Snapshot of the Past Month!

As you can tell, I’ve just been having too much fun to find time to sit down and write a blog! Right now, we are traveling through Italy during our week of Easter vacations!! I can’t believe that the semester is already half way over. It really is crazy how time flies over here! Following are some the most notable activities that I have done in the past month…

One month ago was the huge marathon in Seville. It was awesome to see so many people participating and the huge crowd that it brought created such an energizing environment! Natalie and I rented bikes for the day so that it would be easier to go longer distances and support Sam in the race. It turned out to be a lot of fun and we explored areas that we had not been to before, like many cute little plazas and parks! We cheered on Sam from a few points within the marathon and it was a great time. p.s. go sam for finishing strong in the marathon!IMG_3421

Next up: MARGARITA MONDAY on National margarita day… How fitting! I mean, how can you pass up a margarita on national margarita day? That would be against the rules there…We decided to go to this cute little bar, called The Secondroom and the margaritas were so good. We had great conversation and relaxed a bit. The bar was very close to the cathedral and was located on a little cobblestone street. It was a super cute atmosphere with even better company :).

IMG_3427

Each week, Natalie and I like to meet up with our intercambios, who are two local Spanish girls that we talk to. It give us a chance to better our Spanish and it allows them to better their English. The girls that we meet with are Carmen and Ángela and they are really fun to talk to. When we meet, they walk us to common “hang out” places, so it also lets us get to know Seville a little bit better. One time we bought liters of cerveza and tinto de verano, and took them over to the river. It is common for locals my age to hang out by the river on warm afternoons. We were able to experience a little more of the culture, while having great conversation with Carmen and Ángela! Another day, we went to the rooftop terrace of El Corte Inglés. We grabbed a cup of coffee and chatted for a couple of hours…

Next, we played some pick up soccer with some people from our group, where I got to show off my skills, or lack thereof… Even though I am the most uncoordinated person when it comes to soccer, I managed to have a lot of fun! The Spanish people sure do take their soccer seriously!

Three weekends ago, there was a food festival in Seville!! One Sunday, there were a bunch of food trucks lined up by the river, so we decided to check it out. I got some nachos and a Japanese mojito, and both were pretty tasty! It was a BEAUTIFUL day and we enjoyed the warm weather! We walked through the plazas and the parks and saw lots of people sitting out playing music and dancing on the streets. We stopped to watch these two guys dance and they were so entertaining and funny. Two little boys came up to them and they taught the little kids some moves. It was the most adorable thing ever!

IMG_3550IMG_3548IMG_3546

We also went to a Betis soccer game, which was so fun. Going to sporting events has always been one of my favorite pastimes. The environment was wild. Soccer here in Spain is almost like life to them. It is somewhat like football back home in the states. Spaniards go crazy over it! A really cool things is that Betis is said to have the largest and best fan base! It was awesome to experience a professional soccer game in Spain.

IMG_3541IMG_3537

On Monday, we had off school because it was El Día de Andalucia. So, of course we went to Jerez for a wine tasting!! The winery in Jerez was called Tio Pepe and they are very well known for their sherry wine. We saw where they stored all of the wine and we also learned about how they make it and the history behind the vineyard. At the end of the tour, we had a wine tasting with tapas, which were delicious! The wine was a lot different than I have had before because it was a sherry wine, but it was still very good. The whole experience was a lot fun!

The following week, we went to a paella and sangria cooking class. Ever since Fina coked paella for Natalie and I, I have wanted to learn how to cook it. I can’t wait to cook paella when I go back home to the states! It is literally so delicious and pretty simple in concept. The base is rice and there are a bunch of different meats and seafoods in it. SO YUMMY! We all took turns making different things and then sat around a big dining room table to enjoy our masterpiece! This same night, I went to a spinning class at Cuesta Sport and I absolutely loved it! Now, I try to go to spinning as often as I can.

IMG_3644IMG_3645

On the weekend of the 5th, Natalie, Molly, Bryttnie, and I took a trip to Paris! I had been there once before, but it was about six years ago, so it was a whole different experience this time around. We had a lot of fun exploring the city and meeting people. When we arrived, we went on a free tour of the city and our tour guide was very outgoing and funny. We walked around the city and got a better understanding of where everything was. A new experience for some of us was the metro system…one of my friends ended up getting stuck in the door and not making it on the train, but no worries, we waited for them at the next stop. Over the entire weekend, we visited the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was so much fun because we went all the way to the top and it was such a beautiful view. We ended up meeting a couple from Texas who photobombed our picture, lol. It was quite windy up there! We also watched the light show on the Eiffel Tower, which was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! It was so beauuuuutiful, as my Grandma Peachey would always say…Despite losing 50 euros on the street, it was a fantastic weekend with my friends!

