Are you ready for FUTBOL!?

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SPAIN VS ENGLAND

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What better way to be immersed in the culture of Spain than attending a soccer game! Especially when it’s against and English speaking rival!

It seemed like a landmark day in Alicante when I was told that they would be hosting a game between Spain and England! I was very excited and curious on how to get tickets. It literally seemed like everyone was talking about it!

Everyone was talking about it for a good reason too, Spain is kind of the shit when it comes to soccer! La Roja won the 2010 World Cup! I was lucky enough they were coming to my town to play! There are way more fun statistics that I didn’t necessarily understand because my parents told me in Spanish and until now I really didn’t follow soccer… Sorry it takes an experience to get inspired, and I wouldn’t call my bench job on the college team real experience!

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My Newly Inspired Team Spirit

Anyway as time drew closer to November 13th, game day, I was getting pretty nervous. Tickets were sold out online and honestly I didn’t know if ticket scalping existed. Also I didn’t know if I wanted to blow a pretty penny on trying to get one.

Luckily I go to an awesome University and we have a seriously awesome International Students activity director, *Nacho! He lined up to get 50 tickets plus a free gift, to the go to the Spain vs England game! The only catch was you had to be one of the first 50 students!!!!

We knew the tickets went on sale at 8 am so what did we do? Well almost what any “typical” American would… We stayed up all night!!! Okay I’m lying we totally slept the night before but we did take the first bus at 6:30 am.

As Morgan, Courtney and I were anxiously waiting for the bus to arrive we dreamed up all the possibilities. The one in the forefront of our minds was that we were not getting tickets and that over 50 people were there and long gone before we even woke up. As we were riding this bus we noticed two student aged people who seemed to smell of traitor.

Once the bus arrived at the stop those two traitors clearly were traitors because they went speed walking to the building we were headed to. We knew it was going to be a competition, we almost started a nice run but decided if it’s meant to be it will be.

We made it to the building just after them to find out we were locked out!!! We knocked and the girl traitor opened the door for us. Looks like she wasn’t a traitor after all she and her friend were the first two people and we were the third, fourth, and fifth!!!

Victory was ours! Okay kind of we had to wait a few hours to get our tickets but we were guaranteed a spot as long as we fended off from cutters! After having a few teachers I had in the past come by and tell me I was crazy I figured out this is not normal behavior for Spain or well for the most part the rest of the world.

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Our traitors were from the UK and thought it was maybe going to be full to because they know crazy Americans will sit outside for black friday deals days before. People would straggle in but mainly between 7:30 to 8. There were people from all over the world waiting it was pretty cool to see how this one thing could bring us all together.

We made friends with the traitors and planned a tailgate before the game. Sadly that never worked out because we are all very well adjusted to Spain time and being late! =]

Courtney and I were able to meet up before and have some vino tinto or plastic bottled wine. We also shared the sandwich my host mom packed because we didn’t know if it was like the US where food was not allowed.

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Friend of my Host Sister Asako!!

We met up with everyone and after waiting quite awhile we snuck in a bottle of Saki (a gift for Courts bday she forgot to take out of her purse prior to the game). It made it in just fine. The game was about to start so all the college students went and got some beer. I asked for the alcoholic version because the sign said sin which means without. They grabbed me one from the back and we headed up.

Finding seats is major hell in Spain! The rows are well defined but the actual seats didn’t have the numbers. When they did they were in worn out silver sharpie… Luckily after a few tries we finally got settled and the game had started.

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One traitor friend Dan joined us and was rooting for his home country England… Booo! We heckled him a lot even though no one had scored. I was telling Courtney how I was excited to be there I just wished it was a higher scoring game and then boom Spain Goal!!! Best part was I was actually watching and I saw it (that never happens I’m always too busy talking…)! It was one of those awesome goals where they do a half back flip kick in! I was very impressed!

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Of course after that Dan didn’t hear the end of it, and all of the British people went to buy a beer. Come to find out all of the beer is non-alcoholic because they are not allowed to sell alcohol at games! Good thing we had warm disgusting saki… We bought a fanta and a non-alcoholic beer to chase it down with! Sadly it was horrible and we couldn’t stomach it so we passed it off to our friend Rachel, she enjoyed it and even gave me one of the gold flowers at the bottom. Once I had ate it she told me it had been in her mouth but you know whatever Spain scored a second time so I felt good!

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The game ended with a heated battle but with a shutout 2-0 win for Spain! I purchased an awesome scarf from a stand on the streets and also went home with our gift bags which had 2 shirts, candy, and a Spain Flag!

We celebrated the win with a night on the town and lots of mojitos! I would say it was a successful game and I can’t wait to cheer for Spain in the next world cup!!! I can also give England and Honorary mention.

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I am so thankful for Nacho for making this possible! It really was an awesome opportunity and a once in a lifetime experience!

 

How to Celebrate Birthdays Spain Style!

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Okay I’m going to be completely honest I am not exactly sure how to celebrate Spain style but we did our best. It was my friend Courtney’s birthday while she was in Spain! Also it was a big deal to us Americans because it was her 21st!!!

My friend Morgan and I threw her a party and I have to say I am pretty impressed! We tried to make it resemble Spain but that’s really hard when 21 doesn’t mean anything to them, they have been drinking for years at this point. So we decided to keep it American but host it of course in Spain!!!

