Studying Abroad in Seville

"No me ha dejado"

Here’s the last post about my Spain trip!  It was an adventure and probably the best 4 months of my life thus far.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I had exams.  On Wednesday evening, we had the “Fiesta de Despedida” (Goodbye Party) at school.  After that we went to 100 Montaditos for dinner, where Hannah stole one of their giant mugs as a souvenir.  Then we went to a club called Bestuario, which I had never heard of.  Most of the people from our school were there too.  There was no cover charge and drinks were free for girls, so it was a good time. 

I went home and collapsed into bed for a few hours and then got up to say goodbye to Mary, who took the train to Madrid for a few days before flying home to Tennessee.  There were tears.

Thursday morning I went out for coffee with friends, and then we went to a book fair in one of the big plazas in the city.  I was really tempted to by “Brave New World” in Spanish.  I went to lunch at 100 Montaditos (again, hahaha) with Hannah and then went home to pack some more. 

In the evening a bunch of us met up to go to a concert at Juanma’s university.  We were running late and when we got off the metro, it had started pouring and there was a river where the road should have been.  Instead of walking 20 minutes in the rain and risking death by drowning, the Americans all opted to take the metro back into town and wait for the Spaniards to go to the concert and come back to meet us.  We sat in McDonald’s.  So American, right?  We were planning on going out to get some tapas for dinner, but instead we ended up a a protest.  Spain had elections on Sunday, and the youth were protesting in the week leading up to election day.  One of Juanma’s friends was there, so we stopped by to say hi.  Then we grabbed a drink at 100 Montaditos, as usual.  Because it was our last night, we were saying goodbye to everyone, but we couldn’t find our friend Carlos.  We called, texted, Facebooked and Tweeted him, but there was no response.  Someone had the idea to go to his family’s bar and ask his parents were he was.  It turns out he was studying on the couch and had fallen asleep.  We all hung out and talked until 2 a.m., and then went home. 

I took a shower, finished packing and called a taxi to take me to the airport at 4:30.  My flight left at 7 a.m.  Ugh.  I had 4 hours in Madrid before my next flight, so I went and got breakfast with some other people from school who had been on my Sevilla-Madrid flight.  When I got on the plane to Chicago, I was happy to find I had a aisle seat so I could stretch out my legs a little.  Then no one sat next to me, so I had a four-seat row ALL TO MYSELF.  Win!  That didn’t help me sleep, though, and 9 hours sitting in one place is boring.

Mom and dad picked me up at the airport and drove me home, stopping for dinner on the way.  I spent Saturday sleeping and unpacking.  Sunday was church and then apartment hunting in Muskegon.  I found an adorable studio apartment in a 1920s art deco-style building.  I can’t wait to move in!  I went out to dinner with my friends and we just hung out and caught up on what happened in the last 4 months.

I finished unpacking today and worked on paperwork for the internship and the apartment and took inventory of what I have and what I need to buy.  There are so many things you don’t realize you need until you’re starting from scratch.  Later tonight I’m going to hang out with Becca again.

I can’t believe I’m back in America.  I keep thinking I’m going to fly back home to Sevilla (yes, home) in a few days and then I remember that this is supposed to be my home and then I want to cry.  I miss my Spanish friends and the Americans I met in Sevilla.  I miss Spanish coffee.  I miss crossing the Rio Guadalquivir every morning.  I miss the cathedral lit up at night.  I miss my host siblings.  I miss speaking Spanish. 

When can I go back home?

5:56 pm, by emilypfund

"Why won’t you die? You’re worse than that toro."

I’ve been really bad about the updates lately.  The combination of final papers, exams and trying to spend as much time with my friends as possible has kept me from blogging.  Here’s what I’ve been doing for the past week:

Saturday: Feria again.  Duh.

Sunday: Homework/writing papers, then to the end-of-Feria fireworks at midnight.

Monday: Classes.  I don’t think there was anything else of interest.

Tuesday: Classes.

Wednesday: Classes, then out to 100 Montaditos for Euromania (when everything is 1€).

Thursday:  Classes, then went out with some friends.  We ended up at 100 Montaditos again.  What can I say?  It’s our favorite.

Friday:  Trip to see replicas of Columbus’ ships (although yachts might be a better word.  Those things are tiny), the monastary at La Rabia and an afternoon at the beach.  A bunch of Portuguese guys set up there towels right next to ours and stared at us while talking about us in Portuguese.  Creepers.  We got home and showered, then went to our friend Juanma’s house for a party.  He made sangria, we went out for pizza and then we taught him American dances like the Soulja Boy and the Cha Cha Slide.  It was a fun night.

