“This is worse than band camp!”

 

So, suddenly it got really hot here in Segovia. I’m dripping with sweat as I type this and it’s 9:53 PM. I also haven’t started reading my homework… maybs I should do that.

Although I went through a rough patch, and I mean really rough, like, ready to hop a plane back home as soon as I could get one rough, everything is starting to get better. Sunday was mundane because I spent the whole day doing homework and kind of moping. Monday was all right, but yesterday and today have helped me start appreciating my time here more.

Yesterday, we went on this pointless excursion to a garden on the outskirts of town. It was almost 100 degrees outside and my dumb ass didn’t bring any water — yuck — and it was not only a 35 minute walk to my house, but it was completely downhill on the way there, and all I could think of was how I was gonna haul my big self back up those stairs when it’s hotter than the devil’s taint on a good day. We piddled around this garden listening to the owners of it talk and did our share to the environment by dripping our sweat all over the plants. I’m gonna go ahead and call it a new, unsanitary form of irrigation.

Anyway, we then listened to the senoras talk about their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which was really interesting, but by the time I was cooled down, we had to get up and leave again. Most of us had the pleasure of seeing a couple get really sexual in the grass like thirty feet away from us. It was distracting.

Finally, we embarked on the trek home. Katie, Lauren, Alex, and I trooped it up the million flights of stairs, me about to tumble back down them from exhaustion (I was exhausted, in general), when finally I exclaimed “THIS IS WORSE THAN BAND CAMP!” and unified the four of us. Katie and Lauren both said “you… really said that.” Yes, I really did say that. Because believe me, clomping up those stairs, that were already on an incline, to boot, was probably worse than spending four hours on a hot July morning doing consecutive box-eights. Literally. Ow.

When I made it home, I showered and felt like a new woman. I then proceeded to entertain everyone on Twitter with my wit about the wet/dry vote. Murray is wet, by the way. I hope all the shit-talkers out there put their feet in their mouths and live with the democratic decision. What really bothered me was that people were throwing out statistics without citing information. And it was generally the people saying to vote no. Apparently, the age of logic is over.

Anyway, I didn’t get much sleep last night because I was too hype about the vote. I planned a trip to Malaga with Alex and we’re excited to go.

Today, we went to the Home Museum of Antonio Machado, one of my favorite writers. I got to see where he lived, made dinner, slept, and wrote poems. He is one of the most influential Spanish scholars and it was an honor to have entered his home. I got a little emotional, but I get that way over things like that.

Then Alex and I went to Burger King for some comfort food and came home and napped for days, but it is a freakin hotbox in this apartment and I could NOT cool down. It’s literal misery.

Although I’m a lot more tolerant of the imminent changes happening in my life, I still feel a scathing fear that the people closest to me have forgotten about me. I wonder if it’ll be like I never left? I really miss my friends a lot, and I’ve gone several days without hearing from my best friend. It’s rough, but communication is difficult when you’re in a foreign country, so there’s that.

I’m stoked to go to Malaga for the long weekend and go to the beach for the second time in my life. I have to make it through classes tomorrow, then the Madrid heat, and I’ll be on a train to my favorite region of Spain – Andalucia!

I wanted to add a photo of the Hitler shrine that was in the Machado bookstore I went to today, but I’m too lazy to upload it. My roommate keeps calling me a fascist Nazi. She’s crazy, though.

B

 

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don’t read this blog

no, really, don’t
i’m telling you
don’t do it
i mean it
why are you still reading?
oh, it’s because you want to listen to this awesome song by death cab for cutie.

okay, bye

one more thing
i’m sad
and lonely
and have lots of things i’d like to say, but can’t
can’t
can’t
can’t
can’t

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we went to Narnia and came home on a Titanic train

I’m alive, y’all. Don’t lose it. I’m alive. I made it back from Valencia in one piece.

Friday was a mix of good and bad. Good, because we left for Valencia and spent the night there and it was woooonderful. But also bad, because I got a bomb fatter than the A-bomb in Hiroshima dropped on me that morning and I had to go to a meeting with my professor sobbing. Cool, right? Yeah I know. But that afternoon, Alex and I got pasteles (desserts), packed up all our stuff, and headed to the bus station to go to the train station in Madrid.

To get there, we had to get on the metro. Everyone had told me to be VERY careful of people on the metro, that groups of thieves prey on tourists and are very slight of hand. (I had decided earlier last month that if I was accosted, I would bark at the assailants.) After successfully figuring out how the metros worked, we braved the underground tunnel from Spanish hell and waited for our stops.

