Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday 1/24/11
I had such a nice weekend but I sure am exhausted. I’m having a hard time keeping up with the Spanish life style and its taking a toll on my health a little bit. I’m sick again but it could still be the same cold from before. Tomorrow I have class with Professor Delgado so I’m going to ask him to recommend some medicine that I could go buy because I finished the last medicine my senora gave me and it was really gross so I don’t want to take it again.
I had a lovely day today. Class this morning from 9-1 and then I went to get schwarma with 3 other girls from my class. Schwarma is this type of gyro thing that is INCREDIBLE. For some reason they have it all over Europe but I’ve never seen it in the united states. I really can’t even explain it. It has lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, olives and then you pick your meat (lamb, beef or chicken) and then it has this yogurt/sour cream sauce on it. Our favorite place to go is called Kebab King and the guy there thinks we’re hilarious because we come a lot and we get so excited. After lunch Katie and I went back to school because we have a presentation tomorrow. Every body in the class has to present a Spanish current event and conduct a debate. Katie and I are discussing the new laws in Spain regarding smoking in bars and restaurants. Before January 1st it was legal to smoke everywhere except in office building and in schools. However now, it is illegal to smoke in any restaurant, bar, club etc. It has been a very controversial piece of legislation due to the fact that over 30% of the population smokes. Obviously I am in favor of it. I can’t imagine coming here before the law and always being around smokers. Its nice that the bars and restaurants are smoke free! I definitely appreciate it.
After school Katie and I wandered around a bit. The day was nice out and we didn’t have much to do at home. I checked out some hotels for mom and alex and katies family too, and had a really difficult time explaining what a twin bed was. Cama gemelo is the exact translation but does NOT mean twin bed. Lesson learned. My apologies. Also, after going to SEVERAL hotels I also learned that it is not common to have a fridge. But it was a really good time to practice my Spanish. Afterwards Katie and I had to buy textbooks for our Bucknell class but EVERYTHING is closed in Spain from 2-5. EVERYTHING. So when we finally found the book store it was closed. We had completely forgotten this custom. So Katie and I wandered over to a nice little café and had sangria and bocadillas while people watching in the street. It was really nice. Kind of chilly but nice wht the sun on our faces. There was this one woman sitting behind us who was smoking, reading a book, drinking a beer, and listening to music…talk about multi tasking! Its kind of annoying that Katie and I stick out wherever we go with our blonde hair and pale faces but our Spanish is getting pretty good so its funny to see the surprise on people’s faces when we can understand their Spanish.
Finally, at around 5 we headed back to the book store. There are tonsss of book stores around the city but this one was awesome! We found our text books and then wandered around and looked at all the familiar books but in Spanish versions. I also picked up a pocket dictionary so next time I don’t look like I have 7 heads when I try and describe a twin sized bed (the proper word is cama noventa by the way…bed 90 who knew?!) I realized later how crazy I must have sounded….
Me: do you have beds for twins?
Concierge: yes…twins can sleep in our beds.
Me: no no, beds that are twin sized
Concierge: yes…twins can fit in our beds. Are you a twin?
Me: no no small beds
Concierge: For a baby? Si.
Me: no no for an adult. But only one adult.
Concierge: ohhhhh! Camas noventas. Si claro.
Me: yes!! Do you have rooms with 2?
Concierge: no.
Me: do your rooms have fridges?
Concierge: no.
Me: Can I see a room?
Concierge: no.
Me: K BYE.
It was very entertaining.
Quiet evening tonight because I’m still not feeling so good. Tomorrow we have class in the morning and Professor Delgado’s class in the evening. I hope you aren’t all drowning in snow!!