Saturday:  Spent the morning doing our last-minute souvenir shopping (and some shopping for ourselves, of course!) and went to Isla Mágica in the afternoon.  It’s an amusement park with roller coasters and water rides, which were fantastic in the 90 degree heat.  There was a random chunk of the Berlin Wall in the middle of the park.  Not sure why, but it was interesting.  Afterwards, some of us went to dinner at….. drumroll please…… 100 Montaditos.  Of course.  Yeah, that was 3 times in the same week.  I have a problem.

Sunday:  Went to a bull fight.  I didn’t really want to watch 6 bulls being murdered by men in neon pink tights and excessive sequins, but I know I would have been annoyed with myself if I left Spain without doing it.  It’s just such a Spanish activity and a part of the culture.  Now I can say I’ve done it.

Today:  No exams yet today, so we went out to finish off the souvenirs this morning.  Studying for a while because it’s just too hot to go outside, then we’ll go out for ice cream when it cools down a little.

I have exams tomorrow and Wednesday, the going away party/talent show at school Wednesday night, nothing Thursday and then I fly home Friday.  Four days?  Seriously?  What happened to four months?  I knew that I was eventually going to go back to the US, but now I feel more at home here and don’t want to go.  I speak in a weird half Spanish, half English hybrid language now.  My friends are all bilingual, so they understand it.  No one at home will.  I really just want to go home for 2 weeks or so and come back to Sevilla.  Two weeks is plenty of time to visit my friends and family, hand out souvenirs and eat the American foods I haven’t had in a while.  Then I’ll be good for another 4 months here.

10:11 am, by emilypfund

"Hey look, a shooting star!" "No, that’s just a seagull."

Hello there!  No, I’m not dead, just overwhelmed by the amount of homework I have to do.  I have finished two of my three 8-page research papers, so I just have one more paper and a 10-minute presentation to do!  Whew.  So here’s what happened in my absence from the blogosphere:

Thursday:  Party at school after class.  I introduced some of my Spanish friends to Peeps (you know, those nasty marshmallow chicks covered in yellow sugar).  Surprisingly, they loved them.  After the party we went to McDonalds for some food, because it was the only place open at 12:30 a.m. 

Friday:  I worked on homework for most of the morning, then went out for ice cream with some friends in the afternoon.  In the evening, we planned to go on a ghost hunt, because Sevilla is a really old city (found by the Romans, so it’s been around for a while) and we’d heard some interesting ghost stories.  We planned to meet up with some of our Spanish friends, mostly because we wanted some guys to go with us.  In the end, they brought a bunch of other Spaniards we didn’t know and we somehow ended up in a bar and everyone was ordering drinks.  The other Americans and I realized we weren’t going to end up going on the ghost hunt, so we just went home.

Saturday:  We had a 3-day trip to Portugal Saturday-Monday, but it rained all three days.  Fantastic, right?  On Saturday we took a bus to Lagos, Portugal and spent the afternoon on the cloudy beach by the hotel.  It was freezing, but we had planned on beach time, so we were going to get it no matter what!  We wandered around the little town for a bit and had dinner.  In the evening we went back down to the beach and just hung out.  Others had a bit more eventful day.  Two guys were rough housing by the pool and one cracked his head open and had to get 4 stiches.  Another one got so drunk that night that he just ran away from the people who were helping him back to the hotel.  After waking up our guide and searching for him for three hours, they found him by the cliffs, drinking again.

Sunday:  The rain killed our beach plans, so as Plan B we went to a little town with a big castle.  It was kind of interesting because it was from a time period we had talked about in one of my classes, but there wasn’t that much to see.  The town was dead.  We barely saw any people out and there were a lot of abandoned buildings just sitting there crumbling.  Then we went to “The End of the World,” the farthest southwestern tip of Portugal.  Back in the day, when the Earth was considered flat, they thought there was nothing beyond that point.  Now we know better, but it was really pretty and we took fun pictures.  That night we went out for Chinese food because we had been craving it (except Mary, who doesn’t like Chinese food).  Afterwards we went to a restaurant with carry-out pizza for Mary.  We met a little old Irish man with the craziest eyebrows I have ever seen.  We now call him The Leprechaun.  He asked where we were from and how we liked Portugal, and then warned us to stay together, watch our purses and generally be careful.  He was so sweet.  When the waiter handed Mary her pizza and she tried to pay him, he said the Leprechaun had already paid for it.  Awwww.