Then, suddenly, a man spoke up, talking about how the world is shit, and that our religion has us all twisted, and that the government is full of murderers and stuff like that. I looked at his hands after looking at Alex and laughing, and he had some large metal contraption. As I didn’t really understand what he was saying exactly, I thought he had a bomb. I was really convinced that I was gonna die on that metro. However, he later began crying over how we were all one human race and how we should love each other. I was still scared, even though what he had was an iPod dock…

After safely arriving in Valencia, Alex and I took a cab to our hostel, which was a very nice place with a big bed, and A/C. It’s hotter than a baby in a microwave in Valencia (I hope Wil Underwood reads this at some point) and I was drenched in sweat. After settling in, we set off to find a bar called Sherlock Holmes to eat and drink a little. We got lost like three times, finally found the bar, and it was closed. So we meandered around the city and went to a cute cafe called Cafe de las Horas (The Hours; it was French themed), and had an 8-euro sangria and I had hot black mango tea even though my body temperature was a hundred thousand degrees. I was dehydrated and starving, so the sangria wasn’t a good idea because it was tiny and after it, I was tipsy.

We meandered some more after realizing there was no food at that cafe and went to La Cueva and ordered tapas, which were delicious. I had asparagus for the first time; LOVE. I may or may not have had too much to drink that night (and my roommate definitely did), so we kind of lived up to the stereotype of drunk, loud Americans. We made it back to the hostel, dripping in sweat, and I called my mama and Skyped with Christian and texted everyone in my phone with iMessage (sorry, y’all…).

I woke up the next morning, mostly excited to go to the beach for the first time in my life (!!!!!!!), but feeling really empty inside, both because I was severely dehydrated and because I felt scared to be in Valencia alone and that the only ones I wanted to talk to were many hours away and all I wanted was to hear Nathan’s voice. I toughed it out, ate a free breakfast, navigated the VALENCIA metro like a badass, and made it to the beach.

I’M IN LOVE WITH THE BEACH. CAN I HAVE IT?!

I felt like part of the sea when I floated with the waves. Sand was everywhere, I was soaked in the Mediterranean sea, the sun was hot but the breeze was cool, it was heaven. Also we just so happened to have a spot on the beach next to two hotties, till an old man in a speedo separated us, and I had the pleasure of seeing him get beaten by the waves (he was really the old man and the sea). I can’t wait to go to the beach in Malaga again this weekend.

On our way back from our beautiful trip, we took a different kind of train that runs a little bit more slowly than an AVE, and five minutes out of Valencia…it stopped. Not only did we have plans to stop in Madrid and shop before going home to Segovia, but the train stopped… like, stopped. WHAT? Ten minutes later, it started up again, but it was literally dragging the ground… my roommate, unaware of my thing for Titanic, says, “we’re on titanic and these railroad rocks are icebergs.” You know I died inside.

Anyway, we made it to Madrid safely and this time on the Metro, some man tried selling kleenexes and started playing the recorder beginning for money…?

We went to a few stores before deciding we were dead tired and wanted to go home and made the last bus home to Segovia. For some reason, I started having a homesick panic attack and wanted to go back home worse than I have this whole trip.

So I slept all day, did homework for six hours, and don’t care about my grades here anymore.

I’m ready to come home. I miss everyone too much. By the end, I’m sure I’ll never want to leave, but for now, I need a hug from my mom, harassment from my dad, and a kiss from mom’s dog. I have to start learning how to live without some things, though. This will be good practice.

Hopefully this week goes all right and I get over my homesickness. Till then, I’m in love with this person

B

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oh my goodness.

My roommate and I have successfully (we hope) planned and booked a trip to Valencia this weekend less than 20 hours before departure.

We deserve an award… or a punch in the throat.

But mostly the first one.

This blog is mainly to ask for prayers as we take our first solo journey to a province in Spain whose primary language is a mix between Spanish, French, and fart noises. Maybe I’m kidding about that last part, but neither of us know any Catalan.

It was a conundrum booking and planning this trip, and Alex and I only hope that planning our trip to Malaga for next week goes smoothly.

Here’s a picture.

