26 November 2008

Feliz Dia de dar Gracias!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Ahh, where do I begin. Tonight the program is giving us an "American Thanksgiving dinner" at some fancy schmancy hotel. I also heard that they give us a ridiculous amount of wine. Should be interesting given that our teachers will be dining with us. I heard that one year Tony (one of my teachers from ILP who said he looked more like a "brian") got ridiculously drunk and went out with all of the students. AHAHAHA! Ooooh Tony, you would. Hopefully we can get Basilio and Gabriel talking about the olden days--they are both way too cool for the UB.




To everyone at home, I miss you all and wish I could be home for the day to be with you all! INFINITE thank you's to my parents for helping me realize my dream of traveling the world. Thank you to my entire support group at home and new friends in Spain who patiently deal with my mood swings. I would literally be lost without all of you! Mom & Dad, you guys are the best parents a girl could ever ask for. I'm so lucky my soul was dropped off where it was! Ryan & Jordan, I miss you waaaay more than you will ever know! Even though this Christmas season will probably be really hard for me, it's nice to know that I'll have my fabulous cousins Allie and Jessie with me and that I'll be home with you all in all the years to come!

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm thankful for all of you!

¡SALUD!

(yeah, i totally drew that)

=)


24 November 2008

COME ON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE!!

24 Nov 2008

Oh Paris, you are pretty. After 9 hours of traveling, we finally made it to our hostel/hotel. We ran into Nicole at the Nord bus/train station, and since she was also going to Paris, we took her under our wing. Amy and Kel got to sit behind these adorable Spanish boys. Apparently they got thrown in jail for forever and got all chopped up and stuff, haha! All I had was an annoying screaming boy who kicked my seat the entire time while his mom slept the entire time. I wanted to slap her and tell her to be a better mom, but of course I didn’t. I would say that would have been highly frowned upon since I don’t know what I’m talking about anyways.

Friday, after sleeping in the comfiest beds ever, we met up with Amy’s friends visiting from Rome and headed over to the Père Lachaise Cemetery. It had started to rain pretty hard by then, so the atmosphere was perfect for a graveyard stroll. This guy with crazy curly, long hair asked if we were going to Jim Morrison’s grave and he pointed us in the right direction. Yay! So we get over there and couldn’t find it since we’re all really dumb and stuff. Then we hear, “JIM MORRISON!? OVER HERE! COME ON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE!!” All of this is in a goofy French accent and coming from the crazy man who gave us directions earlier. So he showed us and told us about how his first headstone was stolen, as was the statue of his head that they put up later, so now all that remains is the basics. First offense on his grave is a 1,000 euro fine, second offence and you’re off to the cárcel. Then Rafael, that was his name, showed us all around the cemetery while continuing his ridiculous explanations in broken English. He told us that unless you were famous, you could only be buried ther for 100 years. After that, “BARBECUE!!” We saw the grave of Miguel Ángel Asturias, a Nobel Prize winner from Guatemala, which was apparently very controversial since only people who died in Paris were supposed to be buried there. He took us over to Victor Noir’s grave whose statue’s color is messed up since so many people rub it for luck. Rafael says he appears partly sexually aroused because he got an erection or something a day or two after he died. So his statue has basically become a symbol of fertility. People kiss his lips, rub his bulge, throw flowers or baby shoes in his hat, etc. There was more, but I don’t remember it all because I was having a hard time not laughing at him. We saw Gertrude Stein’s grave. If you look on the back you find out that Alice Toklas is buried next to her, but they couldn’t put that on the front since their relationship was totally taboo. Kelly and Amy risked a 200 euro fine and kissed Oscar Wilde’s grave which is covered in kisses! We also saw Sarah Bernhardt, Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Marceau (who had rocks on his grave since he’s Jewish), and Édith Piaf’s graves, along with the graves of the Louvre’s first director and the creator of the Statue of Liberty. Sweet deal! Afterwards, we briefly went to the Eiffel Tower and then headed to the Arc de Triumphe and got some lunch. Later we headed over to Sacré Cœur where a guy was singing Bob Marley out in front. We went in the church for a bit…it was so pretty! Since the Louvre is free to people under the age of 26 on Friday nights, we went over there and found some of our favorite paintings. After breezing past the Mona Lisa, I wondered why they would put such a small painting on such a huge empty wall by itself?! Don’t they realize they’re only making it look smaller and less impressive? Oh well! I finally talked to Ally after having been unable to call her earlier in the day and she met us at the Louvre and took us to dinner by the Bastille! It was so nice to see her again!! I was really sick the whole day, but it was still fabulous.

