Contents of My Blog

Starting bright and early (4am to be exact) on June 25, 2010, I will be embarking on my biggest adventure to date. I will be in Rome and Paris for one week before I arrive in my final destination: Spain. I will be living with a family in Oviedo, Spain from July 4 -July 31, 2010. They don’t speak English in this town, so needless to say, this will be quite an experience that will most definitely contain some pretty entertaining stories. So, stay tuned and look for updates of my summer in Europe!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Brennen, We´re Moving Abroad

I spent the entire weekend at the beach and it was HEAVENLY! On Saturday, we woke up at 11am and took the train about half an hour away to a town called San Juan. Literally the only thing there was the beach. But it was so beautiful!! Again, it was surrounded by mountains and dramatic rocks. The water was crystal clear and there was hardly anyone there. There were board walks every where taking you across the seagrass to different parts of the beach or up the mountain if you wanted. There was even a little beach house with bathrooms, showers, snacks, and of course, a bar. We didn´t use any of that though because we came prepared with our lunches that our host moms packed for us. We found a nice spot on the beach and parked ourselves there for the day. The weather was perfect: sunny the whole day, warm enough to take a dip in the ocean but not so hot that it was uncomfortable laying out, and there was just the right amount of breeze. We just relaxed and layed on the beach all day. It was so wonderful! I could do that every day of my life and not get tired of it. Here are some pictures of San Juan Beach:

After hanging out for a while, we got back on the train to Oveido. I went home and needed a shower really badly because I was sweaty and gross and covered in sand and salt from the ocean. Well, this is where my night gets a little more interesting and a funny story begins. I go into the bathroom, start the shower, and the water will not get hot. In fact, I let it run for a few minutes and it only got colder. My water has always been iffy - it will be hot for about a minute or two, then turns freezing cold so I have to turn it off. Then, I turn it back on and its fine for another 2 minutes and that is the process of my entire shower. Well, it has never just been straight cold. So, I walk out of the bathroom to ask my mom what the problem is, and she´s gone. She just peaced out. So I start snooping around the apartment and found the hot water temperature adjuster. I turned the nob that had the shower picture next to it and waited like 1/2 an hour. Nothing happened, so I went to mess with it again. Well, as I was turning the nobs, my host mom came home. So, I had to close the thing really quickly and run out of there. I didn´t have time to put the nobs back where they were, so I was really nervous that she would find it and yell at me later. Anyways, I asked why there was no hot water and she didn´t know, so I had to take a freezing cold shower with a migraine (I forgot to mention that my head felt like it had gotten hit by a train. Ya, I almost got sick at McDonald´s it was so bad. Don´t worry, I was fine). So I took my shower, and then went to hang out with friends for a bit. When I came home, she had a little story for me. She said that after I left, she started getting really really hot. She kept opening all the windows, but it wasn´t helping. She was sweating, and having to drink a lot of water and it was bad. Finally, she figured out that the radiators had been turned on somehow. (They don´t have a heating system, they just have radiators in every room). Well, I had accidentally turned on all the radiators in the house and completely baked her out. I didn´t admit to it, but she knew. Oops!!

Anyways, so on Sunday, I went back to Ribadesella which is the beach that I went to last Saturday on our excursion. It was the one with all the rocks. I loved it so much that I wanted to go back. Me, Liz, and Courtney (I know, name dropping. Sorry) took the bus about an hour away to Ribadesella. Oh my goodness, I´m in love! It is the cutest town ever, on probably the most beautiful beach I´ve ever been on. And there are even super cute houses right on the beach! The weather is amazing all year round and they don´t even have to worry about hurricanes!! Brennen, have I sold this place to you yet?! Because, we´re going to live here. It´s ok, I can speak Spanish for us, no worries.
This is a picture of the really cute/amazing houses right on the coast. I´m SO jealous of whoever lives there!

