Aly's Spain Adventure

Read about what I'm doing while in Spain so you can keep up with me!

Location: Des Moines, Iowa, United States

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I think it's the same URL address everytime but I will put it again. There are pictures of my Sweden trip!

Day 55, 56, 57
So I've been doing a lot of homework (just kidding, more like watching the TV shows I downloaded) & sadly haven't been able to get up the energy to do much. Kind of waiting for that to pass, I think it has for the most part. It's so hard to do as much as I've been doing all the time. I need to RELAX more. I think the next 2 months are going to be CRAZY busy so I think that was the last of my lazy days. So Wednesday I went to the salsa class again with Joanna & her boyfriend who is visiting. Her boyfriend's name is Patrick & he is from the West Indies (Martinique). It's a country but I had never even heard of it before. He had somewhat of like a Jamaican accent or something. Anyway so I met them at the metro station (after waiting for them forever! hehe) & we headed to dance. We had a few drinks first because no one was there for the class yet but finally the instructor came. My roommates didn't end up coming so I ended up dancing with the instructor the whole time. At least he knew what he was doing so I couldn't screw it up too bad. It was a really fun time & we all enjoyed ourselves. Joanna & Patrick made me a little homesick for my Mikey though. :-(
So I really haven't been doing too much. I've just had a few small "adventures" here & there, buying groceries, trying to find my books for my classes etc.
So something I will talk about is the school system here & how it works. In the universities here it is quite different from the universities in the US. You have a schedule & your classes are either in the morning or in the evening, there's no real mixing it up. It's not nearly as flexible of a schedule as the US. One thing that I HATE is how their classes work. You go to class & take notes just like in the US but there is no specific textbook that you follow. You do not read a specific chapter for each class. There is no one book that contains all the information you talk about in class. There are recommended books but nothing concrete. So if you miss a class or don't get good notes (such as if you're a foreigner who can't understand everything) you're screwed. You can read the recommended books but can't be sure exactly which ones to read or what to know. It's HORRIBLE. It's horrible because it's harder to learn too. You only have one chance at getting the information & don't have it explained after reading it like in the US. It's only information given once. It SUCKS! Also something kind of weird is their midterms (examenes parciales). The midterms actually more or less have set dates by the university, not by the teacher. They are like our finals & so they are hard to change the date if you can't be there for the midterm (like I can't). So I very awesomely found a girl who took 3 of the classes in the past that I am taking now & she has all her old notes!!! But she told me that my ethics class that she also took last year, only 3 people in the whole class passed!!! How encouraging. I already didn't think I was going to pass so now I think I will actually drop the class to give me more time to focus on the others & to reduce stress of a class that I really have no hope of passing. I decided not to freak out about it though because I can just take that class this summer & it will be easy. So that's all good.
So tonight I think I will be going out with some Spanish friends from school so we'll see how that goes. Next weekend grandma & grandpa come!!! Woohoo!!! I'm so excited to see my family!
Oh one last thing to share. Halloween here is not a big deal at all. Just lately have they begun to even celebrate it & not many people dress up & they do not have trick-or-treating or haunted houses so that's kind of sad but I am going to go to a Halloween party where we do dress up & an awesome thing is Halloween is Tuesday & we don't have class on Wednesday. Woohoo!!! I will get more pictures up soon. Please send me emails if the site doesn't work b/c my mom said it didn't but she might have used it wrong: If it's not working I'll try to fix it. I love you all so much!!!

So let's finish off what happened on the Sweden trip...
So the next morning, Johan & Yannie came over around 10:30am & we had some more typical Swedish breakfast & then we headed to a castle that is in Malmo. It was interesting to me because Yannie & Johan had both been there many times on field trips & stuff but still were excited to go because it had been such a long time since they went. I can totally appreciate that & it's just funny to think of them having gone to a castle when they were kids & I went to stuff like Living History Farm. Hehe.
So anyway we headed for the castle which ended up being really cool. We also went past the Turning Torso again on the bus which is the symbol of Malmo. It's a building that looks like & is turning. I got even better pictures this time. Then we had to walk just a tiny bit to the castle but I got some beautiful pictures of the landscape & all. It was perfect weather, not too cold & not too hot. So we got to the castle & it was really neat. They actually had a bunch of different things to see in it. There was a little zoo kind of thing in the basement which lizards & huge weird bugs & bats & really cool weird fish. It was neat. Then there was a part with some history of dinosaurs & animals & history & junk like that but it was all in Swedish so I was like let's go find the cool castle-looking part. And we did. Johan showed me his favorite part as a kid which was the basement/dungeon with real canons & stuff. It was really neat. There was a whole bunch of it that had the original castle walls & furniture & stuff. There was one part which I thought was interesting because I learned a little history. In one room there was a bunkbed & stuff & it was telling about the Jews. When World War II was over a ton of the Jews came to Sweden & actually a whole bunch of them stayed in that castle. I always had thought Sweden was neutral in the war (I kind of remember learning this a little) but actually they were on Germany's side until towards the end of the war & there were actually 500 Swedish soldiers in the SS. Interesting eh? It is when you see that history in person!
So then we had to head to the bus station & I got a few more pictures on the way. I almost missed my train back to Copenhagen so I very quickly said goodbye to Johan & Yannie. It was such a great time!!! I got home around midnight (actually 1 after riding the metro home). I was actually a little depressed to have left my friends & I kind of had felt like I was at home speaking English & being with my friend who I only had hung out with in the states. I was kind of sad to be going back to Spain & not home to Iowa. The homesickness kicked in a little more. I'm okay now though. But the more emails & comments I get the better I feel! ;-) Alright I'll finish off the rest of my week on the next page. Then we'll be caught up. Haha I'll never stay caught up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

So after we took the boat tour, we actually headed to the King & Queen's castle. I thought it was an older castle we could go into but it was still cool to see from the outside. There were the guards with the funny hats there. Hehe. Then we grabbed a little more food & I tried a Dannish sausage (hot dog). It was weird but very good. It had some sauce & dried fried onions & some other stuff. Different but still tasty. Then we headed to a place called Tivoli which is actually an amusement park so I was kind of disappointed that it wouldn't be more cultural but then I found out it is an extremely popular place in Denmark. There are so many pictures of it in travel guides so then I was on board. So it cost 75 Dannish crowns to get in which equals about 7.50 euros. Crowns are so weird. Everything is basically x10. 100 crowns=10 euro. There are also Swedish crowns (crowns are also called kroners) & then I guess Norway also has crowns but Finland uses the euro. Those are the parts of Scandanavia basically. So Tivoli was pretty cool. We couldn't do much because everything cost money so we just walked around and took some pictures & that was great.
We were kind of tired after that so we headed back to Johan's place & I started mixing up the Sangria that I had taken over for them. They LOVED it. Absolutely LOVED it! We just kind of hung out all night at Johan's & his brother came over later with his friend & then we just eventually went to bed (Johan & Yannie went back to Johan's parents). We had a party planned for the next night.
