Friday, July 27, 2012

mi último día

horseback riding yesterday was absolutely amazing. we went riding for about 2 hours. our guide took us to some really pretty places and going through the river was absolutely gorgeous. my horse was so good for me. it definitely makes me want to go horseback riding when i return to the states.

after horseback riding it stormed. i sat and talked with my host mom for awhile. she is so wonderful. i'm going to miss her a lot. after i got ready to go out i went to a friend's house to hang out before we met up with everyone else. our group found some new places to go and i'm really disappointed that it took us so long to find good bars. we all had a blast.. i didn't get home until after 3.

today was our last day of class. we played games and talked and took pictures. it was a good day. after class i had to run to the supermarket and pick up a few things and i had a funny encounter. there was a spanish nun trying to pick out beer.. which i thought was hilarious.. and then she proceeded to ask me which was the best beer. i didn't have the heart to tell her i didn't drink beer. but i did make sure she got one of the popular ones from spain. i hope it went well for her :)

after i got home from the supermarket my host mom taught me how to make her tortilla. i have the recipe from the restaurant we went to for cooking class, but i really like hers a lot more. i can't believe how easy it is to make. after lunch i packed the rest of my stuff. due to some of the gifts i got that are kind of big i had to buy another suitcase. i really didn't want to but it was much cheaper than paying the fine for going over the weight limit. i also took the best siesta of my life. i slept for about 3 hours.

my host mom's son is here for the weekend. he's so nice. i don't think she's seen him for a few weeks so they were very chatty at dinner. :) it's about time for me to get ready to go out tonight... since tonight is my last night it's going to be the best! our bus leaves salamanca at 5am to go to the airport in madrid. the plan is to stay out until 4 and come home and get my bags. after all, i do have a 9 & 1/2 hour flight back to the states. tomorrow is going to be a very long day. and very sad. i'm truly going to miss this place. i love this city more than any city i've ever been to. it's one of those places that just feels like home. i truly think i could live here forever, it's that wonderful.

my time spent here has been nothing short of amazing. i've accomplished goals, tried so many new things, and am going home with a whole new outlook on life. sometimes you have to get lost in order to find yourself. i wouldn't trade this entire experience for anything in the world. i'm so glad that i have made lifelong friends. i can't find words to express my emotions, but i just keep thinking how blessed i am. life is so good. and i'm so proud of myself for turning my dream into a reality.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

farewell party

last night was an absolute blast. our program rented out a bar and we had our own personal flamenco show. it was a lot of fun. we also had tapas at the bar. after the show a group of us went to another bar to have tapas. we followed it up with more frozen yogurt :)

i went and hung out at a friend's house for awhile since it was still pretty early. we all met up in a park and then it started raining. luckily a few of us got back to the plaza before it started down pouring. we hung out there for awhile waiting for the storm to pass. our program directors ended up coming out with us last night and we all went and sang karaoke. i had an absolute blast. it was a bit sad thinking i only have a couple more night left, but happy at the same time since we were all together having a good time. i never thought i would become so attached to so many people after only a month. i'm truly going to miss everyone here. there's quite a few of us that live close so we're planning on getting together when we return home. i can't wait! i didn't end up getting home until around 3 and i went straight to bed.

class today was fun. since we're done with our exams and we only have tomorrow we're relaxing in class. everyone has been sharing stories about their time here and it's been a lot of fun. it's crazy to think that i have class everyday with so many people from around the world. this program has been a blessing.

after class i walked around for awhile. one of the benefits of only having class until noon is that i have a solid hour and a half to walk around and shop before everyone else is out of class. it's not nearly as crowded. for lunch today we had bean and rice soup (it was delicious, but the weather is too warm for me to have hot soup), meat, and grilled peppers. i had a banana for dessert. i packed some of my stuff after lunch. i needed to see if all my stuff was going to fit in my suitcases. i'm pretty sure everything will fit, so i don't have to buy another suitcase while i'm here.

a picture with my spanish parents! :)

i'm going horseback riding this afternoon. a group went last week and they had a lot of fun. i can't wait. it's supposed to be a very long ride and then we get to go swimming afterwards.

tonight everyone is going out again. some of the bars in town are having going away parties for the 4 week students so i'm sure there will be a lot of people out. this town is known for putting on a good fiesta and it hasn't let me down yet. i'm trying to get as much in as i can before i leave.

tomorrow will be my last post abroad. how sad is that? it doesn't seem like 4 weeks have passed and i keep telling the people that are here for 6 weeks that the rest of their time is going to fly by. it's been such a wonderful experience.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

rain, rain, go away

i had my final grammar exam today. it went really well. the test was really long.. i guess that means we can miss more and still get a better grade. in my second class everything was very relaxed. since we took our exam yesterday i don't think class will consist of much the next couple days.

after class i walked around for a while and then went to the frozen yogurt place to celebrate finishing my exams! it's probably a good time that i just found that yogurt place.. it could be dangerous. it was absolutely delicious again. we then had to hurry home for lunch!