Saturday we got up and headed over to Versailles! That place never ceases to amaze me! We went on an audio tour and I got to see different parts than last time, which was cool. Uncool, however, were the modern art pieces in each room. Really Versailles, are you that desperate?! It’s kind of messed up when 5 feet to the left of a gorgeous chandelier is a blow up lobster hanging from the ceiling. Or Michael Jackson holding a monkey in a case in the middle of the room where the king received people. Really? Wow. It was FREEEZING outside when we went exploring the back yard, so we went to Starbucks afterwards and I got a hot chocolate and a muffin. So nice and warm! After taking the train back, we got some lunch at this adorable café across from the Notre Dame and then wandered over there afterwards. Amy and I tried to recreate one of the statues and ended up getting lots of weird stares. Oh well! We went inside and within 10 minutes, they started mass. It was insane! Singing, music, incents (which I probably just spelled wrong), and crazy organs. Insane! Catholic churches certainly are scary! From this sacred place we headed over to the land of debauchery—the Moulin Rouge! After taking pictures for about a half hour, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to watch the lights show. It was gorgeous! We decided to go up to the top since Kel had never been. We had to wait around on the second floor for about a half hour, and it was FREEEEEEZING! However, we were standing next to the most adorable French family, so I didn’t mind as much! We got to the top, took some pics, and then headed back to our Voltaire stop! Pretty much throughout the entire trip, Kel and I were talking with New Zealand accents and referencing Flight of the Conchords songs so we took a picture with the Auckland flag but then had to stop once we realized someone up there was actually from New Zealand—oops! We went to this little restaurant around midnight and I had some hot chocolate and French onion soup…so yummy! Amy got a little tipsy off of her wine and was saying ridiculous things and giggling like a little girl. I couldn’t help but feel that everyone was just watching us since they had nothing better to do, haha! At least we put on a good show!

The next morning we had to get up super early to catch our bus to the airport. About half way through, it started snowing lightly, but by the time we got to the airport the flakes were big and fluffy! It fluctuated between heavy and snow the whole time we were at the airport, so our flight got delayed a bit. We got to watch 3 little Spanish boys and their dad playing on the metro in their Barca football clothes—they were so cute! And then we got home and got comfy!
So today Basilio told us that when they were expanding Barcelona, the designer knew nothing about trees and planted one specific kind on every block that give people with allergies a VERY hard time. MYSTERY SOLVED!

MORE PARIS PICTURES!!!!!



video video

19 November 2008

"You can't be so casual about this! This isn't Europe, okay? There are rules here! "


15 Nov 2008

I have so freaking much to do this weekend, uuugh!! Yesterday we went to Montserrat—pretty cool. I had this plan that I would read the book I’m supposed to be reading for cinema class on the bus ride, but I couldn’t read on bus! It was really loud on the bus, so I put on my iPod, but I could still hear everyone talking over it, so I pretty much just had 2 distracting noises. I had to reread it all when I came home =/ It was really cold up by Montserrat! It only got worse when we got up in the mountain, but that was to be expected. Pilar kept saying something about when we got to Montserrat we would be doing something involving a “cremallera” and we all thought it was a dessert place! Very wrong. She said it was a zipper up the mountain, and then I thought we were going zip lining!! Also very wrong. So we take the TRAIN up the mountain and they let us do whatever we wanted. Some of us decided to head up to the monastery because they had a stature of the virgin from the year 800 adentro! So we waiting in line to see it--apparently it used to be very controversial since she is black? Anyways, we went to go to caves but got distracted by the cutest kitten who was crying on the side of the path because she was so cold! So she came over to us crying and we played with her for about a half hour and decided to call her Pumpkin. Since we had blown so much time playing with the poor little kitten, we didn’t have much time left and decided to go back. We put Pumpkin down in hopes that she would go home to her mommy (assuming she has one), but she followed us, crying the entire time! We felt soo bad for her and basically wanted to keep her! After following us half way back to town for about 20 minutes, her wee little legs got to tired and she just sat there crying. It was so hard to just walk away from that poor little, cold, crying kitten. It would be like finding a baby on the side of the road and just leaving it there in the middle of winter!! So we got some lunch and then got back on the bus and headed over to the Codorníu for a tour! We got to see how they make the champaigne (“cava” en espanol porque you can only call it Champaigne if it is from the Champaigne region of France), where they keep and for how long and at what angles, and then we got a quick tour on this cool train thing (I wanna be the driver of that think when I grow up), and then we got to taste some of their new champaigne—SO GOOD!! And then we went home.