So then we got up Saturday morning & went to Johan's mom's for the breakfast that I already explained. His mom had such a strong British accent (everyone here learns British english) so it was kind of funny. I met Johan's youngest brother who is quite a nerdy little videogame player (I mean that in a nice way) so we didn't see him much. So after that we went SHOPPING! I felt kind of weird at first to drag around Johan & Yannie with me but they enjoyed it so I felt better. I got 2 pairs of jeans, a pair of boots, & a few tops. My jeans are so different than what I normally wear. Here in Europe, the style is tight jeans that are tight and tight around the calf & everything (no flares). And then they wear they're boots on top of the jeans. It's what EVERYONE does. So now my clothes are like that. It's really different for me but actually looks nice. So that was great!!! I felt so much better having clothes that FIT me. So then Yannie went to take a nap & Johan & I got some groceries for dinner that night (they were making me a traditional Swedish dinner). We stopped by a popular cathedral called St. Peter's on the way back but we couldn't go inside because there was a wedding in progress so we just took a pic outside & headed on our way. We went back to Johan's & I made some more Sangria. We found a bottle in the liquor store.
In Sweden the alcohol sales are a big deal. There are huge taxes on alcohol & you can only buy your alcohol at government owned special stores & you ALWAYS have to have your ID. It was crazy. Alcohol is VERY expensive in Sweden.
So anyway I got to making Sangria & finally Yannie & Johan's best friend got there & we started making dinner. We had Swedish meatballs, little sausage/weiners, bread/butter/cheese, some weird potato lasagna-like thing that had anchovies in it (i tried it), potatoes & pickled herring (2 varieties). Pickled herring is actually a really big thing in Sweden (Yannie had it for breakfast one morning). I tried both types. Not too tasty. One was okay but when I took a bite, after I could see like hair-like bones sticking out. That ruined my appetite. It was good to try it though. The meatballs were GREAT so I stuck to those.
So then Johan's cousin & her american boyfriend came over & I taught them all how to play a drinking game called "Fuck the Dealer." It was funny because they don't really have drinking games as much in Europe. Here it's about drinking socially, not drinking to get wasted like in the US. So then Mike (the american boyfriend who was not drinking) drove us all to the town that Yannie's university is in & we went to a club that Johan's cousin knew. It ended up being 26 years old & older but we still went in!!! I paid 8 euros (80 kroners) to go to a bar that I felt very out of place at. We still had a really good time though & I had some Swedish cider (apple cider that is fermented). We also have it in Spain but it was better in Sweden. So after that we headed back (it was kind of early but Malmo is a small town so there wasn't much left to do) & hung out at Johan's for a bit & then we went to bed (they went to his parents). I promised them they need to come to Spain & we'll make up for the lack of partying. Hehe. It was still a fun night. I'll finish the rest tomorrow. Love you all!!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Days 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54
Monday-the next Tuesday
Hey everyone!
So I've been a really big slacker on the blogging lately. I'm not going to lie, I've been REALLY busy but that's good right? So I'm going to do some summarizing because I really don't remember what I did every day. Last week I tried to really just kind of relax because I've been doing SO much all the time. I actually downloaded some american television shows so I watched some of those last week. On Wednesday I went to a salsa class with my roommates. That was super fun!!! My roommates are SO nice & it was cool because the bar is right next to our apartment building & it was free. We got there around 9pm & had a beer and later had a caipirinha which is a really yummy drink which is kind of like a lemonade slushie with alcohol. All of my roommates & I had to dance together because there were not enough guys. Luckily other people sucked at dancing too so I wasn't so bad. That was really fun and a good way to get to know my roommates.
I talked about how we had a problem with cockroaches. Well I finally got a call back from Carlos on Monday afternoon. We talked FOREVER and didn't say anything because Carlos is retarded (not literally). He kept telling me he's never had this problem before and we just should buy a spray or something and then told me that they would call a fumigator but technically it was our responsibility (a lie) to call them but then the landlady would pay for them. He told me he understood that because I was younger that I didn't know to call them myself. That made me furious because I'm a very independent girl and I called the city on my landlord when he wasn't taking care of the problem in my apartment in the US. I explained to Carlos that in the US it's the responsibility of the landlord (and I'm pretty sure it is here too). So after a long talk we hung up with nothing resolved but then a few minutes later Carlos's mom called me and we figured out that someone would come to fumigate on Friday which they did. We have still seen a few but I think the problem is better and now we will continue to treat it and I think we'll hopefully more or less solve the problem.
I can also talk a little more about my roommates. One is from Mexico and her name is Teresa (Tere for short), one is Spanish and her name is Beatriz (Bea for short), and the other girl is Peruvian and her name is Mara. They all are about 25 years old and they're all so nice. We always speak in Spanish though they do all know English more or less. So far we've all gotten along really well.
So then Thursday I had classes & all and then in the afternoon I had my flight to SWEDEN! My flight left at 5:15 and I stopped over in Amsterdam for about an hour & a half and continued my flight to Copenhagen, Denmark which is actually right next to Sweden. Johan lives in Malmo which is a 10 minute train ride to Copenhagen so he picked me up at the airport & then we headed over to Sweden. The train ride was EXPENSIVE-10 euros. It's alright though because I saw Johan!!! There's so much I have to say about Sweden & Denmark. This will be a long blog but it covers a week's worth of events.
So we arrived at Johan's apartment & basically just hung out for a while not believing that I was actually visiting him. It's one of those things that you say that you would do someday but never do it. It was AWESOME. So we just chatted for a while & then he headed over to his parent's house to stay & I got to use his bed, which was the most comfortable bed EVER! It was from IKEA which is actually a Swedish company! So the next morning Johan came over & we had some breakfast. A typical breakfast in Sweden is a peice of bread sliced in half and buttered with a peice of cheese on each half. There are many variations of this too. Actually Saturday morning we went to Johan's and had a big breakfast with his mom. We had the same thing but there were also boiled eggs and peppers to put on the bread, butter, & cheese. Another common thing is to put on the eggs & then CAVIAR. It was strange. I tried it. When you think of caviar you think of a nice jar with gross black fish eggs. But this was in a tube and it was a pink paste-like thing. It was really salty & kind of fishy tasting so it wasn't my favorite but I did try it! So back to Friday. We met up with Johan's girlfriend at the bus station because we were going to Copenhagen that day. His girlfriend is half Dannish/half Swedish and her name is Yannie. She is a very very nice girl & really sweet. That morning she was kind of hungover so I wasn't quite sure if I would like her but I really did.
So we headed over to Copenhagen and actually started shopping but then I said I would go shopping in Malmo the next day & so we should just explore Copenhagen. We had some lunch which was a little strange but nothing too different. Then we decided to go on a boat tour around the city which was AWESOME. We saw the little mermaid which is the symbol of Copenhagen & is where the Disney story came from. I will put up all the pictures of this adventure tomorrow & will also finish the blog tomorrow. I have to do some studying & then go to bed. I love you all so much! O P.S. to view the pictures on the other website you have to copy & paste the website into the browser to go to the website. You can't click on it. Sorry for the confusion. Hasta manana (until tomorrow!).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Pictures!
