Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I've been kicked out of nicer Spanish supermarkets!

Ok, so apparently Pam and I are still not quite used to the whole time difference thing because it is WAY to late for me to still be up. In any case. We had a very nice day exploring some of Granada today. Waking from one of the hottest nights that I have ever experienced, we were soon shocked to discover that it was already 12 pm (Granada time!), meaning that we slept roughly twelve hours. I suppose this makes sense considering the fact we hadn't slept for about 25 hours previously. Oh jet lag.

After we got ready to go, we decided that it was time to eat. Still unfamiliar with the area and unsure of where we could grab a meal, we returned to the cafetería where we went for dinner the night before (a dinner that literally consisted of cheese and tomato on bread- but it was delicious!)and we each got a tuna sandwich and una granizada (Slushies or ice storms? You decide). It was kind of a humorous meal because there was absolutely nothing on the sandwich besides dry tuna-something we're not used to! Oh culture shocks.

After our meal we walked to the Arab Market which is close to the cathedral. Feeling as though we had been transported back in time (or simply into the Disney film, Aladdin), we poked around the little shops and boutiques, admiring the different trinkets for sale. We also discovered that the ice cream in Granada is very good and quite rich!

After a couple hours at the market, we returned to our hostel. When we had regained our strength (it was just about siesta time)and had discovered how to turn on our air conditioning, we set out into the streets once again to find El Corte de Ingles, a huge department store that is sort of like a Super Wal-Mart, but WAY nicer. After we got kicked out of there because the store was closing- and by "kicked out" I literally mean chased out of the store- we walked back towards our hotel and tried to find a restaurant for dinner. We stopped at a little outdoor cafe and had fish. It was delicious!

Ok, there are SO many more things that happened, but I am suddenly completely overwhelmed with exhaustion. I will update your further in the morning!

Monday, August 30, 2010

¿Puedo tener una paja?

Hola a todos. This post comes to you from a lovely hostel room in the fantastic city of granada. This is all well and good, but I have to admit that the trip here was rather grueling; however, it was certainly an adventure!

We began our trip with a tearful goodbye to our parents at Logan International Airport in Boston. We made it through security with ease and were pleased to find other Stonehill students waiting in the same terminal that we were. I was extremely pleased to say, "hello" to my best friends Faith and Jenna who were awaiting the departure of there flight to Florence, Italy where they will be spending the semester.

As we found the puerta (gate) where our plane would leave from, we discovered that even more Stonehill kids were there and that they were on our same flight! The flight itself was virtually uneventful, sleepless, but had some of the worst turbulence I have ever experienced (effects of the hurricane?). I also realized that I have a new appreciation for the Boston skyline and the aerial view of the city. I was able to point out specific buildings and even saw the garage where the company keeps its ducks (I could even make out some of the green and yellow trolleys!).

When we arrived in Madrid, we took the subway system to our terminal, bid farewell to our Stonehill amigos, and began seeking nuestra puerta (our gate). Apparently, they were not going to tell us that information, until 10:50 (it was then 9:50). So Pam and I found a little cafe where we thought that there might be wireless internet for customers. I bought some sort of slushy thing, the name for which roughly translates into "the hail storm," and we attempted-with no avail- to sign onto the internet. Pam decided she needed to try my drink and had to look up the word for "straw" so that she could ask for one- hence the name of this blog post. After the third time of her asking me, "So it's '¿Puedo tener una paja?'" and my persistent urges that that was correct, she went up to the counter. I swear, much funnier when it all transpired!

Side note- we had been attempting to speak to each other only in Spanish this entire time.

After our failure to connect to the internet, we decided to simply relax until we could check our flight. Basically lying on top of our luggage, I fell asleep for about an hour until I was awoken by Pam telling me that it was time to check our flight. Looking up at the flights board, panic immediately set in. It seemed that they had changed our flight to an earlier time and that we had about 7 minutes to find our gate and get on the plane. Freaking out and attempting to run across the airport, but really tripping and falling miserably, Pam and I found our gate. After another glance at the board, we realized that we still had about 15 minutes! Whoooooo. At least we got another laugh out of it.

The plane ride to Granada was only about a measly 50 minutes. Glorious. I sat next to this young woman and her grandfather who live in Granada but are originally from the States. The girl was a few years older than me and told me about all of the fun things to do in the city and explained a lot about the culture. When we arrived at el aeropuerto de garcia lorca, we found our luggage with ease and jumped on a bus that cost 3 euro to take us the 40 minute ride into the city (beats a 30 euro cab!). The bus driver, however, did not speak English... and thus began the next leg of our adventure.

I was able to use enough of my Spanish to figure out how much it would cost and if the bus would take us to el catedral de granada. We got off at our stop and said, "Y ahora, ¿que?" (now what?) After the purchase of a map and a very broken conversation with some women who owned a boutique, we were able to make the about 10 minute journey to our hotel. Word to the wise: don't try to drag 50 pound suitcases down cobblestone streets. Needless to say, I am now exhausted and ready for a shower and a nap. More to come later, but I'm sure the adventures don't end there!

PS don't judge me if my sentences don't make sense or if I misspelled things, please. I'm too tired to reread it!

PPS I love you mom and dad.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My penultimate day in the United States!

Hello to all of my adoring blog readers (in other words, hi mom). I am sitting at my kitchen table and thinking about how I should be doing something else besides playing on my computer. In any case, I am preparing to leave on a three-and-a-half month trip to Granada, Spain where I will be studying and living. My travel companion is Ms. Pamela Badylak-Reals, one of my classmates from Stonehill. Living with a Spanish family (that's right, they don't speak English!), we will be fully immersed in the culture, the language, and the way of life of the Spanish people. Not only will I be learning about these things through my experiences, but also through the various classes that I will be taking through the GRIIS program (the Granada Institute for International Students) which is run by the University of Granada.
I hope to travel, make new friends, try new foods, see amazing sights that I have only dreamed about, and make sure that I try to call my mom and pop at least once a day! Nervous, excited, and ready to see the world, I am about to embark on a journey that I know will definitely change my life. More to come later but now I think that I better go make sure (for the 23rd time) that my suitcase is properly packed and ready to go.
¡Hasta mañana!