Friday 1/28/11
I wish I was doing a better job at keeping up at this. Its really hard to do without internet. Our senora told us that she ordered a router 3 weeks ago and it still hasn’t arrived. Katie and I are suspicious and are about to take matters into our own hands.
My intensive Spanish class is wrapping up and we have our final on Monday. 1 hour of writing 1 hour of reading 1 hour of listening and 1 hour of speaking. YIKES. Then on Tuesday we’re off to Madrid, Toledo, Salamanca, and Segovia. I’m so excited. I love Granada but I’m looking forward to a change. Also, my neighbor and good friend since age 4, Lindsey is living in Madrid right now and I’m very excited to see her. I’ve been really home sick lately and it will be nice to see a face from home. Its been raining the last couple of days and for some reason I kind of like the city in the rain. Its obviously not as beautiful but it feels peaceful kind of.
Today was our last day of class so Katie, Tamara, Elise and I went out for lunch afterwards to celebrate. We were going to go to this one restaurant but when we got there we realized it was really expensive so we wandered around the city in the rain until we found this little hole in the wall gem of a place. It was Argentinian and the food was amazing. There were only like 5 tables in the whole place, 1 waitor, and 1 chef. They treated us like royalty. We ordered wine (claro que si) and toasted to the completion of our Spanish intensive class. The gave us tapas with our wine which were delicious. I don’t even know how to describe them, they were like little empanadas with cheese and corn. YUM. Then we ordered grilled provolone which was ammaaaazing. OH and to top it off we ate bread that they had made in their own restaurant. It actually melted in my mouth. For my meal I had a salad with nuts, cheese, and apples. Then, because they liked us so much they brought us this chocolate liquor served in chocolate cups. The woman then revealed that she was actually from the England and spoke English and she said that she was very impressed with our Spanish and that we weren’t like most American students! We were flattered. She then gave us the business card for her hair salon where they speak English! She said that when she first came to Granada the hardest thing was going to get her hair cut because her Spanish wasn’t very good and it was hard to communicate what she wanted done. Katie and Tamara were very excited about that.
Tomorrow we’re going to the Sierra Nevada with a lot of the people from our group. Some people are going skiing but I’m just going to walk around. Its supposed to be beautiful, I’m really excited.

Sunday 1/30/11
Yesterday (Saturday) we went to the Sierra Nevada. We took a 10 minute bus ride from our house to the Granada bus station and took a bus from there to the mountains. It took about 1 and a half hours and it was an incredibly beautiful ride, very windy though. When we got to the top it was covered in snow and very cold but it was awesome. Katie, Tamara, and I didn’t ski but the other kids we came with did (there were 5 others). We were expecting to camp out in a lodge but for some reason there wasn’t one so we went from café to restaurant to café enjoying the view, the snow, and each other’s company. We brought packed lunches so we had to eat very discreetly so we wouldn’t get in trouble at the restaurant. On the way home we wanted to sleep so tamra, Katie, and I sat in different rows on the bus so we could put our heads up against the window and nap. At the very last second this group of 3 guys came on the bus and each sat down next to one of us. Tamara sat with Jesus from Madrid who is 30 and sells aluminum, Katie sat next to Travis who is from San Francisco and is teaching English in Madrid, and I sent down next to Javier who is from Granada and owns a restaurant. Javier and I spoke in Spanish the whole way and he gave me lots of tips and it was so cool! After we got home Lolita invited Tamara over for tea it was so cute.
At night we went to this club called Camborio (I had never been there before but some of the others had). It is all the way north of Granada and is VERRYY uphill. Then all of a sudden you turn a corner and there is the Alhambra all lit up and beautiful. The club is in a cave and has two levels. The dance floor is in a green house where you are literally surrounded by mountains and the Alhambra. It was truly incredible.

Today Katie and I slept until 2 and then 2 of Lolita’s grandchildren came over. Racquel is 3 and Julio Cesar is 2. They are ADORABLE. Katie and I colored with them and then they taught us how to dance. It was hilarious. I have my 4 hour final tomorrow morning at 9 and then we have the rest of the week off. The group is traveling to Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Madrid, and Toledo. Here is my itinerary so you can follow my travels!
• 8am: Leave Granada
• 3pm: Arrive in Segovia
• 4pm: tour of the cathedral
• 8:30 dinner in hotel
• 8am: breakfast in hotel
• 9am: leave hotel
• 10:20: stop in Avila
• 11:30: leave for Salamanca
• 1:30: arrive in Salamanca
• 2pm: Lunch in hotel
• 4: special tour of the city
• 8am breakfast in hotel
• 9am leave hotel
• 12:30 arrive in Madrid
• 1:30 eat in Museo del jamón
• 4:30 Palacio Real
• 9am: breakfast in hotel
• 12:45 museo del prado
• 2:30 lunch at the famous restaurant La Cocina de Neptuno
• 5:30: Museo de arte Reina Sofia
• 9am: leave for Toledo
• 10-4: tour of the Sinagoga del Tránsito, Santo Tomé (Greco museum), Catedral, y Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz
• 4pm: Plaza de Zocodover and leave for Granada
• 8:30 pm: arrive home in Granada

