Sunday, September 7, 2014

Home sweet home: a new adventure begins


I know I dropped off the gird for a while but a lot of things have happened. I will start where I left off...approximately anyway. 

Originally, I was supposed to be back home on June 31st, however, I was ready to go back on May 31st. Classes had ended and fun Murcian traditions were no longer going on so I felt it was time to leave. The only people who know that I was coming home early however were my parents. I was going to surprise my sisters by not telling them I was getting back an entire month ahead of schedule.

The night before I left was bittersweet. I went out on the town one last time. I went with a few of the friends I made when I was there. We danced until about 4:00am at various clubs and the. I returned to my apartment. I had planned to go to sleep but I was so energized that I ended up talking to one of my friends until it was time to walk to the bus station.

Around 6:00am my roommates and my friend Coral walked me to the bus station. There were no tears or sadness but tons of "I will miss you" and "text me when you land." I was ready to come home.

Unlike my journey to Spain, the flights home went smoothly. I didn't get lost, my phone didn't die, my parents were on time to pick me up and take me home. On the drive home, I talked about my trip and some of my experiences that I had while I was there. 

When we got home Tia, my twin sister, was shocked and surprisingly so was my dog and my cats. Everyone was just so surprised that I was home early. 

Now, before I went to Spain, a lot of people were talking about reverse culture shock and how I could become depressed and start long to go back to Spain. Just about everyone said I would fall in love with Europe and never want to leave. However, that was not the case. When I returned, besides a bit of jet lag, I was ready to jump back into life as it came. Sure, I did miss some aspects but I was not longing to go back anytime soon. I was honestly more excited to see the new house, as we had just moved again to a new state. 

The summer flew by as it always had but I filled it with plenty of fun things like, ballroom dancing lessons, a new gym membership, meeting new people and making videos about trying new things. By the time it was time to come back to school I was ready for a whole new adventure called...Senior Year: Last Semester. 

It's gonna be a great semester. There will be good times, bad times, tears, laughter and everything in between but expect nothing less from life.

Keep looking out for new posts on Fridays!

P.S. Here are some photos of my time back home!

Hasta luego!
My dog Sheba when she saw me!

My cats Silver and Penny cuddling next to me on my first night back.

Me trying new tricks at the new gym.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Schools Out

This week has been so stressful it is hard to believe!

I took the last of my finals and sadly I can not say I am confident about my results. These were some of the hardest classes I have taken.mi definitely took for granted the way the teachers in the state teach. There, we have homework assignments, quizzes, office hours to get help from the professors, we even get credit for just showing up to class sometimes however, here in Spain it is a very different story. The teachers are very cold; they do not particularly like international students. one professor told the class that we don't care about anything but traveling and that we don't car about school; he thought that we are all spoiled rich kids who don't want to learn anything. So naturally, he was one of the 7 teachers who were not a fan of us just based on where we are from. The teaching style is so different. They have us take notes on their 4 hour lectures everyday and that's it. We had homework once or twice the whole semester, no short quizzes to make sure we were understanding the material, and no office hours to ask questions. Long story short, when the final came around no one had a clue what to study, they just said everything; no study guide no nothing. I understand there are professors like this in the states, but The professors at Millikin have spoiled not just me but all the students by investing in our success rather than hanging us out to dry, so experiencing this kind of teaching method was a shock but NOW that's in he past. As Miley Cyrus said, "we're break out, let the party start. We're gonna stay out, gonna break some hearts. We're gonna dance till the dance floor falls apart, oh oh all over again!"

Since Miley sang it, I did it!

On Thursday night, I went to dinner with some of the other people in my program. That was about a two hour ideal that ended at very nicely at about midnight, but of course the night wasn't over. After dinner we went to a night cafe and talked more. 

On Friday I relaxed all day. I worked out, and then I sat around for a bit after my shower. Then At about midnight, I met up with some friends at Badulake (international club) and danced my booty off. We stayed there for about an hour and a half and then headed off to another club. After about 45 min we made our way to yet another club. We didn't make it home until about 6:00am. It was a great night.

Saturday was very relaxing. I sat around pretty much all day. I did some homework for my independent study, met over skype with my professor/advisor for my university to discuss my class schedule and work, then I ate dinner with my roommates. But...that wasn't the end of the night. Me and my roommates went to karaoke for the second time! It was so much fun! Upon my arrival to the club, a woman who was there the first time we went, and she liked my singing so much, she wanted me to sing another solo. I did with a little help from my roommates on backup vocals. I sang Love On Top by Beyoncé and yes, I did hit all the notes ;)

Now it has been a lazy Sunday. My roommate from the states left to travel Europe with her father today and now there are only three of us left in the apartment. I have to say, summer has been quite successful so far. I have had to say good bye to some AWESOME people but I know it is not goodbye, it is simply see you later!

Hasta luego!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Doin' What I Do


Alright, I know I didn't post anything last week, but literally, I had nothing interesting to report. It was an average school week: went to class, did my homework, worked out in the park, showered, went to bed, repeat. All week it was the same routine. 

Sooo, you are probably dying to know what I have been up to this week, which sadly has been pretty underwhelming, soooo I am gonna do a blooper blog! A blooper blog is a blog where I report to you the little things that happen between all the other stuff I blog about.

Blooper 1: "Poppin' Tags"
One thing I have been wanting to get in to is thrifting. Everyone at school in the states talks about it and I have seen people get some really neat and cool things from thrift stores. My sister for instance got a bed. A whole bed! So I thought what better place to start than in Spain! Sadly however, there is only one thrift shop in Murcia but I made due with what I had. In other words life gave me lemons, I made a sour face, added a bit of sugar, and made some candy! At the thrift store there was a lot of clothes. Long story short, I managed to find a cute dress for only 3€! Such a good deal!

Blooper 2: "Chillin' on a Dirt Road"
Since I have been here I have only traveled once. Not because of anything besides the fact I am not big on traveling. When I am somewhere, I like to be THERE, not constantly leaving and coming back. I have been moving across the U.S. My whole life so sometimes I just like to stay in one spot for a while. Anyway, I decided to take a day trip to Salto del Usero. It's this river through an almost canyon like area. Nothing compared to the Grand Canyon by any means but it is so beautifully breath taking! The river is crystal clear, you can see straight to the bottom. There is even a waterfall and cliffs to jump off of. To get there we had to walk down a dirt road, hence the title.