Anyways, we got there at about 11, so we took a little hike first. There is a mountain with a church at the top that you can see from the beach, so we decided to check that out. It overlooks the ocean as well as the whole town. It was so, undescribably gorgeous! We took a picnic up and enjoyed the view while we ate our lunches. I was for real in heaven. Like, I´m not kidding, this is what heaven is going to look like and I am so excited! Ok, I won´t keep you waiting any longer while I describe this awesome place to you. Here are some pictures:
This is a view of the coast and the Spanish flags. I don´t know what the outer two are, but the light blue one in the middle is the Asturias flag (which is the region of Spain that Oviedo and this town are in), and then the red and yellow one is the national Spain flag.

Here is a view of the whole town of Ribadesella. Tiny, but adorable!

This really reminded me of Pirates of the Carribbean. I know this is not in the Caribbean, but the view is very similar and the old cannon with this look out made me think of it.
This is the view from the top of the mountain!

The view looking off the other side of the mountain.

Me at the top!!

After we had our lovely lunch, the morning clouds had burned off into a gorgeous day. We treked back down the mountain to relax at the beach. But, on our way back to the beach at one of the boardwalks there were a ton of cute craft vendors set up. It was kind of like an art fair. It was so cool!! It was really neat to look at everything. I gave in at one booth and bought something. It was a really cute vendor with pressed flowers. There were necklaces, earrings, journals, and handmade candles. I loved the candles because they had really pretty pressed flowers all over them, so I got one. Also, I need it for my new apartment!
Here are a few of the stands. The one with the woman in front of it is the flower one.
There was also the cutest swing ride. It was all wooden and all of the swings were different ocean animals. It was so old fashioned that the man who ran it was pedaling on a bike looking thing to make it go. It was so cool!! I´ve never seen anything like that before!
After that, we got to the beach and relaxed. It felt so good! I even had a nice little nap in the sun. After an hour and a half or so, the tide started to come up. But it was perfect timing, because we were packing up to go over to the big rocks on the other side of the beach. Last time, the tide was really low, so we could go out and climb on the rocks, but this time the tide was so high that we could only get onto the closest rocks to the land. It was really cool because it looked completely different from last time. The water was SO blue, I could hardly even believe that it was real!

Here´s me in the ocean before the rocks.
Compare this picture with the one from last week. It doesn´t even look like the same place!
We enjoyed the view there for a bit and then took the bus back home. When we got to Oviedo, Liz and I really felt like a nice cup of hot chocolate, so we popped into a café. We didn´t know what they called hot chocolate, so we were looking through the menu trying to figure it out. They had a list of their hot drinks and one of them was just ¨chocolate¨ so we though, well the hot is probably just implied since with was the hot drinks menu so we went with it. Liz changed her mind and got coffee, but I still really wanted hot chocolate. So, I ordered it and when it came out, I kid you not, it was a mug full of piping hot melted chocolate. Straight chocolate. I just looked at it and then Liz started laughing, so of course I did too. That is just my luck. It seems like this kind of thing always happens to me. I was so mad because I really wanted some hot chocolate! I drank a little of it, but couldn´t have much. Liz had some too, but we still hardly made a dent. Then, we decided to splurge and order churros to dip in it. After all, it was the same chocolate that we got when we ordered chocolate churros a few days before. Anyways, I guess now I know that ¨Chocolate¨ on a hot drinks menu is not in fact our American hot chocolate.
Well, I cannot believe that I only have 5 days left here. It is so weird and has gone by SO incredibly fast!! I´ve had such a great time, and am going to try to make the most of each day that I have left here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Embarrassing, Yet Super Funny Life Here in España

Ok, so my family reunion story was quite a hit. It wasn´t so funny for me at the time, but looking back, it is pretty comical. I would definitely have been cracking up if I were you all. So anyways, since everyone liked that story so much, I thought I would put together a special post dedicated to funny stories from my daily life here in Oviedo.

