Thursday, July 19, 2012

Last blog!

Tomorrow is my last day of classes here in Sevilla.  These two months have flown by! I cant believe it is over.  I have mixed emotions about returning to the U.S.  Some days I am ready and then majority of the time I do not want to leave.  I have learned a lot of different things here.  Not only from my classes but from my everyday travels.  When I first considered studying abroad I was scared.  I knew I needed to do it but I was afraid to go to a new country with no one I knew.  Once I got through the plane ride and actually settling into the culture I realized that I should have never been scared.

There are some things that I am going to miss a lot because they would never ever happen in the U.S.  People parking way over the side walk(so you cant even walk on it), driving down the wrong side of a one way and my favorite stopping in the middle of a busy intersection and putting on your hazards.  This is totally acceptable here.  I am going to miss the fruit here, the pop and the fascination with old american music.  Yesterday I heard Tom Petty and Backstreet boys.  Lets just say that made my decade long walk from the school to my house a lot of fun.

But..there are a lot of things I am looking forward to for when I return.  Free refills at restaurants, my car, internet, AIR CONDITIONING, a full size bed,  and especially tv that I can understand.  It is going to be so weird hearing english all the time.  I am so used to having to plan out in my head what I am going to say so that I make sense in Spanish.  I know I will do this a few times at home and then remember that English is spoken there. Haha.

Anyways, best decision of my life.  There is nothing I would have changed about my experience abroad.
If you touch the golden toe it means you will return to Sevilla!  BAM PROOF!
 Katie, Paige and I on top of Metropol Parasol.  They go to CMU also!
 The view from Alhambra in Granada!

Thanks for reading amigos!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some tips for future students wanting to come to Spain.

This is my last week in Seville and I cant believe how fast it went.  I decided this would probably be a good time to give some tips for prospective students coming to Spain or world wide travelers.

When I had my orientation at CMU about Seville I was given the impression that everything would be walking distance.  This can be true depending where you live. Seville is a huge city. I am assuming the person that conducted my orientation lived near the center of Seville or near the school.  However not everyone lives that close.  On the first day I arrived to Seville I was given a map of the whole city.  On the map they said they circled where your house is and which bus you should take to school.  I looked at my map for a long time and I did not see anything until I moved my finger off the very edge of the page and I saw a circle that said home and it had an arrow pointing off the map!  Later I came to find out that my home stay was the furthest from the school.  I walked from my house to the school once and it took an hour and fifteen minutes!  Also while everyone else could walk or would take a bus I had three bus numbers written down!  In the beginning this was terrifying and I was a little upset but after a few days of getting lost I understood how to get home and to other important places.

Another tip I have is practice talking to your Señora they understand that you might not always understand them but they want to help you.  The first day I got to my home-stay I was very nervous.  First off everyone else from the program was going with their roommate to meet their señora while my roommate was on vacation and I had to meet my Señora on my own.  I remember my first day I could not understand barely anything she was saying.  She was talking fast, had the thickest accent I have ever heard and she kept talking with her mouth full.  I just kept on saying yes, no, yes.  I was so worried that I got myself into something I could not handle.  After the first week my spanish was flowing a lot better.  I know I am no where near fluent but I talk at a decent pace and my Señora and I understand each other majority of the time.

Some random facts I have picked up on..
They wear their wedding rings on the right hand.
Older people always ALWAYS wear long sleeves and pants.  (Way too hot for this!)
They love their Gazpacho.
You dont need to tip at all, in restaurants or taxis.
They get annoyed when you say thank you 2343 times in a restaurant.  They think that this is what they are required to do and it annoys them a lot when you say it all the time.
Siesta: Best thing in the world.  Everyone closes up shop and goes home from 2-5 ish because it is way to hot to do anything.
Finally, make sure you know a lot about the USA.  I have had some cab drivers be really excited when they learn I am from Michigan.  They know Detroit, New York and Washington D.C.  They always have a lot of questions about Detroit and I probably know the answer to half of them!

I am sure I will think of more things right after I post this but thats all I have for now.  I have one more post after this one and my classes end on Friday!

Friday, July 13, 2012

One week left.

Today marked the end of my second week of my second semester in Sevilla, Spain.  That means I have only one more week here!  I feel like I am busy all the time here with school work, and trying to do last minute sight seeing in Seville.  My class is about the architecture of the Muslim culture in Spain.  We go on a lot of visits to different parts of Seville.  On wednesday we walked all over the city for over 3 hours!  I could not believe how big the city really is.  After walking all day I was exhausted but I could not take a siesta because I also had to study for the exam the next day!  Once I got back home after studying I sat on my bed and before I knew it I was passed out with my notes all over!  Boy I was tired that day!  I enjoy the visits that my class does and exploring Spain but sometimes I definitely miss my car.  Haha

Today I went on a tour boat that takes you on the Guadalajara river in Seville.  It cost 9 euros and I went with people from my school.  It was very relaxing and there was actually a breeze on the boat!  This does not happen to often in Seville.  I got to see a lot of things that are very far away from where I live in Seville.