Blooper 3: "Kebab"
I have been really focusing on working out and staying strong since I have been here. I workout every other day with some friends and then alone on the other days. I have also been making sure I eat really well and cook for myself rather than eating out. However, I heard of this place called crunchy kebab and I told myself last week that in two weeks, so next week, on Friday, for lunch, I get to eat a crunchy kebab! I have only had two kebabs since I have been here in Spain and I feel that in order to leave truly satisfied, I must have a third.

Blooper 4: "Plunger Duty"
Of all the time I had been here, so about 5 months, our toilet had not clogged. The bathtub has been plugged, the washer machine has broken, and the electricity has been blown but the toilet was fine...until that ONE day. I woke up one morning and just like everyday, the first thing I did was got to use the bathroom. When I lifted the seat, I noticed whomever was in there before me had forgotten to flush so I did it before I went. But before I knew it, the water was turning brown and coming back out towards me. My first thought, "ew" then I backed out to make sure it wouldn't overflow and get on my feet, which thankfully it didn't. Still having to use the bathroom myself, I told  my roommate and she just didn't even worry about the fact that three of us share the one bathroom that was clogged...ridiculous. So I took it upon myself to go to the store, buy a plunger and some draino and unclog the toilet myself, yes, I still had not gotten to use the bathroom yet. Long story short, I unclogged the toilet after one hour and then finally got to use the bathroom. It was crazy.

Blooper 5: "Karaoke"
For literally weeks now, we had been making plans to go to karaoke as a flat. Everytime it got to the day, we were all busy or too tired but tonight, we finally made it! It was so much fun, we sang about three songs as a group, and in even sang two songs by myself. I first sang Mamma Knows Best by Jessie J and then Respect by Aretha Franklin. I, of course, was nervous but once I got up there I felt really good about it! I think there will be videos on Facebook soon.

Well I hope you enjoyed some of my bloopers, I am sure there are things that I am forgetting at the moment but I will try to do another blog like this so you can get all the details. I don't have any pictures of the dress, but I will put some pictures of Salto at the bottom and the singing videos on Facebook. Hope you enjoy ,

Hasta luego!

Me moving to put my feet in the water (Lord knows I didn't swim)

Me and everyone who went with me ( minus the photographer)

Me actually knee deep in the water (no photo shop)

And me randomly hugging a tree koala bear or sloth style just because. ( this wasn't at Salto but I thought you might enjoy the photo)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Help yourself, by helping others.

Hola amigos!

I have to admit I was sad to go back to classes this Monday after the two wonderous weeks of spring break. Going back to classes after any amount of break honestly is pretty difficult and even though it was just a three day week, it was pretty rough. Monday went surprisingly well. I had four hours of classes then I was done at 2:00. Tuesday was pretty nice as well, we had a healthy debate about gun control in America in Spanish. That actually was pretty fun! It was good to listen to other peoples views and thoughts on the topic. Wednesday was the last day of our classes this week and it was a half day! How awesome right!? Well, it was literature and lets just say that is not my favorite class. The teacher is fun and my classmates are nice, but the content is difficult. Analyzing poems and long passages are not my favorite activities in the world so you can imagine how class went. 

I made it through but it pretty much drained me making me physically and mentally tired and stressed. So after class I worked out with some friends and then did homework and planned some stuff for the weekend. Right after I got out of the shower, I got a message inviting me to watch the soccer game at with some friends so I decided to go to de-stress and have a good time.

On my way there, about fifty meters from my apartment I see an older woman struggling to walk down the street. Generally I am wary of people. Yes, even the elderly, but something about her made me stop and ask her if she was okay. She asked me if I lived far and I answered her honestly with a no. She then asked me if I would mind walking with her a little ways to her apartment building because she was so tired and didn't know if she could make it. I, surprisingly without hesitation, agreed to walk with her. I offered her my arm and we walked down the sidewalk together. She told me about her day and her six sons that she thinks would really like me, no subtlety there) and about her late husband whom had passed two years ago.

All was well and suddenly we were headed toward my apartment building. I asked her if she lived there, and it turned out that she is one of my neighbors! She lives on the floor above me. We both laughed at what a coincidence it was that we lived in the same building for basically five months and never crossed each others paths. As I opened the door her she handed me a euro. I tried to decline but she was insistent and told me how lucky she was that I came along to help her.

After I made sure she got in okay I started back out to make my way to watch the game. When I left my apartment, I was a bit cranky from the day still, 20 minutes late for the game, and determined to have a good time with my friends. As I walked to the location of the game, I realized how good I had felt after putting all my thoughts about myself behind to help a complete stranger. 

Sometimes the best medicine for your bad day is to help someone else cure theirs. I even made it to the second half of the game and the team I was cheering for won! That was the best start to a long weekend ever!

The rest of the week was filled with a trip to a hidden oasis and homework on the beach (yes I actually did complete my homework on the beach). Can't get any better than that! 

Disfruta el fin de semana! Enjoy the weekend!
Hast luego!

(This is me thinking about getting in the water at the oasis. I only ended up putting my feet in but that counts for something...right?)

Friday, April 25, 2014

With Friends Like These


Goodness! This week has just flown by! There were so many fun things that happened this week...well really it was one thing but it went on the whole week. Festivos de primavera is pretty much spring break, with the exception that there are a lot more traditional customs added to it. The second day, literally every one young, old, adolescent, you name it, was on the street from 11:00am to 9:00pm for one huge botellon which is pretty much an all day drinking fest while dressed in traditional Murcian attire. It was definitely interesting from the perspective as someone who does not drink. Definitely fun, dancing in the streets, culture parades, and everyone just enjoying being with each other.

All of this was really fun, but the best part by far was not the Murcian flair or even the beach, it was seeing my fellow LV's. Yesterday (Friday) I got together, via skype, with my LV class for the day of scholars presentations. Now, I knew already that I missed them all, obviously, but when I saw them all looking so happy to see me, and saying hello and how much they missed me, I got tears in my eyes. I didn't realize just how much I missed them all. The presentations were amazing! I was literally speechless for a couple of them. This day of scholars brought us so much closer together. 

On this side of the world, after I got off skype with my friends from back home, I walked out of my room and my roommates told me to go in the living room. I looked into the dark room first and saw shadows and was instantly unsure but, none the less I walked in with a tiny push from my other roommate, and surprise! My other roommate and 6 of my friends were all standing there, the lights now on, with birthday hats and confetti! Now, my birthday is on September 9th, but they decided to throw me an early birthday party since I won't be here with them to celebrate my actual birthday with them. They made me dinner, and baked me an apple cake complete with candles and m&m's on top! It was definitely a surprise! I didn't even hear them when they were setting up the room.

