Tuesday, February 24, 2009

¡Hay Muchas Cosas! (There are many things)
Life in Spain:

A couple of weeks ago I went to Jaime’s new house (he moved) and we watched the Spain vs. England soccer game. It wasn’t a championship, it was like an all star game. Spain won 2-0 I think. Viva Espana!

Yesterday I went to a Corrida de Toros (bull fight)—wow. Experiencing a bull fight in Spain, is an array of emotions to say the least. It is a huge party, with coolers full of beer, wine, and food. Why more places in the States don’t let you just BYOB and BYO everything else I don’t know. I digress, chatting and sharing wine, sangria, finger foods, dulces (sweet finger foods, cakes, etc…) and conversations at a bull fight is great! People are so much more welcoming than I ever could have imagined before coming to Europe.. such a nice surprise. I sat in the “Sol y Sombrero” section with Havens, Ashlee, and Andrea. We were told and assumed it was the nose bleed section because we bought the cheapest tickets--- well the nose bleed section in my little Plaza de Toros in Murcia is much closer than I anticipated! All of the events preceding the fight were entertaining. I would say it’s comparable to tailgating, accept you’re already in your seats. Anyways the poor bulls QUE TRISTE  (how sad). I am not a vegetarian nor will I ever become one—I like a good buffalo burger. But this is animal cruelty. It’s such a debate in Spain, these fights have been going on for centuries! I appreciate tradition, and heritage but the poor little bulls are just running around so confused and angry and uhl I felt awful. AND they have 7 rounds—7 bulls went through this yesterday. I won’t go into any gory details. You can Google it or email me. However, on a lighter note I think the 4 of us girls were on TV yesterday in Murcia because we had an interview! Can you believe that?? Me, Andrea, Havens, and Ashlee on TV, in Spain! I haven’t looked for anything on the internet, but it’s the local Murcia channel 7. I enjoyed the new friends we met at the bull fight, and after about 3 rounds I spent the rest of the time averting my eyes and talking with them. I’m glad I went, I saw that this is a family event of all ages. I now have an opinion about something that runs deep in Spain-- and the next time I hear a Spaniard say “Futbol Americana” is silly because it’s a bunch of men running around hitting each other, I can come back with you kill bulls—slowly and torturously. One more interesting fact is the final round the Matador was a Matadora… it was a woman. Not very common, but she was great so that was a cool ending.

Today I got my haircut!! THAT was fun! I’m pretty picky about my hair because I can’t stand it when it’s cut too short. My hair grows about .08 in/year. However, she did a great job, I’m very pleased, it was relatively cheap, and a fun little girly day. I need those every once in a while…

Tourist/Student Life in Spain:

Friday we (Havens, Andrea, Ashlee, DarriAnn) went to a rock concert! El garaje (the garage) was the venue and it was fun. I had no idea what the singer was jamming about, but it was still fun. Pretty typical local concert, oh yeah! They played ACDC’s “Highway to Hell,” without words haha that was still a little piece of America—actually home, good ole’ classic rock!

Saturday I went to Cartagena! That is a BIG deal… it’s home to a Roman Theatre. Unbelievable, I saw, and walked on stones that were 2,000 years old. Secretly I love history—not enough to pursue it much more than my classes demand; but maybe one day when I’m out of school and have FREE TIME—I can indulge in some good history books  That being said it’s indescribable, because touring around all day is tiring (especially after a concert the night before) and sometimes the artifacts all begin to look the same. HOWEVER that initial feeling, walking into the arena area is amazing. The whole time I was thinking to myself—some twenty-something girl probably traded at what remains of the market next to the theatre, there were shows sold out centuries ago, during the age of Cesar Augustus. My mind can’t grasp it. FYI- Cartagena sits on the coast and is still in the providence (Autonomia) of Murcia. It is the second most important city to Murcia because of all the history it holds. It is a city that has a natural port—which I’m sure came in handy! Saturday night there was a desfile (parade) for Carnival. That was the icing on the cake—standing on the sidewalk, eating churros con chocolate (fried yummies dipped in sin) watching all kinds of costumes, dancers, floats, and crazies go by. The only bad thing is they don’t “toss” the candy to you… they THROW the candy AT you! But it was still great.

Other fun facts—My roommate Marcus (from France) made burritos for me and my friends last week. They were fantastic! And it was such a treat to have a yummy, homemade meal already prepared for me. We all sat around talking and eating and just relaxing and it was great. Last week was the kick of International Week. The first activity was a “Meet the President” luncheon. Afterwards there were tables of tapas and drinks—and it’s so strange to me when I’m at a school function and there’s alcohol. I don’t disagree with it or anything, but the more I live here the more I can see why Europe thinks we’re so silly sometimes. The differences between the States and Europe are many, but then sometimes events (soccer game, concert) are almost the same just in another language. Either way I love both ways of life 

Sorry this one was so long, but I had an eventful weekend!

