26 October 2008

no fotos, no fotos!!

18 Oct 2008

I have officially Barack’d the vote! Hollaaaaa! I don’t care if you guys know who I vote for, so whatever! Amy, Kelly, Kelly's visiting friends, and I went to what is, supposedly, the best Mexican restaurant in Barcelona and realized that Frommer is a dirty, old, lying sack of crap! First of all, it took FOREVER to get our food, and when we did, there wasn’t a lot. And in comparison to the taste and portion, it was waaaaaaay overpriced. Well, at least we know to never go back there again. After coming home and changing, we went to the Chupitos bar and Yaser saw us and gave us the “OH HEEEEY!” equivalent in spanish. He totally loves us. There was a long line and it was super crowded so we only stayed long enough to get our guests Harry Potter shots. So we went to Mojito, but our bar buddies never showed up...I guess next time we’ll literally have to go over there and get them, haha! Fun night with great music (Losing my Religion & the Bulls song were played, whaaaa!?).

20 Oct 2008

BASILIO’S BACK!! He’s back and CrAzIeR than ever!! Legit, today he talked about how he, a poor but smart kid, fell in love with the most beautiful girl on campus. She fell in love with his words (poetry) and they dated or something for 3 months until she found out that she was to be married to one of her dad’s very wealthy friends who owned a chocolate company/factory in Switzerland. So she left, yada yada. She calls him 15 or so years later and says she’s in Barcelona and wants to meet up. So he goes to the place they decided looking for the most beautiful girl and find a plump lady waving at him. So he said, he lied (like you have to do) and said she looked as beautiful as she had some 15 odd years ago. Blah blah, she wishes she had been with him. He must have been such a player when he was younger. He also said something really adorable. He was saying how he studied theology but never found God. Instead, he’s found it in art, his wife and kids, and in us, his students—all the things that are close to him in life. Awwwwww, I love him!!

22 Oct 2008

I couldn’t sleep last night so I’m sickly today. I guess that’s just how it goes here. Today Basilio told us about his youth (which somehow related to Baroque…who knows). He told us that when he was 9, no one had any money so he would steal bread from a bakery every morning and then go to the boqueria and steal apples. He said he would look off into the distance until everyone around him was looking to figure out what he was looking at and then he would make his move. He said that one time when he went to steal the bread though, three guys with bats said they would either kill him or beat him if he continued to steal from them. So Basilio, being a little hoodlum, whipped out a pocket knife and told them that if they try to kill him at least one of them will die too. And then he proceeded to tell us that if you want to stab and kill someone, you’re supposed to start from the lower belly and cut up. Needless to say, they left him alone. He also said that he had been in jail twice in his life. While in the US this would be frowned upon, he said that in Europe, going to jail meant you were someone important who they wanted to hush up. As it turns out, his cell mate ended up being the president of Catalyna. Wow. Then he started talking about how he only has one guy friend and a few girl friends, since all of his other friends are dead and in Hell. He said his only remaining guy friend would also go to hell since he’s a gay alcoholic….and then he laughed! I would seriously consider going into his office hours just so he could tell me his life story. Then in Cine, our teacher came back from Denver and hugged Kelly because he missed us, hahaha! He said he gained 3 kilos since “Americans eat a lot.” Yes, we know. He also made a good point in that you can get a lot of bad (quality) food for cheap, but the good food is quite expensive. Oh well. Such is life!

Zaragoza adventure this Friday/Saturday. My one Thursday class was cancelled so I guess I’ll just go book/warm clothes shopping, haha!