Let me just start by saying that my host mom is hilarious. She definitely doesn´t try to be, but the way she does things and says things just makes me laugh. Then, when we get together and mix our two native languages trying to communicate, it´s even funnier. The first few nights in Oviedo, especially my very first one, I could hardly understand a thing that she said to me. And to make it oh so much better, she just talked my ear off while talking a mile a minute. Well, I was super happy when my ear caught on so quickly. I am able to understand, or at least get the just, of pretty much everything she says to me. Well, most of the time. My host mom doesn´t have the best manners. When we´re sitting at dinner she will get going about something (and when she starts, there´s no stopping her), and food just starts flying out of her mouth and instead of stopping and slowing down, she just shoves more in. A lot of the time I can just tone her out and let her rant, but my favorite is when she tries to ask me questions. That´s always fun. I have a hard enough time understanding her super thick accent as is, and with food all in her mouth it is impossible. It just doesn´t happen. So, it´s like a sitcom with her jabbing her mouth away full of food and me trying really hard not to laugh and being like ¨uhh, what?!¨ I wish I could video tape it and watch it later because it is probably pretty entertaining.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I went to the beach with a bunch of friends from my group for the day. I asked my host mom if she could make me a sandwich that I could bring for lunch and she said, oh of course! Well, this was my first weekend, so I still had kind of a hard time understanding her, and she was saying something about me needing bread. Then, she took me to my window and showed me the bread store across the street and then gave me 1 euro. I thought she was telling me that she was going to give me cheese and an apple and then I can get some bread on my way out. Well, that was not the case, little to my knowledge. Just as I was running out the door, she stopped me and was like ¨Wait! You need to go get bread so I can make you a sandwich!¨ I was like OH! You should have said it that way before! So I ran across the street really quickly, ordered my bread (all by myself) and ran back up 4 flights of stairs for her to make my sandwich. It´s not that funny of a story, just an example of miscommunication/lack of understanding.

Here´s another story about me not understanding. (There´s a lot of these). Spanish accents are really hard to understand. Hands down. No argument. They say everything differently than I learned and they say different phrases since I learned Latin American Spanish. They pronounce their ¨s¨ like a ¨th¨ so you can just imagine. My host mom has a really thick accent too, so there have literally been times where I was like, I have no idea what you´re trying to say. Also, they do that German loogie hauk thing with their g´s and it´s pretty funny! Well, one night I asked my host mom to teach me how to cook something and got all excited. Well, she got a little carried away with her g action and accidentally made a HUGE snort after she was finished speaking. It was SO hilarious!!! I tried to hold in my laughter, but I had to pretend that I had to go to the bathroom really bad and ran out of the room cracking up! She tends to do things like this a lot.

Another lack of understanding story. The other night, oh it was the night of the huge surprise family reunion! Anyways, that night I was so drained and exhausted from that dang family reunion. My brain was just rejecting Spanish at this point and I was having a really hard time understanding my host mom. I was eating dinner and she started telling me about something. I just smiled and nodded as usual, but she trapped me in and started asking me questions. Well, I had no idea what she was saying. She was talking about some ¨athensor¨and I had no idea what that was. She was explaining it saying in went up. But I still didn´t get it. She goes, in English what is it? And I go the stairs? And she goes ya! (She doesn´t know English so that did not help). And I was like ok, what about them? And she was like did you use them? And I was like ya...And she was like how was it? And I was like, umm, fine. She could tell that we were not talking about the same thing and kept trying to get me to understand. I was just sitting there like, I´m not gonna get it lady. But she kept saying the same thing over and over, and getting louder and louder, and closer and closer to my fae. So I was just sitting there starring at her with a blank stare while she was yelling at me all in my face. Finally, I couldn´t take it anymore and just started laughing and left the room. Then, it hit me that she said ¨ascensor¨ which is the elevator. I felt really stupid. Especially, since I did take the elevator and something was wrong with it and when it got to the third floor there was this big banging noise. It scared me so bad! Anyways, she was trying to ask me if that same thing happened to me because it happened to her, but I was having a stupid moment and didn´t get it. Oh well, I got a good laugh out of it.

