuno. It was pretty funny to think we were already awake for the next day when they hadn’t even gone to bed yet! Inma and her boyfriend, Raul were there waiting for all of us. Paula and her switch off being “chaperones” for the Morocco trip, considering they aren’t in charge of it—it’s technically a Luxotour trip. While we were waiting for people to show up, I saw something very odd. Our giant bus had parked in this nice little car, and when the guys came out of the disco to get in it, they were a little frustrated. That frustration turned into the ever-so-Spanish “no pasa nada” (don’t worry about it). They had better plans. I could barely see into the car from where I was on the bus, but I clearly saw them snort about 5 lines each of…something off of a CD case. Raul was sitting right in front of me and just started laughing at my reaction and says “está bien, ¿no?”. Hardy har. The guys in the car then just got out and waved to the bus driver and went back in the disco. Classy. Anyway, after starting off the trip with a bang, we drove our 5 hours to Terifa. Busses have laws here where they can’t drive more than 2 hours or so without stopping, so luckily we got a few bathroom breaks. I was feeling a lot better, but still didn’t trust myself enough to eat anything. We made it to the ferry in Terifa with about an hour to spare. We ate our bocadillos and watched the ferries come in. Ours wasn’t very big, but it was relatively nice. After we got our passports stamped and such, we settled in for the 45 minute ride. Once in Morocco they checked our passports again and then we were off on our same giant bus (I initially didn’t know that our driver was coming WITH us). We went and changed some of our Euros in Dirhams before we headed back to the bus. We picked up our tour guide for the weekend and his GPS man (the guy to tell the bus driver where to go). The guide’s name was Jonah, and the GPS was Aniss. It kept confusing me when I’d hear “Jonah!” “Jonah!” all the time from kids on the bus, haha. Anyway, Will and I were sitting up front right behind Jonah so we got to hear all the interesting tidbits he didn’t share over the microphone. For example, we found out he speaks at least 5 languages (Arabic, Spanish, English, German and French…but I’m sure he dabbles in MANY others), and we got our names written in Arabic! Our ferry had let us off in Tangier, so we drove around a bit and took some photos at some touristy places before heading off to Meknes.

I had expected to get odd looks, wandering around in a large group, but we did most of the trip on the bus. We had been told to pack very conservative clothing, and the girls who decided to ignore that tip definitely got the stares. I opted for a cardigan and scarf paired with jeans, even though it was about 80 degrees there!

We stopped in Larache for lunch at this “traditional” Moroccan restaurant. I suspect it was very touristy because there were other tour busses out front and they obviously catered to large groups. As it was with every meal, we had to pay for our drinks, while the meal was included. However, THIS meal wasn’t one I was too fond of. I felt like I had taken a ferry to Japan or something, because when the lady set my plate down in front of me, I flinched. There were a few shrimp staring at me, 5 whole fish deep fried (eyes and all) and then some fried calamari (no, they weren’t onion rings). I took a picture of it, stealthily. I picked at some of it, but just couldn’t force myself to scrape off the scales and fillet the fish myself. I managed (better than some, at least), eating little pieces I could pick off. I think one person started crying. The vegetarians got eggs and hashbrowns…a few people were tempted to tell Inma that they recently switched to vegetarianism.

We then made our way to our (4 star!) hotel in Meknes. I think most of the people were sleeping on the bus, but I decided to try and stay awake to see the scenery. It was sorta dark, but it was still interesting to see the small towns we passed along the way. Sometimes a group of kids would start running alongside our bus, or wave enthusiastically. I also saw this group of men, some sitting and some standing around a table playing cards outside of a cafeteria. I expected them all to have beers in their hands or something, just like in Spain, but they all had cute little bottles of Sprite! I forgot that Morocco is a generally 'dry' country. It was a nice change of scenery compared to that of the beer and tapas-goers in Spain. The roads were pretty narrow, considering it was technically a highway. Our giant bus looked like a monster, and the driver wasn’t about to slow down for anyone or anything (donkeys included). There were numerous times all of us up front thought we were going to crash, haha. Right next to the road there were donkeys pulling carts, people walking, people biking, and other small cars. Our bus would just flash its lights, like all the other cars were doing, and they would try and move out of the way. Sometimes we’d have to squeeze between another larger vehicle and a donkey or something, and I was scared we were going to hit something! Even Imna squealed a bit. I’m still confused as to why they flash their lights…I thought I understood it, but then realized they flashed them randomly at other cars coming towards us as well. Sometimes it seemed like a quick “hello”, sometimes it was a warning to move over a bit for us, and sometimes it seemed like they were just having a light flashing contest. No entiendo.