Monday:  It was Spain’s labor day, so we had a third day in Portugal.  We spent the day in a more touristy little town, where I spent more time browsing through shops than I did at the beach.  We were eating massive ice cream sundaes in a cafe when we realized the news anchor on TV was talking about the US killing bin Laden.  Even though I can’t understand Portuguese to save my life, I knew what she was saying. When we got home that night, we had dinner and when out to see the Alumbrao, the official start to Feria.  Click “Feria” for a description of the event.  On Monday at midnight they lit the portada, the big gateway into the fair grounds, so I went with friends to see it.  Luckily for me, I live right next to the fair grounds, so I don’t have to go far at all.

Tuesday:  Classes all day.  Nothing very interesting happened.

Wednesday:  I had classes in the morning, and then when I got home, we had an American Food Party with the kids.  I made them the macaroni and cheese my parents sent, along with peanut butter and banana sandwiches and Peeps.  They loooooved it.  Then in the afternoon we played with the kids and watched TV with them.  Later that afternoon Brenda took them to visit their grandparents in Cadiz for a few days.  That night we went to the Feria.  I didn’t have a flamenco dress, so I just wore a nicer dress.  We went to our friend Carlos’ caseta, then to a public one.  A bunch of my friends are in a dance class where they learned the Sevillana, but I have no idea how to do it, so I just watched while they danced.  Around 2:30 we got really hungry, so we bought churros and chocolate and when home to bed.

Thursday:  Spent the morning on homework, and went flamenco dress shopping in the afternoon.  Flamenco dresses usually cost between 200€ and 400€, so I got a skirt and top for 70€ total instead.  I also got a giant hair flower, a decorated hair comb and the giant plastic earrings everyone wears with the dresses.  Now I look like I fit in, even if I can’t dance.  I will also be a flamenco dancer for Halloween for the next 5 years or so.  We went to Feria again that night, but the Spanish guys weren’t there, so we didn’t have connections to get into any of the good casetas.  Instead we just rode some of the rides in the carnival part (yay ferris wheel!), ate some junk food and went home.

Friday: I did homework for most of the day, with a break to go buy a new set of earrings.  I lost one of mine last night somewhere on my 2-minute walk from the fairgrounds to my house.  Ugh.  They were only 2€ anyway, but it’s still annoying.  We’re going out to Feria again because that’s what everyone does this week.  Feria, sleep, more Feria. 

I go home two weeks from today.  I am not ready for that.

2:22 pm, by emilypfund

Vamos mi Sevilla, vamos campeón!

It’s been a week since I updated, but it’s not because I was busy traveling.  No, I was actually holed up in my room doing homework.  Homework? you say.  I thought she was on a semester-long vacation.  Why on earth is she doing homework?  Well, someone missed the memo about this being a vacation, and by some error I was assigned a bunch of homework.  I have 3 (yeah, three) 8-page research papers due in the next week, along with a 10-minute presentation.  Yuck.  I finished one of the papers yesterday and I just need to do a little bit of editing on it before I turn it in, so I’m getting there.

Last week, I was really looking forward to seeing the Holy Week festivities Sevilla is famous for.  Thursday and Friday are the most important days of the celebrations (you would think Easter Sunday would be the most important, but you’d be wrong), so Mary and I planned our vacation so we’d be home in time to see them.  Unfortunately for us, it rained.  A lot.  It’s not supposed to rain in Sevilla at the end of April.  That never happens.  The main Holy Week tradition here is the pasos, which I mentioned before.  These things are priceless works of art, some over 500 years old.  There is no way they would take them out in the rain.  So it was all canceled.  Even La Maldrugá, the most important pasos that go through Thursday night/Friday morning, was canceled.  “Maldrugá” is the way people in Sevilla pronounce “maldrugada,” which refers to the time between midnight and about 5 a.m.  La Maldrugá had not been canceled since 1933. Nineteen thirty-three.  And then it was because of the political unrest leading up to the Spanish Civil War.  Of course they canceled it the one year I’m here to see it.  One of the brotherhoods had marched every year since 1847.  That’s a 164 years.  I was so mad.

