Sunday, May 6, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Who wouldn't LOVE a 2-3 hour break in the middle of the workday to go home and have a nice, long and relaxing lunch? (And, since you're there, perhaps a little nap?)
It's a wonderful mentality, comparatively speaking:
- Spain: Plan the workday around meal times (which should be social gatherings of friends/family)
- USA: Plan mealtimes around the workday (And while you're at it, work THROUGH lunch)
I get that we're all about being super productive in the US, but the "lunch hour" turned into the "lunch half-hour," which then turned into "eat when you have a second to take a bite between work obligations".
But thanks, Spain, for agreeing with me that a girl needs to eat around here (and preferably taste/enjoy her food)!
It's 2-3 HOURS! I don't need THAT long to eat! And forget running errands during your break...everything is closed so you can't get anything done.
During the school vacation over the holidays, I was lucky enough to go home. I remember thinking, "Ugh! I can't go anywhere right now because nothing is open!...OH WAIT! I'M IN AMERICA!!!" It was a total Homer Simpson "Doh!" moment, followed by a happy dance.
Oh right, only my favorite food groups!!!
I don't mean the traditional food pyramid categories of grains, proteins, vegetables, etc.
I mean FLAVOR groups: Example SPICY food and SOUR food and, for the love of god, Paprika Pringles (only found outside the US, and definitely NOT in Huelva--trust me, I've looked).
(Bought a few tubes of these babies at a rest stop in Cordoba to bring home to America)
Sunday, January 15, 2012
- According to Merriam-Webster: An electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world. (Whatever that means)
- According to anyone in my generation: An essential part of everyday life that is grossly taken for granted (we can scarcely remember pre-internet days).
- According to anyone in my piso: A service that quickly became one of the most difficult/frustrating/angering things to acquire.
It all began with our coming to Spain, bright-eyed and bushytailed, ready to take on what Spain had to offer us. And then life spiraled out of control with our first experience with a Spanish company as our hopes for a means of communication with friends and family were dashed.
Please enjoy this playlist, complete with commentary, describing the highs and lows of our journey to contract internet.
SORRY FOR BEING SUCH A SLACKING BLOGGER IN 2011.
This whole "blog" experiment was supposed to be a great way of keeping friends and family informed on what I was doing over here in Spain in case I couldn't Skype or what have you. As anyone who knows me knows, it was doomed to fail --I can barely answer/return a phone call once I get busy doing other things. BUT, I promise to get better!
THAT BEING SAID, 2012 will be all about "out with the old, in with the new." What's that thing I always see headlining beauty magazines? Oh, right: New Year, New YOU. Well, 2012: Here I am, and here's how I plan to improve!
New Year's Resolution (NYR) #1: Be a better communicator (Don't worry, I know it has to be realistic and measurable so I feel some sense of achievement/don't give up after two weeks):
- Skype family/friends more often
- Upload previously written, but never shared, blog posts about the past semester
- Enter a new blog post at least once every two weeks
- E-mail/post to Facebook when I add something new
NYR #2: Eat healthier:
- Add more fruits and vegetables to my diet (not difficult--Mercado del Carmen is AMAZING and the produce is FRESH AND CHEAP)
- Eat less bread and cheese (EXTREMELY difficult--do you know how good that stuff is in Europe?!/that those are the biggest staples of my diet?)
- Use less salt (in cooking) and sugar (in drinking...tea)
- Drink more water (Goal: one Brita pitcher's worth of water a day for a start?)
NYR #3: Stay active:
- Use my gym membership more often
- Work on that half-marathon training thing Megan and I talked about
NYR #4: Use my time in Spain more wisely:
- Speak more Spanish
- Get to know Huelva a little better
- "Make new friends, but keep the old"
○ Visit my friends/(host) family in Seville
○ Spend more time with my friends in Huelva
- Go on more trips around Spain/a couple around Europe (I only make so much money, people)
To prove I mean what I say in NYR #1, I am posting this AND an older entry that never hit the blogosphere. NYR #2 comes with a picture to prove my commitment thus far!
Monday, December 19, 2011
CIEE graciously put us up in a 4-Star hotel (Tartessos) in the center of Huelva for our first five nights in the city so that we could have the time to comfortably find an apartment. How exactly does one do that in a foreign country?
Step 1: DECIDE: A. Do I want to live with Spanish/foreign people OR B. Do I have people I might want to live with?
Final Answer: B. Ale, Rachel & Alisha
Step 2: Wander around the barrio you want to live in (el Centro) to find pisos with "SE ALQUILA" signs AND look at flyers posted by the university
Step 3: Collect numbers and write down any memorable/defining characteristics
Step 4: Enter everything into a shared GoogleDoc
Step 5: Think of the essential things you need to find out from the propietarios (# de habitaciones/baños; amueblado?, equipado?, precio!, si el precio incluye la comunidad; si no: cuanto vale la comunidad?; cuando es la cita)
Step 6: Split the list, CALL EVERYONE!!!! and log the answers to those aforementioned questions!
Step 7: What already OCD GoogleDoc wouldn't be complete without COLOR-CODING your findings?!
Green: Saw the apartment and liked it/Made an appointment to see the apartment/would like to make an appointment
Yellow: Second-string apartments--we'll look here if we have to
Red: Not available/No interest/not worth it/NEVERGOINGTOHAPPEN, ETC
White: No answer
Step 8: DECIDE--Clearly, we chose the one we nicknamed "SUPERPISO"
Step 9: Share the list with your friends who are still scrambling to find a place
Monday, October 17, 2011
Last night in Sevilla meant, obviously, one thing: Going out Sevillana style...kind of...
The night started off with a farewell cocktail at Flaherty's: great choice because it's the only place in Spain that I've found decent buffalo sauce. Ignacio, my intercambio from when I studied abroad, was supposed to meet me there but because my American phone was not functional and my Spanish phone was nonexistent, we couldn't get in touch...needless to say the night did not work out in our favor.
SO, the Sevilla veterans (Shane and I) decided to take the group to Plaza Alfalfa for some drinks. I introduced some new friends to La Rebotica's massive 5 Euro mojitos and Shane introduced us to some of his Spanish friends. Ale and I were talking to some French men who had been living in Seville for a few years and I turn to my right and see Kerry standing two feet away from me. After trying to make plans to meet up all week and failing, we ended up bumping into each other completely by chance!
By the end of the night it was me, Ale, Shane and his friend Fernando. Shane decided he wanted a Spanish name; it was tough, but Fernando christened him Alvaro; me, Cristina; Ale, Marta; Me again, Estrella; and Ale, was still Marta despite her protests. (More on Marta later)
Thinking we were clever like the Sevillanos, we decided to make our way to Alameda to find a discoteca...stopped at a kebab stand on the way, lost Fernando and company, but bravely ventured forth.
FUN FACT: I have never successfully made it to or from the bars in Alameda without the help of a Spaniard…
We finally stumbled upon Alameda and failed to find a single open bar/disco...sooo we finished our kebabs and hopped in the first cab back to the hotel.
Mission "Go out in Alameda": Still Incomplete