Oh yeah, one more thing—there’s always one more thing. The day before yesterday Andrea was hanging her clothes out on the line and dropped her favorite pair of jeans! She got them back—however last night while IIIIII was hanging my clothes to dry I dropped my um, undergarments. And went to retrieve them and a nice abuela (grandmother) let me in her apartment and showed me that she couldn’t get to them because she doesn’t have access outside like I thought. I’m still waiting… haha LIFE IN SPAIN!

ps- my internet went out and I wrote this on Microsoft Word yesterday so rewind every day 24 hours :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

El Dia de San Valentin!

So this past Saturday I went to Mar Menor for Valentine's Day(in Murcia) and it was sooo relaxing. It's not a touristy town like Alicante. Much more calm-- there were families out just having picnics and hanging out on the beach. I guess that's what you do when you have the beach at your back door-- but I'm from east TN and the beach is called a vacation! haha Anyways, very relaxing day, it was Dana's birthday (girl in my program) so we all celebrated the night before. She turned 20, and a few of us went out to eat at Foster's of Hollywood... it was American food and I loved every second of it. Don't get me wrong the tapas and new foods are great-- but sometimes it's just nice to eat a burger :) Also we had cake, it reminded me of ice-cream cake-- but not exactly and a little more rich. Speaking of cake and Mar Menor, we met up with two volunteers (that are connected somehow to the missionary family) and one of the girls is from Chattanooga, TN!!! Talk about small world.. we knew a bunch of the same people.

The week before that was Laura's birthday-- we celebrated then too. We (all 12 girls) brought something for dinner, and we had a potluck.. It was great. AND Laura's grandmother sent her a Valentine's Day/Care package... it had Reece's cups in it! It was hilarious how we all reacted when Laura pulled out the bag! We all agreed that the reactions we gave would probably never be replayed in America over a simple candy. After the dinner a few of us went to a bar called Revolver with acquaintances from our class-- who are from Manchester, England. They are great fun.. but this bar was-- well nice and chill and a "cool" enough bar. However, I found out about halfway through the night that the reason everyone was so nice, cool, and chill... was they were probably high. Yes pot is illegal in Spain, and yes I did get offered to smoke it, and yes I did say no. However-- from my understanding it's like if the cops aren't around the corner it doesn't really matter, I don't think they care what you do as long as there's not disturbing the peace... but I could be wrong. Sooo that was an experience that you could only find in Spain-- I think. Maybe I'm just oblivious...

Anyways, I'm a little past the one month mark and real life Spain has set in. I continue to enjoy it but little things are hard and challenging. I can honestly say I'm loving learning the language (as stupid as I feel sometimes) but I miss the comforts of America. I know anywhere I go (in America), and anything I do, I will know how to communicate and solve the problem. The language barrier is a double edged sword, because it pierces me sometimes and I feel like an idiot in class,, and other times it pushes me to try harder. After doing my laundry in a smaller more economic washing machine and hanging my clothes to dry for the past month I can honestly say that Europe has a right to think Americans are silly for using dryers. I hate to say it, but they are a lazy convenience for us--unless of course you live somewhere your clothes will freeze if you put them outside to dry. People here dress up a lot more-- I think. There is definitely NO going to class or even out of the house with your pajamas on. I'm pretty sure they've never had, nor will ever have a "grunge" generation.

I think that's all the highlights over the past couple of weeks. I've started my classes-- History of Spain, Medias and Communication, Politics and Society, Spanish (the language) and Geography. I like them.. the work load isn't too demanding and I like that! I start the language class tonight-- so we'll see how that goes...

Oh yes,,, one more thing... a shout out to my Valentine's Day cards and packages!! Thank you Momma, Aunt Sherry, Eileen, Andrea [(roomie she made me one], and Mark and Katya's girls Cedar and Lamar! It brightened my day every time I received a notice from the postman to pick up mail! :) THANK YOU!

Logistical things:
-You can go to Shutterfly (if my internet holds up) I'm posting more pictures right after this blog
-My email is elisabeth.claire29@gmail.com I'm compiling a master list to notify you when I post a blog because apparently it doesn't automatically send an email. So if you want to be included please email and say I want to be included in the master list
-If you can't view my pictures on Shutterfly please let me know


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Good News

Hello all!

