Saturday, January 30, 2010


currently in a beach-side resort right off the coast of Africa. literally, we can see Gibraltar from the shore, and at night you can kind of see Africa lit up... it's so incredible!!! ma new friend saffi and I went out last night, and the combination of the palm trees, the clouds lit up by the moon, the breeze from Africa... it's still just so unreal being here. hopefully we can take a trip to morocco! but, as our orientation dude Miguel tells us, when you go to morocco you cannot do the following things: drink the water, eat the food, walk alone otherwise you'll be mistaken for a prostitute. however! that shall not deter us from going, as long as we eat and drink beforehand and bring a guy with us if we want to walk around the streets.
last night, after eating a very hearty and greasy meal of ham and fish (claro), we watched a flamenco performance in the main hall of the hotel we're staying at. we were probably the only audience members there under 75, and when we were able to find a spot in the front (which we thought was unobtrusive to the people behind us), we were totally proven wrong. I've never seen old people so upset.. I'm pretty sure at least 3 of them charged at us while 5 others were shouting german obscenities. but the flamenco dance didn't even really end up to be that great... it was very commercial, aimed at an older audience of rich people. the kind of flamenco i'd rather see is the kind I wrote about in my spanish research paper on flamenco: a sexy lady dressed in some crazy flamenco dress in a small smokey bar surrounded by drunk spaniards shouting ayayay! that racist? or something? maybe, maybe...
after that we all went online for hours which kind of pissed me off because we're only 20 miles from africa and we all choose to go on facebook. hopefully one of the things this trip will accomplish is a break from my facebook/internet addiction/reliance.
today we woke up nice and early and had a delicious breakfast of fried tomatoes, eggs, little sausage thingies, cafe con leche and crossiants. yuhuhuuhum.. then we tried to catch a bus that was going to town to a flea market, but what with the huge group of angry 80 year old europeans, we hardly made it near the bus without being pushed out of the way. so we got our bus driver, señor reyes, to drive us to the flea market about 10 minutes from the hotel. aaaand when we got dropped off, it was nowhere to be seen! we spent half an hour searching for this damned market, but instead we ended up walking around the town looking at shops at things. then hours later as we're driving away from the town, the bus passes the flea market. a long gorgeous flea market that we never found. irony smack in the face. but oh well!
besos, tess

Thursday, January 28, 2010

estoy en granada!!

well, after what has felt like days of travel, we're finally here! friends of mine who've studied abroad in the past told me that it hits you once you step off the airplane, but even then it still didn't totally hit me that I'm in Spain and going to be here for the next 4 months. it's definitely different here, to be expected, but it just feels like I'm in some weird part of America that I've never been to. once we arrived in Granada we were just greeted by really cold weather, rain, and a few kids' bags who were lost on the way. touring through the rainy foreign city of Granada was a weird way to start the trip, especially since all of us were on about 2 hours of sleep and were forced to socialize with each other. our first meal in the hotel cafeteria: listening to phil collins, destiny's child and celine dion, everything is pickled or fried, fish or ham, olives, oil. the food is soo delicious but so heavy and whatever flavor it is, it is completely that flavor. for instance, sopresata: sooo salty, chocolate mousse: a little too sweet?
however! once it got sunny and a little warmer, the culture shock was definitely more on the positive end of the spectrum. we took a long tour with our trusty tour guide Luis through Alhambra, which for those of you who don't know (I didn't either until walking through it for 4 hours) is a gorgeous open air palace built in least I think 1492...hopefully Luis won't be reading this. I'm sure he won't.
we then took an accidental nap on the roof of our hotel, and were taken to 2 different cathedrals in Granada. running on not too much sleep, we proceeded to reenact the large paintings of jesus cristo and his friends. inappropriate? I feel like yes.
well, until we get internet again, I shall leave you at that. currently drinking some cafe con leche with new friends at el córte inglés. going out tonight, then taking our coach bus to Marbella's beach side resort! woo hoo!
besos, Tess

Friday, January 22, 2010

self-induced sickness?

so here we are! a few days away from going to spain aaaand I feel oddly terrified. well, terrified's quite the strong word, I'd say more in a funk. I think I had just assumed that the week before shipping off to the granada airport I would hardly be able to contain my excitement. I'd be listening to spanish music, I'd have been diligently practicing my verb conjugations, checking out pictures of Seville's Rio de Janiero (and not have to have googled the name for this post), maybe even gone as far as wearing a flamenco dress around the apartment. who the hell knows!
but no. instead I've been feelin' all fevery for the past week and whenever I inhale through my nose I sound like my 94 yr old grandmother. just really pretty stuff.
but after talking to a few wise friends and my dad it seems like what might be going on is something of a self induced illness. the mind is most definitely powerful and maybe it thinks it's doing me some service by making me feel death-bed enough to not go to spain since I feel so scared about going. this probably makes sense as the doctor said she didn't even know what was wrong with me.
so I think the best thing to do is handle this self-induced sickness with a self-medication... and no sillies I'm not talking about crack.. I'm talking about psyching myself up by doing the things I expected would come naturally to me in the first place. researching spain, reviewing the language, thinking about how awesome the experience will be...but maybe not so much the flamenco dress. yet. aaaand for the sickness I have been saturating myself with hot drinks made from lemon, ginger, apples, echinacea, green tea, vitamin c and zinc. woo hoo! hopefully when I become a hippie teacher I'll be drinkin this shit on a normal basis.
So, whilst on the positive note of travel, I shall leave whoever will read this with a few awesome inspirational quotations:

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe” - Anatole France