26 Oct 2008

Friday morning was rough! I have not seen 7:00 am in a long time, and I hope not to again for a while, haha! The bus ride to Zaragoza took about 3 hours maybe? I listened to music most of the time since I am completely incapable of sleeping in a sitting position. Apparently everyone could hear my music, which makes me wonder if I’m even more deaf than I was before I left. I’ll probably need hearings aides within the next 10 years =(. It was so different to look out the windows and not see corn fields. I was seriously in awe as I stared at this exotic landscape. We drove through vineyards with mountains in the background. It was so amazing! You could see the bottom 2/3 of the mountains, then there was a thin layer of clouds, and then you could see the tops. The colors were so vibrant…it was just so ridiculous. The houses were adorable too! They were the white adobe-looking houses with the red plated roofs. Adorable! As we got farther inland, the landscape became increasingly duller. Zaragoza was much colder than barca! I’m so glad I brought my jackets! The first thing we did was go into the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora de El Pilar. There was this wall where you could kiss the stone the Virgin Mary was standing on….it was just this little opening in the wall which exposed the stone and there was a line of people waiting to kiss it. Being the weirdo that I am, all I could think about was how diseased that rock must be, haha! I said that if I were a diseased poor person, I would lick it, just so everyone else after me would get sick, hahahah! I’m mean =). I felt bad taking pictures in there since there since they were in the middle of mass, but everyone else was snapping pictures and I just followed suit! Afterwards, we wandered over to another church-turned-museum (Catedral de La Seo) where we got yelled at por lo menos 5 times by the same guy for taking pictures. Whatever, our professor told us to take pictures but to try not to get caught…and if we get caught to act like we didn’t know. I seriously think Gabriel was going to pick a fight with that man! What a goofy old dude! Later, we went to lunch at this restaurant where they gave us a 3 course meal! 1. Chicken paella, 2. Some weird breaded steak and like 10 french fries, 3. Ice cream! We had wine and bread with it as well. When we were done eating, Aaron told us we had to meet in an hour and 45 at the Aljaferia. He told us it was “very easy” to get there from the restaurant and then gave us crappy directions. Man was he a liar! Thank God the Zaragozians are so nice—we had to keep asking them for directions and they were more than happy to help! We eventually got there and laid in the grass for about 45 minutes to get a little rest. Some of the girls and I walked around the building and then just sat around until the whole group got there. The place was cool, but the tour was waaaay too long! Afterwards, we hopped back on the bus and took a 45 minute bus ride to Fundetodos, a very small pueblo whose population reached 100 when the 50 of us got there. We dropped our stuff off in our freezing cold, croweded, and ghetto-fabulous before dinner. No joke the bunk beds were 1 foot apart and there were 14 people sharing my room. There wasn’t even a staff member there, just us kids, haha! We were told meet at the town’s only bar for dinner, so we went early, got some beer, and played some Egyptian Rat Screw. I lost (of course), and then we went and had another 3 course meal plus bread and lots of wine. We had some good soup, tortilla and some amazingly good chicken, and then some flan. We wanted more wine since we hadn’t gotten much, but when we asked the waiter told us that we had been cut off by our teachers, hahah! Oh well! We went back up to the bar afterwards and hung out. I played some more cards while everyone else got ridiculously drunk. People were taking pictures with the professors and program directors who totally know how to party with the kids. One of the guys in our program who was incredibly innebriated, fell, knocked over a tobacco machine the size of an arcade game, and broke a vase. Everyone went silent. Our professors and directors didn’t seem to worry about it at all. Gabriel just said jokingly that he must not understand that gravity pulls things down. Some of us left soon after and then a few more drunkies came back and we had the most ridiculous conversations. Then more drunkies came home, more funny-ness until the completely trashed people got back. Then we just got annoyed and went to bed.

