Friday, February 19, 2010

independent traveler

granted, walking around the streets of spain does not really make me an independent traveler, as I have no yet even begun to grasp the idea of going to some other city or country by myself, but...
today i decided to just go out by myself and see where the wind would take me. usually whenever we go out i go with the girls in my group and we make our way around the city as a clan. being really bad at directions and my geographical placement, i usually just do the lemming thing and follow them and we miraculously find our way to that awesome coffee shop we wanted to go to! or to the school! or home! or other important places that i should probably know how to get to in case i don't have the company of my comrades! soooo today i decided to take a separate path to school, which is about a 20 minute walk. i ended up getting there, but instead took a detour into this adorable little park called Jardines de something.. (gardens) which was full of making out couples, children, palm trees, path, tiled arches, benches, just awesomeness all around. as i was walking around here i noticed a gate which looked like the entrance to this little walled off village. there were these huge moss covered walls and you could see all these old white buildings on the other side...i thought it might be a private area but then i noticed a large group of old german tourists and decided to go in. this was the barrio de santa turned out to be the perfect little spanish neighborhood (in my opinion) and an excellent challenge in terms of not getting helplessly lost. so many small curvy alley ways, gardens in front yards, amazing smells coming from little apartments, restaurants tucked was amazing. perfect way to spend the only sunny day in weeks.
then i bought some veggies on the way home for dinner (living with vegetarians definitely proves good), told my doorman pepe how i went to the barrio, listened to him tell me not to go there alone at night, and he gave me a cookie. overall a good day!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

choque cultural

well.. i am finally over my tummy bug!! thank goodness, too. because if you're feeling shitty physically usually it rubs off on your mentally. definitely not as much staying in at night watching english-speaking movies now that my diet has surpassed rice and chicken broth..though it's hard to not stay in all cuddled up as it is FREEZING (50 degrees..) and rainy all the frickin time. it wouldn't be so bad if we all had brought the proper gear. south of spain? cold and rainy? i've literally been wearing the same pants for the past week because everything else is for balmy weather. oh well..what can you do? just wait it out, i s'pose.
i have also discovered their chocolate spread, which is basically like nutella. seriously, their chocolate spread/nutella is cheaper than peanut butter over here because they put it on everything. literally, the image on the jar is a picture of toast with nutella, a cake slice with nutella, milk with a dollop of these people stay so thin and not die from some kind of interior nutella-vital organ-blockage is beyond me. but as they say, when in rome! spain!
i realize that in order to actually speak the language with hispanohablantes nativos, you really just need a combination of luck and balls. if you have the courage to just talk to anyone and ask them questions and try your best at spanish, they will probably help you out and will end up being really awesomely nice. por ejemplo! i was sitting at a cafe today and this spanish guy asked to borrow my dictionary, we ended up talking and he may now be my intercambio (someone from the university who you help out with english while they help increase your spanish abilities). he was very nice, kind of impatient for my not so fluent spanish, but it was definitely hilarious trying to communicate what we wanted to say to each other. for instance, he told me he visited new york city and that there were all of these huge squirrels in the street...which I took to mean that there was a large squid in the street who he fed a bagel. honestly, how things can be lost in translation...odd, i tell you, odd.
here are some photos of the area surrounding the university!
besos, Tess

Friday, February 12, 2010

abouts 3 weeks in!

it's been a while since I've written in the blog. at least, it feels like it.. then again, it could have just been days since I last made an entry because it really feels like I've been here for months; that I've known my friends in the program for months. it's literally been 2 weeks in the apt, 3 weeks in spain, 3 days of classes. so crazy!! we're all just sitting here in our freezing cold living room talking about how it feels like we all meet for a week one year ago at a few hotels in spain, then met again here in sevilla to live for a few months. but I know that before I know it, this trip will fly by.. (I was going to say, "and it will all be a memory" but I feel like I'd have to insert some sort of violin orchestra if I took that emo route)
anyway! spain has..definitely been a struggle. it's been amazing, a lot of awesome nights and days, but I've had food poisioning for the past few days. and I think this goes for most that when you're away from home and you're really sick, all you want to do is cuddle up in bed and be around familiar things. and drink soup and tea. and not have to translate "electrolytes" into spanish to a farmacia that ends up being closed for siesta!
okay. out of my system. let's see.. classes! classes are prettay intense. but the days after the first day of class were not so bad, so I think it might have just been that the first day of Spanish class were like, "uhh...¿qué?" we should probably just be practicing our spanish A LOT more than we have been. hopefully that'll change soon I hope I hope! even writing this blog isn't so good cause it's in English..oh well!
yesterday we finally bought tickets to MOROCCO AND PORTUGAL!!! WOO HOO!! now that I am excited for. I feel like I'm craving a change of scenery, but that could just be that I was expecting it to be very nice and sunny and it isn't really. mostly rainy and cold. haha but, uh, cold being like 45 degrees.. I'm pretty sure there's a foot of snow in ny right now.
besos, Tess

Monday, February 1, 2010

nuestro apartamento nuevo

well, after much traveling around Spain just around Sevilla, we've finally arrived and we're all moved into our new apartments! the whole group is split up among 4 different apartments. and all are equally beautiful. it's so insane! seriously, if I had an apartment like this in the city to rent, it would definitely be at least 3,500 per month. I'll post the pictures of the rooms below so I don't have to go into unnecessary detail description of the place.
Today, after we moved all of our stuff in and unpacked and all that last night, we were able to walk around el barrio and get a feel for the neighborhood. the streets are so broad and beautiful, very clean, not like the city or even granada. granada was sweet, but it was very cramped and didn't have as cozy of a feel as sevilla does. there are shopping malls and stores and little cafes that sell tapas and cervezas all over the place; it's definitely quite urbanized/commercialized. but it still maintains its sweet and charming vibe; a true feat.
the group met up with luís and miguel (our tour guides and advisers for the trip) and they showed us around the university. as if going back to the college housing at Geneseo isn't enough, going back to the school is going to be just as shitty. if I didn't know any better, I would say the entire university here is a compilation of palaces. one of the buildings used to be a cigar rolling factory; muy antigüo. pictures of that will also be below :)
after touring the university (which is also like a labyrinth and jesus christ how will I ever find my way around), the group walked to el mercado (the farmer's market) and bought fresh produce, meat, cheese, nuts and flowers. it's sooo incredibly sweet there! definitely a struggle and a few of the vendors had absolutely no patience for our broken english, but one guy there was so old vendor named Pepe who gave us free olive samples.
after that, we came back to the apartments and I had some cheese on a baguette, fresh chorizo, and some huge grapes that I ate out on our apartment's balcony...could it be any more european? I think not. my lunch was pretty much the equivalent of being in Paris and wearing a striped shirt, a beret and a little red scarf around your neck.
besos, Tess