julio 26th, 2013

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A treadmill is dragging me whether I want it to or not. If I run the other way I will just fall off and miss everything that is to come. When I finally found the perfect spot to watch the sunset, it had already sunk into still indigo waters. Everything is moving faster and I can’t press pause. I want to breathe and pretend that these moments of clear salt water laughter and the echo of a grand piano through walls older than my country won’t fade to memory.

I am gripping every moment as tightly as I possibly can, but they are now slippery wet between my fingers and are sliding backward and forward. Into the known and the unknown, where all of everything that is so real and deeply embedded in my heart at this moment will soon fade to distant memories.  I will carry these memories, these moments that have changed who I am in far more aspects than I could have imagined with me in a leak-proof jar within me forever, but I will never be able to open their lid to revisit and relive.

I thought of coming back for a whole semester, but I realized that nothing could ever be the same.  I can always come back here, but I can never come back to now. The people I love would be missing, and I would have aged in mind and experience. In several days the joyous curiosity of trials, failures, winning, learning and the perfect friendships of the present will be lost in a state of time hardly different from a dream. I want to stay and learn and live, but I feel like I’m leaving home with no way to ever come back.

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¡actualizaciones!

julio 13th, 2013

With midterms and excursions recently, I know I have not been my best at keeping up my blog. It’s very hard to make myself sit in front of the computer and upload photos when there are hiking trails and city events and I live two minutes walking distance from the beach. Regardless, last Saturday our group went to Guernica to see the the Peace Museum and go to the beach. We had a fantastic time!

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This Wednesday we went to see the running of the Bulls in Pamplona. It was well worth waking up at 3:30am. I’m sure CIDE is glad that they made me sign a waiver that said I would not actually run with the bulls because that certainly was on my agenda. (Sarcasm not implied.) I got a little red pañuelo and then later we went to San Sebastian.

P1050086 We were all rather tired that day. P1050187 Chocolate con churros! (finally!)P1050159

 

We had midterms yesterday which went alright. I think I did well on my culture test, but my language test was so so. I definitely shouldn’t be in Spanish four. Even though I’m trying my hardest, it’s okay if I don’t get an A in the class because this experience will certainly make me a better teacher as I now understand the extreme importance of having a rock-solid foundation of the basics before moving onward.

I know this post was short, but I must meet my friends for some Saturday afternoon beach time and a hiking adventure in Palencia!

¡Hasta luego!

 

 

 

 

julio 6th, 2013

“Is that a baby… going for a walk with its grandparents? …at two in the morning?”

#thenightlife

¡Feliz cumpleaños América!

julio 4th, 2013

I love Bilbao. I love the culture, the food, the people, the beaches, the architecture, the playgrounds, the trees and its accessibility. However, I must say there is no place like America. Today is The Fourth of July and it is so odd being in another country on such an important American holiday. As much as I love the antiquity of the culture here, it has made me more fascinated with my own culture. People here keep asking me to describe what it is like in America. They think that I have never seen or heard of the foods they eat here and everything is entirely foreign to me, but that’s is not true at all. What’s wonderful about America is that hardly anything is foreign to us because we have a little bit of everything. I hope that the world can somehow revamp the entirely untrue stereotype that we all live off of Burger King and Waffle House because America truly does have more variety and options of everything than anywhere in the world. It truly is a melting pot where the whole world has brought the best of their best together with a pinch of its own uniqueness. I love being here, but my heart will always belong to the U.S. I love its small towns and football teams and Ford pickup trucks. I love its white picket fences and its wide open ranches. Although it is admittedly  far from perfect and it doesn’t have a Guggenheim or any city as beautiful as this, it is home. There is an indescribable sense of peace and comfort that one feels when in their own country that is often taken for granted until it is inaccessible. I am certainly enjoying my time here and love Spain very very much, but today I’m proud to be a foreigner.

What’s better.

julio 3rd, 2013

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Yes, we could say that things aren’t better or worse and that they are just different. However that most certainly does not apply to everything. There are simply some things at which each country is better. I will try to be as unbiased as possible as I assess who comes out on top in what.

Stylishness of strollers- Spain

Helpfulness and clarity of textbooks- U.S.

Helpfulness of the average person – Spain

Cuteness of children’s clothing- Spain

Quality of Shoes- Spain

Access to water fountains- U.S.

Creativity with toilet flushers -Spain

Consciousness of the Environment- Spain

Price of Food – Spain

Price of Gas- Can’t tell…

Price of Everything else – U.S.