So here I am with TONS of homework and I’m doing it on a very strict schedule. Shame on Elena for assigning us a bunch of hard articles that wont help me at all for the test. Boo on her. Soy un esclavo al trabajo =(

19 Nov 2008

YESSSSS, I AM FREEE! History final wasn’t bad at all, literature final was a bit harder than I expected, and there was utter chaos during our cine midterm. So we get our papers and we start working on our exams and everything, and then we hear these sirens. I just assumed they were ambulance or police sirens since that’s all you hear in BCN, but no, it was the fire alarm. So we had to pack up all of our stuff and go outside. We ended up staying out there for about 15-20 minutes before Alberto found us a new room to do our midterm in. There are also big strikes going on at the school for some reason. There was a group of about 50 students blocking the main road and holding signs so there was a ridiculous amount of honking going on. So we go in and I’m working on my midterm, yada yada yada. Let me just tell you, there were 2 questions on the exam, 2 parts to question 1, and about 6 things to discuss in part 1 of question 1. Sooooo, I’m about 2/3 of the way done with part 1 of question 1 when Alfonso’s all like “you have 25 minutes left.” WHAAAAAAAAA?! Aye dios mio, are you shittin me! So I basically scribbled some nonsense answers for the rest of the test. Hopefully it sounded philosophical enough for Alejandro! I went shopping after class and got a cool fleece-ish coat tonight, cooooool. Tomorrow I leave for Paris! So yeah…get excited.

MORE PICTURES!!

Montserrat & Codorniu trip


there are also a few more pictures up from Mom & Dad's visit--see link in last entry!

12 November 2008

Dan & Jude's Excellent Adventure

11 Nov 2008

So the week of the parents has come and gone, and thank God the weather was nice! We pretty much saw and did everything I had hoped, yay!

The firs t morning was a bit of a fiasco on my part. I went to go pick up the parents at the airport (imaging the airport greetings from Love Actually), and ended up getting there an hour after they arrived due to the fact that I missed the earlier train since the green line was moving so slowly! Oh well, I’m just glad they got to Barca safely (despite their terrible flight). So we took a cab to their [first] hotel, brought their stuff in, and I showed them around the apartment and the University of Barcelona. They got to see the mob of cats and the gardens in the university, which was nice. Then I gave them the “grocery store demo.” I think they understand now why I eat so terribly here. They literally have none of the basic ingredients needed for making American food. Needless to say, they bought me a TON of groceries at Corte Ingles and Jespac! My section of the pantry is now overflowing with food!

After making the parents a French toast breakfast on Friday, we walked down the Rambla and down to the port. We passed the Placa Reial, which I hadn’t seen yet, so I was excited about that. I got to show them the crazy street performers and the little pet stores on the street. I still can’t believe they sell chickens on the Rambla, haha! We took a break down by the port after checking out Cristobal Colon’s statue. Once our feet stopped throbbing, we headed over to the Parc de la Ciutadella to see the Catalunyan Parliament and some cool fountain which was, unfortunately, under construction. While we were walking, I heard something rustling in the bushes on our left and when I went to check it out, I found this huge turtle crawling along the fence! I have no idea how he got up there (unless he’s a cliff climber), and I have no idea how he’ll get down safely. I was worried about him, but we decided to call it a day and say maybe it was laying eggs. So who knows… We left through the top entrance in hopes of finding the Arc de Triumf, I got confused, and then felt really stupid when we found it in the totally obvious spot. It was really pretty though! I like the way its colored more than the one in France, but I like how you can go up to the top of the one in France. Oh well. They got their first metro experience as we headed back to move them out of their hotel in the ghetto and terrifying Raval. Note to anyone who ever wants to come to Barcelona, STAY OUT OF THE RAVAL/BARRIO XINO! Sorry Mom and Dad for that one! We got them a room in the Hotel Inglaterra, which is in a better area and closer to my piso. Smooth sailing from there on! That night, Allie took us to the Oveja Negra since none us had ever been. So adorable! My first thought upon entering was “OMG, this place smells a bit like Kams!!!” Kams is the really disgusting smelling bar at U of I that we all have grown to love. So we ordered 3 pitchers of sangria to split amongst the 6 of us. Amy and I won by drinking ours the fastest—go us! After all 3 pitchers were drained, Dad wandered away (supposedly to go to the bathroom) and came back with a 4th pitcher. After finishing that one, we all headed back home.