Saturday we had to be ready to go at 9:00. After throwing our stuff on the bus, we went back to the bar for some breakfast—a chocolate filled croissant and some coffee (which I actually drank)!! It hardly counts though since it was half way filled with milk and then I put chocolate powder and sugar in it, haha! I still felt like a big kid though, woo! After sitting around for an unnecessarily long time, we went to the Goya museum and saw some of his works. The process to make those is ridiculous—I never would have had that much patience/intelligence. Then we walked to the house he was born in and got to walk around in all of the rooms. I guess Goya is Fundetodos’s claim to fame, haha! Then we got back on the bus and went to Belchite, an old town that was completely destroyed by bombs in the Civil War. Being a literal ghost town, one of the guys at the bar say that people can hear still airplanes and bombs there at night. It was so sad to see the ruins of this town. First of all, it was scary to see houses ripped in half, almost like looking at the cross section of a doll house. In the churches, which were more spacious, it was easy to see where a bomb came through the ceiling and took a chunk out of the wall. Nature had reclaimed what was rightfully theirs and there was prairie grass and vines inside the buildings and going up the walls. It was creepy to think how people had lived happily where we were walking and now their bodies were under the rubble. How scary that must have been to hear the planes and then have their world destroyed like that. It’s weird to think that these people lived through such a recent war, whereas my generation has no concept of war. In our lives, there has never been a war on the home front. The majority of us have never been affected by the current war. There was no draft, there were no bombings (unless you count 9/11), etc. It just weirded us out to see how hard war can rock your world in such a short amount of time. After Belchite, we went back the bar again for another 3 course lunch. We had (with bread and wine again) pasta, some type of meat, and then some weird pudding thing. Good lord, I probably ate more in that 24 hours than I have ever in my life! I definitely have a food baby now =/. We watched 2 movies on the way home. One super weird one with Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, the guy who plays Uncle Eddie, and one of the dads from Mamma Mia! called Goya’s Ghosts. Soooooo weird. So weird! And then we watched Meet the Fockers, haha! Perfect timing for the movies though—we got home right as Meet the Fockers ended! All in all, fun trip!

ps, also just read that part of Pan’s Labyrinth was filmed at Belchite—who knew!?

More Pictures
--there are some new pictures from London...but more yet to come as well
--random pictures
--Zaragoza Trip

15 October 2008

"I'm gonna chop you in half!" "YEAH!?"

8 Oct 08

Homesickness begins. The other day I realized it was October and was like, “Oh! Halloween is this month!” So I started doing little Halloween droodles (drawings + doodles) and I got really sad. I’m not home to put up Halloween decorations, make Halloween cookies, eat candy, carve pumpkins, or plan costumes! Then I started thinking too much, which is never good. One the rare occasion when this does happen, I start with one minute detail and blow it out of proportion, so bear with me while I ramble. So as I said, it started with the Halloween droodles and then expanded to the not being home for Halloween thing. Then I realized what had been bothering me without noticing—the lack of the fall season here. I mean, they obviously have one, but its not like it is at home. Yeah, its nice to have palm trees here year round, but I miss the brightly colored fall leaves and walking around on particularly crunchy leaves. I miss the crisp smell of the air and the clear skies! Then I started thinking of what I would be doing at home in the fall and I thought of bonfires, wearing hoodies, playing in the leaves, eating pumpkin seeds, etc. It doesn’t help that there are people everywhere roasting chestnuts on an open fire which smells of a heavenly campfire! Then I started thinking prematurely of Christmas and watching A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation with dad and Love Actually and The Holiday with mom, making cookies, decorating the house, having a fire in the family room, playing in the snow (no snow in spain), having hot chocolate after escaping the cold, having snowball fights or sledding into a lake…I have a feeling these next 3 months are going to be very hard on me! Good thing poppies and the mamski are coming within a month!!

Basilio, surgery tomorrow, heart too big because he “fell in love 3 times a week” when he was younger. Told us you shouldn’t fall in love with your heart, you should with other parts of your body, BAAAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh basilio. They he gave us another “looking forward to death since its ultimate peace” speech and we all got worried that that was his farewell speech! But you know what? I’m greedy! He better stick around for this year so I can benefit from his infinite wisdom and shockingly funny comments.

