Friday, April 30, 2010

Day Three

Ayyy después de un día llena de español, es muy difícil cambiar y hablar en inglés, and it's only been two days. Wow this place is crazy, but first thing's first.

bienvenidos a la tapa
Here in Spain, the food is important. So are friends. So are drinks. So is talking. So, because all these things are super importante, es necesario to combine them into what we like to call las tapas.
Basically las tapas is not just a food, but a lifestyle. The people here eat a small breakfast, a large lunch around 2:30, and dinner usually isn't until around 10:30 or 11 PM, and between lunch and dinner, is the prime time for las tapas. You go to a bar, order a round of drinks with sus amigos, and then feast on a variety of small sandwiches, or another small appetizer. You eat, and then talk.... for a very long time. Today when a couple friends and I went in for a round of tapas y límonada, our mesero (waiter) didn't come back with any prying questions of "how is everything" or "can I bring you anything else?" after he'd brought us our food. In fact, after chatting for over an hour, we are the ones who had to ask to see the check. I could get used to this lifestyle!

Other observations:
Los viejos.
For every young person here on the streets of Alcalá, there are at least four older people over the age of 65. They are EVERYWHERE, especially at night, walking through La Plaza de Cervantes arm in arm, sitting in a bar with their friends enjoying tapas, and buying gifts at the many stores on the streets of downtown. None are extremely overweight, and none are sitting home in front of la televisión. (that is done at mealtimes... we've got one about 2 feet from the table. Today during la cena it was Miss Congeniality haha) They definitely don't appear to be suffering from hypertension, diabetes, or any disease plaguing their counterparts in America.

The mullet.
It must have never died here. Over half the men here have a mullet, along with the little chicos... que buenisimo.

Los fumadores.
Everybody smokes. People light up at every corner, and the city smells faintly of cigarrette smoke and perfume... In fact, for complete convenience, there is even a maquina de fumar in the bar. Go figure.
and my final observation for the day:
Los bebes.
All the babies here look the same. Fat, always sleeping, and adorable. Sorry, no photos at this time, I didn't really feel like asking, "perdón, puedo sacar un foto de su bebe?" not sure how that would go over. They are beautiful, though. I have yet to see an ugly one. Plus, they have the coolest carriages on this side of the Atlantic. Seriously, the Lexuses of all baby transportation.

and now it's off to bed, for tomorrow is the day to venture into Madrid and see some Running of the Bulls Madrid style. Oh, and I just ate sheep cheese- queso de oveja. It was interesting, but I love me whatever cheese I can find.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day Two

here I am in Alcalá de Hernares, España, finally. I didn't sleep a wink last night/this morning whatever those strange 9 hours were, and now that I crashed for about 10 minutes, I am feeling a little recharged and really wanting to walk around el pueblicito. How fun it is to not sleep for over 30 hours! We're all moved into our apartamento, and I love our family already- Roberto and his parents (whose names have already slipped my mind... we'll call them Mama y Papa)
You will not even believe how fast these people speak and how much they want to cook for you. Upon our arrival, the first question popped to us by Mama was, "Tenéis hambre? Que queréis comer?"
Within ten minutes the food was out on the table, I was nodding and smiling at a lot of gibberish I could barely make heads or tails of, and I was putting the unthinkable into my mouth.
Albóndigas. Meatballs. There is no escaping this meat fetish in Spain. It's impossible. I told Mama I didn't like that much meat, but that I'd eat whatever she made me. Five minutes later there was a plate laid out for me, and I just took the plunge. At first I tried to swallow without chewing, then I tried to chew fast without tasting. All I know is that I got two down, chased quickly down with some papas fritas and croquetes.
As to now, I am just marveling in all the sounds coming from my open balcony door- little kids speaking Castillian Spanish, the birds chirping away in the outside trees, and the occasional roar of a car engine down the road below. (The drivers here= loco)
Voy a explorar. hasta pronto

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day One

Not even one hour into my flight out of the country, and without a doubt, the most stressful experience of my life occurs. Picture this.