for lunch we had cream soup, broiled chicken, salad, and a banana for dessert. it was very filling. i immediately took a siesta afterwards because i know i will have a long night tonight. when i woke up from my siesta it just started raining. i guess i can't complain too much... this is the first time we've had rain since i've been here. i just hope it passes by tonight.

in a little while i have a mandatory meeting to go to. all of the 4 week students must attend. i'm not sure what we will be doing.. but i'm not happy to be going. after the meeting we have our going away party. we are going out for tapas as a group and then our program is taking us to see a flamenco show. i think it will be a lot of fun. still hard to believe i leave in a couple days.

i guess i had better go get ready for my meeting. hopefully tonight is a lot of fun. i'm really going to miss all the people that i've grown to know!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

my final tuesdy

my first class was quite interesting. my professor didn't show up to class. we waited for an hour and then we left to get churros and milkshakes. when we returned he still hadn't shown up. i'm not sure what happened but it makes me nervous because now i don't know what will be on our final tomorrow. my second class went well. i think i did pretty well on the exam. hopefully i will find out tomorrow.

after class i went and got a pedicure. my poor feet are definitely not used to walking this much, and i desperately needed a pedicure. the place that i went was very nice and extremely cheap. and it was in a part of town that i haven't explored much of yet. after i got finished and walked home for lunch.

for lunch we had paella, ham, and fried egg plant. i don't think i've had egg plant before, but it was pretty good. after lunch i took a siesta and got ready for our cultural activity. today we went up into the tower of the old cathedral. at the top it was gorgeous. it overlooked the entire city of salamanca. because it was built so long ago all the doorways are very low. i had to duck to get through some of them. one thing i didn't like was the size of the staircases. all the staircases are spiral (which is beautiful) but they were very narrow and steep. it made me nervous walking up them because the hand rail didn't seem very secure. but i will say it was worth the view at the top.

view of salamanca from the cathedral
view of the cathedral rom the top
after we finished touring the tower we went walking around the city. i found a cute little shop that had lots of good gifts. i'm worried that i will forget someone, so i just keep buying :) after we walked around for a little while we went and tried a new frozen yogurt place. it was divine! it was really cheap and they let you put as many toppings on it as you wanted. i definitely think i will go back before i leave.

my frozen yogurt with about 7 toppings! :)

for dinner tonight we had salad, tortilla, ham, sausage (much different than sausage from the US) and cheese. we finished it up with yougurt for dessert.

the prince and the princess of spain are in salamanca right now. i haven't seen them but i'm hoping i will before i leave. everyone i've asked isn't completely certain why they are here but suspect it is because they are showing their support of the poor economy in spain. i'm sure it may have something to do with the riots that happend a few days ago. i just hope i get to see them.

i think i am going to try to buy some food that i have been eating here so people can see what the food is like. we got our recipes today for the things we made in cooking class yesterday. i'm very excited to make tortilla. i think i may ask for my senora's recipe because i like hers more.

tonight is my last night of staying in!! woo hoo! i have my final tomorrow and then school will pretty much be over. i still have class thursday and friday, but my professors said they are open days... basically they will teach us and talk about anything we want to learn/talk about. i'm so amazed at how open and relaxed my professors are. nothing like in the US. we talk about so many random things... most things i wouldn't think of talking about with professors. i guess it's just another reason why i love this place so much. i'm off to shower and study for my exam. i'm a bit nervous for my exam, but i hope it will go okay!


Monday, July 23, 2012

sangria, paella, tortilla, and gazpacho

class today went well. i don't think i missed out on too much by missing class on friday. tomorrow and wednesday are my final exams. tomorrow i have my final in my conversation class. i'm not too worried about it. but i do need to review my vocabulary. there are soooo many new words! after class i went shopping for gifts. i would say that i am about 90% done. woo hoo! i just hope that everything will fit in my suitcases (fingers crossed)

for lunch we had soup, meat, salad, and melon for dessert. i don't think i've had the type of meat we had before.. if so my senora must have flavored it differently. it was still good nonetheless. after lunch i took my siesta.

tonight we had our cooking class. there were about 15 of us and we went to a super cute restaurant and one of their chefs taught us how to make sangria, paella, tortilla, and gazpacho. we will all be getting the recipes tomorrow. sangria is probably on of the most popular drinks if not the most popular. there are so many different ways to make it, but i really liked the recipe we had today. you can basically add any fruit to it except bananas, pineapple, and kiwis because they don't absorb the alcohol. you add a bottle of red wine, some rum if you'd like and sugar. it's delicious. i don't really like paella because i don't like shrimp. once i pick all the shrimp out i'm left with rice.. it's not my favorite... speaking of favorites.. i LOVE spanish tortilla and didn't realize how easy it was to make! slice up a potato, add some eggs. cook it on the stove and viola! i will definitely be making that once i return home. i definitely do not like gazpacho. gazpacho is a cold soup. it is made by blending water, bread, garlic, and tomatoes. it is put through a colander... add some ice and you have gazpacho. if you love tomatoes this is the dish for you! not so much for me.. but i did try it.