Anyway, we made it to our hotel and got our room assignments. We ate dinner at their nice restaurant…this time it was a bit more edible. We had vegetable puree soup, some lamb, and then a yummy chocolate torte for dessert. The hotel was very nice. I loved all the decorations, but felt dumb taking photos of them (obviously I did it anyway). After dinner, some of us wandered down by the pool outside and peeked into the disco that was below the hotel. We had read that women who go there are only looking for “clientele”, so we stayed clear of there. However, I was a big fan creeping on the music and lighting! Merete and I roomed together again and had a fun time exploring our giant room. Unfortunately, even though it was a very nice hotel, we still had to make sure to brush our teeth with bottled water!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We ate breakfast around 9:00 and then headed out on our bus about a half an hour later. Jonah was in a traditional dress called a Djellaba. He told us that later in the day we were going to go see where they make them and would have a chance to try them on. While on the bus, he did a nice fashion show for us, haha. Our bus took us around the city while Jonah explained things. Every once in a while we would get off the bus to take photos, or see things closer. We saw the Royal Palace and the gate of Bab Mansour. Here there was a small market which he walked us through. That was quite the shock. I actually remember saying to Will, “and I thought Japan’s market was crazy”. Here they literally had heads of cows just sitting around, and guts hanging everywhere. There were random vegetables and other goods to see, but I couldn’t stop staring at the meat shops. Once we made it out of the market, it was interesting to see everyone’s reactions. Obviously it smelled HORRIBLE, so a lot of people had their noses plugged. Jonah laughed, but had to give this one girl a hug who looked like she was about to cry. His response was “it’s just normal”, which I guess is the truth. Then we kept going on our tour—walking a tiny bit, but mostly on the bus. I guess they’re serious about keeping us safe, because we literally had a police car following our bus the entire time. We also saw the Mosque and mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Everything was very interesting to see, but I liked just watching the people (and they really liked watching us too)!

We then departed for Fez. It was about an hour and a half bus ride. We ate at another (more traditional) restaurant. We had little plates of appetizers and then got some more lamb. It was pretty good! Surprisingly, a lot of the people spoke English—but I assume that was because they deal with a lot of tourists.

After lunch we toured Fez a bit. We picked up our local tour guide, Habibi (which, in Arabic, means “my eyes, my love, my everything”, sorta like the English version of “darling”. The female version is: Habibati). He was probably the best guide we have ever had. Fez is a medieval city, and so we got to see the Bab Jeloud gate, the medersa (a Koran school) and then we stopped at some typical craft shops. The first one we stopped at was this pottery/ceramics place. We had a tour and got to see where they make all of their mosaic tiles for the gates to the palaces and mosques. Here they had a very tempting gift shop (as they did at all of the craft shops we visited). They had everything from teapots and plates to hookas and 5 foot tall vases. Most people opted for mugs or bowls. Then Habibi took us on a tour through the Medina, the market place. There were over 9000 streets, he said, and even though we probably only went though about a hundred or so, he knew literally EVERYONE. I loved being at the front of the tour with him because he would give us little tidbits of info about each shop, or the people who work in the different tiny shops. At one point, he had Kyle ask one guy to buy a sheep. Another time, he tried to make me touch a dead camel head. Will was fed some random guy’s soup—just because Habibi wanted him to try it. He was always cracking jokes on people. For example: there were these 2 kids who fell off their bike right in front of us. He rushes over to pick them up, and then leans down to the air thing on the tire of the bike. He pretends like he untwisted it, and then makes a hissing noise. The kids freaked out and thought he had actually let the air out of the tire. It was hilarious (once the kids realized it was HIM making the noise)! He did this a few other times throughout the tours. Habibi kept us moving through the streets, while stopping every so often to chat with someone. Apparently he owned a workout facility a while back, and so a lot of the people he knew was from his time running that. (He challenged Will to an arm wrestle on the bus—and won. Not so shabby for an old guy!) Whenever he wanted to get our attention, he’d just yell something like “HABIBIS!” and we’d all know where to go. I can just imagine what it sounded like to the locals: “Darlings! This way!” Anyway, the shops in the Medina had just about everything. We stopped in a few, including a spice shop (and herbal medicine) where we basically snorted this black stuff that cleared up my stuffy nose. Merete got a makeover with their traditional eyeliner and this cool lipstick that looked green, but went on as a beautiful red. There they also had plenty of spices and herbal creams and oils that some people bought for presents. We then went to the Djellaba shop. We had a nice fashion show from Habibi as well as some “volunteers”. After, we were all allowed to try on any outfit to take pictures in. Inma and Jonah reminded us that we had our fancy dinner that night, and that it might be fun to have an outfit to wear! Seeing as the outfits were pretty cheap (and we could try and barter them down, eek!) about half the group ended up getting something to wear. I opted for the cheapest outfit—it’s a 1 piece dress that…well, it’s difficult to explain, but basically it looks like a cute, saggy diaper. It’s black with gold embroidery. I figured I could wear it for Halloween, themed parties, our ethnic Christmas celebration, etc. Will and a few of the other guys ended up getting plain Djellabas. I think Will’s looks like something straight out of Star Wars. Like a Jedi or an Ewok, or something. You’ll see the pictures.