Casey and I board the plane Atllanta bound, giddy to say the least. As soon as we take off and are climbing higher and higher into the atmosphere, I got this feeling I should find my passport, which I had nonchalantly thrown in my bag after we’d checked them at the gate. After flipping through SkyMall once, I pulled out my backpack to find the little blue book. As I began to search pocket after pocket, unzipping compartment after compartment, my anxiety grew. It was nowhere to be found. Not only could I not find my passport, but my travel wallet, well equipped with my driver’s license, debit card, and credit card were missing as well. My heart began to beat faster and faster as I shakily asked Casey to hold a couple of my books as I rummaged through the deep abyss.


My mind raced as I tried to recount the last place I had held my little pile of documents. There I was, 1600 feet in the air, fifteen minutes into my flight to the other side of the country, and knowing that in the back of my mind the sudden realization that my trip would stop dead in it’s tracks without those tokens of passage. I looked through my things again, flipping through every page of every book sorting through everything I owned. Shakily, I pressed the service button, and a flight attendant came over. When I told her all my documentation was MIA, the look on her face said everything. Her mouth quivered a little as she went to get another attendant, who I told the story to again. I’d had it in my front jacket pocket the whole time in the airport, and thought maybe I’d set it down during a Starbuck’s run. She collected some information, and had the pilot radio the SLC Airport to see if anything had turned up. Meanwhile, I spend the three hour plane ride in a living hell. Casey graciously paid the big bucks for me for Wi Fi, and as soon as it was up and running, I wrote my professor an email to let him know what was going on., then quietly flipped through my belongings again and again, as my mind raced as to what my fate would be. Casey patted my arm, told me we’d find everything, and tried to be some sort of consonance. The flight attendant came back, and much to my dismay, she told me nothing had been found at the airport. Upon arrival at Atlanta, an agent would meet me, and we could try to “sort things out”, but one thing was for sure- I was not leaving the country.

I looked through my things again and again. All I could think of was sitting in ATL by myself. I didn’t have my cell phone, I didn’t have any ID, and all I could think about was that dreaded, horrific image of me, standing by a payphone with borrowed quarters, calling home and recounting the sad story to my folks, and then pleading them to fork over some more money for me to get a plane home. My appetite was gone, my mouth was dry, and I even passed up airline pretzels. This whole ordeal was a mess, and I was stranded in an airplane completely helpless. As the longest flight of my life began to end and the plane descended, I gathered my things, andI was reaching down to put my seatbelt on, when suddenly when something caught my eye. I yelled a handful of profane phrases as my eyes rested upon the most beautiful sight of my life- passport and wallet right underneath my armrest.

I wanted to cry a little, scream a little, and maybe become the next YouTube sensation and dance around the plane, However, I refrained and just thanked God that I was going to Spain again. The people around me all congratulated me as I called the flight attendant to tell her I’d found my stuff.

Thanks to her for trying to help me out and run around the plane like we were in the deleted scenes from Flight Plan

Thanks to Casey for bringing some feel good tunes, buying me my internet, and cracking a few jokes then and again.

Thanks to the moving truck driver sitting next to me for praying that I’d recover my passport as we descended. (He must have the best prayers- found it right after that)

And thanks to me for developing a little common sense. From now on I will most definitely be using that annoying but highly helpful silken money belt fanny pack thing. Better now than later to learn this lesson, right?

As for now, I’m back on track to Spain and currently soaring over the Atlantic, eating Delta’s complimentary dinner of pasta and wilted salad, was offered time and time again complimentary wine by the attendant with a southern accent, and now thinking it might be time for some shut eye, seeing as we’ll be there 8:30 AM Spain time, but 11:30 PM Utah time.

Life is good. Good night America and good morning España.

Monday, April 26, 2010

down to the wire

let the countdown commence.
I've got 40 hours until departure and a 50 lb limit on my suitcase.... to be cut down to 20 lbs when Spain ends and backpacking begins. What does one pack? Do I take running shoes? Cards? Sheets for hostel beds? What do you take to your Spanish family as a peace offering? Not sure See's chocolates will compete with the Spanish variety.
All I know, is that in less than two days I am OUT of Provo. Seriously, is there life after Europe?

and PS I stumbled upon this section of a "going to Spain" to do list online, and I just couldn't help myself.