IMG_4066IMG_3873

IMG_4005

Last weekend, we went to Huelva, Spain to go hiking. We had only planned on staying for one night, but we were having such a great time, so we ended up staying for an extra night. It was such a relaxing weekend and a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of city life. We hiked, sat on the terrace and had beer, cooked over the fire pit, and played card games. Everything went smoothly and we were with a great group of people. The only thing that was quite scary was when Stevie (Sam’s dog) decided to jump into the river… before this, we were unsure if he could swim, so as you can imagine, we were all a little more than worried when we saw his little body jump in. BUT, we managed to swim his way out and came out fine! It was a much needed weekend of pure relaxation.

As you all know, last Thursday was St. Patty’s Day… We went to an Irish Pub in Seville to celebrate this great holiday and it was loads of fun! Good thing they have a couple Irish Pubs because for most people in Seville, St. Patty’s Day isn’t a big deal. ME ON THE OTHER HAND, I love it! So, I was a happy camper and we had a great night with some even better people. We also got a free hat for buying guinness!

As for this week, we have off school for Easter break, so I’m enjoying my time in Italy with Natalie and Bryttnie! We were just in Rome, and now we are spending the rest of the week in Florence. 🙂

Advertisements

Gibraltar

Two weeks ago, we travelled to Gibraltar for a day trip! Our group piled into two cars, and we were off! When we arrived, it was super windy, which of course led to some funny photos. We went through security, which was interesting because it was basically nonexistent… Since Gibraltar is U.K. territory, we had to show our passports in order to cross borders, but the security was very lenient. We walked over to our tour guides, where we hopped into two vans and began our tour of Gibraltar!

IMG_2993

In our van, we started making our way up the Rock of Gibraltar. It was so beautiful and the view continued to get better as we continued to get higher. From the bottom of the rock, you could see these little tiny holes on the edges. As we continued to climb the rock, we realized that they were actually caves. We went inside one of the caves and it was so breathtaking! It was massive and there were different colored lights shining up on the edges of the rocks. Something really cool is that they sometimes hold big concerts inside this cave, which I think would be so amazing!

IMG_3013

Another cool fact is that the Straight of Gibraltar is only 15 miles wide, so therefore, you can see Africa from Gibraltar! Luckily, it was a clear day, so we were able to see Africa from where we were. They say that it is usually too cloudy to be able to see it, but we lucked out!

IMG_2996

IMG_2995

Africa in the background!

Next stop: MONKEYS! This is most definitely what I was most looking forward to. However, I knew that when I actually arrived to the monkeys, I would be so scared… and yes I was. We got to the top of the hill where the monkeys were and when we arrived, there were two monkeys fighting on top of a van. It was all fun and games until the one through the other off of the van, directly towards my feet! Scariest. Moment. Of. My. Life. I ran like a little girl and almost managed to take Natalie over the cliff with me hahaha. Once I got away from that monkey, I found a cute little baby monkey that was peacefully sitting on a rock (I liked this one better). We went around taking lots of pictures of not only the monkeys, but the spectacular scenic view as well (selfies included of course)!

IMG_3102IMG_3066IMG_3006

We ended this perfect day with some fish and chips. OH MY WORD. These were the best fish and chips I have ever eaten!

Never wanting to leave this wonderful place…

My first month spent in Spain has absolutely surpassed any expectations I previously had. It has completely flown by and when I think about the fact that I am 1/4 done with my semester abroad, I suddenly become sad and think about how I never want to leave this amazing place. The people are just simply so kind and the atmosphere and feel of the city is irreplaceable. School is going great and I also started an internship at a hotel this past week. Life is wonderful. Don’t worry mom and dad; I’m going to come home…

One thing that I love about Spain is that it is very easy to travel throughout the country. We have done so many fun trips on the weekends, and we have many more to come! In the beginning of February, I travelled to Madrid to visit the one and only Sydney Hines! For those of you who don’t know, Syd is from Lancaster and also went to High Point with me, where we were both in the same sorority. She’s spending this year in Madrid teaching. We had such a wonderful weekend and it was great to see a familiar face. While there, we went to an Ellie Goulding concert that was an absolute blast. We spent the whole weekend catching up, eating lots of food, and laughing even more. As I was leaving to head back to Seville, we both looked at each other and said “this weekend was good for the soul.” I’m excited to have her back in Lancaster for a bit this summer!