After that, we wandered around the tiny streets of the market some more. They were so compact, and there was stuff hanging all over the place. For the vendors to get into their shops, they have ropes hanging down, and they’d swing into them. Talk about circus-friendly! Obviously the streets weren’t big enough for cars to drive through, but every once in a while, there would be someone shouting “BALAK!”, which basically means ‘get out of the way’. That means that there was a donkey, or a train of donkeys trotting down the street with stuff piled high on their backs. They all reminded me of the donkeys at the donkey sanctuary—except they weren’t all following me around for food! All the time, though, we did have kids and older people following us around, trying to sell us little souvenirs, like keychains, fez hats, leather purses, etc. One of the kids was with us for BOTH of the days. He wasn’t annoying or anything, just sorta wanted to hang out with us. He spoke pretty good Spanish, so we talked to him via Spanish (since our Arabic was limited to: No, Yes, Please, Thank you, Habibi). Once we walked back to the bus, our police officer had to sorta shoo him away, haha.

Then we went back to our (5 star…yet still couldn’t drink the tap water) hotel to get ready. We all put on our fancy outfits. I had to wear mine with flip flops that I had thrown into my bag just in case (luckily I did, or else I would have been wearing my Converse). Inma and Raul showed up decked out in theirs—they looked the most legit of us all. We just looked like tourists trying too hard, but it was fun! We took a lot of photos, and then hopped back on the bus to go to our dinner show! It was at this restaurant/store called the Palacio Al Firdaous. There was a small band playing fun traditional music when we walked in. I grabbed a spot facing them, but along the wall, so I was sitting on a big couch. It was soooooo comfy! Why haven’t the states picked up on that trend yet? I also had a clear view of where the belly dancers would be! Sweet! We took some more photos before (and after) our food arrived. There were some kebabs, some more appetizers, and then some giant pieces of chicken. It was a ton of fun—especially once the belly dancers started picking people out of the audience to dance. We got Inma up there at one point! I have pictures (though they’re sorta dark) of all of them. Then there was this other band/dance group that came out. It was about 5 or 6 guys who just marched around with their drums, singing loudly. By the end they had almost our whole AIFS group up there with them, dancing in circles. There were about 4 tables that weren’t AIFS kids, and even some of them joined in! Then, I noticed that the Indian couple from next to us was missing. Their friends were still there, but I soon found out where they had gone. Apparently it was their 25 year anniversary, and they got dressed up in traditional Moroccan wedding clothing and were walked around the restaurant. It wasn’t until then that we found out they were actually from New York…they were just as surprised, and asked us to take photos with them, haha.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Well, breakfast was interesting. We had juice, hard boiled eggs and a TON of bread. Croissants, more croissants with stuff on them, croissants with stuff in them, and then these fun pancake-type things. They reminded me of Anupma’s chipati’s…for BREAKFAST! Yum! Oh, and what also made breakfast interesting was that we found out the one belly dancer girl from the dinner the night before actually works at that hotel. I think she was a bit embarrassed that we recognized her!

After breakfast we loaded up the bus and headed off to see more of Fez. We saw the Royal Palace, which was fun because the king was actually there. Habibi told us that was why we had seen so many police guards around the city. Who knows, I’m sure Habibi knows the king too…he honestly did seem to know everyone and their mother. Then we went through the Jewish quarter, called the Mellah, and the north fortress. This was part of the Medina, so it meant more walking through the tiny streets! Horray! This time we also stopped at some scarf shops and tapestry places. Seeing them in action was really cool. I got a few scarves to bring home! Habibi challenged Will to a pull up contest on this construction rigging, which was interesting. The locals thought that was pretty hilarious. (See video when I get home.) After walking through and seeing the many entrances to the mosque that’s inside the Medina, we headed back to the hotel for a quick (buffet) lunch. As we do with all the buffets we have encountered, the AIFS clan ate just about everything they offered us. Unfortunately I think that hurt some people in the long run… Anyway, we said goodbye to Habibi, who told us we need to all bring our families to meet him (okay, Mom?…Dad?).

