Monday, February 23, 2009

So, A LOT has happened since I last wrote. The past few weeks have been very busy for me. The weekend after Grace and I went to Paris, we went to Sevilla with our program. It was one of the best trips ever. We all had such a great time. 

We got there on Friday afternoon and immediately began to tour different parts of the city. The first place we went to was the Real Alcázar, which is the royal palace. It was beautiful with lots of really cool architecture. We then toured different "neighborhoods" of the city which were very cool.  That night Grace, Katie and I went to the oldest bar in Sevilla which was very cool. 

The thing I liked most about the city was that everything was really old. All the restaurants and bars had tiled walls and all the streets were cobble stones.  The second day Katie and I just walked around the city. It's pretty small so it didn't take us long to do a complete circle. We saw the Plaza España and the Plaza America. We also walked around this really cool park. 

That night a bunch of us went to this local Flamenco bar. It was probably the coolest thing I've done in Spain so far.  It was down this tiny side street and there were no signs indicating that it was a bar.  We had to knock on the door to get in. (Don't ask me how we even figured any of this out). Anyway we walk in to this tiny room packed with people. There were people playing music and people sitting around tables and fireplaces. Then we walked to the back of the room and into this huge room also packed with people. This was where the actual show was taking place. Anyway I got some cool pictures and videos. We were the only Americans which was also really fun.  The next day we went to a Convent and then to the Plaza de Torros which was so cool.

Then last weekend Grace and I went to Luxborough to visit Bethany and Sam. We got to meet Sam's family which was so much fun. It was another great weekend. We went to a rugby game, ate fish and chips, went to the local pub, and just relaxed. I had a great time. It was so good to see Bethany. I didn't realize how much  I missed my family until I saw her. I also got some Valentine's day gifts from my mom and dad which also made me a little homesick.

This past weekend we just stayed in Barcelona. I finally slept in for the first time since I've been here. Grace and I have discovered a bagel shop that we are currently obsessed with. We've only been there twice but I can tell that it's going to be a weekend ritual. I knew I wouldn't be able to last long without a bagel! We also went out to dinner and went shopping and just had a nice relaxing weekend.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Home Sweet Home Barcelona

So a lot has happened in the past week or so. The first big thing is that, as of tomorrow, we will have been living here for a month! I can't believe how fast time is flying. I'm starting to wonder if I will want to come home. I have yet to feel homesick. I do miss a few things like my bed, chick-fil-a, sonic cheeseburgers, and being able to really communicate with people. Oh and my family of course!

My Spanish has really been coming along. They didn't put me in the level that I'm supposed to be in so I try really hard to make sure I answer every question my teachers ask so that maybe they will move me up. It's kind of surprising because back home I enjoy just sitting in class and listening. Here all I do is talk in my classes which has really been helping me a lot. There have been a few times this past week that I will be talking and understanding people without even realizing it. I have learned so many new words and phrases. So that's fun and very encouraging. We have a few friends in the program that speak fluently and I always get them to talk to me in Spanish when we go out together. So that helps too.

As far as the past week goes, we have been very busy. We go out at least two or three nights during the week. This is something I never do back home, but I feel like I have so much to experience and so little time. I figure I can sleep when I get back to the states. It's interesting living with boys. Since I never had brothers, it's taken some time to get used to. We are all still getting along fine. Everyone pulls their weight around the apartment and it's just going really well. Pat and Austin have some really fun guy friends that come over a lot. They have even made us dinner which is really nice.

This past weekend Gracie and I ventured off to Paris. It was so much fun but definitely way different than what we expected. We brought clothes for the 40 degree weather but were not prepared for the 20 degree wind chill. It was SO cold. We had a hard time enjoying ourselves a few times because we were so cold. I looked like I gained 20 pounds with all the layers I had on. On friday, after we checked in to our hostel, we headed for the Louvre. It was awesome! I couldn't believe I was actually there. Grace and I don't really know that much about art but it was still really cool. Seeing the Mona Lisa was also very cool. After that we ran off to the Eiffle tower. We wanted to go at night when it was all lit up and sparkling. It was definitely my favorite part of the trip. You just don't know how huge it is until you are seeing it in person. We took an elevator up to the top which was also fun. The next day we took a train to Versailles. We took a tour of the castle and it had to be one of the biggest places I have ever been to. After that we headed to Notre Dame which was also very beautiful. Everything in Europe is so perfect looking. I was proud of us because we saw so much in such little time. The next day we got on the plane and headed home. We were actually a little homesick for Barcelona. It is a lot cleaner, smells better, and is way cheaper. I was very happy to be home.

All in all, we are still having a great time! Nothing bad has happened yet and I haven't started to question my decision to move here yet which is encouraging. This weekend we are going to Sevilla and I can't wait! I'm sure there will be more to write then!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Barcelona at last!

So I am a little late starting my blog. It took a couple weeks for things to settle down and for me to find time to do things like this.  Grace and I finally arrived in Barcelona on the 8th. Everything went well as far as getting here-- all of our flights were on time and we didn't have any trouble finding our way through the airports.  When we got to Barcelona, we went to the hotel that we were staying at for the weekend. Everyone from API was there for our orientation. This included tours and information meetings. On Saturday we got to move into our apartment, which is a lot nicer than I had expected.  All of the roommates are really nice. Besides Grace and I, there are two guys, Austin and Pat and then another girl, Katie. They are all from Boston and very cool. 

The first week we just got to explore the city. Pretty much every night consisted of going out with everyone from API. Most of the nights we stayed out until 5 a.m.   All of the club and bar owners here love American and other foreign students and cater to us big time. We get free drinks almost every night. Sometimes there will be an open bar for the entire night where we can have anything we want. It's crazy. As you can probably guess, the first week was pretty crazy but so much fun.  

The second week we started class and things definitely calmed down. All of my classes are very easy. On Mondays and Wednesdays I have Spanish for 4 hours which is a little intense, considering there are only 10 other people in the class with me.  Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have two other classes. The campus is very small but pretty. It's only a 30 minute walk from my apartment so I try to do that as much as possible. It's a really nice walk and the weather is so nice-- definitely a great way to start the day. 

Grace and I seemed to have adapted to life here pretty fast. The first day on our own we were able to figure out the metro system and find our way around without any problem.  Life here is a lot easier than I had expected.  One of the best things about the two of us is that we aren't picky eaters, which is great because the food here is amazing. We've tried so many new foods and have yet to order something we didn't like. We already have a market that we go to every few days for food and we have a few cafés that we go to for coffee and pastries in the morning.

This coming weekend we will be in Paris, so there will be more to be said then!