Monday, March 15, 2010

Overdue: Bonjour Mon Cheri! (My trip to Paris!)

During the weekend of Thursday March 4 to Sunday March 7 I was oh so fortunate enough to make my way up and over to visit the beautiful city of Paris, France.

Day 1: Thursday (evening) March 4

my first flight in europe... so exciting! I think it's so cool how in Europe you can be in a completely different country with a completely different language and culture in just a few hours! We left Madrid at 4:30 and by 7:30 we were in France! Woooh!


in the taxi to our hostel... it's clear that I've matured a lot since being in Europe..

me and my friend brittany before going to a discoteca!

Arc de Triumphe

Moulin Rouge at night! woooh crazyy!

dancing at a club in paris! just want to point out that we were the only sober sallys in the club, but probably had the most fun... wooh Americans!

the group in the parisian metro!

Day 2: Friday March 5

Moulin Rouge (during the day... not as flashy and cool!)

The opera house!

perfect imitation of the statues on the side of the opera house

those statues are SO happy! hey girl heyyyy!

Beethoven, Mozart..... you know.. just some of the greatest composers in the world have played here....!!

woahhhhh so big! so beautiful!

Opera House! So pretty!

this was an ad for a barbecue restaurant (yes.. barbecue in paris..), and that girl was their stereotypical American girl who eats barbecue... hahahaa, yep that's what us oklerhomers are all 'bout.

Outside of the Louvre Museum! That big pyramid is the entrance, then you go underground to the museum... it was so cool!

The Louvre Museum

"Winged Victory"

Oh hey M.L., nice to see you.


ancient egyptian monument in the courtyard of the Louvre, this was a gift to france from egypt a looonnng time ago

only best pastry store in all of france... no lies! The deserts didn't even look like food... they were too pretty!

we finally made it to the eiffel tower and there were some crazyyy awesome break dancers (as you can see behind me), so we stood there and watched them for probably 20 minutes, they might have even been more interesting than the tower itself haha!

jumping with the tower!

zee eiffel tower and me!

my pastry! we enjoyed them sitting under the eiffel tower.... so french. :)

When the sun went down all of a sudden the eiffel tower lit up and started flashing and sparkling and blinking all the lights, and it was so awesome and exciting!!!! In fact, it was so cool that I yelled "WOAHHHHH!!!!!!" really loud and lots of people stared at me like i was some crazy foreigner... hehe but I am, so oh well! Anyways, this was probably the highlight of my night (no pun intended.. hehehe)

that tower is sure nifty.

Day 3
: Saturday March 6 (MOM'S BIRTHDAY!)

Remember Quasimoto? You know... that hunchbacked man who lived in the belltower of an enormous French cathedral? Well, on Saturday March 6th I was fortunate enough to see him ringing the church bells... I saw that gypsy Ezmeralda too... no lies people.


It was SO big! and SO beautiful!

peace, rubia, and notre dame.

the side of Notre Dame

After a series of intense tests and experiments, we realized that I am, in fact, almost as long as this little baby car. please observe..

clown car. clown car. clown car. clown car. clooooown carrrrrrr.

Inside the subway!

Our delicious French meal:

French red wine, sliced baguette, and escargot (SNAILS!!!)

the group at dinner!

Then after dinner we went to this HUGE discoteca and danced the night away. There was a famous DJ from the Ibiza (spanish island in the Mediterranean) who was mixin' up a storm of music that night, it was AWWWESOMMMME!

look at all the people!!! it was nuts!!

there's the DJ up there goin' crazy with that music! he was mixin' up some magic!

Then the next morning we headed back to Madrid...

good bye France!!!

I'm so fortunate to have been able to go on that lil' trip! It was such a fun weekend!
The End :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

*Me Encanta España = I love Spain*

Buenas tardes blog! I'm just sitting in my (well, Primi's) living room drinking some chocolate milk and listening to some newly downloaded Spanish music. I think that I learn really well through music, because the more I listen to a song the more I understand the lyrics, and thus my vocabulary expands.

this is my new favorite song:

I probably listen to it 10 times a day... and I have learned almost all the little dance breaks. hahaha! :) It's about the 2010 World Cup (Fútbol, not Quidditch), which is really freakin' exciting... but I'll be at camp during most of it which is kinda poopy, but at least I'll be able to catch the end of it at the end of July when camp is over! Woop Woop. You should listen to that song while reading the remainder of the blog... I think it'd be quite fun.