 

To celebrate her birthday we made her a 21 Chupitos (translates to shots, the best incorporation of Spain we could do). It was a fun little project. Each page had a place for who it was from, the name of the drink, an item she had to do, a place for a photo, and of course a place for her to sign!

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To help us celebrate we invited everyone from our classes that we had together and people from her program. To be honest it was probably the most successful celebration I have ever thrown! I mean seriously check out all the people that came:

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Of course Courtney had no idea it was going to be a big celebration. She thought it was just her, Morgan and I celebrating because the people from her program “decided to stay in”. We went out to dinner before the festivities started at midnight. We went to the delicious La Tagliatella a personal favorite of Morgans. *I would also recommend it especially if you like pasta* (hint though: if you are going in Alicante don’t do the one closer to the port because they upped the prices a little in comparison to the one farther away from everything).

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After we ate we revealed the book to her! She was almost in tears it was great! Then of course we had a pre 21 photo shoot to kill some time!

We wanted to make sure to arrive right at midnight so that way we didn’t meet anyone on their way to the bar and ruin the surprise.

When we got there we were so happy to see almost every single person made it out! We had people from all over the world joining us. A lot of people from the US, Korea, and Japan. We also had our favorite German bartender, some creepy men from the UK or something, and lots of other fun people!

The adorable Japanese friends brought Courtney a strawberry ice cream cake! After a few minutes we got the shot book started! We had almost made a place to sign the guest list and many people left a lovely little note with their name so that Court could read back on it in the future! It was really awesome to see how many people came and celebrated! Although I do have to warn you having around 20 people sign a book at one time is quite hectic!

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After we got everyone gathered we headed over to a personal favorite bar of mine for Courts first fire shots! The name of the Bar is La Sede! If you are studying abroad in Alicante look for my further post about the bar life here (I haven’t written it yet but soon!).

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She not only got to check a to do off of her list but she got some awesome shots too! A couple of people in her program also treated her to a blow job shot (another to do list!) and the shot glasses were edible!!!

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*Photo courtesy of Morgan

After that we headed to a few other bars before making it to Mulligans. Mulligans is probably the most poppin bar in the area. It has a lot of people our age and tends to lead to really good or really bad nights… Tonight was a great night we got Court to dance on the bar even though she said she would never (also a to do!). She danced to “Go Shorty, It’s your Birthday” and met some cute fellas! I would call the night an absolute success!

*Courtney has these photos of her phone so I doubt I will ever get a hold of them!*

We headed home about 4:15 in the morning and walked our little drunk friend home! She was a doll and surprisingly taking her alcohol very well! It probably helped that she had only planned to take half the shots tonight because she had until the 11:59 pm to take the rest. Although she did do 14 I think which was pretty good to knock a lot of them out!

My favorite part of the night was when one of our Japanese friends was just a little drunker than her and they walked along the sidewalk stumbling around holding each other up somehow! It was so cute!!!

Sadly Morgan and I didn’t make it to the rest of the party later that night but according to Courtney it was a success! She also got her birthday kiss! *If she asks I didn’t say anything!*

Overall I was very happy with the party! It seemed like everyone had a good time and most of all Courtney had a good time! There is one actual Spanish tradition we forgot to do and that was pull her ears! In Spain instead of spankings you pull the birthday persons ear the amount of years old they are! Silly huh?

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Love yah Court! Hope it was a fun Birthday!!

*Photo courtesy of Morgan as well!

Granada y Alhambra!

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Well being so far behind on blogs here is my experience in Granada (that happened in October…)! It had been a really busy weekend, I had finals on Friday, an around the world celebration with friends from class, and Asako’s last dinner. This was all the night before leaving for Granada at 7:30 in the morning on Saturday!

After some fun times tracking down one of the girls from our program, we headed out on a fun little bus ride! I don’t remember how long it was I want to say between 3-5 hours but i’m not exactly sure. We went straight from our meeting point in Alicante to the Alhambra.

 

Alhambra

I was super excited to go see this place! We had covered it in my Spanish Classes before and it was always on the lists of to see on Pinterest! When we got there we got our little headsets and were introduced to our guide!

What I didn’t realize was the Alhambra was an entire city cased by castle walls. I thought it was a really cool Mosque with the beautiful arches everywhere. I must have only payed attention to the pictures in class because I had it mixed up with a Mosque in Cordoba.

Alhambra means the red one, it derives from Arabic.

Anyway… Here is the giant map placed in the front of the entrance:

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Map of Alhambra

As you can see it really is very large!

 

Architecture

It was really amazing the details that went into many of the buildings. Many of them had the high ceilings and arched doorways. It was absolutely beautiful!

Personally for me what made it so pretty though was the details in the walls and landscaping.

In one area encased in buildings was a pool of sorts that reflected the beautiful details of the plaster Arabesques. Those are the little intricate designs all over the walls and pillars.

*Interesting fact: Many famous mathematicians have traveled to the Alhambra to see the geometric patterns and how accurate they are!

It really surprised me though when you would look up and there was this ugly beat up wall behind that magnificent piece of work. The reason was Mohammed who took over power of this area during the 13th century believed that if people saw your wealth they would want to take it. Thus he had an ugly wall on the outside and a beautiful treasure inside!