BUSY BUSY WEEK! I should have internet at the hotel so I will try and keep in touch!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Even if you don't have a facebook you can look at my pictures if you go to this link!
Wow! I can't believe i've been here for 2 weeks. it's been quite a whirlwind! This week was pretty normal. Class Monday-Friday at the CLM and class on Tuesday with Professor Delgado and the rest of the Bucknell students. I got my schedule for February-May. I'm taking Politics and Spanish Society, Art History Baroque-present, Spanish women's literature, and a grammer class.
Katie and I have been struggling a little bit with our Senora. She is very old fashioned and is obsessed with her routine. We watch the same TV shows during each meal and we have the same conversation over and over again. Even when Katie and I try and change the topic to something different she changes it back. She is very stuck in her ways and judgemental. We have to do everything her way all the time and it is getting exhausting. She comments on everything we wear and is obsessed with our eating habits. There are so many rules! rules about lights, about how loud we walk, about when we eat, about how loud we talk, about the tv, etc etc etc. she has good intentions but it is hard to manage sometimes. Its hard to remember all of her rules and sometimes i just want to take a nap without her asking why i'm so tired. Last night Katie and I asked for some olive oil to dip our bread in and she was furious. The entire dinner she talked about olive oil and how she cooks wiht it enough so we shouldn't need more etc etc etc. Its hard to imagine how we're goign to be able to deal with her for 5 more months.
(Sorry just needed to vent!)

all the bucknell students here are so great and we all get along really well. All 26 of us go out together on the weekends and its so much fun! Last night we went to this discoteca and I danced until 5 in the morning! I didn't even think that was possible!! The city is incredibly beautiful and so full of life. Its hard to believe i've only been here for 2 weeks because I know my way around the city so well and feel so comfortable here!