After making them a scrambled egg breakfast, we hit up the Block of Discord. It’s really not as crazy as it sounds. We got to see Casa Batlló (by Gaudí) which tells the tale of how St. Jordi defeated the dragon. The roof of the building is supposed to look like the dragon’s back and the balconies like the skulls of its victims. Gnarly! Then we walked up a few more blocks so they could see the Pedrera. Much to our disappointment, the line was incredibly long so we decided to just continue. While walking back up the Rambla Catalunya we found a Muy Mucho (one of my favorite stores) and saw that they were selling Christmas trees and decorations!!!!! OMG, loved it! We browsed and then headed home. Mom and I went to Sants for some unsuccessful shopping (unsuccessful since the stores were closed for siesta), but we found fortune back near the hotel and piso. I ended up getting a pair of new jeans and some sweet black boots! Later that night we went over to Placa Espanya to see the Palau Nacional and the magic fountain show. Good stuff, good stuff. All we needed was some gelato to polish off the night…check.

After Sunday morning’s egg sandwiches (I know, I’m quite the little chef…not), we took the bus to Parc Guell. We wandered around and stole some Estrella beer glasses. You know, just the usual day in the park! Afterwards, we took the metro to the Sagrada Familia where we met up with Allie! Allie and Amy helped me pick out some lovely scarves so I can look more Euro. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it down right, crap! They’re adorable though and I cant wait to wear them all around Europe!! Afterwards, Allie took us back to her area and WE GOT TO MEET ROSA! She is seriously so adorable! I’m so glad Allie has such a nice host momma! Then she took us over to the football (soccer) stadium, which was enormous! I’ll definitely have to try to catch a game before I leave!

Monday was pretty chill since I had class from 10:00-2:30. The parents had a lovely and productive morning and when I met up with them, they had bought me a space heater and a huge, warm, and soft blanket! I’M SO SET NOW! Uuuuuh, I love it! No more winter hats in the piso, woo! We went back to Muy Mucho and got a Christmas tree, lights, and some decorations—I seriously cant wait to put them up!! That night, the parents, my roomies, Allie and I all went to Hard Rock for a hearty (meat-filled) meal! When sufficiently stuffed, we headed over to the shot bar! Yay parents for doing 3 shots each! Mom did a Boy Scout (roasting a marshmallow, dunking it in the shot, eat it, take shot) and Dad did a Gloria for grams, haha! Then they both did a Finding Nemo (which involved fishing an M&M out of some whipped cream at the top of a shot and then taking the shot), and then our final one was an Indecent Proposal. We headed out soon after since it was so hot in there…probably because they’re always lighting the bar on fire, haha!

Tuesday (the last full day =( ), I got out of class at 1:00, we got some final groceries and then headed over to Scobie’s Irish Pub! Yummy! We hung out there until Allie got out of class and then we all wandered the Gothic Area. After leading them around in circles (again, sorry about that), we went into the Barcelona Cathedral, which I had never really seen before. Very cool, even if there were goofy looking geese in the middle cloister =/. Then we headed home since it was getting dark. A little later, Mom, Dad, and I went to Hard Rock again. We all got burgers, and then we all got desert. By the time we left I was about to enter a Food Coma, which goes beyond the level of Food Baby. We laid around at the hotel and then I decided I better head back so they could pack and get a good night’s sleep. Not gonna lie, I didn’t want to leave. But since I knew I had to do it at some point, I figured I better not delay the inevitable. So we headed home, boooo. Mom cried again which made me sad. It upsets me to see her crying and knowing that I am partially the cause of it. Sorry boo, but please don’t be sad! Get a web cam and we can see each other much more often! Dad’s hugs are so reassuring. I know I’ll be okay in the next 7 months here. Now that they know I’m safe, and I know that they know, I think it should be a bit easier.

In retrospect, my last words probably should not have been “See you in June!!” but I’m socially awkward and always choose the worst things to say at the most opportune moments. So sorry about that too. After locking my door and literally running up the stairs (not sure why I did that), I went out on my balcony and watched them walk out of my view hand in hand. They’re so adorable! It’s nice to think that the next time I see them I’ll be back on the home turf and 21!! I still have 3 big holidays, 1 new year and 1 birthday til then, but time will fly for me since I have so many exciting trips to look forward to! So until June Mom and Dad, I’m just going to keep on walkin the world!

12 Nov 2008

So I called the parents today at 5:35 am to wish them a safe trip home. Hopefully this flight is more enjoyable than the first one!