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History

Now there was a lot more history about this then I will ever remember! Mainly because I needed to use the bathroom and we weren’t allowed to for a couple of hours! (Quick venting session: We were treated like 5 year olds by our guide that the college provided… It was really quite demeaning and we tried to be respectful but it’s hard when you are not getting any respect! I mean if my parents trust me enough to come here do I need someone 2 years older than me telling me I can’t take pictures because the group is walking down the same long corridor that is damn near impossible to get lost on… Anyway done and over and wouldn’t recommend her to anyone, sorry can’t even remember her name…)

Well now that that is done let’s move on!

The history I remember most or the parts that stuck out to me the most was:

1.The idea of keeping it ugly on the outside keeping the treasure inside! As mentioned prior

2. A room that they had crafted for talking “business” with outsiders. It was crafted so that they had a bit more of a home court advantage. The room was set up in a square with little cut outs in the walls that left room for people to sit. Probably 1 person in each cut out. It was set up so the stranger would come and stand in the middle but be sure not to step on the center floor piece which was not to be touched by anyone (intimidation factor 1). The other part was when the sun would shine into this room you could not see the faces of the people sitting in the cutouts (intimidation factor 2). Imagine going and trying to talk to your enemy in this room…

3. My favorite little history tidbit was learning why there should still be two lines in the money sign! It is symbolizing the new world. Prior to the knowledge that the earth was round and that you wouldn’t just fall off 1 pillar would be placed in images. After the discovering of the Americas and the simple fact that we are a round planet they would represent images with 2 pillars. It would signify not only the new knowledge but also the power of the new world. Thus important government people would be placed between these two pillars to signify power, knowledge, and a connection to the new world! I always knew we should keep both lines and by golly I still do it! I’m too stubborn to change to one, but now I actually have a reason!

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Garden

The garden in this lovely place was absolutely beautiful! Sadly we were all in kind of a grouchy mood so we kind of rushed through it a bit. I still got some pretty good pictures! As I was walking through though I just imagined being a little girl running around here using my imagination to create a story! It was a very beautiful place with tall bushes separating walk ways and fountains strewn in between! A great place to relax and separate from the worries of life!

Alhambra Final

Overall this was just an amazing place and absolutely gorgeous! Here are a few other photos from my trip that give you the idea of how beautiful it is!

 

Hotel, Tapas, and Flamenco

Hotel

After the Alhambra we headed to the hotel! We were ready to just lay down and relax a bit but then we noticed other peoples items in the room and headed to the front desk. We got assigned another room and as soon as we walked in we saw a purse and headed back down. I guess they say 3rd times a charm because we finally got our own room!

By the time everything was settled it was time to get ready to go out and scope out the scene before we hit the Flamenco show!

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Morgan, Sydney and I went to get some Sangria!

One of my favorite parts about Granada is the fact that you get a tapa with whatever you order for a drink! That means yes you pay 4 Euros for a Sangria and you get mini burgers, croquettes, fries, or whatever they have to offer! It is awesome!

We went to a little bar and each got a few sangria’s and by the time we were done we had ate a whole meal! It was great! Yet we didn’t stop there we did a little shopping of the local touristy stuff. Well and we decided a pitcher of white sangria would really hit the spot! We stopped at another little restaurant to have some! We met a very nice couple from Canada and helped them order because they were still working on their Spanish.

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After our pitcher we decided it was time to head back to make it in time for the Flamenco show. Let me give you a little precursor information… I am horrible at directions here and yes I know it, but it is very hard for me to admit because in the US I could be put into a cement mixer while completely intoxicated and still know where I am. Europe is different… I swear the earths magnetic pulls are changing and its not my fault that I can’t figure out North from South or even sometimes left from right… Anyway… Syd and Mo didn’t believe I knew the way home (this time I actually did!!! The little things) so we  ventured on a path to no return… Okay I’m lying but we did extend our trip by a good 20 to 30 mins. Since we got so lost we had to run to the hotel (to wake up the sleeping beauty Kayla to go to the Flamenco show). I am in heels at this point with about a gallon of sangria in my system…

Luckily we made it to the hotel in time! Barely but we did it, also I got a nice workout! When we left to go to the Flamenco show we were informed we would be taking another tour through some old part of Granada. We were not extremely thrilled because our favorite guide was coming too! When we got there the fact that I had just ran at least a mile really started to kick in… I ended up getting sick during the tour and the guide thought it was because I was drunk… Sadly I was not, I am just really out of shape as you can tell, and my body likes my sangria stirred not shaken! After being miserable for the rest of the tour we got on the bus and headed to the Flamenco show!

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What I expected to arrive to was not where  we were! I expected a stage in a nice auditorium with fancy people there with their eyeglasses out to see in full detail. What we arrived to was what looked like a small city bar where all the locals would meet. The only thing a little weird was a bunch of people were waiting outside this curtain in a line waiting to enter. From behind the curtain you could hear some stopping and Flamenco music.

I thought it was kind of funny that a bunch of college aged kids were here when I swear the average age of everyone else was 60 and older. We were the minority and it made me a little uneasy that this wasn’t going to be extremely exciting… Sorry Grandpa and Grandmas’ you guys are really a hoot but not everyone ages as well as you do!

When we finally got into the little hall a man came around and asked what we would like to drink. Of course I ordered a sangria! I was feeling better but our little guide lady gave me a look and asked why I was drinking… That was when I explained I wasn’t drunk like she had assumed! Sorry still a little bit of frustration here! I ended up getting a gin and tonic which was better for the stomach anyway, plus I love the lime that comes in it!!!