I have good news, for those of you who do not have a Facebook account, I have joined Shutterfly and now have a blog page there too. I will not be blogging twice or putting much time and effort into the Shutterfly account, but it will have pictures! The link is: http://elisabethclairepictures.shutterfly.com/ and you can go to that page and there is an album there waiting on you.

This week has flown by, and I hate to say it but I didn't do anything too exciting. I took the majority of the week to recuperate from my weekend in Granada-- where I got a cold :(. I'm feeling better and eating lots of vitamin C. Speaking of witch-- they have orange trees here... up and down the sidewalks there are rows of orange trees. I thought that would be an interesting fact. Also, for those of you who don't know-- I haven't talked alot about my living situation. I live with Andrea (amazing American roomie) and Alejandro (Al-ee-han-dro) a Spaniard from the pueblos of Murcia and Marco a guy France who speaks English, Spanish and French. They are both very nice guys, very considerate of the face that they live with girls...[no running around naked :)] accept they don't clean dishes on a regular basis-- haha, is that universal?? Just kidding men! Funny story about my roommates we were all in the dining room the other night, and for some reason The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was brought up-- the next thing I know the four of us are singing (in English) the theme song! It was hilarious to hear that song with a French and Spanish accent!! Another funny thing... I did some laundry before I left for Granada for the weekend...I get back and it had rained in Murcia all weekend as well. So I had to leave my clothes out on the line to re-dry. I get home from school on Monday and a bird had pooped on one of my shirts!! AAA it was too funny for me to be mad! Oh the life of a Spaniard :) More later, hope it's warming up in the States!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I traveled!!!

Hello hello everyone,

First let me start off by saying I am using my own computer!! I received my care package from my wonderful mom this week, and Steve made all of my adapters "idiot proof" by taping every hole and crevice accept the one I need to use for the wall and computer.

Anyways, this past weekend I went to GRANADA (grah-nah-dah) Aaaaaa it was amazing, however the weather was terrible. And I'm not complaining because like I said it was beautiful... but it was rainy and cold the whole time :( So what I'm going to take from that is this-- the "La Alhambra" in Granada is beautiful, wonderful, breath-taking etc etc... and if it is all of those things while I'm miserable-- then I can only imagine what it's like when the weather is perfect! A small definition for you, Alhambra is an ancient fortress in present day Granada. The city was built around this fortress. Granada was the last city to stand against the Catholics before it too fell to the throne.

After touring Alhambra we went to the Cathedral (La Catedral de Granada). This is the biggest church/cathedral I have entered! The grandure, the columns, everything was amazing. It's unbelievable to me that it was built hundreds of years ago. It is still in amazing shape, and there is no way that our technology today could produce the fine details that were in this building.

Next we went to a now museum, but what used to be part of the Catedral to see the tombs of Isabella and Ferdinado yes, as in who Christopher Columbus went to, to ask permission if they would fund his trip to the Indies (I think) .... and stumbled upon America!!! AAAAA that was amazing, there were tapestries, robes, CROWNS, swords... everything that you've seen in history books... it was there-- and I was looking at it with my own 2 little eyes!! And p.s I was not allowd to take picutes of any of it.. sorry.

So needless to say it was an eventful weekend, and now I have a soar throat :(, but the oranges here taste great and are all extra juicy so I should be fine. I also experienced my first hostel this weekend but it wasn't a "hard core" hostel because it is a company for internationals and I felt very very safe, and there was a breakfast (desayuno) provided as well. It was more like a dormitory for summer camp than a hostel.

What else... on Saturday night Andrea and I went out for tapas and cerveza. It was soooo tasty, you can order wine, beer, or a “sangriaesk” type of drink and along with your drink orders you get tapas--- for free!! I'm all about that in Europe :) Tapas are like finger foods, mini sandwiches, olives, sometimes a small pasta and most of the time chips or french fries-- delicious for starving girls on a budget!

I think that wraps up my weekend. But I did want to give you a sneak peak into the life of a Murcian in a grocery store. It's very similar to the states, but all of the Mercodonas are smaller and the meat departments are much more open-- so alot of the store smells like fish. You bag your own groceries, and you use these (I don't, I just manage and carry) little stroller looking things to lug your purchases around town. And they love their ham...I think I may have mentioned that in an earlier post... but everything here comes from pig. Me-- I buy my chicken :)

One more random thing-- I watched the inauguration in Spain! It brought tears to my eyes (which doesn't take much) and I was so proud to be an American here during such a historic time in the states. If I couldn't be on Pennsylvania Avenue-- I'm glad I was in another country! I think that is all I have for right now... and now that I have my own computer pictures are happening today! (as long as my wifi holds up)