Yet, ANOTHER not understanding story. Surprise, surprise. So, ever since I´ve gotten here people have said something WAY different than anything I learned for goodbye. I could not figure out what they were saying and it was really confusing me. Sometimes it sounded like ¨Tau-lo¨, sometimes ¨Sta-lo¨, and sometimes ¨Ta-lo¨. Well, either way, I was like oh my gosh, what are they saying? It must just be this really weird word that they just use here in Oviedo. Well, my host mom said it to me one day and it clicked! (I just figured this out like last week too). They say ¨Ta-lo or Sta-lo¨ and it´s just short for ¨Hasta luego¨ which means see you later. I felt dumb, but at the same time how in the world am I supposed to know that?! I mean, I don´t say ¨Ee-ter¨ for see you later. Anyways, I feel pretty cool now that I figured that out and that I´m in on the lingo.

Alright, here´s my last story for now. (You´re probably like oh good! I´m tired of reading all this boring stuff that just she finds funny!). This happened today while I was walking to school. My apartment is about a two minute walk from the University, so I usually leave about 10 minutes before class starts just to be safe. I´m usually fine with five, but I like to mosey. Anyways, this morning, I was kind of running late so I was walking pretty quickly. Well, I noticed that someone was following me, but I just kept on treking. This person kept getting closer and then I heard them whistle and say something in Spanish. I figured out it was a guy and kinda started to freak out a bit. But I didn´t look back and kept going. Well, he kept whistling and commenting louder and louder and kept getting closer. I turned into school and I could tell he was still following me, so I turned around completely freaked out and ready to kick some butt. Well, I look down and his dog was following me. He was whistling at his dog and yelling the dog´s name to get him to quit following me. Ya, I felt dumb. The dog was super cute too!! I couldn´t help but laugh to myself.

Alright, stay tuned for more!! Next, I will probably talking all about the food, so get excited.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Day In My Super Awkward Spanish Life