The set up was very interesting in this little hallway. It had chairs lined along the edges on both sides, a few tiers of chairs in the back, and at the front about 6 chairs on 2 tiers lined up separated by the entrance pathway. The dance floor was in the middle from what I could tell because there was a wooden area till about halfway down the hall. I keep saying hall because this area could not have been more than 10 feet across.

Once everyone got their drinks and were situated the show began! It started with people filling the front two tiers. These were the singers, musicians, and sometimes dancers. I got a little nervous that some toes were going to be stomped on but it was actually okay because the dancers knew what they were doing! I mean you could tell this was probably the 15th time they had done the exact dance today!

My favorite part about the whole experience was the music. It was crazy because each person had a different beat going and putting them all together was like this magical soup of music! It was amazing! I can recognize that I have no rhythm (which is probably why I am not an expert at guitar yet…) and this experience proved it to me more because I would try to pick out one and tap my hand along but then I would get confused. Also I really want to learn how to sing Flamenco, it is a very interesting sound to kick out of your mouth but it sounds so good especially with the beats!

Nearing the end of the show a few of us got asked to volunteer to learn some moves! It was surprisingly a few of us girls from the Flamenco class so this was like a piece of cake! It was fun though and our friend John got a little jealous we got to dance with the hot dancer!

 

Shopping & Henna

Well after a long day the night before Kayla and I decided to skip out on the tour of different things in Granada. We decided to venture on our own and we found a cool little shopping area.

This area was probably a tourist hot spot because you had the bag pipe street performer, shops with practically all the same things competing with who can have the higher price, and a henna artist. It was fun looking at all the shops because they had leather purses, bracelets, wallets, these really cool shaped lights (I want one but I know it will break on the way home), lots of tea, your name written in Arabic, and the traditional touristy souvenirs.

Kayla and I being the tourists we are got some henna! It was actually really cheap compared to the US in most places. It was 10 Euros each for a large hand design. In the US at amusement parks that is the price for a small flower.

After that we picked her dad up some tea and I found singing bowls! I have only ever seen one in my yoga class. My yoga teacher said they are really hard to find in Nebraska so I jumped on the opportunity and got one! Sadly looking back I have seen others but I am very happy with mine I really like the tone it has! Pretty much what it is is a metal bowl with a wooden dowel wrapped in velvet. You tap the dowel on the outside then gently move around the edge to create a tone. This tone is great for meditation as it is simple. When I hear it during yoga it is during the relaxation time and it almost feels like your in a time warp, it is very relaxing!

 

-Well that was my Granada trip stay tuned for more blogs I am about to be rolling them out like Trump with his money during a presidential debate!

Prayers for Paris

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Image created by French artist Jean Jullien

Image created by French artist Jean Jullien

The attacks that happened last night in Paris are chilling. The more I read on Facebook or see in the news is making me very upset! It is a scary thing to think if my original plans had gone through I would have been in Paris near these places! It is heartbreaking to think of all the families suffering right now and to think that could have been mine.

I am writing this to try to find some more light in the world and realize this is not normal. I can’t wrap my head around the motivation for actions like this and the reward they feel they are getting. I feel pain for the people who get abused because of the acts of a few extremists. I also feel pain for the terrorists themselves, how unhappy of a life you must be living if you can be so easily convinced this is the right path.

It is not often that I pray but I guarantee you I will be tonight! I will pray for this world to be a better place and that everyone will use this as a way to have kindness for all. I will pray that everyone feels what it is to be human and how any loss of one should be a loss to all. We are all one, just people struggling in this world to have a good life, why should we make it any harder on each other. I hope this horrible event sheds light on more than just terrorism, I hope it sheds light that everyone feels pain and if we work together we can lessen the pain. I pray that this stops and there can be better means to settling disputes. I pray that everyone realizes we are all human, we are all driven by different things, and we all want to have a purpose;  but I also pray that we find better ways to do it.

I need to get this out, it is actually very scary being so far away from home right now. It pains me more to know that some people will not be returning home to a full family. I wanted this to be light-hearted but it is very hard as my heart is very heavy right now. I hope we can all be thankful for what we have tonight and hold on to each thought a little tighter. I can’t allow myself to fear these people as I know they are still human. I also know that when my time shall come it won’t be my decision anyway, so to let them put fear in me is doing far more of a disservice. It is moments like these that make us feel pain and make us realize just a little more how vulnerable we are as humans, and how everything should be counted as a blessing.

With that note I want to thank all the people in my life for making me feel loved! For teaching me what it means to be human and to have compassion. For dealing with me when I struggled with pain and sorrow, and for always being there no matter how unreasonable I may have been. I want to thank the people who may feel they had no impact, but just by watching you can learn a lot. I want to thank the people who I will meet who will continue to shape my life and give me more meaning and understanding. I want to thank the people who have compassion for everybody and understand that life will never be an easy thing and that the key to living better is to forgive and try to understand. I know if you are reading this now you are one of those people!

Below is a link to a song I often listen to in times of sadness, please enjoy!

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-Stacy =]

☮ & ♥

The Threat of School Shutting Down!!! Protests in Spain

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Protest! School’s Out For the Day!?