I am so TRULY blessed to have friends like these. Friends that write postcards, keep in contact, let them be a part of their presentation day, throw early birthday parties and so much more. With friends like these, any person could feel spoiled not by his/her friends doing all these things for him/her, but just by knowing he/she has friends that care enough about her to make him/her feel so special; I know I do!

The phrase, "you never know what you've got until it's gone," may be true in most instances, but in the case of my friends, I don't know what I have done to deserve such beautiful, wonderful, strong, amazing people in my life, but I know just how special my friends are to me. I know with friends like these, it will be very hard to feel alone or abandoned because of how much care and love my friends have for me and I hope they know I have for them. They will always be in my life no matter what; if not physically, mentally, spiritually, I know they are always there!

I love my friends all around the world!

Nos vemos <3

(More pictures from the birthday celebration...)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The real fun begins!


This week was pretty fantastic! I saw so many pretty procesionals. My favorite one had to be this one:

This one was my favorite, because the red that you see beneath Jesus on the cross, is hundreds of red carnations! All of the processions had hundreds of flowers on them, but this one was the best arrangement by far (at least in my opinion).

Besides the parades, I did a few other things as well. I went to the beach in alicante which was pretty fun. Most people may not know this, but I actually extremely EXTREMELY disliked the beach. However, since I have been in Spain I have found a bit of comfort in it. Don't get me wrong, I still hate the sand and the water and the combination of the two, but the atmosphere is so relaxing, I think I can get over it at least for a few hours at a time. I was so comfortable at the beach that I even touch the water and did an elbow stand on the shore.


As well as going to the beach, I have been working out. I LOVE working out! It makes me feel so good and I love challenging myself to do more in my workouts. It was even more fun these past few weeks, because I have started my own little workout group with a few of the girls I am here with. It is so fun.

To finish off the weekend, I went to the mall with one of my friends that I met here named Amber. She is super cool and shopping with her was so fun! Because tomorrow is Easter, I wanted to get a new outfit for the occasion so we went to the mall and found this: 

It looks way better on, but it is night time now and I have no good lighting (maybe I will post it on Facebook tomorrow since that is what the outfit is for).

Other than that my week has been pretty standard, but don't fret, because next week is vacaciones de primavera (spring break for real)! That's right, no school for a whole other week! 

Let the real fun begin!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Break!

Okay everybody, after waiting all week spring break is here. Here, spring break is not just a four day weekend or a week, it's a whole two weeks! The first week is semana Santa and the second is vacaciones de primavera.

During semana Santa, there are big procesionals that go through the city with statues from the salzillo museum. These statues are huge so you would think they would put them on cars and drive them around...NO. There are about 24 men that carry them throughout the city. They switch people out, but still those are pretty heavy and very far distances to carry them.

Today was just an average lazy Saturday. I woke up at 11, got some corn flakes, and proceeded to try to be productive. I put some laundry away and after that I worked on some GRE math prep. After that went disastrously, anyone who knows me knows, and if they didn't know before they do now, that I am terrible at math! I don't wanna talk about it.

After that I laid down for a bit to relax and I suddenly got a feeling that I should go for a walk at 6:30. So naturally, I recruited my friend Amber and we began our walk. On our way toward the river we heard this drumming. When we got closer, we realized it was two of the statues being carried! We thought they started tomorrow on Sunday, but we were wrong! It was so cool. We got to watch them switch carriers, watch the directors direct them, the religious leaders, and a marching that followed them. Of course, there were costumes involved as well! It was so amazing! I took a ton of pictures.

After they passed us, we began our walk for the second time, right when we turned the corner, there was another statue being carried! It was completely different from the other two! The first two were, Santa Maria de los Angeles (not the place, of the angels) and the other was Jesus on the cross. This next one was Jesus carrying the cross in one of the most elegant robe I have ever seen. All of the statues, except the one of Jesus on the cross, have real clothes on and real flowers surrounding them. The one of Jesus carrying the cross even has real 100% human hair that is touched only by the best hair dressers in the city!

After we watched that statue go by, along with another marching band, we continued yet again on our walk but again we were interrupted by yet another statue being carried! This one was another statue of Santa Maria from a different museum but still with extremely elegant clothing and tons of flowers surrounding her. 

I am so happy I had the urge to go for a walk at the time that I did! It is one thing to hear about the procesionals, but another thing to be able to see them yourself! So amazing!

Tomorrow, I am going to the beach yet again but definitely coming back in time to see the next statues.

I am a day early, but happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it and if not, happy sunday! 

Hasta luego!

The drum line.

The new carriers

The statue of Santa Maria de Los Angeles

Jesus on the cross

Religious leaders

Marchers in training.

Jesus carrying the cross

Santa Maria de Los Angeles

These are only some of the statues, might I add! There are more to come!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Meeting Placido Domingo

This past week has gone by sooo slowly however, that did not stop me from having a new experience.

I had never met anyone famous until this past Monday. 

All week during rehearsals for orchestra, our conductor would always be saying something in Spanish really fast followed by Placido Domingo. I thought nothing of it because I thought he was saying plaza Domingo which is a plaza here in Murcia. I had assumed that we were playing in the plaza, however I could not have been more wrong.

On Monday at the concert everyone was in a frenzy and there were news cameras and reporters everywhere and I thought to myself "this is a little over board for a concert." After we warmed up, we gathered outside with our instruments for a picture. I was close to the middle of the photo when the photographer told me to move over so we could leave space for Placido. I was still confused because again I heard plaza but I moved over without objection. All of a sudden a man in a robe with white carnations came and stood between me and the conductor. He was very nice. He talked to all of us and said how honored he was to be at the university. Then he gave me a pat on the shoulder and walked away.

After he walked away, everyone was telling me how lucky I was to have stood next to him and how I had been touched by a god. I asked them all who he was and they all said Placido Domingo. At that point I understood that that was his name, but I did not understand why he was so special...then we went to actually play the concert. On all of the screens, there were pictures of Placido. After we played the first couple of pieces, there was a PowerPoint presentation and that's when it hit me who he was. There were clips of him singing at the opera and in private concerts.

I then finally realized, that I had just met Placido Domingo world renouned opera singer who is being inducted as a professor here at the university. Talk about shocked! I felt really cool after realizing who he is and honored to have been standing so near to him and to recieve a pat from him. Not quite a touch by a god, but pretty darn close!

After that, the week kind of flat lined with nothing exciting. The only other thing that I can say was pretty exciting was organizing an exercise group for me and three of my friends here. We are gettin swole together!

Have a great week and hope you read this Saturday! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Out of your comfort zone

I know, I missed last weeks post, but when you read why, I think you will actually be proud of me. Plus where I was, there was no service so even if I had time, I would not have been able to post anyway.