Instead of seeing the pasos and all that interesting stuff, Mary and I sat in our room working on our papers.  So much fun, right?  We got lucky in that one of the pasos went out during a break in the rain on Saturday.  It got stuck at the cathedral because it started raining.  We heard about it just as they were getting ready to take it back to its normal church, so we looked up the route it was taking online and ran (seriously, we ran) to go find it.  We found it and took a ton of photos.  On Sunday, the weather was perfect, so we got to go see the one paso that was going out that day, La Resurrección.

I went to my first European soccer game on Sunday evening.  We were kind of worried for a little bit because there was a storm, complete with thunder and lightning, right before the game, but it cleared out just before kickoff, so the game wasn’t canceled.  Sevilla was playing Villareal, who is ranked two spots above them in La Liga.  On top of that, Sevilla was missing 4 of their most important players, including Jesús Navas, who plays for the national team and is Sevilla’s star player.  Sevilla won anyway, 3-2.  It was a dirty game.  There were yellow cards everywhere and the crowd was chanting things the 5-year-old girl in front of me should not have been hearing, but I do give them props for the creativity of their insults.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I basically just went to class, came home and worked on my many papers and projects.  I feel stupid wasting my time in Europe sitting indoors at my computer when I could be out exploring or doing something.  Wednesday night I went out for dinner with some friends.  It was a great break from all the homework I’ve been doing.  Tonight we have a party at school, and I think a group of us are going out to the Italian restaurant we went to after the last party.  Best pizza I’ve ever eaten.

On Saturday, we’re going to Portugal for 3 days of beach time.  Once again, it’s supposed to rain the whole time.  Perfect for tanning and playing in the waves, right?

11:21 am, by emilypfund

Thanks for the great evening, Ryanair.

First off, I should probably clarify something from the last post.  Dad brought to my attention that swimming out to a big rock in the ocean because it “looks cool” sounds like the explanation I would give to the police if Mary had drowned.  She did not drown.  We actually never went out to the barrier because by the time the tide went down to where we could see it, it was getting a bit too chilly for swimming.  I was going to put in a photo I took of a map/diagram thing of the rocks, but I can’t get it to work. 

Not as dangerous as it may have sounded in the last post.  I think it was originally part of a volcanic crater on the island.  The rocks used to stick out of the water all the time, but then the people on the island used them as a quarry for rock for building and now they’re only visible at low tide.

Anyway.  On Tuesday we did pretty much nothing.  It was wonderful.  We sat on the beach, got some ice cream and generally relaxed. 

We left Gran Canaria yesterday and we were really sad about it.  We found the bus to the airport just fine and the flight was on time.  Then we had problems.  I knew we were close to Sevilla, but we were just flying in circles.  Then there was a lot of turbulence.  I have never been so scared.  The flight attendants got on the speaker and said something that involved the words “emergencia” and “aterrezaje” (which means “landing”).  Those are two words you don’t want to hear in the same sentence.  Then everyone on the plane started talking really loudly and Mary and I were freaking out even more because we thought we were going to die.  I asked the guy next to us what was going on, and he told us that there was an emergency landing in Sevilla and they had to close the runway.  We were landing in Jerez instead.  Whew.  Much better. 

We landed in Jerez, a smaller town about an hour from Sevilla, got our luggage and walked out of the airport to see 3 busses waiting.  People started to get on them, until they were kicked off.  Apparently they were only for passengers on Iberia flights and we were on Ryanair.  We ended up waiting for a bus until 1 a.m. - four and a half hours.  We watched passengers from other flights diverted to Jerez disembark and proceed directly to their waiting busses, while we sat on the floor eating over-priced airport sandwiches.  Last night was also the final game for the Copa del Rey, which is like the Superbowl of Spanish soccer, and it was between Barcelona (Mary’s favorite) and Madrid (Mary’s least favorite).  If we had landed in Sevilla as planned, we would have been home in time to watch it.  Instead, we listened to it on the radio via my cell phone.  Spanish sports commentators are HILARIOUS.  They kept calling David Villa a “majestic, enormous horse” and exaggerating the importance of the game in the grand scheme of things.  According to them, it was the most important game in the history of sports and we will be telling our grandkids all about it.  False.  It was not that amazing.  Madrid won 1-0 on a goal by Ronaldo.  Mary and I don’t like Ronaldo at all.  He’s an idiot.