What a great day when you walk into school and hear a bunch of murmuring from teachers and students in a different language and have no idea what is going on. That was what happened 2 and 1/2 weeks ago here at my school in Spain… The air felt a little thicker and the tone seemed different! It also didn’t help that helicopters were flying by for some reason and it seemed like police were far more present than normal… I thought we were heading into a new war or something…

After getting some details we learned there was going to a protest in the upcoming days to protest the school system in Spain. I still don’t quite understand the helicopters and police but who knows maybe I was just being more observant than normal. When we were told about these protests I expected 3 things:

  1. No class (on a day of finals… woo woo what are they gonna do!?)
  2. The doors would be blocked off from entrance and the police would be present
  3. I would be able to join the protest and express my inner Flowerchild!

My expectations were not quite fulfilled but these were the rumors I heard! In the past it has gotten to the point where they had to cancel classes because students would not allow teachers into the buildings. They would block the doors with their cars. Police would have to be present even though Spain protests are peaceful.

What I walked up to was not that and I was quite disappointed that I was not about to miss class…

Here is what occurred:

I got off the bus and saw about 15 students with signs and chants standing in a walkway towards the University. I still had a little hope we wouldn’t get to class but they were letting students through so that didn’t work out

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This was the students hanging up the signs. Also here is a video of some of the chants I heard while walking to class.

Outside Protest

I can’t understand what they are saying and also caught them at kind of a bad time. As you can see though it wasn’t a whole lot of people. More than the one at the entrance I came in at but still minimal.

Here is a picture of the paper I received upon entering campus:

Protest Paper

A Little Background:

I can pick up a little bit of it but it is not actually written in Spanish or Castellano it is written in Valencian… What I got from it and what I remember discussing in class is that a few years ago they changed the education system. The students want it changed back because they are required to take general education courses for example English. The problem is not taking the courses, the problem is they are required to stay longer in University and pay extra when they could be done with their degree a year earlier. For example if you are a biochem major and want to get done with you degree in 3 years you can’t because you are required to take so many credits of English or some other class thus you have to pay for an extra year and can’t get started in the workforce yet.

If anyone has a better explanation of this please leave some comments.
Yes I understand our thought in the US is this, “Stacy they get free education so what does it matter if they have to stay an extra year?” Well as they say there is no such thing as a free lunch. Every class you take requires materials and books which can be very expensive in Spain. For the grandchild of my host parents who is just starting the equivalency of 1st grade they had to pay around 300 Euros for his books.

Also I believe University has a tuition, no it is not the 40,000 a year you would get in the US but it is still quite a hefty price especially when you could be done sooner. Why do you think colleges in the US are now pushing the get your degree in 3 years? Another perspective when looking at Spain is that they are in a Crisis and especially a job crisis. With over 26% of their population unemployed it is hard to pay for school. Without jobs to offer how could a student work a part-time job while attending school?

I will quit throwing examples as I think you get my point.

Protest

More about the protest:

So as we were having class as normal 😦 we start to hear chanting. My teacher knew I was very interested in what was going on and let me leave the class to go check out the situation. What I found was well nothing… As soon as I left the classroom the chanting stopped and the protesters were nowhere to be found. I took 2 laps around the building going between two floors and did not see a protester in sight. As I was heading back to my class the chanting started again, I figured I had been gone long enough and headed back without seeing them. On my way back I see everyone in my class filing up the stairs… They ended up seeing the protesters before I did!

We had a little bit of class left till our break and that was when the commotion started. He let us out a few minutes earlier and we all roamed down the hall to check it out. There was a crowd of students one with a loud-speaker saying a bunch of things I didn’t know in Spanish. It had a nice tone though and once I figured it out it was fun to chant along. As I was getting a snack (really doing some special secret ops) I noticed they were conversing with a teacher. I got a little hyped up because I saw a security guard keeping an eye on the situation. I thought it was about to get intense! It didn’t I think she was just asking them to go down the hall because her students were taking a final. She also seemed to throw in some support for them. They marched down the hall for about 5 minutes and then must have hit a new building because we no longer heard from them.

Speaking with Teacher

Chanting

Chanting part 2

*The girl at the end would be me in a protest…

Longer more fun chant!

When returning from our break I told my teacher I couldn’t return because I was joining the protest. To my surprise he was like okay see yah! I did a double take and said I was joking and returned to my seat because the final was the next day and I needed some extra studying and any extra info I could get!

Thoughts and Rambles:

Overall it was a cool experience! Not what I had expected but I understand a little about how they work and the limitations set by the school. It is really interesting to me because I felt like the students here had more freedom to express their feelings than I would at my own college. Maybe it is because my college is a private campus and I signed my rights away or something. It was awesome because the security here let them do their thing and made sure no one got hurt, I don’t know how ours would have reacted but I guarantee it would not have been the same. It was an odd to have a feeling of more freedom in a different country. It could have been a much larger protest and maybe the circumstances would have changed but after hearing my teachers account I doubt it. It was only one political group on campus but in the past most of them would join together because this seems to be a pretty common cause.

***Stayed tuned in on the blog I have lots of other fun things to share! In fact tomorrow I will be going to the Spain Selection which means Spain will verse the UK in Soccer! Yes two very very good teams!!! It will be exciting!!***

Meet my Family! Spain Edition

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Coming to Spain one of my biggest fears was having super strict parents with no freedom! I mean think about it you go to this new country to explore and learn about yourself and you get stuck with the family from HELL! Luckily that is not the case for me! In fact I think I have the best family there is!!!