As most of you know, I tried out for the university orchestra. What most of you don't know, is that I made it! I am an official member of the Murcia university orchestra. Also, when I auditioned, I was placed into a small chamber group! I was/am ecstatic that I made it!

Two weeks ago, we started our rehearsals. Generally, the first rehearsal is the most nerve racking one because your coming into a group that have know one another for a long time and you also don't know your skill level in comparison to theirs. Some people don't get nervous by these things, but these types of things are things that I worry about even in my home orchestra.

On top of all of those reasons, the fact that everybody except me speaks fluent Spanish (obviously). After all of those nerves passed, I was able to look past all of these silly little things and just focus on the one thing we all have in common...the music. Music knows no language. Even if the lyrics are not in someone's native language, just the flow and rhythm of the music alone can help the person interpret how to feel or what emotion the artist was feeling or trying to portray when the song was written/performed.

Last week, we had our first concert in Abarán. It was such a neat experience. We stayed overnight in an old school/church. The first night we didn't have any water but the next morning it was up and running. I was really nervous because I was worried that people would not try to include me and that I would not try to include myself due to the language barrier. Yet again, I was over reacting. Everyone was very excited to have me there and were more than willing to help me when I didn't understand. They even invited me to stay up late with them to play games and perform some silly pieces on our instruments.

That Saturday, we had two concerts. One in the morning for the community kids and another in the evening for general public. I enjoyed both of the concerts very much. They were very fun and everybody loved the concerts.

From that weekend alone I feel I broke a little of my walls down. I was forced to communicate and participate and once I got over the nerves I met new people, made a few friends and now I have been invited to play in more concerts this up coming week!

What a great week!

Until next time!

I will be catching up on work for a bit!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thank GOODNESS for the beach


This week has been a bit stressful for all of us internationals in my class. For some reason out professors are unsatisfied with our work that we have been doing.

Our history/literature teacher was very upset with our class last week. For literature we had to do an analysis of a poem that we read in class. A side note: when it comes to analyzing poems or anything really, I can not say it is one of my strong points even in English. I digress, but anyway, the week before we had a discussion about what an analysis was and how to do one properly, which was great because ever teacher wants an analysis done differently. So the next week we turned in our papers and the day after turning them in, we recieved them back and our teacher was very disappointed. No one got 100% but no one failed either but he was very dissatisfied with our work. He began yelling at us telling us we don't care about our work and didn't take time to do the assignment, we just wrote whatever we wanted and handed it in. He told us that we were the worst group of internationals and that we are lazy.

Now, how he got all this information from one assignment I don't know but, I can't speak for everyone in my class, but I personally worked very hard on my analysis. Sure, there were things in there that may not have been exactly what he was looking for, but that does not by any means mean that I did not try my best on the assignment. I am bad at analyses in English as it is so I knew this one was not going to be much easier. If I were lazy, I would not have even bothered to do the assignment. 

The next class was not much better. The next week, we had the same teacher and he proceeded to tell us that all of our teachers had a meeting about our class about how we need to change our attitudes and how they think we are only studying abroad to travel and don't actually care about learning Spanish. The next class we had written and oral expression. This is a different professor and she came in and showed us an example of a badly written paper. It said, "Tengo una hermana, el es guapo y simpactico." For those of you who don't speak Spanish that means, "I have a sister, he is handsome and he is nice." Our teacher proceeded to tell us that this is a mistake that a person in level one Spanish would make and we all agreed. Then she continued and said that we had made those kind of mistakes on our assignments for her.

Pause: I know my Spanish is not that great, however, there is no possible way, that I would make this kind of mistake at my level of Spanish. If I did, I would ask to be sent home because I was probably very ill to even think that was correct.

Continuing, she too began telling us how much we don't care about our work and how our attitudes need to change about our work. She said she could not even grade our papers because we would have all failed and proceeded to hand back our papers. Generally when a teacher hands back a paper, even if it is not for a grade, there is some sort of marking on the paper. In this case, there was nothing. I raised my hand and said, " how are we supposed to know what mistakes we made, if there are no marks on the paper? It is impossible to make corrections to something that when we turned in we thought was correct but you are telling us there are tons of mistakes." So she took them back and graded them in class. Again, I don't know about everyone else, but my paper only had two marks on it and they had nothing to do with the problem she was indicating. According to what everyone else was saying, none of them had that problem either. 

In my head I was appalled (and probably on my face too) that she would even think it was okay to hand back a paper that she said has so many mistakes but has not marked anything on the paper. If when I turn in the paper, We think is perfect, and it gets returned to us after being told it was terrible but there are no marks, how are we supposed to know what our mistakes are? That is a terrible teaching tactic to me. Furthermore, if we had made mistakes like that on our papers, that is a reflections on her teaching skills because she is the one who is supposed to be teaching us how to write correctly.

These teachers are going to drive me insane. 

If I truly did not care about these classes, I would not wake up every morning at 8:30am to go to a bunch of classes that I am 85% sure won't even transfer over because I have taken them already, I wouldn't be doing assignments in advance, I wouldn't be taking notes/participating in class. Yes, there are 2 out of the 10 of us who truly do not care enough to either show up or when they do show up, they are disruptive or high on weed, or both. I understand that sometimes we make silly mistakes sometimes yes, but Spanish is not our first language. If it were, would I be in these classes in the first place? No. 

None the less, I think it is very unprofessional to tell students that they do not care and tell them they are lazy and that teachers are having meetings about how they are only in Spain to travel and need to change their attitudes. Especially when there are only a few students who actually fit the bill.

If they think that me showing up, participating, doing homework, and asking questions when I don't understand in class is me not caring, I obviously don't know how to care about class. If they truly think I do not care about class, I will show them what not caring looks like: I am not even going to bother showing up to class and I am going to travel like they think I do.

Thank goodness for the beach, because if I was not able to get away this weekend and relax with friends, I would have been stressed out for the weekend.

Hasta luego,

Thanks for reading :) hopefully this next week will be better (it is only two days long!!!!)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Putting trust in others

Hello everyone,

I know this is the second week that I am late making a post, but I had so many awesome adventures last week that I was unable to stop and blog about it.

Last week was probably one of the most stressful/fun experiences that I have had so far. Me and three friends traveled. Before traveling we had to start off with the basics of research. We had to research how to get there, how much it would cost, what we wanted to do once we got there, and how to get back. The easiest way to research how to get there, was to have one person look up different methods of travel and report back to the others costs and efficiency. That was the first trust test. We had to trust that the person researching actually sifted through everything and found the best/price reasonable method of travel, in return since they were paying for everyone's ticket, they had to trust that everyone had the funds to pay them back. That also trickled into how much it cost. 