We eventually got home around 3 a.m., where Brenda had left dinner on the table for us.  I love her.  We ate and collapsed into bed.  I slept in this morning, and now we’re doing homework.  Fun stuff.  Later we’ll be going out to see some of the Holy Week craziness if it isn’t raining.

9:21 am, by emilypfund

Greetings from Paradise!

Mary and I are on vacation this week in the Canary Islands!  We flew out of Sevilla at 10 on Friday evening.  We flew Ryanair because they’re cheap, but the only reason they have cheap fairs is because they have tons of fees for every little thing.  They only allow you one piece of carry-on luggage (counting purses, shopping bags, etc.) and for the one suitcase Mary and I brought, we had to pay 25€ each way.  Ouch. When we went to check the bag, it was overweight.  That was impossible.  We had a 20 kilo limit and we had weighed it at home and it was 17.9 kilos.  The airport scale said 22 kilos.  It had to have been off.  We dragged the bag off to the side of the line and repacked some of the stuff into our carry-ons.  I think Ryanair deliberately sets their scales incorrectly so they can charge more fees for overweight luggage because there should not have been a 4 kilo difference (that’s almost 9 lbs.).

We got to the hostel around 1 a.m. that night.  When we walked into the room, my first thought was “Oh my gosh, there’s probably a serial killer in the closet.”  The combination of the really bad fluorescent lighting, old furniture and mustard yellow bedspreads made the room look like something out of an 80s horror movie.  It really isn’t that bad in the daylight, but that first night was a little frightening.  (Side note: We checked the closet and under the beds for serial killers.  We didn’t find any.)

On Saturday morning, we had breakfast at a cafe on the boardwalk and went exploring.  The hostel is a two-minute walk from the beach.  It may be sketchy, but the location is great.  We found a grocery store and bought supplies for breakfasts and lunches.  In an effort to save money, we are only eating out for dinner on this trip.  We have muffins, juice and bananas (grown in the Canary Islands!) for breakfast and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Pringles for lunch.  We did some more scouting in the afternoon, mostly finding all the ice cream places along the boardwalk. Most of the restaurants in the area are either Chinese or Italian, so we tried one of the pizza places along the water for dinner.   It was delicious.  We kind of rushed through dinner so we could go see the Madrid-Barcelona soccer game on TV.  Madrid-Barca is the biggest rivalry in La Liga and Barca is Mary’s favorite team.  It was an intense game and they tied, but Barca is pretty much guaranteed to be the league champions again this year because they’re so many points ahead.

After breakfast on Sunday, we went to the beach.  We took a nap after lunch and then went back to the beach.  It was a good day.  No sunburn yet, luckily.

Today we went to Parque Doramas, which is on the other side of the city of Las Palmas.  I should have mentioned earlier that we’re staying in Las Palmas, the main city on Gran Canaria.  It was a really nice park, with tropical plants and fountains and a little cafe where we stopped for coffee.  Then we walked around the area.  I found the marina and yacht club.  It looked like a perfect day for sailing.

We have been sitting inside using the internet for a little bit because Mary had to register for her classes back home for next semester.  As soon as I’m done writing this, we’re going back to the beach.  We are going to swim out to the natural rock barrier in the bay because the tide is going to be low and it looks cool out there.

We go back to Sevilla Wednesday evening, and I’m not looking forward to it.  The city is unbearably hot right now and it is quickly filling up with tourists.  The big events for Holy Week start Thursday and the streets will be so full of people you can’t walk anywhere.  I’m going to go to the center to see a few of the “pasos,” which are floats with statues of virgins and saints and carried by 40 men each, and then hide in my room writing papers for the rest of the week.  I would much prefer staying on this island with its nice breeze (Sevilla has no wind at all). 

1:01 pm, by emilypfund

Apparently all Spanish guys hate Justin Bieber

It’s been another busy busy week for me, but after my last class tonight, I’ll be on break for Semana Santa and off to the Canary Islands tomorrow!

After classes on Monday, I went shopping for summery clothes and was pretty successful.  I got some good deals on skirts and tank tops.  Yay!

On Tuesday I had an exam in my Mosaic class, which is a class about the complicated religious history of Spain.  It went pretty well, except for the last question, which I kind of just made up as I went along.  It sounded good, so I think it worked.

Yesterday my host mom called me while I was waiting for Mary to finish class.  She said something about her being in the train station and she had left lunch and dinner for us at home.  I couldn’t hear her very well because I was on a busy street and I’m still really bad at understanding Spanish over the phone.  It turns out she went to Cadiz for the day to visit her mom. 