My family consists of:

My Host Mom – Francisca or Paqui for short

My Host Dad – Jose

(Formerly but forever now) My Japanese Sister – Asako

Spain Family

Also included are Paqui and Jose’s children:

Alejandro and his wife Rosa

2 boys

Janete – 6 years old

Martín – 6 months old

Monica and her husband Nacho

1 girl

Paula – 9 years old

They are all very amazing people! I am so blessed to have such an awesome family! I really got lucky with my family because they treat me like an adult but also as their own child discovering the world.

I think it all started out this way because they are very open people and made sure I was comfortable to start! Especially when my Spanish was very bad and I was nervous and new in a country! If they would not have been so accommodating I don’t know that I would be where I am! They are always willing to help and give advice when needed, they also know when I just want some of my own space and they don’t intrude. I also get the queens treatment here my mom cooks my food, does my laundry, and even tidies my room… I honestly feel bad because she doesn’t need to do all that but I think she takes a lot of pride in it!

I could go on for pages about how awesome and nice my parents are and how much I am spoiled but I want you to get to know a little bit about them!

Paqui

Paqui

I love Paqui to death! She is someone I really look up to! When coming to Spain I really thought the whole Machismo thing was going to rein in true but with Paqui I get a whole new perspective! I have this vision in my head about Paqui, when Franco’s Dictatorship ended! It is a great vision because she was one of the people out there proving how able  women are to do just the same as men! It is very clear that she is a strong-willed person that will not give up easily!

I would put her as an amazing role model for women, & feminists (oh no the extremist word!!! Watch out here comes the talk about how women are greater, not equal… NO it means equal, aren’t we all humans?!) The best part is she probably wouldn’t even utter the word feminism, she doesn’t need to, to get her point across. She is a prime example of how to value your worth and what is appropriate or not. When I say appropriate or not I am not talking about what women should wear, what we should think, how we should act! I am talking about humans, right and wrong, how to give your worth, and how to live a happy life. She is an amazing role model to me because she expects people to live their own lives they way they want to, but she also helps to reassure you that it is really what you want.

One of my favorite things about Paqui is she is not afraid to say it how it is! A lot of times people give white lies to save face. In the end those people are unhappy because they didn’t mention something before. She also has this ability to be very reasonable about expressing her concern. She is going to make it clear to you that she does not approve but she is not going to hurt you personally in expressing it. She is very reasonable, and picks her battles carefully, and it has reined true so far in my experience that she knows what she is talking about. I hope I can learn how to do this!

I know when I disapprove I have a few courses of actions I take:

1. I am not afraid to say I disapprove but I also go for low blows. That gets me into more trouble than if I would have lied.

2. I bite my tongue and I don’t say anything until it builds up inside me and makes me so mad, I go all out… Sometimes things are better left unsaid for a reason, that or they can be worded in a way to express not degrade.

It is a really tough balance for me especially when situations involve more than one person. Or the situations affect the outcomes on other people. If there is one thing I hope to take back with me is how to handle situations in a calm and collected manner while still getting my point across.

My mom in Spain is also beautiful and has way more style than I do!!! I have been blessed to have some very pretty moms in my life! My real mom is a hott mama too!

Jose

Jose

My host dad is a cool cat! He is far more quiet, likes to talk about politics, and plays a mean bass! I think he has learned through training that he is not always going to be right because Paqui clearly wears the pants. That is just because Jose is more passive and doesn’t find the battle worth it. Although when he gets sparked he is a firecracker! It is quite interesting to see him break the shell! Also we talk a lot about politics and I feel like he has to know that most of the time I have no idea what they are even talking about but he keeps going like I understand it all. Maybe I am a good actor, or he is just having fun expressing his opinion. The fact that politics has even been brought up is kind of scary for me because recently within the last year I had quite the explosion with my boyfriends family and politics. I won’t go into any details but lets just say I took the number 2 course of action stated above and added a few low blows… Not the best idea when you want to spend the rest of your life with these people… We are good now and know politics is a topic that we agree to disagree.

One of my favorite parts about my host dad Jose is his taste in music! Everyday I come home and here the muffled music of Ed Sheeran, The Beatles, and lots of other great artists. These are my two personal faves!!! I really want to get the balls to play with him or at least try. I don’t know bass but Nacho, Monica’s husband has a guitar and knows how to play it well. In one of my earlier posts about Rock N’ Roll there are videos linked to the blog of them playing! It really is a good time! I believe my host dad also has some type of health condition where he can’t go out to town a lot or it makes him super tired or something, but that is nice because then he just plays more bass guitar!

Another awesome thing about my host dad is he is a fixer upper! It reminds me a lot of home! My real dad is quite the handyman himself and that is where I have learned my skills. The only thing here is Jose takes a lot of pride in doing it himself. I have tried to help and he gave me a little job but I got the feeling he would rather do it himself so I gave him a little space and just watched through the door! That is a really hard thing for me to do because it is always a treat to help my real dad with whatever project he is working on!