Attractiveness of sports Apparel- U.S.

Access to Public Transportation- Spain

Filling breakfasts – U.S.

Access to health foods – U.S.

Access to fast food – U.S.

Access to fresh, in between foods- Spain

School supplies (price, quality, design) – U.S.

Efficient Speakers- Spain

Empathetic Listeners- U.S.

 

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iNo Puedo Esperar!

junio 30th, 2013

Classes start tomorrow. I am so, so, so excited. I have forgotten so much Spanish in a year and can’t wait to hit the books! My Spanish language class is going to be three hours each day, one of which will be speaking and I might audit a culture class. We’ll see! iEstoy muy emocionado!

 

El Guggenheim

junio 29th, 2013

Today we went to the Guggenheim museum, which was fantastic! I loved all of the art there. My friend Vivian and I got there two hours before we had to and enjoyed eating outside a cafe, reading, writing, and exploring before it was time to the museum. The architecture was incredible and all of the art was fantastic! I loved how they broke everything up into different sections.  My friend Sarah and I got just a bit lost afterward while looking to buy a phone but it was good to have to ask for directions. I was SO hungry when I got home and after my host mom made me a delicious salad and lentil soup and have me honey dew melon I took quite a long siesta. I wish I had time to write about everything that is happening, but it is far too much to write about and I have far too much to explore! I am quite excited for a day of rest tomorrow.

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junio 28th, 2013

Everyone was right. Bilbao IS better. And Getxo is even better. I love it here and as of now I really don’t see the point in coming back. We went to Polencia and I made the big mistake of leaving my camera behind. I figured that all the beaches would be the same, but each is truly unique in its own way. We also toured Deusto, which is the most unbelievable school I have ever seen in my life. I love my host family and all is well!

Segovia y más.

junio 27th, 2013

¡Hola a todos!

¡Ayer fue una dia muy magnifica! ¡Fuimos a Segovia! It is truly the most beautiful town I have ever been to in my life and if it weren’t such a tourist attraction I would certainly live there. We saw la acueducto de Segovia which was so complex and foreign to the people of Segovia when they were built in the first century that Segovians believed that they had been created by the devil. We also had a wonderful opportunity to visit  El Alcázar which was the same castle where King Ferdanand and Queen Isabella once lived and granted Christopher Columbus’ trip to the Indies.

En Segovia

En Segovia

las acuaductos

la acueducto

el castillo

el castillo

la armadura de las caballeros

la armadura de las caballeros

 

la armadura

la armadura

dentro del castillo

dentro del castillo

la cama de los reyes

la cama de los reyes

Aquí es donde el rey Fernando y la reina Isabel otorgó Cristóbal Colón su viaje a las Indias.

Aquí es donde el rey Ferdinand y la reina Isabella otorgó Cristóbal Colón su viaje a las Indias.

la vista perfecta

Mi gatito amigo

Mi gatito amigo

Sólo una de las hermosas vistas de Segovia.

After a nice lunch in Segovia we returned to Madrid where a friend and I explored the city and went to the Caixaforum Madrid museum. It was holding an exhibit on Mesopotamia, but I most enjoyed the exhibit that had art from all different periods divided into themes such as war, love, friendship, portraits, etc. It was very fun to see contemporary photos adjacent to Neoclassic paintings. While we searched for the museum I got to practice my Spanish by asking for directions. Most people hardly spoke a word of English which I was happy about, but I was very impressed by girl about seven years old who spoke nearly fluently to me and said that she just studied English very hard in school. Before getting on the metro back to the hotel my friend and I had dinner in the city where we split payaya with seafood.

We left Madrid this morning and I am currently on the bus to Bilbao. Before leaving Madrid we went to El Museo Nacional del Prado. It was an incredible museum with many works by Valazquez and Goya. We had a fantastic tour guide. She was extremely passionate about all of the paintings she showed us and explained not only the background of the stories but also pointed out how particular details of each painting had to do with the era in which it was produced. She led us through the [Borroque period to the Neoclassic] period and explained how the different artists impacted each other. I would have to start a second blog to explain all of the things I learned in that short tour. We only had an hour after the tour to browse the museum at our own pace, which was slightly overwhelming considering how it was nearly as large as the National Gallery at home. I could have spent a week in el Prado and not have examined and read about every painting to my most desired extent. I was able to see paintings by all sorts of artists such as Rafael, Tiziano, Greco, Caravaggio, Sorolla, Mantegna, Cantonello Da Messina, y many more! I was lucky enough to run into someone who had gone on a different tour who was as excited as I was and we were able to tell each other about what we had learned.