It's much easier & quicker to put them on this other site but all you have to do is click on the link & you can see all my photos! Check them out:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Day 45
So Sunday I got up at a decent time after sleeping for the first time in my new place! So at like 1:30pm I had plans with Alcyn & David to get a cup of coffee. David ended up not showing up so Alcyn & I decided to go & get lunch. We were looking for Mexican but ended up having Chinese which was really good & cheap. Then we grabbed a coffee (I got chocolate) & I actually walked by these "international markets" which ended up being closed more or less. They have many different countries' products so I will have to check it out when it's open. So then I headed to Corte Ingles to buy some stuff for the gross cockroaches we have (ick!). Of course though in Spain EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday so I ended up just giving up. After that I headed to Plaza de Toros to see a Corrida de toros (a bullfight basically). Rhea & her friend Pedro were supposed to meet me at 5:30 but I got there a little early to get in line to make sure we got tickets this time. So I got us each tickets & then waited for them. Unfortunately they never came. I got a call a few hours later from Rhea telling me that she was with Pedro (they are sort of a little item which is cool) & his family & his family took them to some place outside of the city & she had no phone service to call me & tell me what was going on. It was alright because I went without them. I wasn't super thrilled about the idea of the whole thing but it was interesting to watch from a cultural point of view & a sports point of view but it was very sad. I'm going to get some pictures up but I will try & explain how it works. Each fight takes about 15 minutes & there are multiple fights that day. I saw 3 fights in total. For each fight this is how it works:
First the bull comes out & there are about 4 matadors that have some larger "capes" that are actually bright pink & they more of less run the bull around with the capes getting him tired before they can do anything else. After that a man on a horse comes out (the horse wears padding to protect itself from the bull) with a very long spear & stabs the bull a few times in the back (the "top" back, not the rear end back). Then the horse leaves & then there are 2 or 3 people that do the next part. Each of them one at a time have 2 "spears" that are very colorful & they have some matadors around to help them keep the bull distracted. They take the spears & run face first towards the bull & kind of throw them at it's back stabbing the bull with them & they more or less always stay stabbed in the bull. There is a total of 6 of these spears in the bull at the end. Then the main matador comes out with a sword & eventually stabs it very deep in the bull & they run him around a little more & he eventually falls over dead. Then 3 horses come out & they hook the bull up to the horses & the horses drag the bull out of the ring. It is not a great sport because it's so inhumane. It was very sad. It was interesting to see & after a bit I was okay but then the last bull made me leave. When the bull got the final sword in, a minute or 2 later, he started bleeding profusely out of his nose & just fell over dead. It was so sad & horrible. It was a horrible sight & I just stopped looking. I had to leave after that. It actually made me cry a little because it was so horrible. Poor bull. So after that I actually headed over to my old place to give the new guy (Jonathan from Mexico) his keys & collect my part of the commision & my deposit (the girls will give him back his deposit at the end). He wasn't there so I had to wait for a bit & actually I got a call from Rhea telling me what happened with her and Pedro so she said she would come to my old place really quick & pay for me the tickets which was nice. So her & Jonathan got there at about the same time & so we all just spoke in Spanish for a while & then each of us headed home. I got home kind of late & just dinked around on the computer a bit & then finally went to bed. Oh, also this night my Spanish roommate arrived (Beatriz but we call her Bea). She was at her parents all weekend. She is a very nice girl. I can see she's a little more serious than the other girls but I think it will make for a good balance. So then I hit the sack! Pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I added stuff to the “Strange things in Spain page.”

Day 44
So I tried to get up at a decent time this morning so I could get packing & all that. I got up around 11am & called Jonathan (the person taking over my room) & told him he can move in tomorrow & he's alright with paying the commission & everything so that's great! Well I took a shower in our newly fixed shower!!! One decent shower in a month & a half & now I'm moving. Then I wanted to get to the bank so I could get money to pay the first month of rent (I already had the deposit). I of course got lost but finally found it which was great. I also got a phone call from the dueña (landlady) & she asked for all my facts so that I didn't have to email them to Carlos later. That was really successful. I had planned on going home & packing but also cleaning because the fontaneros left a huge mess from all the pipework but Marte had already cleaned up a LOT. I got everything all packed & then mopped the whole place & had some lunch. Then I waited around a bit & at 6:00pm headed over to my new place!!! I got the contract all signed & everything & then sat down to use my new INTERNET!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!! I then went to the nearest grocery store & got a few groceries. The awesome cheap grocery store is less then 3 minutes walking & there's another one that's even closer & just as cheap! So awesome!!! I headed back home & made some dinner. Carlos came over a little later to install a curtain which ended up taking him forever & it never ended up working out but he managed to talk to me (in English) the whole time he was here & drive me CRAZY! He really is a nice guy but I didn't get anything done for a few hours because of him. I met one of my roommates Mara from Mexico. She is incredibly nice & I think we will get along well. Unfortunately I saw some BUGS in the place already. Not sure what they are but hopefully we can get rid of them & quick! Oh well. I just spent the rest of my Saturday night calling people with Skype & taking advantage of the internet. Maybe you all with be getting calls now that it's cheap! Sweet so I love you all so much. Have a good one & talk to you all soon!!! Love!

Day 43
So I had me a nice sleep but actually intended to get up at a decent time because the plumbers were coming this morning at 9:30am. I ended up just kind of greeting them & then going back to sleep. I eventually got up & headed to the locutorio to look up more pisos to check out. I went back home & bought a few groceries on the way & made me some lunch. After that I actually chilled & starting watching Piratas del Caribe II again to see if I could figure out what was going on. Not so much! I eventually went back to the locutorio & called my mommy & talked to her some. I had an appointment at 6:30 to go see a place so I headed there. It was very close to Plaza Espana which is one of the most popular places in Madrid so that was neat. It was a nice place but I found out it wasn't available until November & it also was a little more expensive that I hoped for. So that was kind of a bummer. I still had a chance that Carlos might call me about the place in Atocha to tell me I got it or not. So after my appointment I found another locutorio (actually in a Subway/Dunkin Donuts) & continued my apartment search. I didn't turn up anything great. So I actually walked by a Starbucks & decided to go in & get a chocolate frappucino & relax. I got a call from our friend David (the guy handing out the free entrances) & he invited me & my friends to coffee tomorrow so I said that would be great. Lots of spanish practicing! So then I headed home & had some dinner & actually talked a good deal to Marte (pronounced Marta). I have never been fond of her but we actually got along really well the past few days. Almost a shame that I will be moving but I really want to live with spanish speakers. So Alcyn had sent me a text earlier in the day to ask me if I wanted to do anything & I had said sure. We were going to try a bar that my friend Brett had suggested (he lived here for a semester 2 years ago). So I met Alcyn at about 10:30pm & we went to find the bar which we didn't find. :-( So then she suggested we go check out Fuencarral which had a whole bunch of bars. I had never been there before so I thought it'd be cool. We went to this nice place that was kind of modern-ish & had a beer. We went to one other place & had 2 beers & had a lot of nice conversation. I was actually surprised, I hadn't gotten along very well with Alcyn in the past but it was a nice night. It was funny because she actually gave her number to the bartender. He had a D.A.R.E. t-shirt on which is a US anti-drug program so we thought that was crazy. She told him she was in D.A.R.E. when she was younger & he thought it was funny so she told him if he wanted to know more about D.A.R.E. he could call her. Hehe. Funny. So Alcyn was going hiking the next day so after that we just headed home. I forgot to mention the best part of my night! Right before Alcyn & I got to the first bar, I got a call from Carlos! I got the room!!! Woohoo!!! No more room searching. It's more or less the same price as what I was in but I'm getting half the commision back from the first place from the person who is taking over my room. So it's cheaper & close to EVERYTHING!!! I'm so excited!!! And it's with a Mexican girl, a Peruvian girl (they speak spanish), & a Spanish girl. Lots of spanish speaking. So that made my night great & I went to bed a happy girl!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Day 42
So this morning we woke up at about 12:30. We were quite tired after last night and I had a small hangover but nothing too serious. So we chilled out in Emily’s room for quite a while and I looked for some more places and I also called Carlos since he didn’t call me last night. I actually ended up speaking with someone else who told me that they were still deciding on who it might be and that Carlos would call me back in about an hour. He didn’t but I think I will try to call later. Today is actually a holiday, kind of like Columbus day, so I shouldn’t expect too much. Plus here in Spain you just have to have so much PATIENCE which I of course have none of. Oh well. So Emily & I finally decided to eat & she decided she wanted to make Tortillas de Patatas. These are not the tortillas that you put your taco meat in. It is an omelette/bread kind of thing. It’s kind of hard to explain. The main ingredients are potatoes and eggs and usually onions. You can really put in there whatever you want though. If you look it up as Spanish Omelette on wikipedia you can see what it is. Anyway, her flatmate Filipe from Portugal (half Portuguese, half French) is a great cook so we enlisted his help. We threw in some cheese and (ick) mushrooms. I just picked them out though. We also made some yummy salad to go with it and had us some lunch. It was a nice little lunch and we just chilled. After lunch I did all the dishes (I’m trying to do what I can to make up for everything they do for me). I actually also talked to Hermine about her room. She is moving out of the flat because there are too many people and too much noise for her which is respectable because there is a lot going on a lot of the time and she will be working some. So I asked her if she could talk to the landlord about letting me take her room once she leaves. Emily had emailed her before but she said since Hermine didn’t have a new place yet she wasn’t going to promise it to anyone else, but I figured if Hermine suggested I live there then I have a good chance of being able to get the place. I would have to wait until the 1st of November but I’m sure I could figure something out. So we’ll see also what happens with that. So then I did a few more things online and headed home so Emily could have her own room for once! J I finally got home and decided to watch Finding Neverland which I haven’t seen yet. In the middle of the movie I got a call from the fontanero and he said he will be by tomorrow morning at 9:30 to fix the shower! Woohoo!!! So one of the guys who viewed my room had asked me if I wanted to go with him and some people to a party tonight and then I could practice some Spanish but he never ended up calling. So now I just had a nice relaxing day and can got a lot done tomorrow. A relaxing day is necessary here and there though especially on a Spanish holiday. So I’m going to head to bed after I finish writing for my blog and get ready for (I think) a busy day tomorrow. Night night!