*Update on Life:

both pairs of my boots have died. mis botas han muerto. The soles have completely fallen apart and do not function anymore. I have had to retired these poor ole soles (hehe it's a pun. get it? soul. sole. yeah.) It's probably because I walk eeeeeeeeevvvvvverywhere here. I love it though, I spend so much time outside here! It's great! Except for the shoe destroying part. However, I did buy some new boots for only 10euros the other day. What a steal!

It's been a good weekend so far. Thursday afternoon Lauren Poindexter and I went on a jog and explored some of Alcala.

Pretty sunset, Lauren, and me!

Then I went and had coffee with my intercambio, Monica. She's so fun! She's a 30 yr old lawyer in Madrid and is learning English and needs to practice, and I need to practice my Spanish... so we usually talk about 30 min in Spanish and then about 20 minutes in English. She's a good teacher too, so when I pronounced something wrong or just completely butcher a sentence (haha... oh grammar) she'll stop me and explain how to say things correctly! She's very helpful! Then later that night I met Monica's friend's little brother, Daniel, who's also a student at La Universidad de Alcala, but he's in the engineering department. He studied English in Wales for 9 months, so he's not too shabby. We went to Cafe Continental and got a drink and just talked for about 2 hours. It was really fun! And we talked almost the whole time in Spanish, I was so proud of myself! Woop woop! :) Then we walked to CanCan (a popular bar here in Alcala) and met up with Brittany and Richard. We danced and danced and danced and danced and danced. It was a really fun night! They played great music AND I got to practice speaking Spanish!

Danny, Brittany, and me at CanCan!

Today I woke up, made myself some coffee and toast (with peanut butter and banana slices... yum!) and read some of Matthew for a bit. It was so peaceful. I just love the mornings. However, I do enjoy night time as well. I really just don't like sleeping. haha!
I went on a nice jog for about 25 minutes and met up with Brittany. Then we ran alongside the river and hills that are south of Alcala, and went to this cool outdoor gym area and did us some good workin' out!
This is me trying to do those bars.... but of course instead of doing pull ups I just swung around hahaa :)

Pretty field and mountain that we ran by:
Then we walked by a fútbol field and watched a game... The kids that were playing were probably about 12 years old, and their parents were so funny to listen to! "Va hijo!" (go son!) "buen trabajo!" (good job!) or when this one kid tripped someone yelled "De prisa! levantate y corre!" (hurry! get up and run!) hahahhaa!

It was a really fun day so far! I love that it's becoming Primavera (spring time!!!) :) All the rain that we've had is finally paying off because the grass is green and the flowers are growing! It's still a lil bit chilly, but it's not too bad! We're going to Valencia next weekend for "Las Fallas" which is this huge famous Spanish festival that is held every year, and the weather in Valencia is supposed to be wonderful... mid 60s and sun-shiny! Hopefully we'll even get to lay on the beach (it will definetely not be warm enough to get in the water, but that's okay!). I'm down with just throwing the frisbee around on the beach under the beautiful sunny sky.

at least it's not like this anymore:
this was a couple weeks ago, it was snowy and cold!!! but very pretty too! This is the sidewalk by my apartments, I took this while walking to school one morning... it was so cold!

this is what i saw while waiting on the bus (I definitely did not want to walk that day... way too cold!!!), I'm surprised that fountain wasn't frozen!

So I think now I'm just going to show you some pictures of some fun Spanish things that I've experienced over the last month or so. :)

This is what I see everyday while walking to school:

beautiful old streets!

Old buildings... this is where my Flamenco class is every Wednesday!

this convent! I see the nuns walkin' around all the time too, they're such happy lil ladies.