I went to belly dance class (I’m still pretty bad, but improving) and after class Gabbie and I went to meet some of our friends.  We were supposed to meet them at 100 Montaditos, a sandwich chain that has drinks and sandwiches for 1€ every Wednesday.  None of our friends were there yet, so we ordered drinks and Gabbie got some food.  Eventually two of the guys showed up, but the rest of our friends were nowhere to be found.  Apparently they had gone to a Mexican restaurant down the street.  Gabbie and I chugged our drinks and she got a bag for her food and we met our friends.  There were 4 of us American students, 2 of the students’ sisters, 4 Spanish guys we knew and 2 Spanish girls we didn’t.  It was a really fun night.  I love that we were speaking in English and Spanish and I barely noticed when we switched languages.  It was really cool.  We spent a lot of time teaching each other bad words (“palabrotas”) in Spanish/English.  Fun times.  Aren’t you glad to know I’m spending my time abroad wisely?  Haha. 

I don’t usually stay out until 1:30 a.m. on school nights, and I remembered why this morning.  It was so hard to motivate myself to get out of bed.  Ugh.  It got better when I noticed a little brief at the top of page 10 in the newspaper this morning saying that the Spanish soccer team is playing USA in Boston on July 4.  Mary and I are seriously planning this trip.  We want to go SOOOO badly.  It would be amazing, and the tickets aren’t even that expensive.  I’ll probably be suffering from Mary withdrawals at that point anyway because I’m used to hanging out with her 24/7 right now.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.  My brain is already on break.  We’ll be there until Wednesday, and then we’re coming back to Sevilla to see some of the Holy Week festivities.  The tourists have already taken over.  There are SO MANY PEOPLE here right now.  Apparently this city has the biggest Semana Santa celebration in the country, so lots of people want to come see the floats and things.   

Time to go pack, because I can’t bring myself to do homework right now.

11:17 am, by emilypfund

The Week in Review

I haven’t been able to update at all this week.  I’ve been so busy with school and homework and other things that I just didn’t get around to it.  It was a crazy week.

On Monday, I started coming down with a cold.  Yick.  I think everyone at school has the same illness.

On Tuesday I began the search for women’s shave gel in Sevilla.  It was much more difficult to find than it should have been.  Apparently everyone uses Veet and similar products here.  I don’t know why every store sells women’s razors but no shave gel/cream. 

On Wednesday, we had a breakthrough with the kids.  We spent almost two hours playing with them!  And they were talking to us!  We played “Don’t Let the Balloon Hit the Floor” for about an hour, then Carlotta gave us a fashion show of her new summer clothes and David put a bucket on his back and pretended to be a turtle.  He is so adorable. 

One of the girls at school is a bellydancer and was offering classes, so I though I’d check it out.  When I got home around 10:30 that night, I was in the elevator and could hear crying and screaming coming from out floor.  When the elevator doors opened, Brenda was standing there with a screaming David in the stroller, about to take him to the doctor.  He had been sent home early from school that day because he was throwing up and now he was screaming about his chest hurting.  Not good.

On Thursday, we were waiting around for lunch but Brenda was no where to be seen.  It was getting kind of late and we decided to see if she fell asleep in the living room or something.  Then we realized that everything in the house was exactly where it had been when we left for school that morning.  This was strange because she’s a compulsive cleaner and is always cleaning or tidying something.  I checked my phone and there was a text message from her saying she had been in the hospital and night with David and was still there and we should just eat whatever we wanted for lunch.  I called to ask her what was wrong and she said he had pneumonia.  Poor little guy.  He ended up staying in the hospital until Saturday morning.

Also on Thursday, I took my last remaining dose of American cold medicine and had to go to a pharmacy to find something else.  I told the guy my symptoms and he gave me something for mucus.  I don’t think he really listened to my symptoms that well, because it didn’t do anything to help me.  I think it actually made me feel worse.

We had a make-up day of classes on Friday.  I’m not sure exactly what we were making up, but it’s for some day we’re going to miss later on because of a holiday or something.  That was a bummer.