Day 41
So since I stayed at Emily’s last night, I got up early to head back home to get ready for school. Grabbed all my stuff and on the way up the stairs in the metro I tripped on a stair with my flip flops on. My feet are so hard from all the extra walking I do and some of the skin at the bottom of my big toe actually tore apart from my toe (it’s still attached though). It sounds disgusting and really is. Part of my toe just tore half way off!!! It was awful because I still had to take 2 metros and a bus home! My flip flop was filling up with blood and I was doing my best not to freak out!!! Luckily a very nice lady gave me some tissues to wipe up the blood and then wrap my toe until I got home. I was freaking out all the way home trying not to cry and trying to keep myself calm. It was horrible. I finally got home and of course have no band-aids so I washed my toe really well and put some toilet paper and tape to bandage it until I got regular bandages. L Now for those of you who know me very well, you may remember the incident in Hyvee which also involves a toe being slaughtered. I managed to drop a can of peaches just right that it split my toenail and bled all over the place. Who in the hell (pardon my language) can managed these ridiculous injuries?!!! You can’t manage that if you tried!!! I think there should be a medal for that or something. So after all of that trauma, I decided to skip class which I felt dumb about since we only have 3 days of classes this week but I knew I couldn’t handle ethics in Spanish after being so upset about all of that. I decided instead to go back to back so I could calm myself down. I slept and slept until about 2pm which was very nice. I got up and made myself some food and then actually headed to the closest locutorio to use the internet to see if I had a meeting to see a place at 4pm. I actually did have that meeting and I actually called another email I got about seeing their place around 5pm. I called up the Mexican/Spanish guy and he was interested in moving in as soon as possible which is great so I just have to find a place now! Half the work is done. I headed on my way to the first place. It ended up being so far on the metro that I just gave up and didn’t go. Then I went to the other place which is kind of close to a really nice place in Madrid called Parque Retiro but it is still pretty far from a lot. The guy renting out the room is actually from Argentina but he was working so his friend showed me around. The place was a MESS which I didn’t like. It was an alright place but I just didn’t have that great of a vibe about it. It’s also IMPOSSIBLE to understand Argentinians and their accents. For example: in Spanish “calle” is pronounced like “kai yay” but Argentinians pronounce it “ka zjay.” I can’t even make the phonetics for it. It’s different, let’s just agree to that. So after that I called up the girl that I saw that place with last night and she told me that she got the room so that was kind of a bummer but cool for her! I also got some proper stuff to wrap my toe. So I didn’t know what to do after that but I knew I needed to find more places so I headed to Emily’s because my computer was still there. I headed to the closest pharmacy and grabbed some antibacterial stuff to disinfect my toe and then since (overshare) I’m getting my period and was completely depressed (partly homesick and partly just hormones) I got an ice cream! I headed to Emily’s and started looking around online for places. As Emily got home I ended up getting a phone call from Carlos (the guy who showed me the places last night) and he said that they were considering giving me the room of the first place I looked at. I was glad but still a little concerned since it was a pretty far trip to get to the station where my bus leaves for school every morning. I told him that I would like to come see it again with Emily and he agreed. Well after the phone call Emily told me that there is a train like thing that goes to parts of the city call the Cercanias which actually goes from my closest metro stop at the possible apartment right near school (I would catch a bus from the Cercanias stop to school). Awesome! I was totally pumped now and so we waited around a bit and headed over to the place. Carlos told me that the main problem with saying yes to me staying there is that the other girls are 24 and 26 and so they were worried about how young I was. I told him that I have lived with many people since I started at Drake and that I know how to be a responsible adult about living situations. We headed out and he said that he would give me a call that night and let me know one way or the other. Then we headed back towards Emily’s and stopped by a place to grab some snacks for the “party” she was having that night. We got to her place and I made me some dinner there (I brought my own pasta sauce) and everyone got ready. Some of her roommates friends from school came over and were the “guests” of the evening. We all watched some futbol (soccer) and then did some drinking. It was funny because Emily managed to spill her entire glass of Bailey’s all over one of the Spanish guy’s pants. Oops! We all just hung out until about 2am and then went out to a club. I wasn’t thrilled because the club was 9euro but I decided I wasn’t ready for bed and I wanted to have some fun so I went in. It always comes with a drink, but still. So I wasn’t very impressed. It ended up being a placed packed with way too many guys but luckily we had the guys with us so the guys at the club didn’t bother us too much. We danced all night until about 5:30am and then decided to head home. We had talked to a few different people in the club so I got some Spanish practicing in a club. Woohoo! Haha. So Emily’s roommate Etienne (the other French guy) was really drunk so we had to help him walk a little bit. We stopped by a Cerveceria (bar/restaurant) and the guys got some bocadillos. Emily responded to some guy who kept calling us guapas (pretty) and he ended up buying us beers and sharing his tapa with us. He was really old and creepy so I have no idea why Emily decided to talk to him but I guess we got a free beer and we had all our friends with us so it wasn’t threatening. We left with our friends and headed home (to Emily’s) and she gave me the extra mattress to sleep on and we all finally went to bed at about 6 or 7. O buddy what a LONG day.