We hopped back on the bus for a nice 5 hour long trip back through the tiny “highways” up to Tangier. Half way there, we had to switch out our tour guide, Jonah, for a new one, Abdul. We literally stopped on the side of the street, and then another tour bus pulled up facing the other way and the guides switched. We were all sad to see him go, but he was Luxotour’s only guide who could also speak German, so he had to be transferred to that group. Oh well…though we wouldn’t realize how much we missed him until our tour of Tangier.

Anyway, we had a few more near-accident encounters with donkeys and other cars, but I loved the scenery while it was still light out. I saw a lot of interesting things on the side of the road, too…like a dog eating a donkey, tons of sheep being herded, a dancing chicken, another dog eating a left-behind sheep, etc. I had been waiting for an email back from Mostapha (my CJ coach) because his sister lives in Tangier. He wanted me to meet her, and so he was going to send me her number. I didn’t get it until we were ON the bus on the way to Tangier, but I tried it anyway. Unfortunately she didn’t really speak much English at all, and after she found a translator (and I tried communicating with about 20 other people in French, Spanish, Arabic, etc.) they realized they had plans that night and we wouldn’t be able to meet. (Sorry for that phone bill, Mom.) I was really bummed that I wouldn’t be able to meet her, but we were scheduled to start our tour Monday at 9, so I wouldn’t have any time to meet up. By the time we got to the hotel, it was time for dinner, so we just ate dinner and went to bed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We started our tour of Tangier pretty bright and early. The city was a LOT more modern than Fez, and it was obvious they wouldn’t have the same sort of handicraft options as they did in Fez (Fez is the handicraft capital). We did see the Petit Socco and had lunch at a typical restaurant (finally, couscous!). We got to go ride on camels! That was pretty interesting! There were 2 connected together, so Marisa and I decided to go together. I got on mine first (the front one) and hers started to sniff my hair. YIKES! And then after I got off of mine, I went to pet its head. It was really, really fluffy! THEN it turned and bit my thigh! Meany. His teeth weren't sharp or anything, and the owner guy thought that was pretty hilarious. Everyone there was laughing and then decided to all try and take pictures as close as they could to it without getting bit at. It was a pretty interesting game... Once we were walking around the town I realized that our new guide was sorta weird, and didn’t really tell us much about anything. He just kept saying “take a picture of this, this is nice”. He had us stop in weird stores, where he obviously was getting commission on anything we bought. Most of us caught on, and it started to get pretty annoying. However, he did take us to some nice photo ops. We had “free time” at this one area for about an hour and a half where we got to go in some more traditional shops. Kids had fun bartering for things (ask for 40% of what they initially say!) and drinking mint tea (the traditional drink). Emmy called one of the waiters “Habibi”, and he immediately spun around and had this huge smile on his face. Whoops, haha. He thought it was funny, and so every time he saw her from then on, he’d yell “habibi!” and she’d yell it back, haha. We also got hennas from this lady that Abdul had called in. I tried to get some photos of mine, but I’m not sure how they turned out. It’s all over my left hand and down my pointer finger. Everyone’s was different, and Raul even got his name in Arabic on his forearm! That was fun, but then we had one more quick bathroom stop before we headed over to our ferry. This bathroom stop ended up being at a hotel that Rick Steves stayed at! The guy in the gift shop had a photo of his family with Rick up on his wall, with a nice note from him. I snapped a creeper photo of it to put in my Spain/Morocco 2009 Rick Steves tour book. I just looked, and Rick in his books says “Jimmy, who’s always around and runs the shop adjacent to the lobby, says he offers everything but Viagra. When I said, “I’m from Seattle,” he said, “206.” Test him, he knows your area code.” It was ridiculous. You’d tell him where you were from, and he’d just spit it out. I guess Rick liked the place, because it’s first under the “$$-priced” Tangier hotels.

At 4 we hopped on our ferry (this time it was a lot larger and nicer) and took our 45 minute ride to Terifa. We got back on the bus after our bags were searched and then made our 5 hour journey back to Granada. We stopped twice, but that wasn’t enough for some people. I guess the food and tap water that people mistakenly ate kicked in, and at least one person puked on the bus. Regardless, the ride also consisted of a karaoke contest—we had both an opera singer and an Adele-sound-alike on the bus, as well as Armand who serenaded Inma more than a couple times and Nora, who had a spot on impersonation of Brittney Spears. Inma sang a bit back to Armand, but much preferred to dance up and down the aisles. Who knew she was so crazy. She even grabbed the tour giude microphone from the bus driver a couple times. Raul got a few chants, but refused to do anything…the bus driver suggested a striptease, and he refused that as well, haha. Then we had a nice bus-wide sing-along of “Feliz Navidad”, before Inma informed us it is bad luck to sing Christmas “charols” before Christmas. It was quite eventful, but I was glad to get back to Granada. Even though it was 12:30am.