15 Oct 2008

Get ready, this is going to be a LONG one! So Thursday I left for London! Although we traveled for what seemed like 10 hours, it was well worth it. After everyone assembled in the bus station at Barcelona, we went to go buy our tickets and realized it was the last call for the LAST BUS OF THE NIGHT! Thank god we went when we did! Even so, we still had to run through the station like lost puppies in order to barely catch our bus to Girona. Allie’s friend Garrett apparently thought it was “weird” that we talked the entire time on the bus. He goes, “You guys talk a lot.” What, do guys just not talk to each other or something? He was incredibly shocked and wanted to know how we did it. Weird. But anyways, we get to the Girona airport (thanks RyanAir for being so crappy and making us leave and arrive at crappy, far-away airports), and on the plane all in good time. The flight was INCREDIBLY turbulent! The pilot came on in his british accent and was all “Oh God, I’m so sorry. I’m going to try to fly around it! It’s okay though…don’t worry.” Really?! That man seemed confused and scared to me! To occupy ourselves, Allie and I watched Garrett and Brandon play 38 games of ro-sham-bo for no apparent reason. Has anyone else ever heard of people calling rock-paper-scissors ro-sham-bo? It totally blew my mind. And the fact that the airline sold perfume and cologne at the end of the flight was also totally random. But we get in fine and then have to take another bus to London which added another 2 hours or something like that. It was so weird to be driving on the left side of the road—so unnatural! I guess the rules were made by a right hander (we drive on the right because Napoleon was left-handed). Then once we got to London, we had to take ANOTHER local bus to Brixton. Let me just tell you, Brixton is GHETTO! I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous walking to the Hootananny at 2 am in the morning. Whatever. We saw some foxes or something in the parking of one of the supermarkets, which was different. So we find the Hootananny, and the people were totally reluctant to let us in since it was waaaay after the appropriate check in hours. Oh well. We didn’t feel too bad—there was another group checking in as well. They let us in, and the drunk guy showed us where we would be sleeping. We didn’t really have pre-assigned beds, so he just went poking around to see which were available. Turns out Bobby, one of the guys’ friends who is studying in Scotland, was in our room! So we all started yelling in the room and then went out into the hall. Drunky McGee gave us linens and then peaced out. So we’re talking to Bobby as Holly is holding all this bedding and he just stops mid sentence and says “do you work here!?” I think he was still a little drunk because he proceeded to give us lessons on how it’s not “cheers” but “chrrrz,” or the equivalent of that spelling. Blah blah blah, we go to go to bed and Allie freaks because someone is in her bed. Things got messed up and one of the guys ended up sleeping on the floor and Allie slept in my bed with me.

Friday morning we took the tube to Buckingham Palace. After wandering around over there, we ate at Crumpets, which had pretty good sandwiches and stuff. Then we continued wandering and saw the Cathedral of Westminster. Since we were hoping to go on a walking tour of the newer parts of London, we decided to go to the grocery store to get some snacks. And guess what?! London has REAL supermarkets! I was in a state of shock and was immediately transported to Jewel. I felt so at home. They had a bunch of Halloween stuff, so I got a delicious pumpkin brownie and a fruity Fanta. We wandered some more until we came across Westminster Abbey and realized we missed the first tour. After some pictures, we hopped on the tube to go to the older part of the city for that tour. Well, we missed that one too because the tube was having problems with signals and we sat in a tunnel for a while. As “standard procedure,” we started back up and then slammed on the breaks. Have no idea how that would help at all, but I guess it makes sense in the British mind. We told this guy we were staying in Brixton and he yelled, “Brixton! Oh god!” and then laughed and we told him it was very cultural and that we loved it! Since we had nowhere specific to be, we walked around the Tower of London and took pictures by the Tower Bridge. Someone told us of a cool and cheap pub, so we went and checked it out. SO adorable! Like, right out of a movie/magazine/postcard british pub! We had the most delicious cider beer and then Allie and I had some tall one whose name I forgot. After spending some time there, we were lucky enough to see the Tower Bridge’s gates go up so the ship could pass. Apparently it doesn’t happen much anymore? We found these squares of light and danced around on them until we got yelled at and went to Subway instead. I’m not sure if it was this night, but we went to Leicester Square and wandered around Soho a bit. By some random twist of fate, we saw one of our hostel mates who is, apparently, the bouncer at a club in Soho. He let us in, but we still had to show IDs. When I told them my birthday they were like,”No, 1987!” I wish! I just laughed, grabbed my ID and went in. Too posh for us though—we like the dirty pubs! Then while in a little 7-11 type store, this English kid ended up buying Garrett a beer. Gay? Quite possibly. He said we were a “lovely bunch of people” and bought us beer. What a strange little rich kid. He claimed he was 20, but he and his friends were obviously 16. The cops got mad at them for something, so we bailed out and came home for the night. Allie, Holly, and I hung out at the bar below the Hootananny for a while and listened to the live band--The Splitters. Such a great atmostphere!