What we were doing once we got there was a little more difficult. Some people had specific things they wanted to see. In one instance, we had a tour guide at the colosseum and after that we wanted to go to Vatican City to see the Sistine chapel. After the tour at the colosseum, we asked the tour guide the best way to get to the chapel and she proceeded to tell us that we would not make it there in time to see it. Then suddenly she had the idea to take us herself to the museum because she could get us in a little after hours because she is a tour guide. We talked it over then accepted the offer, however, we really took a big leap because she had to take us across the city to get there.


Four American girls, in a completely different country, who have no idea where they are going...

It would have been so easy to lead us to some back alley and rob us or worse. We literally had our lives in her hands...we took a big step trusting her to take us to some place we had never been. 

Luckily she was very trustworthy and took us where we wanted to go. It was amazing! She took us all around the city and showed us where the pope worked and a ton of different exhibits withing the city then finally we made it to the Sistine chapel! It was amazing! We weren't aloud to take pictures, we actually weren't even aloud to talk, while we were there! It was absolutely breath taking. After the tour our tour guide gave us directions of how to get back to our hostel. She was very nice. 

Also on our travel, I got to hang out with my awesome CFAB Ally. It was her birthday so that is originally I decided to meet up with her. We did so many things. We walked around the city, shopped a bit in the street shops, ate tons of gelato and went to the palace pitti (it was closed, but we were still technically there). We saw the duomo, the burial place of Michael Angelo, and the David statue (the copy). I was sad to only have gotten to see her for 2 days, but it was better than not seeing her at all. 

After the trip was over was when the real trust happened. When at the airport, the plain was delayed an hour, so we were left to trust the pilot to get us to the next airport to get our bus. Unfortunately, that did not work out because we arrived at the airport and had to look up more bus schedules. Everyone had to trust me, because I was the only one who had a phone that could access internet. Eventually I found a new bus. Once we got on the bus, once again everyone had trusted me to let them know when our stop was was, that was harder because we were all tired and slept so whenever they asked, it was difficult but we figured it out. 

Eventually we made back to Murcia in one piece. We got to the pantheon, the colosseum, the trevy fountain, the Sistine chapel, the palace pitti, the duomo, the burial place of Michael Angelo, go sing, and eat as much gelato, pizza and pasta as we wanted.

Rome and Florence are/were amazing!

Oh, we were in Italy...did I forget to tell you that?

Traveling is such a fun experience. Having to trust complete strangers or even the judgements of people you know can be difficult, but you have to do it and once you do, it will hopefully/most likely turn into one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life.

That's all I got as far as fun stuff goes. I went to class, went to a museum, went out with some friends, and played pool with some really cool Spaniards. Life continues to treat me well and I am greateful!

Until next time

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Better late than never!

Ugh! This week has been so long but it was definitely a fun one.

This week we had two birthday celebrations! On Tuesday my new friend Harold Howar turned 21! Of course for all due from the United States, that is a huge deal, but here in Spain, it is just another birthday so you can imagine the look on peoples faces when a bunch of Americans show up to the club turnt up and ready to go. Before we went to the club, we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and then did a little bar hopping scavenger hunt. So when we arrived at the club, there were a lot of people, not including me, who were pretty hyped, including the birthday boy. I was supposed to bake him a cake that night, but since they all went out to dinner I had to hold it off until Thursday. I made him a rum cake with a rum glaze on top. 

Side note: I got a Spanish buddy on Thursday night as well! Now I have someone to help me out with my Spanish!

Now the rest of the story: Saturday was another one of my new friends 21st birthdays, Andi Watkins! For her birthday we played a game called true American. For those of you who don't know who that is, it is a game that mixes history facts/American pop culture facts with drinking. Again, I was not participating in the drinking portion. It was such a blast, but, we made have burned a bridge with one of our roommates who was trying to sleep. You can imagine 20 or so drinking college age students playing a game that involves a bit of group participation and jumping on furniture...let's just say it was not the quietest game ever. But any way, that night I made her a no bake peanut butter cheese cake. The picture is below. We didn't even bother slicing it up, we all just dug in with spoons. I must say I did enjoy it quite a bit. After that they all went out to party, I stayed home and cleaned up the mess and slept.

It was quite an enjoyable week! This week the blog post may be late again as  I will be traveling so look for it Saturday, if it is not there, it will be there the next Saturday. It will be a busy weekend ;) but hey, that just means the next weeks post will be full of fun stories!

Hasta luego!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Stranded in la Manga

Another week has come to an end and I have had yet another great adventure.

You know how last week I said I started classes well, apparently that was just a continuation of the language and culture classes. This week was the start of my real classes. I am taking a history class, geography class, music class, art history class, literature class and politics class. They sound more intense than they least so far anyway. All of the classes went very well but yesterday, Friday, is when the true fun stuff happened. Friday morning literally everyone in my class except for me and one other person went to travel, so there were only two of us in class. He subject was art history and mind you, it was the very first time having the class (what an impression to leave on the teacher). When the teacher arrives she gives us the option to leave and reschedule our four hour long class for another day, or have the lecture as planned, so we decided to do the lecture. It was very interesting! I didn't even realize we had been in the class for an hour ans forty five minutes until she told us to go on 20min break and meet her at the tram station. After break, we met at the tram and then walked to the museum of roman architecture. It was very informational and what's more interesting is that because there was only the two of us there, we got a personal guided tour by our professor! She is extremely knowledgable on the subjunctive and I can tell she really loves what she teaches. It is going to be such a fantastic class.