after cooking class i walked around with a friend for awhile. and then i came back home. i need to shower and start studying. dinner should be ready in about 30-45 minutes. i saw my senora snapping fresh green beans earlier today so i imagine we will have some. i'm sure it will be delicious.

until tomorrow!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

weekend recap

saturday we slept in a little. we headed into the city to do some shopping and hang out on the beach. we walked around and the city had a lot going on for their festival. we found a foosball tournament. equipped with trophies for the winners and everything. we walked most of the city. we stopped for lunch at a place that had 'kebab asia'. i wasn't sure what to expect but they gave us a HUGE sandwich which was absolutely delicious. you could get chicken or beef and it had lettuce, a house sauce, and was in a pita bread. it was so good and very filling!

my kebab! delicious!
after we had lunch we walked around for a little while longer and then headed to the beach. the beaches in santandar run along a peninsula that has a large palace. the beach was absolutely beautiful. the weather was a bit cooler, but with the sun it was absolutely perfect. the water was cold, but not as cold as portugal.

the beautiful beach!

the water was absolutely gorgeous!


once we left the beach we took a boat tour around santander. it took us by all the important places to see. it was really nice, but was very chilly on the ocean. it lasted about an hour and i got some great pictures.

Faro de Cabo Mayor. the oldest lighthouse in Cantabria (area around santander). it was built in 1830.


after the boat tour we headed back to our hostel. we grabbed dinner close to the hostel and called it a night. we didn't finish with dinner until around 11:45.


today we got up and went into santander for the morning. almost all the shops were closed, but we did find a small store that was open and walked through the santander flea market. the flea market was packed.. and i'm sure you could have found some good stuff if you had the time to dig around.. which we did not. we had to head back to get our suitcases and take the train back to santander. we left santander at 2. we got back to salamanca around 8:30. i got everything unpacked and reorganized my closet. there is a concert in the park near my house that i can hear. the music is very pretty. we just had dinner. i had pasta, potato salad, meat, and yogurt for dessert. i need to work on homework for awhile, and then i think i'm going to shower and head to bead. it was a very long day today.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

grande semana

dinner thursday night was absolutely delicious! it easily was easily one of my favorite meals so far. we had croquettes (they are a small breadcrumbed fried food roll containing mashed potatoes, cheese, and ham) we also had zucchini that had seasoned hamburger and melted cheese on it. i don't really like zucchini but you couldn't taste it. our meal was fantastic. i finished first and my senora asked if i wanted more.. which i didn't i was really full.. but the spanish way is to give you seconds.. they love to keep giving you food.

after dinner thursday night my senora, my roommate, our roommate from brazil, and i went up to the plaza to get ice cream. our roommate from brazil was leaving to go home friday and wanted everyone to do something together. we all took pictures together, but i had forgotten my camera. i'm supposed to get the pictures from our brasilian roommate through facebook. after we ate our ice cream there were 2 mariachi bands playing in opposite corners of the plaza. my senora LOVES to dance so we went to check them out. we had a blast. she danced with each one of us and it was so much fun. we didn't get back home until after midnight and i stayed in to pack for santander.

we left by train at 7:25am friday morning. we made it to santander around 1. we took a taxi to our hostel and have the cutest rooms. we are staying in a small town called el astillero (which translates to 'the shipyard') about 10 minutes from the city. when we checked in the owners told us that it was the grande semana for santander and that the entire city would be a party for the whole week. we had no idea. we got lunch at a small restaurant near our hostel and then headed back to siesta. one of my friends and i got up and walked around our little city to see what all there was. we have both the mountains and the water in this little town. it's beautiful. we are probably the only americans staying in this town. it's not touristy what so ever, and the people here have been so friendly.

last night we bought train passes for the weekend and headed into the city. all the buildings are so beautiful here. you can smell the ocean all over the city! from the ocean you can see the mountains in the distance. it's so pretty. it was definitely a fiesta. there were people everywhere. there were so many little stands set up in the parks serving tapas, wine, and beer. it wasn't a fiesta that was out of control, but a very nice get together. all the kids were playing in the park, they had a carousel and trampolines set up. we walked the streets for awhile checking out all the different buildings and searching for somewhere to eat dinner. we're guessing that people in santander eat dinner at a "normal time" between 6-8. it was after 10:30 before we found a place we wanted to eat and wasn't too expensive. most places will post their menus in the window so you can see what they have and look at the prices. it's amazing how much prices vary throughout the city. i had spaghetti for dinner.

steet performer in santander pretending to be a baby.
while we were walking around we found a free concert that was being held outside city hall. there were so many people there. there was also another group of people playing in a small band. by the time dinner was finished it was pretty late so we had to take a taxi back. the trains stop running around 11.

ocean and port building in santander
once we got home we relaxed and watched some spanish tv! 1 of the girls is really sick so she didn't go out with us. it doesn't sound like she is feeling any better today. and her roommate is getting sick as well. it almost sounds like they may have the flu. i really hope i don't get it. i literally don't have time to be sick!

**my heart goes out to the families and friends of those involved in the colorado shooting. there are no words to express what you are going through, but know that people all over the world are thinking about you.*