Asako

Asako

Sadly as I am writing this Asako is already back home in Japan… 😦 I tried my best to get her to extend her stay and be my sister until December! It didn’t work out, but that is okay I really enjoyed the time I had with her! She speaks English as well as Spanish so it really helped in my transition moving in here! I expected to be an only child the whole time but this was one of the best surprises I had! I definitely feel it made my transition much easier because I had that person if I needed to help me through and explain words when I had no sense of vocabulary. I really enjoyed having a sister too because I grew up with an older Brother… Shane! Luckily she wasn’t like brother who would give me nuggies and call me names! I have to say I do miss watching him play video games and learning a lot about random things I wouldn’t have learned about otherwise!

Although Asako and I had different friends and sometimes schedules she was always there if I just needed to stop in and say hi! Some of my favorite times were just hanging out in her room (because it has 2 beds) and either singing Karaoke with Paula, getting our hair and make up done by Paula/Janete, or even when she helped me with my rats nest! We also had this idea that we should work out one day and we ran to meet up with a friend of hers but really we were running to get icecream… It was still a good workout… That was the day I explained what a cock block was and boy did that turn out to be a funny conversation!

I was really sad to see her leave but our last day was one of the best (sorry I was late Asako!). We had dinner as a family, learned how to wink with both eyes (kind of), also how to make a rabbit face, opened gifts, took some family photos, and repacked her stuff probably 10 times! Please check out the video of the rabbit face to understand how hilarious it was! Morgan who lives above me asked me what was going on because we were laughing so much!!! I hope Asako does the face for her boyfriend back home… We are not sure he will be her boyfriend after but… just kidding but it is really funny!!!

I won’t go into a lot of detail about the rest of the family; Paqui and Jose’s kids and grand kids. I will just provide you with some photos of how adorable the grand kids are! They are all very great people and I am very thankful I got to meet them all! Please enjoy the photos and know I have a great support system here in Alicante and now in Japan too!

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Barcelona! Home of Gaudí

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Well I got to visit the beautiful city of Barcelona! It really is a treat! Now I may have had my expectations really high due to my obsession with Pinterest… I went there thinking every single building was Gaudí, thinking back now I should have been a little more realistic in my thinking! Don’t get me wrong it was absolutely beautiful, which is why I will be going back with Eliezer!

I went with my friend Kayla from my program, and a girl from my business class Michelle! We did well a lot of shopping because that is Kayla’s favorite thing to do ha! I will get into those and throw out some recommendations for people visiting soon! This trip was hardly planned because we did it on a whim!

We stayed the first night in a Hotel thanks to Kayla’s Mom! We originally had a hostel but we were not feeling very secure about it and were looking for Airbnbs… It took awhile and I was getting nervous but Kayla pulled through!

We got to Barcelona pretty late on Friday night cause we took the train at around 6pm. We were 20 mins late too, poor Kayla I am like a kid when it comes to arriving somewhere! Are we there yet? We checked into the hotel around 1am and we were waiting for Michelle who had to take a bus. We were gonna go out and get some drinks but our hotel didn’t really have anything around it so we had some at the hotel bar. I had an herbs brandy it was strong but very good, Kayla had a make up of a fuzzy naval, it was also a little strong but good.

We headed to bed and had some plans to get up decently early so we could see stuff around Barcelona. Kayla is a very heavy sleeper so it is essential to set a schedule to help inspire her to get up!

Sagrada Familia y Torre Agbar

Our first day we got up and left the hotel around 11am! This is when the Starbucks craze started, it was pretty comical having Spaniards try to figure out our American names. It was nice because if we couldn’t get by in Spanish almost everyone in Barcelona knows English. They do need to work on spelling English names though! I didn’t save the photos of the cups but my name was and as always “Estesy” Kayla’s “Keila” or something along those lines! Half of the reason I finally gave into Starbucks was just to see how bad they would mess up my name!

After Kayla and Michelle got their coffee fix we went shopping around the Cataluña Plaza. We got a pretty nice map from some bus tour people and headed to what we thought was a bigger mall. When asking for directions in Spain please keep this in mind.

People will tell you it is very close. If you come from a place where you use your car everyday be ready for a surprise! Places here seem much closer to the locals because they walk far more than they drive! Thus if they say it is down the street that means it is about a 10 min walk down the street and it’s actually on the street to the right! 

Once we couldn’t find what we were looking for we saw the Torre Agbar not too far away, or so we thought… So we headed over and in Spanish fashion the short walk was really about 20 mins. We tried to get some creatively framed photos along the way but failed epically and got quite the amount of weird looks! It was still fun!

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We arrived admired the work and saw a shopping mall just down the street! How lucky! So we headed over and looked around. No one bought anything but we had fun looking and then we headed to the food area and got some grub! We stopped at a place called Vienna. I got a sandwich that was pretty much like a Philly Cheesesteak but without the fluffy greasy bread it was a panini bread. Also a nice shandy and some fries to split with Kayla. I have to say if you pass by try their ketchup it was delicious, it had a little extra zing of vinegar!

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We hung out here for quite a while because it had wifi! Thank goodness! It was a little spotty but we used it to contact Kayla’s mom and see if she had any luck with airbnb responses. I used it to buy our Sagrada Familia tickets, we sadly weren’t able to purchase the towers because we didn’t book them soon enough!

If you visit the Sagrada buy your tickets before you go and if you really want to go up the towers I would check the week before! You never know when it is going to be super busy for tourism…

After that we stopped by a giant flea market! My mom would have been so jealous! So we killed a good hour roaming around just looking more than buying but it was still fun! Plus we had some extra time till it was our reservation for the Sagrada. It was cool to because it was under a giant covering made of mirrors!