Yesterday we went to the beach.  One of my friends has a few Spanish friends, one of which spends a lot of weekends with his dad who lives in the beach town of Chipiona.  Our group consisted of 5 American girls and 2 Spanish guys.  I’m sure the guys enjoyed that.  We took the bus there, which was a little over 2 hours.  Juanma (the one who lives there part-time) showed us around the town.  He was a very enthusiastic guide.  Apparently the lighthouse in Chipiona (which Carlos kept calling a “house light”) is the tallest in Spain and the 5th tallest in the world.  After the tour we went to the beach and spent most of the day there.  I got really sunburned.  My face, ears, arms, shoulders and legs are completely fried.  Ouch.  We got home in time for dinner.  While we were eating, I asked Brenda what medicine I should ask the pharmacist for to cure my symptoms.  She gave me some recommendations and we went on a late-night pharmacy run.  Not all pharmacies are open 24/7 here, and the closest one that was only had this little tiny window outside for you to talk to them.  She gave me some medicine which does help, but it comes in powder form.  Both the medicines I have purchased here where powders that you have mix with water and drink.  This new one doesn’t have any identifiable flavor, it’s just really bitter and difficult to drink.  It works, but taking it is awful.

Today all I have planned is meeting a girl from one of my classes to study for an exam we have this week.  I think I’ll spend the rest of the day on other homework and removing the sand from my belongings.

4:35 am, by emilypfund

I meant to post this on Monday. Instead I just saved it to the “Drafts” folder and forgot about it.

This weekend was so busy.  I thought weekends are there to relax and recover from your busy week, but apparently not. 

After class on Thursday we had a “Flower Power Party” at school.  Being the classy Americans we are, a bunch of people decided to use the free drinks to teach the Spaniards how to play Quarters, Flip Cup and other American drinking games.  Nice.  After the party, I went out to dinner with a group of friends at an amazing Italian restaurant.  I had not eaten pizza before Thursday night.  I don’t know what they serve at Pizza Hut, but that ain’t pizza.

On Friday, I went shopping with some friends.  We realized we had not packed enough clothes for 80+ degree weather, so we were looking for shorts/skirts and other summer clothes.  I didn’t get anything.  Fail.  After lunch, we all met at Mascarpone and bought a liter of ice cream to eat by the river.  Unfortunately, some jerk stole one of my friends’ wallets on our way to the river.  They got 200€ cash, her credit cards, IDs, everything.  We ate our ice cream (half “chocolate blanca suiza” and half “chocolate fondente”) and then went to the police station.  So now I can say I’ve been inside a Spanish police station. There were police all over the city too because Prince Charles and Camilla were visiting Seville on their way from Madrid to Morocco.  They had lunch in the Alcazar, apparently.

On Saturday morning, I went on a school trip to Madrid.  I had to be at the train station on the other side of the city at 7:30 a.m. (ewwwww), so I took a taxi.  There’s a place near my house were the taxi drivers hang out all day, and my host mom said they would be there at 7 when I wanted to get a taxi.  False.  The street was completely empty.  I had to run back home and ask her for the taxi number.  I felt really bad for waking her up that early.  Anyway, I made it to the station in time, and we took the AVE (high’speed train) to Madrid.  On Saturday we visited 2 museums, El Prado and El Museo de la Reina Sofia.  In El Prado I saw some of my favorite paintings, Velazquez’s “Las Meninas" and Goya’s "La Familia de Carlos IV.”  I love the Goya because he was essentially giving the royal family the middle finger.  He painted the queen as the one “wearing the pants” in the family, put himself in it (it was supposed to be a formal portrait of just the family), and a bunch of other stuff that really made the royal family angry.  I just think it’s hilarious.

After a lunch break, we went to Museo de la Reina Sofia.  The most important work in that one is Picasso’s “Guernica,” which was awesome.  My favorite painting in that museum was “Retrato de Sonia de Klamery, Condesa de Pradere" by Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa.  When you look at the painting in person, it looks like the woman is glowing.  It was beautiful.

We had free time for the rest of the night, so we went shopping for a little bit and three of us bought matching “Campeones del Mundo” t-shirts to wear together on Sunday.  We went to dinner at a little diner-like place near our hotel, which ended up being kind of gross.  We went to McDonalds to make of for the crappy dinner.  The McFlurries in Spain are way better.  In addition to your mix-in, you get to pick a sauce: white chocolate, caramel or hot fudge.  Delicious.  My friends and I are awesome, so we spent the rest of the evening studying in the hotel for an exam that was coming up on Monday in our lit class. 