Of course this would happen the day before we left for Morocco

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I woke up puking, but still tried to go to class. I didn’t last too long, and ended up going home after just half of my first class. The rest of the day was pretty much sleep-filled. I was a bit nervous, knowing I had to get up at 4:00am to hop on a bus to Morocco. 5 hours to our port, 45 min ferry ride, and then another 6 hours driving to Meknes. That wasn’t want I wanted to think about…but it’s Morocco! I wasn’t about to miss it! I packed and then took another quick nap before getting up and running over to the bus leaving from Neptuno.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vamos campeón!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today I kinda took it slow and slept a bunch after class again. I didn’t even make it down to lunch. I did a little work on my U of M application and then we had our championship fútbol game! All of the players from the residencia (Will, Adam and I) had gotten bocadillos ahead of time for dinner. Yummmm, jamon y queso.

Adam and Kyle had sorta scoped out the team we were playing and knew they had a few good players. We were missing Mike who had left for Prague earlier today, but we managed to keep a solid defense without him. I didn’t play too much because I still wasn’t feeling that great…but that still isn’t an excuse for me not scoring! Sorry team! Haha. There was a kid from my Literature class on the team, which was sorta funny because he was trash talking a bit in class. I guess tomorrow might be a bit awkward…for him at least. We considered calling the AIFS emergency phone (that Paula keeps on her at all times) to tell her we won, but we decided she can just find out tomorrow, haha. I guess we’ll get a trophy and t-shirts! Yay! I had given my camera to Daryl and some other of the fans who came to watch to take photos of the game. Hopefully I can get those up at some point before I come home! We also got a nice team photo after the game J Way to go AIFS aphids!

Now it’s time for a shower and then tapas!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Germs and German

Ugh. I’m getting sick again! I really hope it goes away before Morocco! I went and bought some medicine…the same stuff everyone else had bought when they were sick, so hopefully that helps. Though…it sorta makes you sleep all the time. I haven’t done any homework yet today! Yikes! Today classes went super slow. It was quite unfortunate. Though, we did get our exams back in Literature. I got a 9.75! Score. Let’s just hope I can keep that up throughout the rest of the semester…

Oh and today I thought I started understanding German. Well first of all, I was a bit confused as to why my Mariangeles was speaking German to us, but then found out it’s actually a Spanish word. It’s just “FIJAOS”, but I’ve never actually seen it written down, and it sounds like “fee-how-ohs”. German, right? Nope. It just means “y’all, pay attention”. No wonder she uses it all the time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Churros y...clase?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Culture class today started out pretty rough. We got our exams back, but that wasn’t the bad part. She literally just read from our packet…something I had already read last night for homework! I swear she told us to read it, and a few other kids had done the same thing, so we were all pretty bored. BUT, during the break between the first and second hour of her class she went to Café Futbol and bought us all churros! She brought them back in this giant bag and we got to eat those for the rest of class! She claimed that it's just a part of Spanish gastronomia, but then admitted that she was just craving them. Will and I ended up getting a 9 on our presentation on Murcia and the Canary Islands (yay Victor and Florian!) and I got a 9.6 on my written exam. Decent, but it sorta made me angry that the only thing I got wrong was the foods from different provincias…which I KNEW. Anyway, the churros almost made up for that. Almost.

Grammar class wasn’t that exciting either. We worked on a new verb tense (surprise, surprise) and then got our exams back. I did decent, but she graded realllllllly hard, so I didn’t feel too bad about that. After class I took a siesta and then did some homework. We have this project for Literature on a poet named Damaso Alonso that is due the day after we get back from Morocco (Nov. 24), so I figured I should start working on that.

Tonight for dinner we had fish sticks, this stuff that was like coleslaw with rice, and then these fried mini empanadas that actually tasted like Indian samosas. The filling was a bit weird—tomato paste—but I was excited to have something different! At dinner, we found out that one of the kids from the residence, Alan, has to go home because his Spanish visa isn’t long term. I’m not sure on the facts, but it looks like he’ll be leaving next Tuesday to go back home to New York. Oh no! We’ll miss you Alan!

Well, it’s time for a little more homework! I’m just glad mid-terms are over! J