Day 40
So I had class early this morning at about 9am so I got up and got ready. I was hoping to finally have a photography class this morning. Well we ended up having problems on the bus. I think it had a flat tire and so we all were about a half hour late to classes but we did have photography. Couldn’t have had problems on a day when we didn’t have class? Whatever! Hehe. So then I had Marketing and our group had to have an idea of what we would do for our “marketing campaign.” We didn’t talk much about it so we just kind of decided to do an anti-smoking campaign. They all don’t know what JEL is but I do so I can get some good ideas for our group from that. Then I headed to the Dehesa campus and had some Politica Española Actual. At 5pm I had someone coming to see the place so I needed to get home at a decent hour but I did make a quick stop by one of the college campuses near me and got a whole bunch of adds for available rooms. I called a few places and made some appointments to see a flat or 2. I got home in time for 5 and showed the place to someone but they were Italian which is not what Erika wants. There was supposed to be a guy coming who was half Mexican/half Spanish who goes to school very close to our flat but he didn’t show up. There was also an appointment for a girl at 7:30 but I told Erika to be there for that so I could go see the place I had the appointment for. The girl ended up not showing up but the Spanish/Mexican did and Erika really hit it off with him. She said she’d like to have him so I’ll give him a call tomorrow and offer up the place to him. So I headed to see the place I had an appointment for. It was a little too far away from getting to school every morning and not that close to the center. One of the guy’s was really nice (the others weren’t home) but they didn’t have wireless internet and the place wasn’t available until November so I basically ruled it out. A shame but what can you do. I had actually gotten lost on my way there and had stopped by Emily’s with my computer and went to see the place so then after seeing the place I returned back to Emily’s. We were going to make some dinner and stuff and maybe rent a movie. So I called another place and this guy told me to come over right now so I was close so I decided I would go check it out really fast and then come back and we could eat or something and then I could try and get home at a decent time. So I headed over there, got a little lost but finally found it. The guy was really preoccupied with a lot of phone calls so it was kind of irritating but oh well. The place was actually pretty nice. VERY large but a little grandma looking but oh well. The guy showing it to me (doesn’t live there, just showing it for a friend) was a little weird. He just kept repeating himself saying the same things (such as why the price it was it was or what he was looking for in a possible tenant). He was a little weird. He also had another friend who had a place available which was actually a little closer to my school so he took me to see that too. I was getting kind of impatient because it was getting late and he was being slow but I figured it was good to go see it. So we finally got to his friend’s place (also named Alicia) but it turned out he was showing it to another person too named Krista who was actually born in Cali. but had lived in the UK for the last 10 years. Alicia’s place was actually a really great deal. It was basically in the center for less than 400/month (which is what I was aiming for) and the girl was very nice. The only problem was is she is looking for someone to practice English with and so my wanting to practice Spanish gave me a disadvantage because Krista knows hardly any Spanish at all. So I guess we’ll see. So after 3 hours of what was supposed to be 20 minutes, I headed back to Emily’s. I was actually really upset that it took so long. I had some Ethics questions I was supposed to answer which I hadn’t done yet. Grrrr!!! Oh well. Well I went back to Emily’s (she saved me some dinner). What a doll! I just decided to stay there and then head back home that next morning. Oh what a frustrating night! I tried to do some of the ethics homework and it was so difficult because we were talking about topics that I know nothing about even in English. However, I got some help from Mike and actually felt like I might be able to do this class. We’ll see what happens! Hasta mañana (until tomorrow)!

Day 39
Classes again today. Etica and after Historia y Teoría del Cine. Etica I still had no clue what was going on but I think I’m going to try it and have it be my challenge to have a clue by the end of the semester. LoL. I think that if I can understand what is going on and understand what this teacher says, then I can pretty much figure it all out. So Erika approached me before I left and told me that she would stay in the apartment (Marte would then too) if she could have a native Spanish speaker so she could learn more Spanish. Cool!!! This makes everything SO much easier. So I grabbed a little food and headed back home. I saw Oscar on the bus back! He studied at Drake last year and is from Spain and goes to my university in Spain. So I talked to him some in Spanish and English. So I had someone coming at 3pm and then some people at 5:30 so I hurried home. The guy at 3pm was French so that was pretty much a no-go for Erika but oh well. At 5:30 I had another person coming but I think they were Italian again so nope. I had gotten a call from a half Spanish/half Mexican guy who wanted to come see the place tomorrow so that was good. So we got a random visit from the landlady’s son and a fontanero. A different fontanero. The last one was from the agency. So cool, apparently the landlady’s son had no clue about our broken shower for a long time. Piece of crap agency. The guy actually had some kind of a guy to check out the pipes and stuff with some little machine but he actually wasn’t the plumber because about an hour later the son and an actually fontanero came. The fontanero told us that by next Monday at the latest we will have our shower fixed. Woohoo! Finally. But it’s just like the Spanish to take SO long to get things fixed. It’s not really a stereotype because everything here just takes SO long to get done. They’re not in a hurry here like we are in the US. In the US we’re very service oriented and very in a hurry to get everything done quick. This is really nice as a luxury but a lot of people also see us as very stressed out people because we get so stressed when everything doesn’t get done right away. The Spanish can be seen as more relaxed about everything and they work to live and don’t live to work like we do in the US. This is kind of cool to have your life style like that but on the other hand it’s so frustrating when you need something done. This is where they get the stereotype of being lazy. So for me it just depends on the day on how I view their life philosophy. Hehe. This is the perfect philosophy for some people I know (Mikey) so some of you would love it and some people would go crazy with a lack of patience. So after the fontanero came I think I had some dinner and stuff and then actually was invited to a friend’s for a tortilla party but I was so stressed about trying to find a place and was a little short tempered (overshare-I’m starting the period) so it wasn’t all my fault but I knew I wouldn’t enjoy the party. So I actually called up Joanna and asked if I could go use her internet and just let her be sitting in the living room since she has tonsillitis. She said that would be alright so I headed over and stopped and got her a little get well teddy bear and also grabbed some pasta and sauce for the boys (Unai and Emmanuel) because they keep saying I should cook something for them so I decided to surprise the crap out of them by actually bringing food. Haha. So I got there and gave Joanna her present and chatted and bit and then started looking for places. The boys came home in the middle of my search and really were surprised that I brought them food. Haha. So I searched and searched and couldn’t find much, even with Unai’s help. So around 11 or 12 I decided I should head out. Before I left though Emmanuel wanted me to share some popcorn because I guess he couldn’t’ finish it all himself. This kid is literally obsessed with popcorn. They don’t have it much here in Europe but it’s so common in the US that I just find the obsession hilarious. He actually eats all the seeds too. Freak face! So I filled up on popcorn as my dinner and headed home and actually got to bed at a decent time. Oh how I LOVE searching for flats ALL the time! Not!! But I love you all so very much so good night! :-* muah!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Day 38