I realize that the above story has nothing to do with the title but lucky for you, I was just getting to that. Today me and my friend Margo decided that we wanted to go to the beach so, at 1:30 we walk to the bus station buy our ticket to la manga and head out at 2:00. It was so beautiful! On one side we had El Mar Menor and on the other we had the Mediterranean Sea! It was 70 degrees but windy so we didn't get in the water to spare us from freezing later on. The water is crystal clear, you can see to the very bottom; the scenery in general is just gorgeous! After we laid on the beach of the Mediterranean for about an hour and a half , her reading and me "sketching" and "writing," we grabbed our stuff and went to the restraunt across the street. We were pleasantly surprised to see that paella was on the menu! We shared the paella de pescado y mariscos. Needless to say, it was delicious! I am glad we got it to share because it was huge! I asked the waiter if he had ever seen anyone eat an entire plate by themselves, and he laughed and proceeded to tell me that they are originally for one person. If you all had seen the amount of paella that was on the serving dish, your jaw would have hit the ground! It was so much food! After we ate the waiter gave us free chupitos, sin alcohol for me, and brought us our bill. Once we paid, we walked on the beach of El Mar Menor for about thirty minutes thinking that we were going to catch the 7:00 bus back to Murcia. Wow were we wrong. After sitting at the stop for about twenty minutes, a boy about our age, asked which bus we were waiting for and he informed us that the bus did not come until 8 which means about 8:30 Spanish time. So we waited at the stop. When we got on, we had to get off in Cartagena because the bus that goes to Murcia is different than the one we were on. When we go inside to get our ticket, we see that the last bust to Murcia was at 8:45 and it was already 9:30 when we got there. We thought would just get another ticket for later, but it turns out the next bus to Murcia isn't until tomorrow at 9:30 am which is the same time as our hike that we are going on. So...we look at tickets to places that would potentially stop in Murcia on the way, and we find a ticket to Madrid but, it was 40euros! So we call the bus ticket company well try to anyway to see if the bus would for sure stop in Murcia before we bought our potentially useless ticket. Margo was on the phone with them when her phone shut off. We then proceeded to call back on my phone but mid call my phone died. What luck right? About an hour goes by of us contemplating our options which were 1. Stay in a hotel for the night and catch the next bus, 2. Buy the ticket to Madrid or albcete in hopes that they stop in Murcia, or 3. Pay for a taxi. We decided to take the taxi because at the end of the day, it was the quickest and cheapest/easiest thing to split cost wise between the two of us. We ended up spending 30euros each on the taxi, 18euros each on food, and 10euros total on bus fare. What should have been a 30euro day trip, ended up being an almost 60euro trip but were the memories worth it...absolutely, because they were priceless! 

All in all it was a pretty adventurous day with a pretty adventure filled day tomorrow as well! 

Thanks for reading I hope you all enjoyed it! There are pictures below! 

P.S. I realize now after relaying the story we didn't really get stranded, but would you have read it if it was less dramatic...didn't think so ;)

Have a great weekend!

 Hasta luego!

The Mediterranean 

Me "sketching/writing"

Margo looking cool on the beach

Paella de pescado y mariscos

El Mar Menor

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finally it's Saturday!

Buenas noches!

Well it is probably more like 3:00 your time but salutations no matter when you read this! 

This week has been so. It was my first full week of classes because; last week we didn't have class on Monday because it was a holiday. My classes are not very stressful by any means, but they are extremely long. They are from 9:30am-2:00pm with a half hour break. I know some people have longer work days than that, but that is a very tiring day for me! Everyday after class I would practice my violin, workout in either the park or my living room then shower (obviously) then try to nap. Usually I end up reading, listening to music, and or just laying in my bed. By Friday I was so exhausted! I even missed out on the international student party! Honestly though, sleep is the most important thing so I am glad that I got a good nights rest.

Besides classes this week, I also had a tour of Murcia! It was a little late considering i have been here for four weeks now, but it was still fun none the less. I went to two museums: the first one was el museo de Santa Clara. It was once a palace of the Moros and now it is a convent. The nuns are only allowed to be out and about when the museum is closed so we did not get to see them on our tour but it was beautiful!mthere are parts of the palace that have been preserved so we got to see some of the architecture. The other museum, el museo de la ciudad otherwise known as the city museum was very informative. I learned that there used to be a wall around the city and where my apartment is now, is where the wall used to be! I am literally living on a part of history! 

Today was a day of fun with some wonderful ladies I have become friends with since I have been here! Caroline, Kaia, Andi, Coral, Margo and I all went to the mall for the day and it was such a blast! I hate shopping alone so shopping with five other people with five different opinions was a blast! Way better than any party I have been or will EVER go to! 

As I mentioned, Friday was the international student party which as I also mentioned I missed, but because I got a good nights sleep last night, I can go out and party tonight!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Saturday evening!
Hasta luego!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Black girl in the City

Hola amigos!

Once again it is Saturday and there is another blog post from me. ¡Que Guay!

This week I want to talk about a little bit about race. Not anything heavy, just an observation between how races are seen here in Spain and in the U.S.

One day I was talking to a friend who is studyinghere about school, she is from the U.S. For us, this was our first official week of classes so I asked her how her classes were and she proceeded to tell me about her day. She talked about her professors and how cool she thought their classes were, and how she was feeling about the language difference being that her first language is English; she is really enjoying herself. Then I asked her if she had made any new friends in any of her classes, and as expected she said yes (she is very social). She started with, "I was a little nervous to talk to the people around me at first, but I had a question so I looked around to see who I would feel more comfortable asking" then she said, "this is going to sound racist, but there was a group of Mexicans..." Immediately, my attention was pulled to this statement, because to me that is not racist at all. One thing I notice in the states a lot is that when someone is asked to point someone out or describe someone, most people will say just everything about that person, their hair, clothes, shoes, way they walk, where their from etc. but leave out their race from fear of sounding racist when in fact their race would be the quickest way to identify who the person/group of people are. Some people I have spoken to previously whom I asked why they didn't just say their race to save all the trouble of trying to find "that one girl, with the pink shirt, with black shoes, standing next to the pole that is in the middle of the open space next, to the store with the pillows in the window..." you get the point, when they could have just said the "black/African American girl over there," their response is usually, " I don't see color." When I hear this, my first thought is to ask them if they are color blind, that would be a bit too sassy to say out loud. I usually come to the conclusion that they were too nervous or uncomfortable to say what race they were. I feel that it is the awkwardness of most people not willing to use someone's color as something as simple as an identifier, that makes it uncomfortable when people do use someone's race as an identifier and causes some people to think of it as racist. Here in Spain it is a different perspective.

In class, our teacher was talking about different types of stores and people in the city. At one point he said, in Spanish, but I will translate for you all...your welcome ;), "There are a lot of chinos here in the city, a lot of them work in small convenient stores." Immediately people started looking at each other with big eyes in shock that he used the word "chinos" (people from china) to describe them. He saw the discomfort from some people and felt that he had to explain himself. He said, "Here we see people's race, but we don't think any differently of them. It is because we do recognize that we all look different, that we are able to identify ourselves as the people. We don't treat each other differently simply because our skin color is different. Sure we may say "la negrita (little black girl) or "el blanco" (the white guy), but we are not using it to be offensive, it is just the easiest/quickest way to identify someone, especially in a crowd." I was blown away (in a good way) by this explanation, I was also very pleased to see that there are people who think this way. It is interesting to me how in the country that is supposed to be a great melting pot where people of all races and ethnicities have freedom, is so sensitive about race, whereas a country that is seen as having not as much freedom in comparison to the United States is more accepting of race. Yes, I know there is racism everywhere and I am aware that it most likely does occur here in Spain, and it can be said that people in the states are more sensitive about race, because of slavery and the civil rights movement and other such political events, but what many people do not know, is that Spain went through the exact same phase in history. The difference I think, is that the people of Spain was able to evolve past (not just look past, as in learned something from) the times of race and racism and realize that color is not a personality trait or what makes a person who he/she is, it is just a color. Think of it this way, when a person wants to use the red crayon they don't say, "that one color next to the other one that's in the third row of the box with the writing on it." That would be madness! Color is just color and nothing more, it does not define you, you define it...unless maybe you are a crayon. 