Classes were alright. I have one midterm next Monday, one Tuesday, and two on Wednesday. In addition, I have to present on part II of this book we’re supposed to be reading in Cine, I have to do the take home part of the test, and read and summarize 5 difficult articles for Tuesday’s midterm. Booo! In other words, I wont be leaving the piso for a while. Friday we’re going on an excursion to Montserrat with the group and then going in some caves? Should be interesting. I’m glad it’s only a day trip though—that way I can get more stuff done this weekend!

In other news, Allie is such a doll. She came over in between classes and brought us both hot chocolate from Starbucks in their red Christmas cups (THEY CAME) and cookies. She said she knew I was probably having a crappy day since the parents left and it was cold and rainy today. She’s such an awesome cousin—I’m so glad she’s here with me!!


PICTURES!! I'll be putting more up as they come in or whenever Jude sends me her pictures (hint hint)

Barcelona



video
Please watch the adorable dancing granny on the right!!


video
He was just a good singer...you go Espanya!!

05 November 2008

44


If I could apparate...I would definitely apparte to Grant Park right now.

I'm proud of you America!!!


ps, Barcelona loves Barack too! Check out what this guy did on beach earlier in the week (look for this when you're landing in BCN, mom & dad!!)


pps, that was quite possibly one of the most beautiful, eloquent acceptance speeches ever

03 November 2008

BARACK THE VOTE!!!

DONT FORGET TO GO OUT AND VOTE TOMORROW!!!!

02 November 2008

tired of being sexy


28 Oct 2008

So I made the Oreo pie mom sent me without measuring cups and without an electric mixer (which was called for in the directions), and guess what? It turned out famously!! It only lasted 2-ish days in the piso…I finished it off this afternoon, hahah!

1 Nov 2008

It’s been raining a lot here. Cut the crap, Barca! Oh well. Better rain than, I don’t know, magma? So on Halloween morning, the girls and I went in search of something that would give off the appearance we were wearing costumes for the party thing Tedd and Stan had organized. We eventually found stuff at Claire’s so I could be a cat and Kelly could be a mouse. We figured that would be entertaining enough. My cat ears have a tiara on top of them for some reason, I so was a princess cat. The boa I originally asked for as a tail ran up as 14.95 euros….ummm WHAAAT?! That was too ridic, so I told her to give me the other cheaper one. In addition to the bonus of being cheaper, it had shiny things sticking out of it, further complimenting my princess cat disguise. I really wanted to get my cartilage pierced at Claire's, but the guy in the angel outfit said they didnt do that there....drat. After bamming around, we all got half ready for the night and then went to the CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy / Tired of Being Sexy) concert sans ears and tails. SO GOOD! They were sooooo good! Much better live, and their stage presence, especially the lead singer Lovefoxxx, was ridiculous! One of the band members was dressed up as Amy Winehouse for Halloween and even blackened out one of her teeth and wore a shirt saying something about white people, haha! There were costume changes, crowd surfing, and a really funny t-shirt they were selling. Apparently they also love Barcelona, but who doesn’t? So afterwards we came home since it was too early to go out. We dropped some stuff off and put on the rest of our costumes. So we wander over there about an hour and a half after said shindig was supposed to start to find out we were the only people there besides Stan the Mexican and Tedd, Disco Stu. They said that some people had gone down to Espit Chupitos since no one was at La Fira. Well what’s the point of that? Silly. So the roomies and I went in and got one of those big drinks. Big thumbs down. First of all, it was 2,50 more here than at Espit’s, and when I asked which one she suggested, she told us and it was TERRIBLE! Like every sip was pure agony. After finishing that, the thought of any other liquid made me want to gag. Needless to say, I ended up doing a Boy Scout and a Diablo by the end of the night. The first was to get the first drink’s taste out of my mouth (and because it included roasting marshmallows, yaaaay) and the second just because I got to drink a shot through a straw while the shot was on fire, woooo! The Spaniards were all looking and laughing at us since we were wearing costumes….LIKE WE DON’T SPEAK SPANISH! Umm, really? Get a clue people! Not all Americans are as stupid as they look! And if anything, I should be laughing at you for not celebrating this wickedly awesome holiday! I was very happy when others arrived and we invaded the dance floor. Yay!

MOM AND DAD COME ON THURSDAY AND I’M SOOOO EXCITED TO SEE THEM AND GIVE THEM HUGS AND HANG OUT WITH THEM FOR A WEEK! I made some plans for their visit today—half of the stuff on my list I haven’t even seen, haha!! CANT WAIT, CANT WAIT, CANT WAIT!!!!!!

videothis first one is for Ryan!!

video


More Pictures!!
Around the piso
CSS Concert
Halloween at La Fira

I'm sure more will be added later, so check back if you're bored/procrastinating