Well that's all for now!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday 1/16/11
I was feeling much better today (but a little week) so Katie and I went out in search of an internet café. Everythinggg is closed in Spain on Saturday afternoon and Sunday so it was a bit difficult but we finally found a really nice little café that also had internet. It was so nice to get on facebook and check my e-mail and check in with everyone. I have felt sooo disconnected! I ordered tea and settled in for the afternoon. I couldn’t wait anymore and finally called my dad to video chat (it was only 8am his time…whoops!) it was so nice to see him (and abby). We should be getting internet early this week! After the internet café we came home for lunch and Lolita had made us paella! It was…interesting. It tasted good and in general I liked it but it was kind of…creepy. There were lots of things with legs in it. It had seafood, meat, and chicken. There lots of bones so I kind of just ate the rice. After lunch we had a meeting with our group to see the Catedral de Granada. It is the third largest cathedral in Spain. It was sooo beautiful and grand. The organ was incredible! They began building this cathedral in 1500 and finished in 1712. After the Catholics conquered the city of Granada from the Arabs they designed this cathedral to be the symbolism of the Catholic power. We also took a tour of the Capilla Real that was used in the 1500s for business negotiations. At the end of the reign of Fernando y Isabel this building was used as the tomb for the reyes catolicos (Catholic Kings). We saw the marble tombs and the gold alters. After the tour we got gelato (I was really hungry because I didn’t eat much of my paella)! I had cheese cake flavor it was incredible. For dinner we had bocadillas de jamón y queso and chicken noodle soup (for me because I’m sick). Lolita is a good nurse. Tomorrow back to classes ☹ and I have a date to video chat with mom and dad at 4! We don’t celebrate martin luther king jr. day in spain haha
That’s all for now!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Monday: We had to wake up at around 7:30 in order to go to the CLM (Centro de Lenguas Modenras…the name of our school) to take a placement exam. It was verryyyyy long but not difficult. There are 9 levels and I placed in level 6. Most of the people from Bucknell are in level 5 or 6 but we range from level 4-8. There are 2 schools one is much prettier than the other but the architecture of both is very Arabic. After the exam we went and got more passport pictures taken for our school IDs. Then we had the afternoon free! I went with a bunch of people to this store called El Corte Ingles that sells American things. It’s very expensive but Katie and I found a cheap blowdryer. There are soooo many sales going on right now! I haven’t bought anything yet but I found this blazer today that was only 29 Euros that I loved, I might go back and get it tomorrow. After shopping we went home for lunch and had soup and these weird empanada type things filled with tuna and tomato. After lunch we met up with all the Bucknell students at the Bucknell office to fill out more paperwork for our classes. Next, we went on a walking tour of the city with Professor Delgado. We saw many churches that used to be mosques but during La Reconquista the Catholics conquered the land and turned the Arab’s mosques into churches.
Then…we went to my favorite place in Granada so far. If you come and visit it will be the first place that I take you. We had to climb a hill for almost an hour and we were exhausted (and sore the next day) but along the way there are these water fountains that have water from the mountains. I’ve never tasted better water in my life. So after climbing and climbing (and it’s a little bit scary because they aren’t really traffic rules in Spain…if the car can fit down the alley…it’s a street. So when a car comes and we’re in a narrow street we all have to stand very close to the wall so our feet don’t get run over) we finally arrived at my favorite place. It’s called Plaza San Nicolas and it looks over ALL of Granada and La Alhambra (the most famous castle in all of spain). There were many people in the plaza playing music and simply enjoying the view. Words cann’t describe how beautiful it is. I was almost in tears with happiness. Afterwards all 28 of us (26 students and Professor Delgado and his wife *side note: professor Delgado reminds me of Mr. Fredrickson, the old man in UP, at the end of the movie when hes happy and funny) packed ourselves into una tetería which is an Arab tea shop. We had many different types of tea and crepes (all paid for by bucknell (im very lucky)). After tea we went down to get our cell phones. This was a terrible experience because the cell phone plans are very confusing and none of us could figure it out. We spent an hour in the shop and all the people there were very annoyed with us because we couldn’t understand the plans. Finally we got phones! Mine is very little and is white and green. I have named it La tortuga (the turtle). For dinner we had tortilla Espanola and cabbage. So far I think tortilla Espanola is my favorite dish. Its kind of like an omelet but made with eggs, potatoes, and garlic. They eat a lot of potatoes here. After dinner all of us met up at the main fountain in the center of the city and went out for mojitos! Nobody really goes out on Monday nights in spain so everything was closed for the most part but we found this great place that is really cheap that I’d love to share with anyone who comes to visit. We went home kind of early because we had had a busy day. That was when I realized that la Tortuga could call the United States for very cheap! I called my mom on the way home and talked to her very briefly and it only cost me .50 euros but it made me SOOO happy because without internet communication has been veryyy difficult. I slept okay that night (its still kind of hard to sleep at night).

Today was our first day of class. For the month of January we have only 1 class but its very day. Katie and I (because we’re both in level 6) have the class from 9-1. We got very lost on our way to the school because the streets in that area are very short and aren’t labeled (similar to Paris) but we were still there before the professor. Time is a strange concept in Spain because it doesn’t reallyyy matter. In my class there are 5 bucknell students and the rest are from different parts of the united states. Our professor said that its really rare that we have a class with only students from the US in it. For the first 2 hours of class we had Adolfo as our teacher and for the second 2 hours we have Lola. They are both really good professors and I like them a lot. Lola is easier to understand than Adolfo but generally I can understand everything that they’re saying. After class we went to the office in order to use the internet. It was so nice to finally go online (that was when I posted my entry from Sunday). After the office we went home for lunch and had another type of soup. After lunch we showered for the first time at our house. Our showers have to be less than 5 minutes but we CAN keep the water on the whole time (contrary to what I had originally heard). It was kind of cold but it felt so good to finally shower. After the shower we had our siesta! It was nice to sleep. I sure love my naps. Afterwards Katie and I wandered the streets of Granada and went shopping a little bit. I’m in search of school supplies! We got home around 9 and had dinner. Dinner tonight was very strange. We had French fires, hot dogs, and an egg. I ate it all (por supuesto) but I prefer when she doesn’t try and copy American dishes. We spent almost 3 horus at the dinner table watching TV and talking. I absolutely love my senora. She is so adorable and cares about Katie and me mucho. She helped us with our homework tonight and explained words that we didn’t know. As it got later and later my Spanish began failing me and I went off to bed.