The "Rastro" in Madrid:
The "Rastro" is like a HUGE flee market in Madrid that is held every single Sunday! People come from all over Spain every weekend to see this (and shop of course!!). It takes up about a square mile or more. One street will be all clothes, another shoes, another paintings, sculptures, appliances (new or used!... or stolen... you decide... haha), etc etc.... It's amazing. I bought a couple things while I was there of course; I'll always be a thrift store junkie, even in Spain. Actually a lot of this stuff was new, but still... cheap is always my favorite way to go.
These were some street performers during the Rastro that day... I was fully creeped out. Ahhh Trollllsss!

This was when we went to Valencia during Valentine's Day weekend (also 'Carnaval' weekend, a HUGE celebration/festival similar to Mardi Gras, always the weekend before Ash Wednesday). We got to see The Arctic Monkeys perform for FREE sponsored by MTV..... it was crazy.
This was the show... amazing.

This was in Valencia as well! We went on a stroll near the sea (good ole Mediterranean), and there was this pretty lil fountain!

We went on a day trip to Toledo with the university (fo freee)

These are all the OU folks (minus one chica, B.Duffin)
look at how pretty the background is!

This is also in Toledo, it was so hilly and there were so many trees!

La Catedral de Toledo

El Puente de Toledo

trip to Cuenca with the university:

This place was hilly also... but the hills were more like cliffs. This city is basically built on a huge plateau. It was gorgeous! We visited a Spanish modern art museum and a cathedral while we were there!

This is me enjoying some lovely Spanish modern art.
I think my attention span gets longer when I look at modern art.... just a thought... hahaha

This awesome bar here in Alcala called 'La Media Pinta' sometimes has themed nights, and one evening they had a "Blanca Camiseta Fiesta". Now this was not a WET white t-shirt party.. no no no.. this was where everyone wore white t-shirts and and then they had markers everywhere and you just went around and wrote funny messages on everyone's t-shirts... it was hilarious. A lot of the things written on my shirt were in Spanish, so that was fun the next day trying to decipher all these slang spanish phrases. hahaha!

I don't think that guy knew I was going to write on him..... un mensaje sorpresa! (surprise message!) hahahahha!!!
Me, Guillermo, and Brittany at La Fiesta de Camiseta Blanca.
I drew a quidditch pitch (the ever-so-famous wizarding sport in Harry Potter) on the back of Guillermo's shirt... it's too bad I didn't take a picture of it. 'Twas quite funny.

We took another trip with La Universidad to Segovia to see the Castles and the Aqueduct. The castles were AWWWWESOMMMME and HUUUUGE! Man oh man I wish I were a princess. And this Aqueduct is one of the best preserved left by the Romans on the Iberian Peninsula... This baby was built sometime during the second half of the 1st Century...!!! That is pretty darn old!!! Check it:

Woah crazy.

This is my silly friends and I in front of the Alcazar de Segovia (Segovia Castle)

View of Segovia from inside of the castle:

Senor Knight and me just hangin' out....

One of the royal slumbering zones of the castle hahaa

this view from on top of the castle:
Mis amigas y yo comiendo nuestra comida encima del castillo (eating our lunch on top of the castle!)

Chillin' in a courtyard of the castle:

This feisty lil perrito was barking at us from his little perch. hahaha silly segovian schnauzer.
(it's not really a schnauzer... i just really enjoy alliterations.)

I really have fallen in love with Spain. I've decided that I am definitely coming back. There is a master's program that this university has where I can come live here for a year and teach English while going to school. I love the culture and I want to be fluent so bad, and really the only way to do that is to be completely submerged into the language. When I get back to Oklahoma I'm really nervous I'm going to get worse at speaking because I won't be practicing, so I'll have to just make sure I keep studying and find friends to speak to in Spanish. It's so exciting knowing a different language! Woop Woop Woop! I'm so incredibly thankful for this opportunity, I don't even have words to describe how blessed I feel. I'm excited to see what more the Lord has in store for me as He guides me through the rest of this semester.

More to come soon.... :)