So I woke up at Emily's and headed home, walking through everyone at the Rastro (since it is on the way to the metro). We planned to go on the "gondolas" of Madrid which go across the sky. They're a little hard to describe. I guess it's kind of like a ski lift thing to show you all over the city but of course it's enclosed. That's the best I got. We also had planned on a little picnic in the park so I went home to shower and all that. I forgot to mention that before I went to bed I posted that my room is available to rent online because I really want to move to a different place that's closer to everything with Spanish speaking students so I got it posted that it's available. I got one phone call that actually woke us up in the morning. They just kept on flowing so I started making appointments for people to come and see it. So around 2pm Emily came over and we ended up just eating Bocadillos in my place and then heading over to the Gondolas. They were in the park that is right near my place and it was actually really neat but I thought that it would show us more of Madrid. It was just basically around my area and Casa de Campo which is right next to me but it was still pretty neat. We saw a hooker in a park in Casa de Campo when we were going past and that was neat. Haha. So after that I was going to meet Rhea at the bullfight and we were going to watch that. I met her and we grabbed some gummies that people were selling outside and then we realized that tickets were sold out. We didn't buy them beforehand because we have friends from last weekend that didn't and it was fine. So we stood around trying to see if we could find a scalper which were plenty when I was there to look at the schedules but now there were none. We ended up giving up and actually saw 2 guys that we knew from our university. We were going to get a beer but they really wanted Burger King so we went there and Rhea and I shared some food and a beer which you can get in Burger King. Sweet right? Haha. So after that I headed home and actually had some people coming to look at my room. I met someone at the metro stop at 8pm and his name is Andrea and he is from Italy. He checked it out and then shortly after him another girl came who was actually American and just came back to Spain after being in the US for a year. At this point in time the girls (Marte & Erika) & I had a talk. Erika also wanted to move to a shared piso with native spanish speakers. Marte couldn't handle the idea of living with people she didn't know and was scared they wouldn't pay her rent (her name is the only 1 responsible for the rent). So then we said we could help her find a room in a shared piso but she couldn't handle the idea of living with people she doesn't know. "I already decided I won't do that." Whatever dude. Why are you studying abroad? I'm actually quite sure she's only here because it's required by her university. She only speaks to Dutch people and never speaks spanish. She also only speaks to her boyfriend on the phone. I found out that she skipped the whole FIRST week of classes because he was here. I never met him either because they stayed at a hotel the whole time and she never brought him over to introduce him. Whatever. So yeah we had an arguement about what we would do and we decided we could help Marte try and find a place on her own or maybe with another Dutch person or something and then Erika and I could find our own places with other people. That was fun, let me tell you. So after that I just hung around some and eventually went to bed at a decent hour!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Day 37
So Emily got home at about 7am and we just shared her bed until I left around 10 or 11am. So then I went home and went back to bed. I watched Piratas del Caribe II (Pirates of the Caribbean II) that I had bought off the street a week ago. Then at about 5pm the plumber was supposed to come back but of course didn´t. So when he didn´t show up I headed over to Emily´s to use the internet for a bit. We planned to go to a movie theater I had heard about that only costs 2€ for students with older movies playing there. We decided we weren´t really in the mood for an older movie about spanish fighting or whatever so we decided to get dinner. I really thought that MExican sounded good so we went looking for a restaurant. Shouldn´t be too hard to find right? In Iowa you can find one on every other street corner for about 5$a meal. Not here! After about a half hour searching we finally found a place. No tamales which is what I really wanted. No free chips and salsa!!! I asked the server for some and you wouldn´t believe the weird look he gave me. It wasn´t too expensive but not as cheap in the US. So after that we went back to Emily´s place and she wanted to watch Gilmore Girls, so we did that. Then we were supposed to go to her Dutch guy friend´s party so we headed there and were late to meet her friend Henrich (her fault not mine). We accidentally rang the wrong doorbell and got chewed out by a lady in spanish and finally found the right place. It ended up being just a very nice chilled out party. The Dutch guy´s roommates were all Spanish so we practiced a lot of spanish. I had my first serving of Ham flavored chips!!! They were actually pretty good, Lay´s brand and everything. After a while it started to clear out but then like 10 more people came so it was still a nice sized party. I ended up speaking with one spanish guy and a german guy for a while and it was really nice because the spanish guy kept correcting my spanish so i can actually learn from my mistakes!!! It was weird though, I had 2 people ask me if I was from France...They said my accent in spanish sounded french. It was weird but I decided to take it as a complement. Haha. So after lots of practicing spanish around 2am Emily and I decided to leave because we were tired. We headed back to her place and watched the rest of Gilmore Girls and then I just stayed there for the night (it´s so much easier than going all the way home). I should get the rest of the weekend posted today! Love you all. Send me emails, I´m starting to get homesick!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Day 36
So generally we don´t have classes on Fridays but if we miss a day of class for some reason (for a break or something) then we make it up on Fridays. School started on Tuesday instead of Monday so our Mon/Wed classes were on Friday. I had ética first and then historia y teoría del cine. I was supposed to also go to a senate trip for politica española actual but I had 2 classes at Berzosa and only 1 atDehesa so I had to chose the ones at Berzosa. Classes went as well as could be expected. I got online for a little bit and then tried to find the school gym which I guess is very small. I found it but it was closed and I had to get home because the plumber (fontanero) was coming to fix the shower. I got home and had some food and stuff and at 5:30pm the fontanero came. He told us he would have to come back tomorrow because he didn´t have one of the parts he needed. The shower still works the same as before so he didn´t get a whole lot done. Hopefully it will be better once he finishes. So I then took a little shower and a very short nap. I planned on meeting with Rhea and Joanna and a few people at a bar with Rhea´s spanish lacrosse team at about 10pm and then later go out with Emily and the gang. So I headed over to Joanna´s around 9pm and we finally met Rhea at about 11:30pm. It was very relaxed at the bar and we talked some with Rhea´s spanish teammates (in spanish of course). Then maybe around 12:30 or 1 we headed over to Emily´s. It was Natalie´s last night out with us because she is moving back to Germany so it was kind of sad. We were going to go to a discoteca after Emily´s place but I sadly just got extremely tired all at once and actually at about 2am just went to bed in Emily´s bedandthey all wentout. It was hilarious. I planned so much on going out but could barely move to Emily´s bed (a mixture of some alcohol and a lot of tiredness). At least I practiced a lot of spanish beforehand!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Day 35
So I had 3 classes again today which I was not thrilled about after being out so late but what are you going to do? My first class was fotografía again and I was in the right classroom and everything and it ended up being some introduction to informatics class or something. There were other fotografía students in the class, and it was just that the professor didn´t come again. I went to the secretary to ask her what the heck is going on and she said he will be there on Tuesday so hopefully I won´t get up early for nothing on Tuesday again. After that "class" I had Marketing which went well. We have to have groups where we will make a whole project together and I´m in a group with all Mexicans because they have to leave early just like me and it´s nice so that I´m not with international students who don´t speak spanish well. I sort of would have preferred a group with actual Spaniards but I can practice my spanish with Mexicans too, it´s just a different kind of spanish with them. So then I hurried to Dehesa for my politics class which also went well and then hung out on the computers at school for a while. Joanna came and talked to me in the computer lab and we discussed our plans for the night. We would possibly do botellón with her friends from last night. Botellón is actually illegal here now (it wasn´t 3 years ago) and it´s just when a whole bunch of people get together on the streets and drink before they go into the club because it´s so expensive at the clubs. I´m pretty sure we had planned on doing it at someone´s house though (the equivalent of "pregaming"). Anyway we figured out we didn´t really have that planned with them so we wouldn´t do that. We then talked about hanging out with our friend David that we met one night. He was handing out free passes for a club and we made friends with him and he had called me the day before asking if my friends and I wanted to do something so I said sure (I haven´t had a real spaniard show us where to go party yet). We also were going to maybe go to some party that our friend Dawn knew about so we had lots of