25 January 2009

Can I stay forever?!

Palabra del dia: dormir-- it means to sleep

Sleep is something that I've been lacking since I arrived in Spain. I was jet-lagged at first, and finally somewhat recovered. However, in Spain, they go out usually on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. And I mean hardcore. I've been out until 2 or 3am every night since Thursday. If you know me well, you know that's definitely out of my element. Then we get up early (7:30 or so) for class at 9am. The good thing is we have siesta (nap time, literally) from about 3-5pm everyday. The city closes down and you're expected to be at home sleeping, or at least being quiet. Um, excuse me, America? Why haven't you jumped on the siesta bandwagon? I now think it's crazy that la gente (people) en los Estados Unidos don't have a siesta. How have I survived all this time?!

This is part of the Alhambra. It is an old palace built a long time ago. It's part of the history here in Granada and is about a 40 minute walk from my house, and is right by where I go to school. Can you say amazing?!

We went hiking in Alpujarra about an hour from Granada. It is a mountainous region with small pueblos all over the place. This picture cannot do it justice because it's too beautiful to put into pictures. Gorgeous!

There was a fountain in one of the pueblos. Our director, Javier, decided to get a drink from it. Basically he's the coolest director ever.

Seriously, most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Well that's all for now. I hope you enjoy the pictures a little bit! Stay tuned for more of my adventures, because there will be many! Hasta luego!

23 January 2009

Life is for living!

Espanol palabra del dia: perder-- it means to get lost.

This word is one that describes my life right now. After arriving in Malaga on Tuesday, we got to Granada on Wednesday night. I was exhausted on Tuesday and Wednesday... and Thursday. And I'm tired today. But I can sleep in a little tomorrow! Anyway, back to my story. Malaga is in southern Spain right on the coast and is beautiful! It has many montanas (mountains) and reminds me of Caracas, Venezuela. It's a fun city, and only about an hour from Granada. So I'll definitely be going back.

When I got to Granada on Wednesday, my senora was there to greet me. She's a really nice lady. Her name is Maricarmen, and it's her and her 25-year-old son Nacho (yes, that's his name) that live in her house. They're both really nice to me, and talk slowly for me so I can understand them better! And, Maricarmen's food is really good! Not really anything I've had before, at least not the lunches, but it's really yummy!

Yesterday my host mom walked me to class, which is about 30 minutes from my house. But then I had to walk back by myself. And I got lost (hence the word of the day!). I was about half and hour late for lunch, but that's okay because it was the first day. Then last night, when we went out, my friends and I got lost again going to meet up with some other people. It's interesting getting lost in a city you don't know, and definitely uncomfortable. However, I know it's the only way I'll really get to know the city, so it's good.

We started our Spanish classes yesterday. They go from 9am-2pm. LONG day. But my teacher is nice and makes us laugh, and I have some friends that I met in the class. Last night we went out for the second night to a couple bars. In Spain, they don't eat dinner. They go out and have tapas instead, which are basically appetizers. In Granada only, the tapas are free when you order a drink. So that's what we do. And we don't even go out until 9 or 10pm or later, so it's quite an adjustment for me who is a morning person. We had a lot of fun though, and were able to get a feel a little bit for the city and nightlife.

I've met a lot of really cool people. There's about 28398475 students from Penn State in my program (or maybe just 15). And a lot of other east coast students. I did meet one person from Kansas City though, which is comforting. I've been blessed to have found some good friends already, and I'm excited to get to know them better!

Okay so I know this isn't much information for you, but it's all I have time for right now! Just know that Spain is wonderful, even though it's very different, but I like it. It's beautiful, the people are nice, and it's going to be a great experience for me!

Hasta luego!

18 January 2009

Let's get ready to rumble!

Tonight is my last night in America for 4 1/2 months. Weird. It is funny how I've waited so long for this with such anticipation, and now I'm leaving in the morning. Tomorrow my mom, dad, and I will leave Springfield at 8am to get to the airport in Kansas City around noon. My flight doesn't leave till 2, but we thought since I'm leaving the country, it would be good to get there early. The last two days have been hectic, as I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off to get everything together to go. I've packed and re-packed and analyzed what I'm taking to make sure I'm not taking too much or too little. I don't know for sure what I'll actually need until I get over there, but I can guess pretty well. Now it's all packed and ready to go.

You might be wondering, how does one spend one's last night for 4 1/2 months in America? Well, right now I'm sitting watching Wall-E (the most boring movie ever, if you ask me) with my mom and step-dad, Bud. Though it's not very exciting, it's really the way I'd want it. Sitting at home, where it's familiar and comfortable, is something I'm not going to be able to do for a while, so I am trying to soak it up while I can.

To be honest with you, I'm nervous. Yes, I'm nervous about the travel part and actually getting there, but I'm more concerned with my emotional well-being. I am such a homebody it is ridiculous, and for me to step out and travel to another country by myself for an extended time is a big step. I'm excited, and I know I'm brave enough to do it, and that I will be okay, but it's jumping that's the hardest.

So here I go, about to jump into the unknown, but knowing that I am in for the ride of my life. Please make sure you keep in touch with me while I'm gone, cause I would love to hear from you! I'll make sure I post again once I'm in Spain and settled more or less. Hasta manana!

12 January 2009

T-Minus One Week

One week. Well, less than that if you count the hours, but who's counting? Oh wait, I am. I still can't believe that I'm actually going to be in Spain for a semester. I probably won't believe it until I get off the plane in Malaga. Right now I just need to focus on what I have to get done this week! Packing, taking care of details, and getting mentally prepared are all on the agenda for this week. If only it would all take care of itself!!

I was able to spend this past weekend with my older sister Kristen in Kansas City. Ever since I've come to Jewell, she's been a constant in my life. It's been so great having her only a half hour away from me. I even was able to live with her this past summer, which was a blast! It's going to be weird not seeing her. On my drive home from KC, I started thinking about all the people in my life that I love. This has actually been a recurring theme in my life recently, for obvious reason. The long break has allowed me to really dwell on the the people I love and think about what an impact they have in my life. I'm so blessed to have the friends and family that I do, because they enrich my life in so many wonderful ways.

So take a few minutes today and tell someone who is special to you just how awesome they are. I know it's sappy, but I don't think we all say it enough. Life is about the relationships we have, afterall. Without them, it's pointless.