I just reread this entry…my theory is correct. As my Spanish improves my English grammar is worsening haha. There simply isn’t room in my brain for both languages haha
Please comment and send e-mails to because I want to know what is going on in the US and I want to know your thoughts about my adventures.
Te amo y te extraño

Wednesday was really nice because we weren’t crazy busy so I could actually enjoy the city. The weather here is incredible. I definitely didn’t need as many sweaters as I brought. Nothing too exciting happened on Wednesday except I bought boots! Right now is las rebajas (sales) and I bought a pair of beautiful leather boots that were originally 200E for 60E!!! I was sooooooooo excited! Wednesday night we went out to a discoteca and it was fun but in general I don’t like to go out on school nights. Something that I love about the size of this city is everyday Katie and I run into some of our friends from Bucknell in the streets. It makes the city seem so much less intimidating and its so nice to run into familiar faces. It is sometimes very overwhelming but a few days ago Katie and I were asked for directions and we actually knew where to tell them to go!! After theyw alekd away we jumped up and down because we were so excited that we were finally getting the hang of things, and it hasn’t even been a week!
We had our first gross meal on Wednesday. She made various tapas for us and the main one was (ready for it, because its really gross) fried bread with potatoes, muchoooo mayo, and peas. It was so weird.

Thursday began the same way with classes and everything and the morning was a little difficult because we went out the night before and we were tired. However, we have 3 new students in our class that are grad students. One is from LA, one is from Vietnam, and one is from Italy. The guy from italy is HILARIOUS. His accent is soooo funny! And he says the funniest things, it made class today much easier. Having 4 hours of class in a row is really rough but we get a little break in the middle. For lunch today we had cucumber and cheese soup (so good!) and pasta with a mint sauce that she made from her garden. After lunch we slept all afternoon and then met up with our group for a class with professor Delgado. We ate churros and talked about our host moms (I prefer this class to the grammar class in the mornings haha). The churros here are different to the ones in Mexico. They remind me of funnel cakes a little bit but instead of sugar, you get a cup of chocolate and you dip them in it. Sooooo good. After churros we went for a glass of wine and tapas. When you order a drink you get tapas for free. There were 8 of us and we split 2 bottles of wine (the bottles here are much smaller) and we got 2 tapas. Tortilla Espanola (my favorite) and these really good olives. It was only 3.5E a person! After dinner Katie and I wandered home and Lolita knew that we were going for churros so instead of making us a big meal she made us a wonderful salad with hard boiled eggs and avocado. (mom when you’re here you need to learn how to make her salad dressing es muy sabroso). We had the funniest dinner with Lolita. We were laughing so hard we were crying.
Her phone company has sent her a router for the internet which should arrive any day now and then her son is going to come and set it up. Hopefully we have internet before Monday. It has been very difficult to not have internet but I’ve been reading a lot! I’m already done with one of the books I brought so I’m going to have to start trading books with people.
I’m very excited for the weekend so I can sleep a lot and wander around our neighborhood. We don’t know our neighborhood that well because we’re always on our way somewhere else. I also want to go back uphill to the part of the city that has the most Arab influence. The stores over there are soooo cool!
Obviously I’m miserable and hate spain. I hate my senora and the food is terrible I want to leave asap and never come back. (un broma) hehe me siento como la chica que tiene más suerte de todo el mundo!!
Mom- while I’m thinking of it please bring me dental floss. They don’t have it here and I keep getting stuff stuck in my teeth. I’ve gone everywhere and las dueñas say that you can only buy it at the dentist office.

Tal luego!