  • turn off water
  • empty and de-frost fridge
  • contact somebody to water plants and collect your post
  • arrange to have pets looked after
  • empty all waste-baskets, garbage, etc.
I am currently accepting takers for any of these fine positions. :)
but really... I do need my plant(s) watered.

hasta pronto

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

sharing time

I have an old soul. I am the first to admit it.
But really, I just couldn't help myself. I found some new food blogs and I couldn't keep them to myself.
click here and here


Wisdom Wednesday

every year it happens, and just like catching a cold, you don't realize how annoying it is until it hits you again.

you see, I love Spring. I love the fact warm weather has finally graced the valley. I love that BYU put water back into the little stream by my dorm and with it brought hundred of kids under 6 to the banks with rolled up pant legs and Moms chasing after them with Canon Rebels.

I hate the trees BYU decided to plant.
WW59-don't plant the Bradford Pear.
yeah, yeah doesn't look very menacing, does it? Think I hate nature, huh? Well if this was a scratch and sniff sticker, you'd understand. They smell like fish and hairspray. I am beginning to wonder if there was sale on these rogue trees a hundred years ago, seeing as they are everywhere on campus and around Provo. Last night on my run I literally had to hold my breath and run faster underneath these little devils for fear of puking, as I had flashbacks of doing the same thing at Timberline last year, as they infested our parking lot as well.

I'm thinking either these blooms should die quick, or I should invest in a gas mask.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday

One week from today I will be done with my freshman year of college. (how strange)
Two weeks from today I will be boarding a plane to a place I have dreamed about going since I could remember.
But there is one thing that stands in between me and all this excitement. Well, actually 5 things- they're called finals and I am dreading them. Yep, I know I need to study, but right now that large elephant in the room is being shoved farther and farther down the to-do list.
Last night I did do something good and beneficial, though:
WW58- calculate your grades.
now I know exactly how hard I need to study to get some pretty mediocre grades, but if anyone has any excess motivation, hand it over, please and thank you.

in the meantime, three cheers for:
working 9 hours today.
blueberry Clif bars.
the SUN.

Monday, April 12, 2010


it came.
now all of my "what if?" thoughts can hightail it outta here.
& personally, I love how my hand doesn't even look like it's on my body

Sunday, April 11, 2010

what do you do

with a mountain of t-shirts,
most dated 04-09?
that is today's question as I fold them all up and shove them into a garbage bag to be held there for the next 3 or 4 months.
yay for starting to pack!

ps. I just found a quilt in the DI box in the basement of my building. I love dumpster diving.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday

today I am lame. so if you don't want to be bored, don't read this.
WW57- espinaca.
(that's spinach in Spanish... I just thought it would sound a little cooler if I wrote it in an exciting way... and gave you a link to look up all the benefits if you're as cool as I am)
Last week Mom loaded me up on some groceries, and it just turns out that the superfood itself landed in my fridge... I've eaten it every day since.
My vegetable hating roommate tells me it looks like leaves I picked off trees. When I tell her that it's full of calcium, she tells me to drink some milk.
What do I say to that? I like it.
Anyways, that is all... I really did just write a whole post about leaves. I'm cool.
Oh, and happy three year vegetarian anniversary to me... soon to be broken in Spain :/
Some people are afraid of spiders. I am afraid of shrimp. and pork.

Monday, April 5, 2010

words and numbers

credits for next semester. registration? CHECK.
One thing I did right in high school was to get a plethora of AP credit.
Because of those 16 Spanish credits I came here with, I got to register early-ish, and I was able to snag all the classes I wanted.
schedule? Fall is looking like Anatomy, Accounting, Spanish Literature, Psychology, and New Testament. Gotta love pre-dietetics.
the current temp for Provo. Cloudy, rainy, and cold. Really? While sleeping I am beginning to dream of stable climates.
the number of days remaining until I am walking on Spanish ground. And I am praying that my passport comes soon- can't get there without it :/
the number of episodes of the Office I have missed. I believe it's time to become reacquainted with Jim, Pam, and the baby, make pitas for dinner, and catch up on some Spanish.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen

What is a girl to do when her roommates are all MIA over the Easter/conference weekend, it's the off-Sunday meaning no family dinner, and her friends have Easter commitments?
That is the thought I pondered all this morning as I was watching General Conference and ate all the Peeps and Cabury Mini eggs I wanted.
However, while feeling increasingly bad for myself, I found these pictures online, and I was almost brought to tears as I recounted the reason for this holy day.
With the help of MSNBC. com, I found photos from Easter celebrations in
And once again I was brought back to the reason for this day. How no matter where you are or in which life situation you find yourself, he knows. He understands, he cares, and he is there.
Happy Easter