IMG_2917

IMG_2916

Ellie Goulding Concert with Syd

Recently, I have started volunteering in a school near me. The kids are so precious and cute. Last week, I worked with kids who were 11-12 years. Old. We made Valentine’s Day cards together and chatted for the time I was there. These kids get so excited to be with us and it makes me so happy to be able to work with them while I am here. They are always so full of joy and cracking jokes left and right.

I also have been interning in a hotel here called The Boutike Hostel. At first, it was completely overwhelming. However, after a week of working there, I am starting to get the hang of things. I work with a woman named Marta and she is wonderful to work with. She has been helping me out along the way (teaching me the ropes) and is just such a happy and funny person. I love the way that people here refer to others as guapa or amor. I think it is just the cutest thing. Here are some pictures of the cute little hotel.

Last week, Fina made us paella and it was SO DELICIOUS. Like so good. She made a huge pot of it and ended up giving half of it away to her friend. She is basically a master chef. The paella had chicken, beef, meatballs, pork, shrimp, calamari, mussels, pepper, onions, and artichokes…so basically everything you can think of. Fina was so cute chatting us up all night. She talked to us about her husband and how they met and she showed us lots of pictures from back in the day…

On Thursday of last week, we went to a soccer game to cheer on two of the guys in our group (Wyatt and Cesar)! They play for Triana, which is a neighborhood here in Seville. It was a lot of fun to watch and they played a great game!

IMG_2969

And then sometimes in life, you just need a puppy to lean on…

IMG_2962

STEVEN (aka stevie)

Ronda

WOW! What a beautiful little city, but let me first tell you how this trip began. It started like any other day… We woke up, had breakfast, and then went to meet with our group at the school. From the school, we walked to the bus stop and on the way, we stopped at a coffee place. I ordered a medium coffee, expecting it to be little like all of the coffee here. However, it was not. It was big. I was SO excited to have a big coffee finally, but then I tasted it and realized that my taste palate has adapted to the smaller, stronger coffees. So, I’m basically Spanish, right?? We got to the bus and took off for Ronda! Twenty minutes into the journey, I knew I had to go to the bathroom… Of course. If you know me well, you know I have a bladder the size of a peanut. Well I tried me best, but couldn’t hold it haha. We pulled over and yes, you guessed it. I peed on the side of the road, as if I was back in the rural areas of Argentina! It was quite the trip there…but so worth it in the end!

When we arrived, we went to the Plaza de Toros, which is the oldest bull ring in all of Spain! It was awesome to be in one and learn about the behind the scenes things that take place, although the concept of bull fighting is very sad. Despite the cruelty during the bull fights, I think I will have to go to one in the future simply to gain the experience of a bull fight here in Spain. We took lots of pictures and had fun messing around in the bull ring. At one point, Bryttnie was acting like the torrero and I acted like the bull LOL.

IMG_2792

We then made our way over to the scenic area of Ronda and it was simply breathtaking. There were green grasses everywhere with mountains in the background. There was a big cliff on each side of a huge gorge. Green grasses were growing up the sides of the cliffs and it looked so so cool. The bridge in the middle of the city separates the new city from the old city, which I thought was a really neat fact.

IMG_2796

After walking around the city and learning a little more about the history, we relaxed at a restaurant that was situated directly on the edge of the cliff. We sat out on the terrace, ordered a pitcher of sangria, and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a wonderful day trip to Ronda!

Adiós for now! xoxo

Granada

On the last weekend of January, we travelled to Granada! It was so much fun and while there, we visited La Alhambra, which was exquisitely beautiful. The view of the city from the top of the palace was amazing, due to the many colored houses you looked down upon. Alhambra used to be a small village that was strongly fortified around the edges. The structure and architecture of the palaces was amazing and the details were so ornate.

On Friday night, we went out to some bars to get tapas. The really cool thing about Granada is that when you order a drink, you get a free tapa! It’s always a surprise, which I kind of like because I don’t have to choose…which I am terrible at. We spent time with friends and had a good time laughing throughout the night. We went “bar hopping” in order to try out the different tapas at each bar and they were all delicious!