Friday & Saturday 1/14-1/15
I have the flu. It sucks being sick in spain. I haven’t left my bed since I went to class on Friday. My senora is being a very good nurse, bringing me medicine, tea, and toast. I’m feeling a little better today but I still have a fever. I took a cold shower today and it helped. I’m hoping to leave the house tomorrow because I’m getting cabin

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sunday 1/9/11 10:06PM
Hola! Today was my first full day in Granada. For those of you that are reading this (I know tere aren’t many) that don’t know anything about my tirp I am spending 5 months in Granada with 25 other Bucknell students, a bucknell professor, and a program director. I don’t have internet at my house right now so I will be posting several days at once.
We woke up at 9am which was very early considering that we were out until 4am! The nightlife in Spain is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is so much fun and more about socializing and enjoying yourself than consuming alcohol. We went to a bar and then to a discotecta called Granada 10. We danced and danced and danced so this morning was very difficult. We had breakfast at the hotel (coconut yogurt, crossaint, and salami). After breakfast we moved out of our rooms and began walking around the city with Professor Delgado (the professor, obviously) and Ana (our program director). The professor is different every semester and my group is veryyy lucky to have professor Delgado. He teaches at Bucknell but is originally from Granada so he knows all the secrets and all the best places that most people don’t know about. He is the sweetest little man and tells the best stories! So we walked around the city and he took us through the part that has the most evidence of the Arab influence. The architecture was beautiful and there were many resturants where the menu was in Arabic instead of Spanish. There were outdoor markets and artists on the street. IT was soo cool! After we wandered we went to the Bucknell en España office where we began some orientation and learned even more about what was ahead of us. After that we walked around some more until lunch at 2pm. Lunch in Spain is very different than lunch in the US. For example, we ate lunch from 2 until 5 and it was many courses. We ate lots of differet types of tapas and we had lots of Sangria! It was very delicious. After lunch we went back to the hotel and gathered our suitcases. Between the 26 of us we had LOTS of luggage as you can imagine. Our host moms were waiting for us at the hotel and it was very funny to see everyone meeting their host mom. It was kind of awkward because we really didn’t know what to expect. I am lucky enough to be living with my best friend from school Katie. We live in a very nice apartment. I don’t really know the location of it yet because the taxi ride was kind of confusing and we haven’t left the house since we got here. My Señora’s name is Lolita and she has 4 chidlren and 9 grandchildren. I believe she is a widow but I’m not sure. She showed us to our rooms which are very nice and simple. We unpacked and then sat down in the living room with her while she told us the rules and we asked questions. She speaks VERY fast but she is from Toledo so her accent is much easier to understand than the accent of Granada. We talked and talked and talked and it was so much easier to communicate with her than I expected. She even complimented me on my Spanish! After that she made dinner. Dinner was kind of strange and she said that she didn’t know what we would like so she made us pizza and pasta. During dinner we watched TV which was strange for me but we talked throughout. She doesn’t speak a word of English but I brought my dictionary to the table and we had no problem communicating. I am absolutely exhausted right now. I’m sure I’m leaving things out so I’ll probably add them later. Tomorrow we’re taking our placement tests so they know what kind of classes to put us in. I have to be up at 7:30 AY DIOS MIO. Its really funny to be writing in English right now because I haven’t heard English all day. I feel like as my Spanish gets better my English is getting worse haha (or maybe its just because I’m tired). That’s all for now! Hopefully Katie and I figure out a way to get internet tomorrow because I’m writing this in a word document and I’ll have to copy and paste it when I have internet. Miss you all!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I have officially arrived in Granada. Travel was not too bad. The plane ride had a lot of turbulence but other than that it was fine. We drove from Madrid to Granada and the bus ride was really nice. I slept and looked at the beautiful landscape. There are mountains in the distance and palm trees everywhere! We even saw a bull farm that raises bulls for bullfights! We stopped for lunch at this nice restauarant in La Mancha (home of Don Quijote and Manchego cheese) and I had soup and meatballs (albondigas). Now I am in the hotel in Granada. It was 65 degrees and sunny today and i just got back from wandering around the city. There are beautiful fountains everywhere and the streets are cobble stone and marble. I definitely stand out like a sore thumb with my strawberry blonde hair and pale skin but thats okay. Tonight we're having dinner at the hotel and then we'll probably walk around a little and go get tapas y vino. Too tired and jetlagged for the discotecas but probably tomorrow. That's all for now! E-mail me responses or leave comments. I miss familiar faces and family already so feedback is appreciated.