B

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well, I guess I’ll be honest

these past few days have been kind of miserable. I’ve had homework up to my ears. I’ve been so stressed and overwhelmed that there is more importance placed on homework here than there is immersing in the culture — I realize this is STUDY abroad, but why did I pay 5,000 dollars to come here and not learn anything without participating? Obviously, I have a problem with accepting a B, but I’m not the only one who was complaining. Or is. Or has been. If my roommate hadn’t been here, I probably would have gone crazy.

I also really, really missed Nathan on Sunday night and it was really bad and I may or may not have broken down, but whatever.

Madrid was really awesome. It was busy, and SOOOO hot, but I had fun. I went to both the Prado and Reina Sofia museums to see some of my favorite artwork. I did see Bosch’s painting, but I didn’t poop. I did, however, see Guernica by Picasso and cry. Yes. I cried. In front of people. Over a painting. Ridiculous, but whatever. I was so moved at seeing Guernica and Dali and Rafael and Velazquez in real life, I couldn’t help but be on the edge of my emotions the entire day. Art really captivates me.

I also saw this painting called The Creation of the Milky Way, and it’s of a woman squirting her breast milk in her child’s face/in the universe. I think it was Mary to Jesus, but I really couldn’t handle the fact that there was a painting of oozing breast milk in one of the most austere art museums in the world. Whatever.

At the end of the day I was the most tired thing in the world and I came home, skyped with Steven for thirty minutes, and passed out, slept for eleven hours, woke up, and spent all of Sunday doing homework. It was ugly.

Then Monday was ugly, too. I was basically fed up. I cried in the shower like a blubbering baby and made a dramatic facebook post about being ready to come home. I wanted to take a stone out of the aqueduct and watch it fall and laugh. I also really wanted my mom.

Tuesday, though, was awesome. We went on an excursion to Salamanca and Avila, where we saw the oldest university in Spain (the University of Salamanca) in the only city with two cathedrals, and the famous walls of Avila. Salamanca was beautiful and also my favorite city. This is me in it.

I did some shopping and some ice cream-eating with my roommate and then we hopped aboard the bus and headed to Avila, where I enjoyed the wall and inside of the city for the whole 45 minutes we were there.

Then we came home and went to a bar called Ven Ven and I drank two mojitos just cause I could. By Tuesday, I was less emo.

Today was uneventful, except for the refreshing thunderstorm this afternoon and the sangria I drank after classes. And the hamburger I had for lunch. And the amazing nap I took. And the five minute skype with Kaley.

Tomorrow, Alex and I are planning a trip to Valencia for the weekend. Then probably planning a trip to Malaga for our long weekend. These are very last minute plans, so pray for us… really. Also pray for me and these tests I have tomorrow. I studied, but I’m also a zombie from lack of sleep.

Here goes nothing.

B

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while I’m awake, I SHOULD be doing homework…

…but I’m not. Because after four straight days of getting less than six hours of sleep from doing four-plus hours of homework, I’m gonna take the time to write.

So let me get my few complaints out of the way: in Spain, I have a lot of homework. A lot. While I should be out exploring, I’m inside doing homework with my eyes half-drooping. I also have to do at least an hour’s worth of walking a day. While I shouldn’t complain, the blisters on my feet are pretty intense. Also, I bought a dress at market the other day and it doesn’t fit because I have breasts.

Tuesday, we had an excursion to Toledo, the famous ex-capital of Spain, and it was so wonderful, except for it was a million degrees outside. We took a guided tour of the new and old parts of the city, and it’s so beautiful. In the cathedral, there were so many works of art by El Greco, and looking at them gave me chills. In fact, being in the cathedral at all gave me chills. How any human could construct something so grandiose, so magnificent, detailed, I can’t fathom. I love architecture. And the Cathedral of Toledo is legit.

We then went to the Cathedral of Saint Thomas, or Santo Tome (pronounced To-MAY, I can’t figure out how to put accent marks in letters up in here), where I saw the ACTUAL painting of The Burial of the Man from Orgaz (formerly The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, but after research, they changed it. They being historians, whatever). I almost peed myself. I studied that painting pretty in-depth in high school, and seeing it in real life was like being able to see someone in concert. Art is so important to me that I get these weird, melty feelings when I think about it. At the Cathedral, I saw a painting by Rafael. Rafael!!!

Wednesday was a really long day, but that night, our house dad, Sandro, took me and Alex to see some sights around Segovia. We went to the Alcazar, which was an Arab fortress in the middle ages, and took some pictures at its base… it’s beautiful during the day, but at night, it seems like something out of a book or a movie. The way the lights illuminate it, with all of Segovia and its charm behind it, makes for an incredibly picturesque view. None of my pictures could possibly do it justice.