My point is, the fact that the color/race of a person is not made into a big production here has made me feel very at home. Not that I don't feel at home in the states, it's just in the states I very much know and feel that I am a black person (no shame, I am proud of my roots) but here in Spain, I feel like a person.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let the good times roll

Hola mis amigos!

This past week has been a blurr of good times.

On Sunday my roommate Yara, from France, invited me and my other roommate Kaia, from California, to see a free movie with her! Of course, hearing the word gratis and pelicula in the same sentence, I said ¿¡por que no!? The movie was in this really interesting bar. In the from it is a video rental/shop, the middle is the bar, and in the back there is a room with a projector to watch the movie movie of the week which was "mar dentro" or "the sea within me." It is about a man who wants to petition to commit suicide after becoming paralyzed from the neck down after diving into shallow water (the shallow end of the sea). It was a wonderful film, all in Spanish of course but there were subtitles which helped me learn some new words.

Monday was a very interesting day. After class I walked around the city with my new friend Joe, from England for a good hour and a half. It was such a good time to just walk around the city. We talked about pretty much everything you can think of. After the walk we went our separate ways. When I got to my apartment Yara once again invited me to go out with her. This time we went to this club called foster's. "A club on a Monday! What up with that!?" You are probably thinking, but it wasn't that kind of club. It was a social event. We walked in and there were tables with different languages on the top of them: Inglés, Español, Aleman (German), Frances, and Italiano. The point is to sit at the table that has the language that you want to practice speaking so naturally I went to the español table. It was such a wonderful way to meet people and practice my Spanish. I was very pleased at how many compliments I got on how well I spoke. I also met a few people: José (Toledo), Sara (France), Kevin (Philadelphia), Alexandro (Italy), and Estelle (Murcia). All in all it was a good night!

Tuesdays I have to say are my favorite. Every Tuesday for only one euro ($1.38) I have a two hour salsa lesson from 10-12am. Yes that is very late to be staying out on a school night, but the night life here is too hard to pass up! I get to dance with several devilishly handsome young men. This last Tuesday I danced with two guys Alfonso from Spain and a young man from Italy who's name escapes me at the moment but is a fabulous dancer who has requested to dance with me next Tuesday! After salsa we go to the international club called Badulake. My friends go for the free beer, but I go just to work on my freestyle dance moves (watch out Jazz III).

Wednesday was a very relaxing day. After class Kaia and I went to the grocery store and bought some chocolate (our guilty pleasure) and some bread for pb&j sandwiches (our lunch everyday). After that at 5:00 me Joe, Iris, California, and Caroline, Arkansas, worked out in the park! It was a blast and we all felt so good afterwards. When we finished that, we all walked with Caroline to the corte inglés, the only grocery store that sells American treats such as peanut butter, so she was not walking alone in the dark. It was a great cool down. Later that night we had our weekly potluck (checkin) with all the international students at Vivian's (West Virginia). I made my peppers with goat cheese which were a huge hit again.

Thursday was our last class of the week, so rather than sitting in the class, our professor decided to take us to the farmer's market. It was so fun! Churros with chocolate sauce, fresh vegetables and fruit, dried mixed fruit and nuts, and of course shoes and clothes. The main difference between the farmers market or mercado here compared to the u.s. Is there is not much artesianal sales. The clothes were all bought from a store and then re sold at the market for a lower price which was okay with me because I needed to go shopping for new clothes anyway. I definitely did not bring enough.

Friday, because we had the day off from class, I slept until 10:30 and then went for sushi with Joe and Natalia, from Poland. We were a bit skeptical because good fresh sushi is hard enough to find in the U.S. but to find it in Spain was a stretch. We found a place just 5 minutes from where we all live called sushi. It was delicious And it was a good price. After that we went to Smöoy. Smöoy is this fantastic real frozen yogurt place! Honestly, if I didn't have any self control, I would eat there everyday. Then we walked The Gran Via which is equivalent to the miracle mile in Chicago. Good thing I don't have tons of money otherwise I would be there everyday too! Then at about 5 Joe and I did an ab workout in some random grass, which is very hard to find in the city, that we found across from hotel. We got stared at by plenty of people because apparently the only workouts people do out side here is run or walk or bike, otherwise they go to the gym.

Now today is Saturday it is only noon so not much has happened. I tried this new, new to me, pasteleria around the corner. It was good,but not as good as the others I have been to. Next I am off to get some more clothes so I don't boil to death when the warm weather hits or freeze to death while it Is still cold. Okay it has only been in the mid 40s here but that is still pretty cold and my leather jackets and my pink trench coat are not sufficient enough.

I definitely hope the good times keep on rolling!

Hasta luego

My new sweater!

Friday, January 17, 2014

So Far So Great!

Hola amigos!

Welcome to this Fridays blog post! This one will be a bit shorter but still interesting I hope. This was my second week here and my first week of my Spanish intensive course. The course is pretty similar to the Spanish classes I have taken at Millikin or in high school, but rather than only being in class for 50 min then getting out and speaking in English, the class never ends...and I love it! Everyday here is like a class because I learn something new everyday! Sorry, I had to ramble a bit there, I just got really excited! 

The topic of this blog is culture shock. "What is that?" You may have asked, but luckily you have me here to tell you. Culture shock is something that most all travelers experience. It is when you are in a new place and are literally shocked by the culture differences between where you live and where you are visiting. A lot of people may think they have never experienced this, but the signs can be very subtle. I had a bit of a culture shock myself when I first got here, and I am not talking about the plane situations that I mentioned in my second blog post. I had a severe loss of appetite, and had a deep disorientation. I also felt a bit lonely my first couple of days, and even the language barrier had me a bit nervous too. Some symptoms of culture shock that others may experience are excessive eating, extreme dislike of where they are visiting, never leave the house/apartment/hotel, and have an overall negative attitude about their whole experience.

