Thursday, April 4, 2013


Aaaaand somehow it's been almost a month since I last posted...oops. Well, since then - there was a week between Barcelona and spring break - kinda uneventful, but I did cook dinner for my host family(I of course made pasta sauce)! And then the Spring Break adventure began! I spent the week in London and Paris, yea I live a blessed life :)

I've posted about 200 photos on facebook (out of 600 so I did a good job not going overboard) so you've probably seen most of the highlights of my trip in photo form, but...

In London my favorite things were definitely seeing the London Eye and Big Ben at night and touring Shakespeare's Globe Theater. The theater actually has a whole museum attached which is filled with some pretty cool stuff. It was also nice to take a day trip out of town to Windsor, Oxford, and Stonehenge, but seeing as it was -10 degrees that day, I was a bit more thankful for the time I got to spend indoors x)
Katie, Lorna and I at the Lourve
In Paris, I have a new second favorite city (second only to DC) because even though it was cold there too, the city was gorgeous. My friends and I went a bit crazy on our first day and did almost every main tourist attraction there is (which made my feet hurt, but was wonderful) and meant there was time for us to take our time the rest of the week and leisurely see some other things... and go back to the Eiffel Tower every day. The highlight was seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night (it sparkles for 5 minutes on the hour after dark).

This week has had some late nights as I decided to take Spring Break completely off and leave my homework for this week... but it was worth it :)  Also on the wonderful side, I also got a surprise from Grammie and Grandpa in the form of Easter Chocolate in the mail!!!! We had a paseo class to a flamenco show - and when I told my host mother about it she wanted to show me her old dresses and dressed me up in one (see pic). And tomorrow we have a day trip to Burgos to see plants and buckets of liquid. (Actually we get to see an orchard for grapes and olives and see them making wine and olive oil :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Typical Week

Sunday: Get home from Barcelona and sleeeeep

Monday: Internship! Lots of time promoting the conference cycle about education and memory - starting this week with "The Right to Education in Danger: Aggression Towards the Social Right of Citizenship". Afterwards, studying for my EU midterm.

Tuesday: EU midterm in the morning, break for lunch 2-3, History and Culture class in the afternoon (we're starting to learn the history of the Borbon kings). Group meeting with AU Abroad visitor and tapas with everyone for dinner!

Wednesday: Internship again - started using Tweetdeck to manage Twitter better and line up tweets to send when I'm not at the office. Uploaded pictures from Barcelona, started my final paper for my internship credits, found out I was officially accepted to study in Italy this summer!!! and skyped with the family :)

Conference at Ateneo de Madrid
Thursday: Lit and Film class about the Vanguardia (Avant-garde) literature movement at the beginning of the 20th century. We also got our midterms back (A-!!) After class, quick lunch and then headed downtown to Ateneo de Madrid (think tank) to listen to presentations about democracy and citizenship for the internship. Later, dinner out with some friends!

Friday: Paseo class - we were supposed to go to El Capricho Park (18th century historical park) but we got there and it was closed (now only open saturdays and sundays for a fee due to the economic crisis). But to make it up to us, our professor took us to Retiro Park and we got to go out on the row boats! After, I had a picnic in the park, read some of my book for Lit class, and may have even fallen asleep in the sun. Even better - when I got home we had paella for dinner!

Row Boats at Retiro
Saturday: Slept in :) Wrote my Barcelona blog post, got all ready to go to El Capricho Park, and then realized it's raining outside. Decided to work on reading my lit book and finishing my internship paper, so of course I found time to write this instead x)

Friday, March 15, 2013


Last weekend my program went to Barcelona! And yes, it has taken me a whole week to get to writing this - but in my defense I had a midterm and work and sleep to do. Anyway, Barcelona was absolutely amazing and the warm weather was wonderful.
Inside the Sagrada Familia
When we first arrived, we took a quick bus tour through the city and drove up Montjuic (it means Jewish Mountain because that's where the Jewish population had to live when the catholic kings decided they weren't cool with other religions being around) and had a great view looking out over the city and the harbor. We then went to the Sagrada Familia, which is the cathedral designed and built mostly by Gaudi. My professor joked that most Spaniards think Gaudi was on acid - and then explained to us that he wasn't joking. Either way, I think this was the first cathedral we've visited where we didn't want to leave after five minutes - this place is amazing. The outside was really interesting, but my favorite part was the rainbow stained glass inside.
After touring the cathedral, a few of my friends and I got a pizza for lunch and had a picnic in front of the Sagrada Familia and our group headed over to Park Güell - which is a whole park designed by Gaudi. An amusing point about our first day is that we saw two great places by Gaudi - which are also considered his biggest failures. He never finished the Sagrada Familia (they're still working on it) and Park Güell was originally intended to be a housing project designed by Gaudi for the aristocracy, but he only ended up building 2 houses because no one wanted to live so far away from the social center of the city.

Dali Museum
The next day we got on the bus to go to the Dali museum, which is outside of Barcelona. The museum doesn't actually have a lot of Dali's masterpieces because they're in bigger museums (like the Prado in Madrid) but it was still a really cool place. Dali himself bought the old theater and converted it into a museum for his works. Afterwards, we drove to the beach :) although it was too cold to go swimming I did touch the Mediterranean for the first time and found some pretty awesome sea glass. Back in Barcelona, I went with some friends to see the fountains in front of the palace which light up and are set to music before going to dinner at Las Ramblas (the main road that leads from downtown Barcelona to the harbor) with the whole group.

Our last day in Barcelona, we went to the gothic area of the city to walk around, saw the old gothic cathedral, and got to hear the band that plays on the steps to the cathedral on Sundays and see people dancing the Sardana. Our professor then told us to put our bags in a pile in the center and join hands because we were going to learn the dance too :) We ended the trip by going to the Picasso museum getting lunch near las ramblas, and walking down near the harbor before heading to the airport.
Fountains <3

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

El escorial

Last Friday for our "paseo" class (part of my History and Culture Seminar is that we go on short trips around Madrid and get lectured on Fridays while we see the stuff we get to learn about - they're called paseos, which translates to "walks") we went to El escorial which is an old royal palace and monastery located about an hour train ride north of Madrid. Our professor warned us that it would be really cold, so of course, it was actually pretty nice out when we went - the weather channels, websites, and people are always wrong about the weather here x)
Library at El escorial
The escorial was pretty from the outside, and creepy on the inside, complete with multiple rooms underground where a bunch of dead kings and members of the royal families have their tombs... a bit creepier are the two tombs that are empty and waiting in their special spots for the next two royals to die. Anyway, besides that we also got to see the library of the escorial, which, when it was built was the most important library in Europe, and is still a very important library today - a very cool place located in one of the escorial's towers with a beautiful ceiling, books leafed in gold, and lots of old maps and globes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I've never really been a big soccer fan and that hasn't really changed even though I'm in a place obsessed with it, but last night a group of my friends and I went to watch one of the biggest games in Spain - Real Madrid v. Barcelona - and it was actually a great time. It was a little different watching sports without either my clarinet or a couch, but everyone's excitement and chanting created a pretty good atmosphere. We decided to go to an Irish place because the commentary would be broadcast in English and also because we had a few Barcelona fans and a few Madrid fans in our group and this way we weren't at a place filled entirely with fans of just one team.
My program offers a class called "Soccer Obsession" which I went to for the first two weeks I was here - unfortunately it's only for business majors and is only taught in English, which means I can't take it, and then I got my internship so I have less time as well - but I think it's really cool that you could have an entire class on the business that is soccer. It's definitely much more than just a game here :)
My new background on my computer   :)