The scope of human power and intelligence found in Spanish art, architecture, and literature astounds me. Also, I’ve been spelling architecture wrong and having to correct it because doing everything in Spanish has made me forget how to be an American… sorry.

Anyway, we also went to the aqueduct at night and it was so beautiful. Sandro told us that when he was young, he walked all the way across the top of it. It’s like a million feet long, two miles high, and six inches wide, so how he survived, I couldn’t tell ya. Actually I don’t really know the actual dimensions but it’s really big and walking across it scares the doodoo out of me. Regardless, it’s beautiful. There’s a legend that if one stone is removed from it, the whole thing falls down.

I’m so tired I might die omg

Thursday was, by far, one of the best days yet! Mr. Steven Stewart paid me a visit! We had long talked about moving to Spain together and living in boxes, and part of that dream was realized when we spent a day in Segovia together. We walked through the market, talked a whole lot, mostly catching up (PS Kullen, if you’re reading this, I know all about your secrets!), and walking all over town. We ate at a restaurant and I had my first sangria… which was TO DIE for. It was HUGE. And delicious, and everything I ever wanted in a drink. I could have had six more, but I probably would have been too drunk to stand and then I would have barfed.

We also went to the Cathedral of Segovia, where I mostly talked like an obnoxious American tourist under my breath (the only three letters I need are U, S, ‘n’ A!!!), pronounced Spanish horribly incorrectly, and I maybe blasphemed a little bit but God forgave me. The was one capilla with these scary angel cherubim with terrifying facial expressions, and a pig standing by the Angel, with cherub heads spread sporadically through the ornamentation… I’m guessing the style is Baroque + surrealist. (Steven, please always remember the movie I came up with in that capilla.)

We made our way to a chocolateria where the owner was a complete douche, so we vandalized his dishes with chocolate, then went to the aqueduct, where I hauled my big ass up a bunch of stairs to see the entire city of Segovia. We just sat up top and looked at everything. When I got down, though, there was bird shit all over the seat of my pants and Steven had to clean me off… I’m always having to be helped by someone. I was really sad when Steven had to leave. It means a lot to me to have shared the day with you, Steven! Thank you times a million 🙂

Also Thursday was good because I went to a bathroom all on my own! Then I found out I had used the men’s bathroom.

Today was good in general. My roommate and I are starting to become friends, and we spent the day walking around, found the bus stop on our own, took a long nap, went out for some drinks and tapas, and enjoyed our night. Alex and I are a lot alike and I’m glad to be rooming with her.

Mom and dad, you’ll be proud. I’ve been eating tomatoes.

Oh, and I think my senora wants me to go on a diet with her………….lol um not as long as sangria and tapas exist. ;)… but I’ll consider it.

Aside from being completely lovestruck with the Seleccion Nacional de Futbol Espanol and freaking out when I see anything having to do with it, I think my mental state is kind of stable here. The weather is nice. Hopefully it is in Madrid tomorrow, too.

I miss everyone, but I’m really starting to love it here. It was a slow going, and I have lots to learn, but it’s amazing.

Omg and tomorrow we’re going to the Museo del Prado in Madrid and if I see Hieronymus Bosch’sThe Garden of Earthly Delights, I will poop myself. Dali, Picasso, and Bosch all in one day might kill me… so pray. Steven, if you read this far without going to sleep, I’m proud of you. Sorry my writing is so boring.

The aqueduct (Segovia) and the Cathedral of Toledo… Just a taste.

B

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Days 1 and 2 in ESPANA!

I never knew what love – true love – was until yesterday.

Flying is brutal. Especially when you hop aboard your flight, and it’s 5:45, then eight hours and 21 Jump Street later it’s 9:55 AM in Madrid. My neck hurt a lot. I was really tired. And probably extremely unfriendly (sorry, y’all.) I also probably cried because I missed my friends and family already.

As soon as my feet hit the ground at the Madrid airport, it felt like home. There were so many different languages buzzing about me, it was chaos, it was beautiful. The airport is so nice. I didn’t take pictures because I felt it was too touristy – but it’s one of the nicest airports in the world.

Then, the bus. Traveling to Segovia, we finally saw the Spanish landscape. So beautiful. Dry, but beautiful. There are all these sepia-colored houses and neighborhoods lining the streets. They played Michael Jackson and Prince on the bus. Some of the people in the program were arguing over who was the real king of pop… My vote goes to MJ, even though I like Prince more.