possibilities on the table. I went home and showered, and ate, and did some of my ethics homework which was kind of difficult and it was a very simple assignment. I napped until about 9pm and then got up and finished my homework and got ready to go out. We all planned on meeting at Sol at about 11pm so I headed there at the appropriate time. In the middle of my trip to Sol, I got a text from David saying he couldn´t make it which was kind of shitty but oh well. So I was waiting for Joanna and also Rhea and randomly saw Emmanuel there with his friends. So I chatted with him while I waited for the girls. When Rhea got there she had to go to the bathroom so we said we´d meet her at McDonald´s where she could go potty for free. So when Joanna arrived we met Rhea and decided to get a little McDonald´s food from the 1€ menu. They have pork and not really any beef in Spain so you can just imagine how not the same the burger was but that´s okay. Then Rhea wanted to try and find this little garden place she´d been to before because we were really close to it so we found that really fast and it ended up being near Emily´s place and La Latina. We stopped there at La Latina and the 3 of us got a pitcher of sangria and hung out for a while. Some random spaniard and his girlfriend got in their car right next to where we were sitting and started honking their horn and scared the crap out of us. It was actually very funny and incredibly random, just like the spaniards are. After that we just did a little bar hopping which Joanna hasn´t done here yet so that was fun to take her around. We ended the night at a little place with a caña (small beer) and some chorizo (which again looks gross but actually tastes pretty good). Anyone who comes to visit me in Spain has to try this because it just looks so bad but it´s actually very tasty and everyone has to try something new. Hehe. So after that we headed for the bus stop to catch the night bus and I actually randomly met some guy at the bus stop looking for his night bus that was from Kansas. FINALLY someone else from the midwest!!! But he had been here for a month and didn´t even know where one of the biggest streets in Madrid is that everyone knows about! Not the brightest crayon in the box. So I hopped on my night bus and got home and in bed around 3:30am which is about what I planned on so that´s good. Class is tomorrow at 10:30 but that shouldn´t be too bad. Buenas noches (good night)!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Day 34
So my second day of classes. I was somewhat tired but I was doing okay. I didn´t have class until 10:30 this morning so I didn´t get up until about 8:30 or a little after. I don´t think I will have to get up this early in the future but I don´t want to be late to my first classes. So I got to school and got to my classroom for Etica y deontologia (Ethics and Deontology which counts for my Ethics) at 10:30 and it ended up being the wrong classroom again. So I was late for class. I was the only international student in that class who´s first language wasn´t English (there was one girl from Mexico there). So this class was really hard and almost made me cry. The professor spoke so quickly and I had no clue what was going on. I later found out from a friend that supposedly Ethics is really difficult in Spain. I also found out I had class on Friday the same time as the trip to the senate so I would have to figure that out. After feeling incredibly horrible after that class I went to my next and last class of the day which is Historia y Teoria del Cine (History and Theory of Film which counts for my history requirement). The class started at 12:10 and I was actually there on time and actually didn´t have a hard time understanding though I did start falling asleep a little. I met an Italian girl in my class named Marcela (say it with an italian accent) and also a guy I had met a few times named Cesar (from Mexico) was in the class with me too. When the teacher asked me where I was from and I said the US everyone in the class got really excited about it. It was kind of weird but I guess cool. So after class I got on the computer for a while at school and bought tickets to go to Sweden. The price was really high for Europe: 222€. But Sweden is an expensive place anyway. So I hopped on the bus home and made some lunch and had a LONG nap. Until about 6pm. Then I had some dinner (very early for Spain but I had plans soon). I was supposed to watch a movie with Joanna tonight but she got a call from her Spanish friend about going to a little concert thing that his friend was part of the band. So I headed to the metro stop by Joanna´s house and it was awesome because her friends had a CAR!!! The first time in a month that I´ve been in a car!!! It was really nice. So we got to the concert at a little bar which was quite good and actually almost all the music was in English-I even knew a few songs. We ended up being there a little later than I´d hoped and I ended up having a few more beers than I should have (but 3 of the 4 were free). After being called grandma a few million times the boys and Joanna dropped me off at home and I got to bed around 2am. I was a little upset because I wanted to go to bed much earlier than that because we are going out tomorrow night but oh well. I actually found out that Joanna ended up being out until about 4am so I´m glad that they dropped me off when they did. It actually was a pretty fun time, I got to practice some Spanish. The guys practiced some English but it was not very good at all... but that´s okay. Anyway, I´m all caught up now so you´ll hear about Thursday once it´s over. Love you all so much!!!

Day 33
This was my first day of classes. I had class at 9am at Berzosa and wasn´t sure what time I would need to leave to get to class in time so I planned on leaving around 7:30 and I ended up leaving a little later than that. I had to run just a little to catch the bus but that´s okay. I met up with a few people I knew at the bus stop to go to Berzosa (I have to change from bus 46 to 611 because 611 is the only bus that goes to Berzosa because it is so far away). I was quite nervous for my classes so I was glad to get to school early and actually meet a few people who were going to be in my same first class. My first class was Fotografia (photography) at 9am which covers my art requirement. I was waiting with a girl named something I can´t remember from Italy and a Spanish guy Carlos. We were doing really well speaking some spanish but we were getting impatient because it was 9:30 and there was no teacher to be found. Well we found out that our class was actually switched to a different classroom but the teacher didn´t actually show up so we didn´t miss anything! Yay! It was very interesting to find out after conversing for a long time that the Italian girl had only been studying spanish for 2 weeks and her spanish was great. It´s helpful that Italian is very similar. So then I had my next class which is Marketing I (which will go towards my business minor) at 10:30. This was in the proper classroom and believe it or not, I ended up sitting next to crazy french guy! I also sat next to some people I had met before from Germany who´s names I can´t remember because they´re very different from American names :/ So the Marketing class went really well and I understood almost all of what went on which was great! Then I had to hurry to get to my class at Dehesa which is in Madrid. I hopped on the bus and at the switch I decided to try and take the metro which was a bad idea. I will take the connecting bus next time. So I was pretty late for that class which is Politica Espanola Actual (Spanish politics which covers my international/multicultural requirement) at 1:10. I understood everything that was going on in that class and it actually seemed a little too easy for me after having real classes. Since Dehesa is only for international students the teachers teach knowing that we don´t always understand everything so we are babied a little bit. That went well though and I found out that on Friday we have a trip to the senate at 11:30am. So after that I hopped online for a little bit looking for flights to visit my friend Johan in Sweden in a few weeks. Not too much luck there so then I headed home and ate some food and instead of napping decided to head over to Emily´s at a decent time so I could leave at a decent time instead of late at night. But before I went to Emily´s I managed to fix our television just in time to discover "El Precio Justo" which is the Price is Right in spanish!!! Sooooo frikin awesome! I was so excited! It was similar but different in some ways. For instance, the initial bids they make where they´re competing to get on stage are really cheap prizes (less than 100€). Also the ending is a little different too. It was still great to see though. So I headed over to Emily´s and was there for a LONG time and figured out how much money I have (don´t have) which is sad but oh well. I also talked to my mommy on skype for the first time in a while. Skype is wonderful. It cost less than 1€ to talk for an hour from Spain (on my computer of course) to a landline in the US. Woohoo!!! I then planned on leaving but Emily talked me into letting her feed me again. We had a few glasses of wine and I finally ended up leaving around 11:30pm. My plan didn´t work so well did it? It was interesting at Emily´s. Her roommate had a friend visiting who doesn´t understand spanish but does understand english but we were speaking so often in spanish that I actually found it difficult to switch to speaking in English with her because my mind was working in Spanish at the time. Who would have thought? I got to bed at about 12:30 which wasn´t too bad and I was happy with it because I would get about 8 hours of sleep for the first time in a long time!!! Hasta mañana (until tomorrow).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day 32