We had breakfast the next morning in the hotel, then walked to the Palacio Real.  The current king of Spain, don Juan Carlos, doesn’t live in the palace.  The last king to live there was his grandfather, who got chased out of the country by Franco during the civil war.  It was an impressive building, for sure.  We had a tour guide who looked like Julie Andrews, so I kept thinking about “The Princess Diaries” during the tour.  The palace is only used for official government activities now, like fancy state dinners or receiving foreign diplomats.

After a short lunch break, we went to the Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza, which is a private collection belonging to Baron Thyssen and his family.  It was an amazing private collection, spanning from the Middle Ages to the 21st century.  They had at least 3 van Goghs, a Monet, a Matisse, several Picassos, a few Goyas, 2 pieces by Degas (one of my favorite artists) and a ton of other things I can’t imagine owning.

After that we went back to the hotel to rest our throbbing feet for a little bit.  Museums are exhausting.  On the way to the train station, which was less than 10 minutes away, another girl in our group got pick-pocketed.  This thief was a daredevil.  He took her wallet out of her purse, took her cash and put the wallet back.  That was really risky on his part.  Normally they just take the whole thing and leave the wallet in the street somewhere.

Back at home, I unpacked and Mary and I exchanged weekend stories.  At one point Brenda told her, “You can watch TV if you want.  I don’t know where the remote is, though.  David hid it.”  That kid is so adorable.

I think I’m going to write about the rest of the week in another entry because this one is crazy-long.

4:32 am, by emilypfund

"France is a nice country, but it has a problem. It’s full of French people. It would be much better if it were full of Italians."

Words of wisdom in the title from José Grillo, my interesting professor for Spanish Civ. and Cultural Realities of Spain. (He’s also the one who doesn’t like Chinese people.)

It’s starting to feel summery in Sevilla!  Today it’s supposed to be sunny with a high of 75 (Relient K, anyone?) and tomorrow it will be around 80.  WIN. 

Anyway.  Moving on.  On Sunday and Monday, I think Brenda forgot about us.  I blame Enrique.  We didn’t get dinner until 10:30ish both nights.  I was starving.  On Monday, the kids where gone, so Enrique was over and they left the house around 8.  I think they went out for dinner.  Then Brenda remembered, “Oh yeah, there are two American girls in my house and I’m being paid to feed them.  I should probably go do that now.”  So she made us hamburgers (or what the Spanish call “hamburgers.”  I’m still not sure what kind of meat that is and we eat them at least once a week.) and they went out again for a beer.  When Mary and I wanted to go to bed, we discovered we didn’t have any sheets.  Brenda had done laundry and forgotten to remake the beds.  We found the pillows, duvets and duvet covers, but no sheets, so we just slept on the mattress covers.  Cool.

On Tuesday she seemed to remember us, but that may just be because Enrique wasn’t around distracting her.  Mary and I discovered a new delicious ice cream place (as if I wasn’t already eating an insane amout of junk food and pastries) called Rayas.  Brenda said it’s the best ice cream in Sevilla.  SO.  GOOD.  I had a dish with 2 flavors - “Suspira,” which means “sigh” and was vanilla with chocolate flakes and Oreo pieces, and “chocolate con naranja,” which means “chocolate with orange” and was just that.  It tasted like the chocolate oranges mom used to get for Christmas all the time. Adding that to my “Reasons My Mother Would Love Sevilla” list.  Here is what I have so far:

  • It’s warm.  She hates Michigan and it’s nasty winters.
  • It’s almost always sunny.
  • There are orange trees all over the place.  She loves oranges and fruit in general.
  • You can rent bikes to ride through the city.  She loves her bike rides.
  • The coffee is amazing.  She’s the worst coffee addict I know.
  • The pastries are fantastic (and frequently involve chocolate). 
  • She loves ice cream (I inherited that trait) and the Spanish ice cream is so much better than American ice cream.  And it tastes like the chocolate oranges she loves.

Mom, you will visit Sevilla someday.  Period.  End of discussion.  Tell your hubby to start checking out flights.

In other news, it is midterms week, so everyone is stressed out.  The hot social event of the moment is study groups.  I haven’t heard anyone making plans to meet at bars this week.  They’re all planning study groups.  I only had one exam scheduled for this week, but we got it moved to Monday.  Yessssss.  Half of that class is going on the Madrid trip this weekend, so we can have our study group on the AVE (high-speed train) and in the hotel.  Party party fun fun.

7:14 am, by emilypfund