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.