Although these symptoms can be a bit intimidating, there are ways that you can overcome or even avoid culture shock! 
 Have knowledge about the culture: One thing you can do before you even go on a trip, is read up on or get informed about the culture before you arrive. For instance I was not freightened by my first European kisses because I was told about them ahead of time. 
Be open minded: Another thing, is to be open minded. Of course, when you go somewhere outside of your home town/country, there will be customs or everyday things that are different from home. If you are open minded, you may find that you like the customs and cultural differences of the place you are visiting more than your hometown. Example: I like the fact that everyone greets with kisses, even when it is the first time meeting. To me it says, "I don't know you, but we are equals, and I would not mind getting to know you better," rather than a hand shake that say, "I don't know you so I am going to keep my distance until I know your whole life story."
Immerse yourself into the culture:  Something that I found helpful was just diving right into the culture. Of course it was scary and yes I made mistakes, but that is how you learn. My first full day, although I was tired, most likely from jet lag, I got up at 9am, the work day starts at 10am here, and got myself ready for the day. Breakfast is least important here so I didn't eat it. When I arrived at my apartment at about 3pm it was lunch time so I ate a tiny snack. The hardest part was waiting for dinner because here, dinner is not until 9 or 10pm! That is still taking some getting used to. The next day, while my French roommates were in classes, me and my roommate from California walked around the city to get oriented to exactly where we are and what's around us. We even spoke in Spanish the whole time to practice and help each other with things we did not previously know.

Some other fun things I have done since I have been here are: I cooked dinner for my roommates, walked around and found something I wasn't looking for, a pastelería, (aka I got lost and stumbled upon it lol), had a potluck dinner with the other international students (we all spoke in Spanish the whole time), and I, yes me Toni Pennington, went out to an international club and danced and had fun until 5am the next morning (I went with my roommates and some friends from the program)!

I am having so much fun here! I love everything about Spain, the culture, the people...there is nothing right now that I can say that I dislike, except maybe the fact that dinner is at 9/10 but I am confident that I will adjust to that very soon!

Have a funtastic weekend everyone! 

¡Hasta luego!

Sautéed red peppers with goat cheese and spices! ( yes, I made that)

Caramelized onion tart (yes, I made that too)

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


Finally it is Friday, the day that everyone looks forward. Not because it is the end of a long week, but because you all are so excited to read my blog...jk but I thank you for taking time out of your Friday, or what ever day you decide, to read my first post from Spain.

**WARNING: Because this was my first week, this is probably (hopefully) going to be the longest post so I will bold the parts I think you should read and the headings so you can get the gist of it.**

Although i have titled this blog The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, I feel I should start with the ugly and end with the good (who wants to end on a bad note?).

The Ugly:
When most people travel by plane, they probably think that when the ticket says they are going to land one place, that is where they are going to land. Furthermore, I do not think that people think about what they are going to do if they in fact land in a different place than they were expecting. If you do that, you are one step ahead of where I was when I boarded the plane to Alicante. Long story short, because of heavy cloud coverage my flight that was supposed to land in Alicante landed in Valencia. I was already nervous about going to Spain by myself. The original plan was that I was supposed to land in Alicnate, be picked up my a cab driver named Paco, driven to Murcia and get to my apartment by 9:00pm where my landlady would be waiting for me. However that is not what happened. Because we had to land in Valencia I had to wait two hours for a bus to Alicante that is two hours away, with all my luggage, then take a 45 minute taxi ride to my apartment in Murcia. BUT...because it was then around 3:00am my landlady was not waiting for me any longer and when I went to open my door it was locked with no hope of unlocking it so I got back in the cab and went to a nearby hotel. You better believe when I got into my hotel room I cried from being so nervous about being in a foreign country by myself and having to figure all this out on my own. At least I was alive right!?
*My Advice: Never follow a pre-made plan, without making a back-up plan of your own. Furthermore, Freak out after you have gotten through the hard stuff; focus on what needs to happen to get you where you need to go.*

The Bad:
Obviously, or maybe not so obviously for some (not judgement), it is impossible to take one flight from Charlotte, NC to Murcia, Spain; I had a few layovers here and there. I had a six hour layover in Minnesota and another six hour layover in Amsterdam. Nothing really happened in the layovers that made them bad, but they were a little bit boring. Of course I had my iPad and my cell phone but those can only be entertaining for so long. Luckily, when I got on the plane there was plenty to do like sleep, or watch movies, or even watch people watch movies; that was all fun but the in between not so much. I would have explored, but I am not a fan of exploring on my own. Although there were things to do on the plane, sometimes the people were not so fun. On the flight from Amsterdam 1. everyone including the flight attendants spoke some sort of dutch or German that I just flat out do not know, and 2. there were these three ladies who just would not stop pushing everyone around and getting frustrated with me when they would be trying to tell me things but obviously I did not understand so they would get visually frustrated with me and just push me around even more. I couldn't even tell them to stop properly because of our language barrier.
*My Advice: Always bring something to during during your layovers, and don't let other passengers get you down (or push you down)*

The Good:
Obviously, or maybe not I don't know, there can not be some bad without some good in between. 1. During the Ugly, when I was pacing the airport waiting to board the bus with my eyes huge and watery from holding back tears of frustration, the man who sat next to me on the plane noticed my distress and let me board the bus as his plus one so I would not get left behind or overlooked if the buses filled up (I didn't even get his name...but he gave me my first European Cheek Kisses). 2. When I got on the bus the man who sat next to me on the plane let me use his phone knowing that I had to call internationally to my parents with no hesitation once so ever and when I started to crack a bit he he said in his best English, "take it easy, we will be in Alicante soon" (which I appreciated more than he probably knows). 3. When I was on the phone with my dad, he knew I was nervous about my situation, so he encouraged me to stay strong and not to cry until I got to where I needed to go because tears would only make the situation worse (so true). 4. I was able to facetime with my family once I got into my hotel (more like cry to them but eventually we had a conversation). 5. Even though she knew I was really tired Carmen Aravena of Millikin, called to make sure that I was safe and sound for the night. 6. The cab driver only charged me for the ride from the airport to the apartment and drove me to the hotel for free and 7. When I got to my apartment, I was just in time for lunch and my roommates welcomed me with European Cheek Kisses and welcomes.
*My Advice: Always keep in mind that there are good people out there who will help you and remember that you have a support system and never be too overcome with emotion to reach out to them and ask for help and support (that is what they are there for).

Sorry this one was so long, but as I said, a lot has happened in this week. I didn't even get to say what I have been up after all of that went down! Oh well, if you really want to know, I guess you are going to have to wait until the next blog ;)

Abiento...oh wait that's French...Hasta Luego!