On Saturday, Wyatt and I went skiing in Sierra Nevada and it was such a blast! When we arrived, Sam (wonderful SAIIE amiga who loves water) took us to the rental store to get snowsuits, coats, gloves, skis, etc… It was only 35€ to rent everything!! We took the gondola up the hill and it wasn’t too busy, which made it even more enjoyable. The nice thing was that it wasn’t very cold, but there was still enough snow to ski! The mountain was very open, with no trees in sight. The sun was shining brightly, which helped keep us a little bit warmer. We went back down to the lodge to eat lunch with Sam, and of course I got croquettas and a beer. What are croquettas you may ask? Well there basically heaven in a little fried ball haha. I couldn’t really tell you what they are because I’m not quite sure myself, but I know that they’re made of dough and usually ham. Deliciosa! We went back up the mountain to continue skiing for the second half of the day. All in all, it was a great day, despite the two major wipeouts I had…

Saturday night, our whole group went out to bars to get drinks and tapas. Later, we went to a club and danced the night away. It was loads of fun, and we got to know each other a lot better this weekend! Great fun with great people!

Good Times in Seville!

Wow. Sorry it’s been so long to post something, but I have just been keeping busy and living in the moment day to day. Here’s a little bit about what I did last week.

This past week we did many fun activities as a group, but we also did our own things as well! On Tuesday afternoon’s, Natalie, Molly, Bryttnie, and I have made it a date to watch the bachelor every week. Yes, I know I’m in Spain and should always be out there exploring, but we have to set aside 2 hours for the bachelor once a week. I mean c’mon, it’s the bachelor. But anyways, we do that and get ice cream, which makes it a grand old time.

IMG_2724

On Wednesday, we went to a Moroccan Resturaunt and got some traditional tea that had a sweet mint flavor. It was such a cool atmosphere. There were benches and little cushions as seats on the floor. The place was filled with colors of deep red and gold. Moroccan music was playing in the background of our great Spanish conversation!

On Thursday, we went to a spa that had arabic thermal baths. There were five baths and we were free to walk around to any bath within the hour and a half that we had there. There were a couple of warm baths, a hot one, and an ice cold one (not my favorite). There was also an aroma therapy sauna, which was my favorite! It was filled with scents like eucalyptus, mint, and orange. While we were laying in the aroma therapy room, an old man and his wife walked in. The man could not see anything because when you first walk in, there is so much fog from the humidity that it completely blocks your vision. He began to speak in Spanish, saying how he couldn’t see anything because his glasses were fogging up and he almost ran into a couple of us… It was a pretty funny encounter. Haha. After the spa, we all went to a bar close by to get a glass of wine before going home for the night (the best way to close a night).

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 4.24.19 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 4.24.12 PM

Classes at SAIIE

This past week was quite a relaxing one, as we simply wondered around Seville, exploring as much as we possibly could. We watched a movie in Spanish and also had some classics churros con chocolate. They were so delicious…almost as good as the gelato here. We also met up in a bar with some locals so that we could practice our Spanish and they could practice their English. It’s a really great concept and by the end of my semester here, it will be very helpful for me. It is a great way to meet people that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Oh yeah, I bet you’re wondering if I’m actually taking classes here… Well the answer is, yes I am. I go to the Spanish-American Institute, which is in the center of Seville. Since we walk everywhere, I have to wake up a bit earlier for class, which is not a strength of mine…. If you know me well, you understand that. It’s about a twenty minute walk every morning, which I actually really enjoy. It helps wake me up a bit for my early classes and gets me off to a good start. I live on a very busy street, called Calle Arjona, where you can constantly here cars passing by, people talking, and horns honking. Once I cross Calle Arjona, I follow a narrow street most of the way to school. I cross through Plaza Nueva, and then it’s a straight shot to school from there. The class sizes are very very small, which in the long run will significantly help improve my Spanish, so I’m happy for that. The classes are also very laid back, which gives me the courage to participate and speak up a lot. It’s really enjoyable. Here are some pictures of my walk to school.