We got into Segovia and it was like a wonderland with a Burger King. We got off the bus right in front of the aqueduct – which I have not captured on film yet (I’ll be here for 29 more days…) – and met our host families. I met my roommate for the first time and she was very shy, but very nice. Our host dad (as opposed to our senora) came to pick us up and was very friendly! (By the way, the Spanish do kiss on both cheeks when they greet each other. Even though Ms. Burgess told me they did it a million times, I still thought it was a myth.) His name is Sandro. He drove us to his apartment where he, his wife, Myriam, and two precious daughters viven (that’s Spanish for live.)

He talked so quickly that I couldn’t hardly understand him, even with six years of Spanish under my belt. I did, however, understand him when he said partido de futbol.

PARTIDO DE FUTBOL?! WHAT!! YOU MEAN THE EURO CUP FINAL THAT IS GOING ON TONIGHT WHERE MY FAVORITE TEAM OF ANY SPORT IN THE WORLD IS PLAYING?!!

and I tried to communicate with him about it, and hinted at watching it. We talked about our favorite players and he accused me of being a Torres fan (while I do love me some Nando, Casillas, Ramos, and my beloved Xabi have my heart.), a statement at which I laughed.

My roommate and I unpacked and spent time with our family for a while. They call me Bi (pronounced bee, like the letter), because it’s easier than Bailey. We went out for tapas and Coca-Cola, talked a while, and laughed a lot. I love my host family. They are super nice, understanding about how off-par my Spanish is, and are so comical.

By the way, we had three tapas, which are like little appetizers. One was some kind of sea creature on top of salad on top of bread – I didn’t like it. Then we had ham on honeydew melon, which Sandro, mi papa de casa, made me eat whole. I didn’t really like it, either, mostly cause I got choked on the ham.

After spending time with them, I realized that my Spanish wasn’t that bad. It’s gotten worse now because I think too hard about it, but even they complemented me on it (so my life is obvs complete. except not.)

Anyway, love. We toured Segovia afterwards, and it is the most enchanting place that I have ever been. It is tiring and horrible to walk around here, so hilly and cobblestoney, but so quaint and perfect with beautiful buildings and stores and so, so many bars. (I went to one and got lemonade – saving the Sangria for later.) I was already in love with the city, but last night cemented it.

I decided to watch the game in the plaza. I missed the first 15 minutes because we got lost, but what I did catch was amazing. The plaza was full – I mean AT CAPACITY – of people, almost all in roja y amarillo // red and yellow, the colors of Spain. My boys played phenomenally. When they scored goals, the entire city erupted in cheers and threw water and beer on each other. At the third goal, I was screaming of happiness because I knew we’d win – but at the fourth goal, I nearly pissed myself. It was a big game to the Spaniards: if they won it, they would be the only team in history to win three consecutive cup titles (euro 2008, w.c. 2010, euro 2012)… and they did. When Mata (I think) got the fourth goal with assistance from Nando, I screamed, jumped up and down, pretended I knew the songs of celebration they were singing… It was so beautiful. I know I won’t be able to describe how much I loved it. My roommate and I watched as everyone cried, hugged, jumped, sang songs, screamed, whistled, gave off fireworks, beat drums, threw things into the air, and were just plain happy. The celebrations lasted all night.

As we were walking home, cars drove by and honked at us because I was wearing a Spain flag like a cape. I would scream VIVA ESPANA!! and the people would honk, and honk, and scream it back. CAMPEONES! VIVA LA ROJA! so many cheers throughout the night. It was the most epic moment to be a part of. Now I’m part of Spanish history… I experienced their third cup title in Spain.

They love their football here. We’ve been watching stuff about it on TV since yesterday, and my host family makes fun of me for getting giddy and excited when I see my boys. Shucks. Can’t help it.

I showered last night and went to bed thinking about how happy I was to experience everything I had that day. Outside, cars were still honking and people were still yelping. I was so thankful for everything. At La Fuente, firetrucks came and sprayed everyone down for fun.

Today was tiring. Classes were long, I tipped a waiter more than 100% for a water because he was so nice, and I took a 2 hour nap… That’s about it. We’re going to Toledo tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be able to be a bit more concise with my storytelling. Siempre que viva Espana! I love it here so far, although I am homesick.

B

the game 🙂 … more photos to come.

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