On Saturday, Bobby got left behind by the group and ended up spending the day with Holly, Allie, and I. First we went back to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards, but apparently they only do the full ceremony on the even numbered days. Oh well, we still got to see them change without the whole shebang. Then we repeated yesterdays path, taking a lot of pictured along the way. We went and bought tickets for the London Eye (the second tallest observation wheel in the world) and tickets for a boat tour. Since we had time before the tour, we got some Fanta, coffee, and cookies and wandered for a bit. Our tour guide’s name was Duane and he legit thought he was funny. Poor man. We chatted him up afterwards and asked if he wanted to come out for a beer or for fish and chips with us. He was sooo uncomfortable! It was hilarious. We got a picture with him and then some candids. So funny! He told us where to go (terrible directions for a tour guide) and got very lost. So Bobby walks up to this guy walking his bike and is all “that’s a nice bike…is it a one gear?” That pickup line by guys for guys totally worked. He gave us more directions and we continued. We stopped at this pub and this young british lad looked up some vital information for holly—the Red Sox had won. He gave us better directions to a different pub with fish and chips. They were delicious, as were the potatoes with cheese and bacon that accompanied them! We made our way back the eye and got in line. The Eye was really cool since we were seeing an aerial view of the city at night. After a little more exploring, we came home and we came home and went out with the Brazilians and the New Zealanders. We went around Soho to try to get into clubs—no go since not all of us had ID’s so ended up coming back to Brixton to go to this cool bohemian bar, where we secretly took pictures of this guy who was incredibly high. Good times.

Sunday the whole group of 8 started out together but quickly split up after landing at the Victoria station. Allie, Holly, and I wandered over there and found a secret garden for rich people. No joke, it had a lock, cameras, and rich people playing games and lounging inside. Damn them! Then we went to Camden Town to check out the big market they have there. Like whoa! this place was big! It had at least 20 aisles of stands with clothes, jewelry, bags, music, etc. After walking through and Holly bartering for Allie’s dress, we went to the food market which had food from all over the world. It was so crowded and all the stands were giving us samples, but I ended up getting Mexican food since we haven’t found a good Mexican restaurant in Barca yet. Needless to say, it was very good. We ate in a park and this dog kept running up to us. The owner came and got him once, let him down on the other side of the park, and the dog came running back. It’s probably because we’re awesome. We spent some time in the park then attempted to find Abbey Road!!! And we failed. We got off where we thought I was supposed to be and some lady was all “Abbey Road? You’re MILES away! Let me tell you how to get there.” So while waiting for the bus we bought some muffins and chowed down. With the help of the bus driver and the nicest old man, we were able to find Abbey Road! The wall in front of the studio was COVERED in Beatles lyrics and drawings. So amazing! And of course we had to get a picture of us crossing the road. With the help of the Brazilian in the red shirt, we got one that was pretty good while almost getting hit by cars. Coolest thing—there were 4 guys dressed in suits, one with no shoes, there and they were doing it! So brilliant!! We went searching for a pub that sold the cider beer and eventually found one thanks to Holly’s hawk eyes! We got 3 rounds and took a “we just walked Abbey Road” pic with our beer with the help of the nicest English woman! Then we went in and Holly disappeared, but we found her having beers out back with some dude named Ali? He was cool. He got us more beer and stuff. Good times. We went and hung out with the 2 old guys as well. They were cute! We stayed until they kicked us out and then we went wandering again in an attempt to meet everyone up at Soho. Another fail. We got sidetracked when the foreigners called us over to their homeless clothes bin raid and dressed us up since we were cold. He told us to call his girlfriend Princess something or other since she’s the “prettiest girl in the world.” Cute. So we continue, have some metro problems like Allie getting stuck in the doors and Holly crawling under the gate only to find out that the place we wanted to go didn’t have a train going to it at this hour or something? I don’t know. Somehow we got to Soho and had to pee REAAAAALLY bad. But for some strange reason, no one would let us in to use their bathroom. In retrospect, I probably wouldn’t have let us in either considering we looked like dirty orphan children. We eventually snuck in and out of Planet Hollywood without having to buy drinks, which was lucky since our next option was the street. We didn’t find any of the other group, so Holly got a kebab (I ditched my coat since I realized it was probably diseased), and Allie and I got some BK. Then we went home since there was nothing left to do. GO BRIXTON!