image

image

image

image

I am currently taking two business clases (in English), artistic monuments (in Spanish), and composition and conversation, in Spanish obviously… School here is actually great and all of my professors are wonderful. Over here in Spain, classes are less formal, I would say. We all refer to our professors on a first name basis and the flow of class seems to be more relaxed. Carlos is my professor for both my international business and international marketing class. He is such a funny guy. He always knows how to grab our attention if he sees we are getting tired or uninterested (which I know I’m sorry it happens sometimes….). The other day in class he saw we needed a little refresher, so he stopped to talk about how we were doing with the transition of living in another country and all. He talked with us for about twenty minutes and then proceeded with class. It’s nice to know that these professors here really do have our best interest at heart and that it’s not just about squeezing the lecture into the time we are given. When we went back to the power point and lecturing, he couldn’t figure out how to turn it on, which always baffles me because he owns his own computer company. Haha. Well… Let me tell you. Carlos knows how to make any situation into a funny one. When he was working on his computer he continued to encourage himself out loud. He was saying things like, “Oh yeah, Carlos, you’re great! You can do this, Carlos. Oh, good job, Carlos!” It was pretty funny… So, as you can see, the teachers are great! I really love this school and am so happy with my decision to come here.

This week in my Atristic Monuments class, we visited El Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija. It was so beautiful and filled with so many different antiques like ceramics, money coins, statues, and many other collectibles. It had many different rooms with all different colored tiles. There were countless arches and columns throughout the palace that made its structure look extraordinary…

imageimage

 

image

This weekend we are in Granada and I will be skiing all day tomorrow, which I cannot wait for!! What’s better than skiing while you’re abroad in Spain? Not much…

Hasta luego amigos!

Monica

First Week Impressions of Seville

Hola, Monica here! Wow! We have been keeping busy this first week. Here is a bit about what we have done. Seville is a city that is full of beauty and everywhere you look, you will find it. It is a much more tropical climate than I had anticipated before arriving, but that has made me love it even more. There are a great amount of orange trees lining the streets that add vibrant color to the atmosphere. You can find palmeras (palm trees) and birds flying through the bright blue sky everywhere you go. Right now, the weather is a bit chilly, however it is expected to warm up by this time next month.

IMG_2247

IMG_2314

I am living in an apartment on a main street in Seville with Natalie, a friend of mine from High Point. It is located on a busy street and is fairly close to everything, which is very convenient since we walk everywhere. We live with an old woman named Fina, who is the cutest little old lady you ever did see. She has made us feel welcomed since the moment we arrived. When we walked in the door, she gave us dos besos and gave us the grand tour of her cute little apartment. We have a nice little bedroom and bathroom to ourselves, and we are adapting quite nicely to the Spanish culture. The food here is amazing and Fina is a great cook. In the Spanish culture, it is custom to continue bringing more and more food at meals to make sure that your guests are full, so for the first couple of nights it was hard to say no to this delicious food… But then I thought for a second and realized I would be here for four months and probably shouldn’t continue to eat a ton of bread every meal for that length of time. So now I have moved on to weekly gelato as a snack… Gelato is probably my favorite food and they have it EVERYWHERE here. It will be the death of me by the end of these four months.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0563.

Seville is a very pedestrian friendly city and I am still getting used to walking seven miles a day… However, constantly being outside helps me to appreciate the beauty even more. The streets twist and turn everywhere we walk because Seville is a historically old city that is full of character and has had many different influences throughout its past. There are many beautiful parks and plazas throughout Seville, where on many days, it is relaxing to take a nice stroll. This past Sunday, Natalie and I ventured over to La Plaza de España and Parque María Luisa. Both were extremely beautiful and breathtaking. It is so fun to find new places and explore what the world has to offer.

IMG_2270

La Plaza de España

IMG_2345

Parque de María Luisa

We live very close to the main river, where it is fun to go and hang out with friends or go on a nice run. Running here has been easier than at home due to the change of scenery and the beautiful river that I can run next to. So far it hasn’t rained yet, until today, when I got caught in the downpour two miles from home… I just continued to run and embrace the beauty of the constantly changing weather.

IMG_2156

We have done many other activities this week, like:

  • Attended a Flamenco show at Casa de La Guitarra.
  • We went on a double-decker bus tour through Seville.
  • We ate at a wonderful little Italian restaurant called San Marco.
  • We ate tapas and had drinks with our professors.
  • SIESTAS. What is better than a day-time nap?
  • Experienced the night life at a few bars and clubs.
  • Sat by the river and drank vino with friends.
  • Oh yes, and I suppose I went to my classes as well…
IMG_2182

Casa de La Guitarra

IMG_2300

Double-Decker Bus Tour

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0568.

Torre del Oro

I absolutely love everything about Sevilla and I cannot wait to continue to explore all that it offers.

Hasta luego amigos!