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After we shopped around for a while we headed to the Sagrada. We had planned a little more time than needed so we went and hit some shops along the way! Kayla’s dad really likes Gaudí so we were searching for something good but we didn’t find anything worthy! I got a few gifts for Eliezer’s nieces that should be arriving before Adalynn’s Birthday!!! (I hope it gets there in time! If I does I will be sure to post pictures in a future post!) As we were looking around at way too many shops Kayla comes up to me and tells me we are late! I had a mini heart attack and looked at my watch and it said  5:45 (our time was 6:15). I was like, “Dude no, we are we are fine, we can head over now if you want…” She was like, “Stacy your watch is wrong! It is 6:35!” We found Michelle and ran across the street, no one was in line so we thought it must have got shut down! Luckily someone was still working the stand!!! We got in and by god this place is beautiful! (Don’t worry I reset my watch and figured out I had the time turner piece pulled out so it was like time was frozen!)

Here are just a few of the pictures check out my Facebook for more!

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I took a panorama inside so it is kind of confusing but you can see all the beautiful colors and the light coming through the windows as the sun was setting!

Pano

After this we decided to head home and relax a bit before heading out. We ended up taking a nap and woke up around 8:00. We had plans to meet up with some friends of a friend of Kayla’s. We didn’t really have good going out outfits we quick went and picked up some new outfits / shoes and we just barely made it in time! We got ready when we got back and we thought we were going on a big bar crawl. We had to pay 5 Euros to supposedly go to like 3 bars and end at a club. Well that didn’t happen we just ended up at a club that had really expensive drinks and not very good service… Kayla, Michelle and I were not really diggin the whole scene so we decided to check out the beach outside and then walk home! Kayla’s new shoes were killing her so she was walking around barefoot! This isn’t the first time I have seen Kayla without shoes! I hope she doesn’t read my blog because she might kill me if I put these photos on here but hey I deserve it after this night!

The reason I deserve it is because I gave her a nice piggy back ride to our Airbnb! Not the entire way but far enough to make my hips pretty sore the next day! Keep in mind I was in wedged heels! Dedication to friendship right?! It wasn’t so bad it was pretty fun honestly! There was a photo of it somewhere but it is gone now… Probably for the better!

Park Guell

Our next day we slept in till 1pm!!!! I have done that maybe 3 or 4 times in my life! I can’t sleep in that long but the room was so dark it was like it was night-time! Also at night the street seemed to be louder than during the day so it was really quite peaceful, that or I was conditioned to the noise now! Our plans for the day were to head to Park Guell and check out some other Gaudí art! What we didn’t before going was that it was a lot farther than it seems! It was probably a good 2 mile walk from where our Airbnb was… It took us quite awhile to get there! When we finally did get there we saw the line and were not excited to have to go buy tickets… We somehow found some free wifi and looked into buying tickets but for some reason it would only let us buy them for 5:45 so I got in line and asked.

They only let 400 people in to Park Guell every hour! With that in mind, buy your tickets ahead of time!

Park Guell

Since we were not going to wait 3 hours to get in we went to the free area! We hiked up a lot… a lot of stairs and got some good views. We were trying to search for a bathroom and failed so Kayla and I did a little nature peeing where no one could see us! We thought we had a good view where we were!

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You could even see the Sagrada Familia:

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We even got some good and inappropriate photos of the Torre Adgar…. If you would like to see you can ask me personally otherwise I’ll let you use your imagination!

After we hiked some more we found an even better view of the city!

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On the way down we hit a couple more things we thought were pretty cool:

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After we had our fun here we headed home to rest our feet before we went to explore the Gothic area and the mall by the water!

The Gothic area was very cool! It had a kind of creepy feel with the fun little street ways but the church there was absolutely beautiful!

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It was so detailed it was beautiful!!!

I wish we would have gone inside I am curious to see what the inside would be like!

On the way to the mall we saw a cable car and were going to see how much it was but when we searched it online it closed at 7pm it was already 6:30pm and still quite a walk away, so we had to skip that and admire it from the ground!

After that Kayla and I were gonna pull an all nighter because Kayla would not get up in time because our train was at 7am the next day! So we decided to stay up and try out the bar scene for a few drinks. With little luck we just walked around and watched people and talked! It was pretty fun until we started to walk to the train station at 4:30 in the morning… I’m not going to go into details because if I did i’m sure when my mom reads this I will have a ticket back to Nebraska tomorrow!

Thus I’ll keep it short and sweet! Barcelona at night is pretty scary! There are a lot of weirdos at least in the popular more touristy places. I mean that should be expected anywhere but Kayla and I just had a lot of weird situations happen to us that made us pretty uncomfortable. Nothing bad happened as we made it back but we are not going to say it was the safest we ever felt! Also get correct directions before leaving.. We ended up taking a wrong turn and it was not down the most pleasant part of town so just really watch what you’re doing and plan ahead! Also don’t be afraid to take a cab it can be worth the money! We ended up in a cab because we just got to a part that was giving us the heebie jeebies!!!

On a happier note here are some other photos of things in Barcelona!

It was a great time and I can’t wait to go back with Eliezer and I’m sure I will have another post with a lot more photos when we go again!!!