In about four hours I get to meet my host family for the first time. I am very excited and just a bit nervous. I haven’t really thought about Spanish in a year. I still understand most of what I hear and read, but I now tend to struggle with speaking the language. Everyone tells me that Bilbao is much better than Madrid, which I truly cannot imagine, but I am very excited. My family seems very nice. The father is an architect and works from home and the mother is a stay at home mom. They have two daughters- one is nineteen who lives at home and commutes to school and the other is twenty three and has her own apartment. I hope I make a good first impression!

 

 

Todo en un día

junio 27th, 2013

iBonjour y Hola!

I cannot believe how incredibly packed this day was!

This morning in Paris, the most delightful melon macaroon in the world melted on my tongue while I watched the sun rise into colors of whimsical corals and tangerines.  While everyone else spent our two hour layover shopping and socializing, I was not about to miss out on a morning of delightful French cuisine. I was aware that there was ample time to make friends on this trip, yet only a very limited time to revel in the heavenly foods of France. I am glad that I kept my priorities straight because I very much enjoyed picking out and consuming not only the perfect macaroon, but  also the perfect quiche, carrot soup, and pomagranate juice to tickle the insides of my tummy.

Perfection.

And then it was gone.

 

The flight to Madrid was beyond perfection. I had a window seat and was thoroughly engulfed in the climax of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray when I suddenly fell to a deep sleep only to awaken just before landing in the most beautiful city I have ever been in my life. I was told by my first grade teacher to always steer away from using the word “beautiful” as an adjective because everyone has their own definition of what it means to them.  As much as I long to find a word that suits Madrid that can transfer the instant love that it has ignited in my heart, I can only describe it as simply beautiful. There are no other words that I can use to describe it because it is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It is full of life and charisma, yet it is calm and peaceful, it is with the times yet embodies a history more ancient than most civilizations. Castilian is the most beautiful dialect of any language I have ever heard. It is gentle, exotic and full of love.  Every person I have encountered holds the utmost class regardless of social status and I find the people to be faithful, but never sanctimonious. They love visual art and the way they live their lives embodies all of the rustic, pure and joyous emotions that art evokes.

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I can only hope that Heaven has hotels as simple and spacious as the one in which I currently reside. It is in the middle of the city and on one side it faces a busy street lined with shops and markets while my window faces a wide patch of land barren from everything but a sparse assortment of wild grasses where the homeless commune. This evening I watched them come to their wide patch of land where they flattened boxes for beds and placed the day’s unsold items in the dirt beside them. Normally my heart aches for the homeless. Anywhere else this sight would cause me to risk my safety. I would have run from my hotel room to their dusty patch of land to provide them with anything I could give. But it is different here. As I look out my window I do not see thin, desperate, shivering and drug-confiscated bodies. I see happy and humble people who have little material possessions, but appear to have enough to eat. In fact, they seem to be far more content than any middle schooler in Northern Virginia I have ever met as I watch them greet their neighbors and stretch out beneath the warm and welcoming sky evening sky.

We toured everywhere in Madrid today and I couldn’t possibly retell all of the things I have learned. My favorite stop was the one we took to the Royal Palace of Madrid. We weren’t allowed to take photos, but the images I saw will be forever imprinted in my mind. It is impossible that any interior design of a building has ever been more ornate and carefully crafted as what I have seen today. Every centimeter of the palace was thoughtfully contemplated and diligently executed. One could spend an entire week in each room and never uncover every careful detail of each room. Never in my life have I been so hypnotized by art. I could not draw myself away from each room as the excitement of uncovering new details at each moment became more intriguing than the anticipation of finding out what will happen next week on a well-loved TV drama. I could write for days and months and years about the Royal Palace, but I have not gotten more than an hour long nap in thirty hours and should retire to my bed. My last words about the palace to anyone who reads this would be to please put it on your bucket list. Never before have I experienced such inspiration for so many different areas in my life through art. Each detail reminded me of how I must never complete anything in my life with haste. Each room opened my eyes to the capacity of human capabilities and creativity. The incredible difference between each room and the magnificent unity that it provided the palace as a whole reminded me of how our differences are what beautify the earth.

I wish I could stay forever.

El Palacio Real

El Palacio Real

El Aeropuerto
El Aeropuerto

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Hello world!

junio 23rd, 2013

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