Monday, the 2 girls and I got up super early for our last day! We are such 5 year olds—we went to St. James Park to play in the leaves and see the Peter Pan statue! Wow. We also went looking for the guards and found them right before we had to head back. But Lizzie obviously doesn’t want anyone entering her palace. That shit is guarded with spikes and wires! St. James was gorgeous as always. I lost my camera in the leaves for about 5 minutes, but then Holly found in—THANK GOD! We walked around the lake, taunted the nursery rhyme geese, and stared down the pelicans. We eventually found some guards to take pictures with, and I was surprised 1. At how young they were, and 2. How SCARY they were! They had bayonet-like weapons and I was worried about getting hit or poked with it. On the way home, we stopped at another one of those real supermarkets, got some chocolate covered peanuts for the plane and some peanut butter for Barca since its SUPER expensive here. But since the world hates me some times, we got it taken away. We were running late to get to the plane since we got carried away chatting, we go to the x-rays, the alarm went off for me, I got frisked, they took mine and Allie’s bags away, then the old man said , “you got some jam in there!?” He was actually nice. We explained the whole peanut butter situation to him, and he completely understood and seemed to feel bad for us deprived children. But then he said he had to go ask someone else to make sure it was okay since he’s not the highest person up or something. So the antichrist comes up, grabs it, and throws it out and is all “you cant have this.” Like, he literally threw it out right in front of us!!! Allie and I got really made, especially since he said we could probably buy some more through the next set of doors. Umm, excuse me? I already bought it and YOU threw it away! Allie and I sassed him a bit and asked why they couldn’t just x-ray ours since they were obviously sealed still. He wasn’t having it though and allie and I walked away in tears. The rest is boring transportation. So besides the peanut butter fiasco, London was an ace!

Back in Barca, I get a letter from Aaron, one of our program directors, saying the police have found some of my stuff. So I go there after class, and some stupid girl makes me fill out a police report and then wait in line to go see an officer. So I got talk to the guy and he fills everything out. 10 minutes later, he gives me a copy and says, “there you go.” I think I stared at him for a second and then was all, “ummmmm, so can I get my stuff now?” He was confused. The original girl was obviously a complete moron and didn’t understand what I meant when I said they already have found my stuff and that it is in this building. Long story a bit shorter, they found it! Everything was in it with the exception of the 100 euros. Sweet!

And tonight we went to this Chicago Pizza Pie Factory for dinner where they apparently make Chicago style pizza. Yeaaah, that’s a funny joke. It was small & tomato-less. The dessert was decent, but it was way too overpriced in general. Props to them for the decorations though—all Chicago stuff!

And happy 2 month to me! My, how time flies!

Yeah well, sorry for making you read all of that (if anyone reads it). I probably wouldn’t have read it if I were you….the picture to word ratio is terrible!

Peace, love, and nutella



I'm still waiting on a TON of pictures to surface, so I'll probably repost the link in the next blog as well!