This weekend I am going to Granada, Malaga and the Mediterranean coast!  Many beautiful pictures to come!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

First week of my second semester of classes are done.

Today marks the end of my first week of my second semester here.  I am having a blast here but knowing that I only have two more weeks in Seville makes me upset all the time.  My Senora can tell because at dinner she kept saying my mood has changed and that she can tell I am upset to leave.  There are so many things I have done in Seville and I feel like I have been to a lot of places in Spain in general.  I have been to Barcelona, Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Ronda and next weekend I will be traveling to Malaga, Granada and the Mediterranean coast.  I have done so many things here and I still cant believe it will be coming to an end soon.  I am going to miss my home stay a lot.  It is awesome to have a home cooked meal every single meal.  It is crazy because I am used to grabbing food on the go and making macaroni and cheese all the time because I can not cook like my senora at all.  Also a lot of things taste better here in general besides my meals at my homestay.  The pop tastes better because they use a lot of sugar and all types of fruit I have had here are refreshing and full of juice.

I am looking forward to my last two weeks in Seville and after my program ends I will be going on a cruise that leaves from the bottom of spain and travels around europe.  I am excited for both of these things!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Second semester of classes.

This week was the beginning of the second semester of classes.  Last semester I was in a grammar class and this time I am in a class about the Muslim culture in Spain.  It is only the second day but so far it has been the same routine powerpoint and then a movie.  I am interested in what I am learning but  I am hoping the routine of how things are done will change.

Today was one of our obligatory visits that the school requires us to go to.  Today we went to Las Setas(where the futbol games are usually watched).  For the first part we went on top of it and we could see the whole city.  It was really beautiful and a different side of the city that I was not familiar with.  Then we went under Las setas.  Apparently as they were building las setas they stumbled on some roman ruines.  They call it the aquarium because of the water systems that were used during the roman times.  It was interesting that these remains existed under the place where we watch the futbol games.

The view from on top of Las Setas.
 Underneath Las Setas, the aquarium.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My week break in Madrid and Barcelona.

This week was my break from classes.  I had a week off so I decided to explore more of spain and travel to Madrid and Barcelona.   I took the AVE train to Madrid and got there on monday.  On monday I visited the Prado museum which has original paintings from the 1600's and up that were created by native spaniards.  The museum was huge and it cost about 20 euros to enter.  I spent about four hours just in that museum there is so much to see and I recognized a lot of the paintings because of my previous spanish history classes.  On tuesday I decided to do a tour bus that cost 15 euros for the whole day.  These busses take you to a lot of different important places and you just hop off wherever you would like.  I  got off at Plaza Mayor (Downtown Madrid),  Plaza de Espana,  The botanic gardens(right by the prado museum), The national library and the Palace.  The palace was amazing and it was my favorite thing that I saw in Madrid.

On wednesday I traveled to Barcelona.  My hotel was very close to the beach and I spent the first day there.  It was nice because in Seville we have the guadalquivir river but the nearest beach is about an hour away.  The second day I did another bus tour and saw Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, La Pedrera (created by Guadi), Casa Batllo and the gothic cathedral.  The Sargada Familia is the third most visited monument in Spain.  It is a temple that was created by the famous Antoni Guadi in 1882.  He created it as a monument for jesus and it is still not completed.  Parc Guell is a Park that has many architectural designs created by Guadi.  It is up in the mountains of Barcelona and is hard to travel to.  Also the Casa Batllo was created by Guadi.  He is obviously very famous and well known in spain.

Overall the trip to Madrid and Barcelona was a new experience for me and I hope to return one day.  Some photos..

The Pardo Museum
 National Library Of Madrid
 Plaza de Independencia
 Royal Cathedral of Madrid
 Royal Palace of Madrid
 La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
 Inside Sagrada Familia
 Casa Batllo in Barcelona
 Parc Guell in Barcelona

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Exciting futbol game!

Last night was a futbol game between Spain and France.  A few of my friends and I went to Las Cetas to watch the game.  Las Cetas is a giant outdoor monument and it has a big tv where everyone comes to watch the games.  The game started at 8:45 and we had to wait an hour to even get inside.  Once we did get in it was amazing.  There were so many people you could barely move.  When Spain scored their last goal everyone went crazy and I felt the ground shaking.  They really love their soccer.  Everyone was either carrying a flag or had their pride by wearing red for Spain.  It was a great experience and I hope to go again soon.

After the game we went and got Tapas, which is like appetizers in the USA but ten times better.  I had croquetas which are like fritters and they are addicting.  I also had two different types of pork that were awesome.  Nights like these make me never want to leave this place.

 Las Cetas
 Las Cetas after the game
The restaurant we went to.