So I didn´t have class on Monday because class doesn´t start until Tuesday so I wanted to sleep in really late but I had to run to the bank to get money for my rent. I got there and got my money and actually requested a debit card which should be coming soon so that will make my life easier-free withdrawals everywhere! Then I wanted to find a mall that Linda was talking about that has lots of coupons at the entrance for free entrances into clubs. The bank attendant told me where to go but they thought I was talking about Corte Ingles so I gave up. I grabbed a few grocery (I got some meat which I´ve been craving but the lowest fat percentage was 20% which is one of the highest we have in the US). I headed home after that, had some food and took a nice long nap. I then ended up having a meeting with our agency guys to discuss the fact that our shower has been broken for over a month and we planned on putting me on the contract and everything. Well we discussed that it might be a problem with the pipes meaning they would have to break down the walls and replace the pipes and stuff which would mean we could move. I am actually very excited about this option because I really dislike living so far away from everything and our place ends up being very expensive since the utilities and internet is not included. They are going to let us know by Friday and we are keeping our rent until we know what´s going on. They also haven´t given us our key to our mailbox yet and I really wanted to see if I got my birthday card from my grandma and grandpa yet so they guaranteed we would have it by tomorrow. After that I had discussed going to a movie with Joanna (I had planned on going to a movie and then getting online at Emily´s and talking to Mike with skype). I headed over to Joanna´s and it ended up that the movie didn´t start until about 10pm so I called Mikey to let him know I would talk to him a different time and we went to see the movie Alatriste. It is a Spanish film about the conquistadors and I´m not sure if the film is in the US or not. It was actually filmed in Spanish and not dubbed so it was slightly easier to understand though I still didn´t understand much. It´s funny because everyone here gets very excited about popcorn because I guess it´s not that common in Europe and so at the movie theater Joanna and I had to get the biggest popcorn that there was. Haha. We somewhat enjoyed what we could understand from the movie and after that I headed home. I hopped on the metro and while waiting at the bus stop there was of course some crazy drunk old spanish guy but luckily there were 2 guys my age sitting with me so I felt much better. I ended up talking to them for a few minutes and found out they are Erasmus students (Erasmus is a european program that basically helps to organize the student´s trips and studying abroad) and actually are studying at the same school as Emily. I got off the bus and jumped in my bed and fell asleep thinking about my big day tomorrow, my first day of school in Spanish!!!

Day 31
So I fell asleep at Emily´s around 7am and we all got up around 10am so that´s always good. Emily lives basically on the same street as the rastro (the big huge flea market I talked about before) so I figured I would go there since I was awake and we were right there. Linda also stayed the night at Emily´s and planned on meeting with her roommate Miguel (from Mexico) and also our friend Marina to go to the rastro so we waited for them for a while and then finally went to the rastro. I always would love to buy everything that they have there but if I buy one thing I know I´ll just go crazy so I unfortunately didn´t get anything. And after walking around for a bit I decided I was done (there were so many people by then that it was very frustrating). I stopped by a little Cerverceria and grabbed a tortilla (a spanish tortilla is like potatoes and onions in a omelette type thing). Look up tortilla on wikipedia and you can see what they are. They´re very good. I headed home and took a shower and SLEPT! I was so very tired. Linda and I had planned on going to a bullfight today and then afterwards I planned on going with Emily to a salsa class. The bullfight started at 6 and the dance class we thought started at 8 but it actually started at 6:30 so I skipped the bullfight and went to the dancing class. I´ll be able to go to the bullfight next week with Rhea. I met Emily and some of her friends from her university at the metro stop. Emily attends a different university than me now. She was only doing the intensive language course at Nebrija. I met her friends Lorienne and I think Dan and a few girls (the girls were not very social at the club). They were all English and the boys were very nice. We go to the club and it was only 6.50 euro to get in and that included a drink, the class and then staying at the club when it opens. It´s a dance class beforehand and then a club a little later. It was very fun even though I was VERY horrible at it. It´s a little difficult to learn a dance especially when it´s in a different language. They kept having everyone switch partners too so then I felt really stupid. It was really fun though and after the class the guys were dancing with us and they actually knew how to dance well. There was also some random guy who ended up being a dance teacher who was dancing with us and spinning us all over the place. None of us had any idea how to dance well but it was fun to just be constantly spinning all over the place. Haha. Emily and I had partied so much this weekend that we decided we didn´t want to stay late so we left around 9pm. After that we headed to her house and I just spent some time online and Emily was EXTREMELY tired so she fell asleep and shortly after that I headed home. I had to walk a little to get a night bus around her house but I finally found one. There was some guy trying to talk to me and ask me out at the bus stop so I just kind of dismissed him but luckily it was on a busy street so it wasn´t a problem. I do think I´ll go buy some mace though just in case. *Don´t worry mommy! I´m all safe. I got home safe and sound and went to SLEEP.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Day 30
So I stayed the night at Joanna's so I got up around 10am and headed home. I had to get a new abono which sucks because it takes about 2 or 3 weeks to get a youth pass so for this month I had to pay for a normal pass which is about 60euro! Oh well. I tried to go to my bank to get some money out to pay for the abono (they only take cash for the abonos) but they were closed. That was a huge waste of time! So I took my photo in a photo booth and got my new abono and headed home. At home I showered and napped and I also met Marte and Erika's guests. Marte's friend is visiting and Erika's sister and her boyfriend (they only say friend instead of boyfriend so it's hard to know what they're talking about sometimes). That was kind of nice and it was weird because Erika's sister looks just like her! So after meeting them was my very long nap. Then I headed over to Emily's to use her internet for a bit. We were all going to go eat tapas but I decided to go with Joanna and Emmanuel to dinner because I didn't feel like tapas and I didn't feel like eating with a million people. So I got to Joanna's but she was feeling very sick so unfortunately she didn't come out with us. Emmanuel and I grabbed a bite to eat and then headed over to Emily's to "preparty." There are 2 french guys and a half french half portuguese guy living with Emily, plus their two french friends plus emmanuel is french and emily and her roommate natalie both speak french perfectly. I had no idea what they were talking about half the time but we also spoke a lot of spanish so it was good. We took chupitos (shots) called B52 which include Baileys, Coffee liquer, and ABSYNTH. Hehe. And actually you like the absynth on fire which is cool and supposedly it makes the flavor better. After a little bit of waiting, you blow it out and then actually take the shot with a straw! They were really good! I took pictures but you can't see the shots on fire. I'll put up pictures later. After a lot of prepartying, we all went to a club that Natalie knew about. It was called Mondo and unfortunately cost us 13euro but that does include a drink and it ended up being a very nice club. We stayed there until about 5:30am and got to Emily's around 6am. We stayed up for a while, until about 7am and then I slept on the couch. Before we went to bed we were all hanging out and one of the french guys called me a good American because I had brought a pizza over yesterday for Emily and we cooked it up. Random tidbit: It was fun yesterday, I taught Unai the difference between "The shit," "A peice of shit," "A bunch of shit," and "Shitty." He kept saying that things were "the shit" when they were bad and so I had to tell him that that meant those were good things and not bad things like he wanted to say. Hehe. It's also so difficult to explain slang sometimes. I taught Joanna the phrase '"stud muffin" also. Hehe. Love you all!!! Night!