Holy family reunion!!! Oh my gosh, I just had the most interesting/awkward afternoon of my life!! Let me just tell you all that happened. Well, I came home from class at 2 just like every other day. It was cloudy out and cozy inside and I was really looking forward to taking a nice long siesta. I was nicely sitting at the table eating my lunch and minding my own business when I hear the doorbell. ¨That´s weird,¨ I thought, because I have never heard it ring and no one has ever come over. My host mom answers the door and it´s her 2 grandsons. One was really little and the other one looked like he could be my age. I was thinking ¨Oh, that´s nice that they came by to say hi¨ but no, they were staying. They came into the kitchen to meet me and we had to do that awkward cheek kiss thing. Well, let me tell you, I wanted to die. It was super awkward with the older one because I´m not used to getting that close to people, let alone guys, that I don´t know. Then the little boy came over and kissed one cheek, and when I leaned over to do the second one (which is custom here, they always do 2 cheeks), he moved. Then, they all started laughing at me and were like ¨Oh, she wants more!¨ So of course I was super embarrassed, but they left the room and I got over it. I was really not looking forward to spending the afternoon with them because I knew it would be super awkward. I really wanted to go hide in my room, but I forced myself to go in the other room with them and talk. I get in there and it was that still, awkward, super uncomfortable silence. I´m trying to make small talk with the older guy, asking him questions and stuff and trying to talk about the World Cup game, but he wanted nothing of it. He would just give me super short answers and then go back to watching his sports commentary show. I wanted to be like ¨Look dude, I´m not trying to flirt with you or anything, I´m engaged. I´m trying to make this as least awkward as possible. Help me out!¨ So, I´m sitting there bored out of my mind. I would never watch a sports commentary in English let alone one in Spanish that I can barely understand. I also couldn´t talk to the little one because he mumbled and was impossible to understand. So, after my 4th awkward question, the older guy reaches for the remote and turns up the TV, so I was like ok, fine, I get it! Just as I was about to get up to see if my host mom needed help, the doorbell rang again and in walked my host mom´s entire family!! Surprise family reunion!! Thanks for telling me Mercedes! I really appreciate it!! So, I´m like back to day one, freaking out, and overwhelmed with awkwardness. Then, get this, she has a whole huge lunch prepared for them. The same one that I ate!! I was like, umm I could have waited to eat with everyone. Then, she´s like ¨Anna, don´t you want to go take a nap?!¨ And I´m like NO! Not with all these people here!! I don´t want to be that weird foreign exchange student who hides in her room! So, I sat there on the couch next to them watching Dora the Explorer with the seven year old while everyone else at lunch. It was SO awkward! Especially since they didn´t pay any attention to me. Then, my host mom would talk about me, and I was like Umm, I CAN understand you!! It was nothing bad, but still. Oh, and to make it better, EVERYONE smoked! And I don´t mean just casually, it was like a freaking hot box in there! Her place is already tiny and stuffy, so just imagine it with 10 people smoking. Ya, I think I have the black lung. I was dying! The only ones not smoking the whole time were me, the 7 year old kid, and my host mom. AH!! Then, at one point, it was just me and the little 7 year old kid (his name is Miguel. I´m calling him that from now on) sitting on the couch eating our ice cream bars and watching Dora while the adults ignored us. Ay yi yi! Finally, they caught on that I knew Spanish because I would laugh at what they were saying. They asked me a few questions, but still didn´t talk to me much. Then, my host mom showed them the book of St. Louis that I gave her, and that sparked some conversation. They really liked it but couldn´t believe that there are no mountains or beaches around. They also asked me what Yankees are. They call all Americans that here, but I told them that just the people in the North are Yankees. They asked me if I was a Yankee or an Azul (which is what they called Southerners) and I told them neither. They got super confused and I told them that I am in the middle of the country and am neither one. They still didn´t get it, but oh well. Then, Miguel started being silly and lightened things up a bit. I was so happy he was there! I got to goof off with him a little bit. It is so funny how kids are exactly the same no matter where you go. I love it!! Finally, after 3 hours of this madness, they left. Finally, I could breathe!! Don´t get me wrong, they were all super nice to me and kept telling me how pretty I am and how good looking my family is. That seems to be the favorite comment here. But I was just really caught off guard. Next time, I really hope she tells me about this kind of thing instead of surprising me. I´m all for family gatherings, but I need time to prepare myself! Especially when everyone speaks another language. I am so exhausted right now! I think I´m going to go hang out with a couple of the girls until dinner because I need some English and American relief! Anyways, that´s my story of the day. I thought you all would get a kick out of it and enjoy it. Stay tuned for more updates like this one. I´m sure there will be plenty more.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My apartment!

I took some pictures of my apartment, because I thought you all would like to see where I´m living.

Here is my bedroom:

This is the view from my window:

This is the tiny hall that my bag would barely fit through:

Here is my nasty, janky shower. It´s so disgusting! The rest of my bathroom is nice and clean. I don´t get it.
This is mi vida en España!

Las Playas y Las Montañas!

The past few days here in Oviedo have been awesome!! I mean, this whole time has been great, but this past week especially has been wonderful. I´ve done and seen so much, it´s crazy!! Where to start?! Well, after the craziness of the World Cup settled down, us Americans got bored and decided we needed more excitement. The city is surrounded by mountains, and on one of them there is a big statue of Jesus. He overlooks the city with his arms stretched out. We didn´t really notice it until one night when it was kind of hazy. He was all lit up and it looked like he was floating. It was awesome! So, we all decided that we wanted to find a way to hike to the top of the mountain to the statue. Well, it just so happened that the University was leading a tour up there a few days later. Perfect! So, on Tuesday we made the hike. We just had to walk to the mountain, all the was up to the top of the mountain, back down the mountain, and then back home from the mountain. It only took 5 hours, no biggie. Oh, my, gosh - I was SO tired by the end!!! It wasn´t too bad hiking up most of the way because it was a pretty slow and steady incline (these mountains are no rockies). Well, like I said, it was like this MOST of the way. For about the last 1/5 of the way there, it was straight up!! And I am not exaggerating one bit! It was so steep that I could literally stick my hand out and touch the ground in front of me. Now, I know I´m pretty short, but that is just ridiculous. Needless to say, I was panting for my life when I got to the top! I thought I was going to pass out because I haven´t exercised in a long time and all this fried food that my host mom is feeding me is definitely not helping. It was so worth the dreadful climb though. The view was amazing! We could see the entire city! We even picked out the University. The statue was beautiful too! I´m so glad I did it! Now, everytime I look up there I think ¨Ya, I was up there¨. Here are some pictures of the view:

Ok, so I need to back up a little bit. Sorry, I know I´m super unorganized. Oh well. On Sunday, the day of the World Cup we ventured to the beach for the first time. I think I already talked about that, but I´m not positive, so I´m just going to tell you again. Don´t worry, I have pictures. Anyways, the beach is 30 minutes away in a town called Gijón. (I love that I can make accents on these computers!). We got there, and it was not quite what I was expecting. It was SUPER crowded, but I wasn´t going to complain because afterall, I was at the beach. We put our stuff down, and it immediately got soaked just from sitting there. Then, like 10 minutes later, we had to move back because the tide was coming up. We repeated this every 10 minutes after that, until we were camped out on the steps leading down to the beach. There was literally no beach left. It was crazy! I´ve never seen such a high tide!

This is a picture of the water coming all the way up to the steps. Don´t worry, I didnt just take a picture of my ugly feet.

Then, on Saturday (yesterday) we had another excursion! We have those every Saturday, in case I haven´t mentioned that. It was the plan that we were going to go to Los Lagos, which are lakes way high up in the mountains. I´ve heard that it´s amazing and a beautiful view, so I was super excited!! First, we stopped at this tiny town. It was super cute! We walked around, ate at a café, and enjoyed the view for about an hour. Then, we headed out for Los Lagos! We got to the base of the mountain, and then our teacher came onto the microphone on the bus. We couldn´t go up to Los Lagos. It was cloudy, therefore making it too dangerous for the buses to go up there because the drivers wouldn´t be able to see very well and the roads are tiny. I was SO upset!! That was the whole reason I wanted to go on that excursion! (Although, I probably would have been like peeing in my pants on those roads. I hate mountain roads!) Instead, we stayed in this town called Covadonga. It had a huge church tucked into the mountains, and that´s it. The church was really cool and the veiw was great, but I was still really disappointed. Here´s a picture of the church:

Then, after we left the church, we were told that we were going to the beach since we couldn´t go up to Los Lagos. I was excited, but was thinking that this beach better be amazing or I´m still going to be mad. We pull into the bus station in the town that supposedly has a beach, and there is a rocky shore next to this ugly little river. I was SO mad!!! That was NOT a beach!! Well, luckily, they quickly told us that the river bank was not a beach. There really was a real beach there! We walked through town and found it. Oh, my, goodness, it was AMAZING!!!! One of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen!!! It was not at all croweded and was tucked away in the mountains! I couldn´t believe it! The mountains and the beach all in one place! I love the mountains, but prefer the beach, but mountains plus the beach in one package equals HEAVEN! The sand was super soft and amazing, and the water was blue and beautiful. On either side of the beach, there were mountains that jetted up and the water crashed up onto the rocks. It kind of looked like Hawaii. This definitely made up for not going to the lakes. We layed on the beach and napped a little bit, and then I explored the rocks. We were only there for 2 1/2 hours, so I didn´t get to explore as much as I wanted too, but we already decided that we´re coming back next Saturday for the entire day. I can´t wait! It´s going to be awesome! I really hope the weather is nice!! Anyways, here are some pictures:

Then, today we went on a float trip! We took a bus close to the beach we were at yesterday. It was a little river in the middle of these amazing mountains!! We had such an awesome view the entire time! Not onlywas it absolutely gorgeous, but it was SO MUCH FUN!!! We rode in kayaks, which were really a combination of a canoe and a kayak. They were a little bit bigger than a real kayak, but much smaller than a canoe. Anyways, we could either do a 2 person or a single. Naturally, Chrissy and I wanted one together. (We have been attached at the hip this whole trip. We hit it off so well, it´s awesome!! We have so much fun together!). That was dangerous from the start. We can´t stop laughing when we´re together on a normal basis, so we knew we would be dying the whole time down the river. We got in, and they shot us down this schute thing into the river! Chrissy was in the back and couldn´t stear, so we immediately ended up on the bank across from the entrance. Then, I remembered that I knew how to stear from all of my summers at camp, so we switched. After that we were pros! Well, kind of. The river was pretty calm with a few small rapids. We paddled and paddled. We were getting so tired and so hungry! Our lunch stopped seemed like an eternity away! But, we finally got there and relaxed. There was this tent set up with a bar in it. It was pretty funny! Only in Spain. There was also this big bridge that people were jumping off of! It was really high, and they had to time it just right so they didn´t jump onto a kayak coming through! I didn´t do it, because that was way too risky for me. Especially since you had to climb over a rope at the top to jump off. If that rop wasn´t there I probably would have done it, but that was the deal breaker for me. After lunch, we went on our way to the end. Chrissy and I were doing really well until a group of these super obnoxious Spanish people bombarded us. They were HORRIBLE at kayaking and kept running into us and getting us off course! They didn´t even say sorry either! They just kind of laughed and continued to do it. I guess you could call them the rednecks of Spain. It was so annoying, but finally we paddled ahead of them. Then, there was a patch of pretty big rapids. Me and Chrissy went right for them because it looked like so much fun! Well, we didn´t see that there were a lot of rocks. We did an awesome job dodging them until the biggest one. I couldnt stear away in time so we hit it head on. We hit pretty dang hard too! We both grunted and like leaned forward a lot. We immediately started cracking up! We didn´t tip at all so that was good! Then, we finally made it to the end. I think every part of my body is going to be sore tomorrow. That was such a hard work out! It was so much fun though, and I´m so glad I did it!

Here´s us at the finish! Yay, we made it!! Here´s a super ugly picture of me and Chrissy in our awkward life vests before we started. It even had a strap that went in between our legs. We didn´t use it. I couldn´t do it.
This is the river that we floated on and the amazing view we had the whole time. Sorry I didn´t take more pictures of the float trip. I didn´t want to risk getting my camera wet and ruined.
Well, this was officially a huge, fatty update! I hope you all enjoy!!!

Old Paris Updates!

Ok, so I know I was really bad at updating this while I was in Rome and Paris, so here are a few pictures and updates from Paris.

This was the first day we got to Paris. We got all dressed up our first night and took a picnic to the Eiffel Tower. It was SO awesome! This was the view we had right when we got out of the metro station. Talk about dramatic entrances into Europe! First, the Colosseum, now the Eiffel Tower!! It was so cool getting to see it up close and personal!

This was the view we had from our picnic in the little park next to the Eiffel Tower. It was so awesome! There was hardly anyone there because it was kind of tucked away, so we just layed in the grass and enjoyed the view. It was really cool looking when it was all lit up. It seemed so surreal and like a dream! I kept leaning over to Chrissy and telling her that I couldn´t believe we were actually there!!

This was the best lunch of my LIFE!! Orangina and a ham and cheese bagette in FRANCE!!! I drank orangina at it´s source. All of you know how great that is for me! It was wonderful. The cheese was HEAVENLY and Orangina was everywhere!!! I didn´t have to go searching for it for once! I actually enjoyed another wonderful orangina a few hours later while I was on the boat cruise. I took full advantage!

Well, I know this was kind of a boring update, but I figure pictures are more fun to look at than reading a whole bunch. At least, I like looking at pictures better. Stay tuned for more Spain updates! They´re coming, I promise!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

¨Yo soy Español, Español, Español!!¨

Oh my goodness, last night was one of the most amazing nights of my life!!! It was so much fun and such a great experience!! For those of you who are lost right now, Spain won the World Cup for the first time ever last night...and I was THERE!!!!! It was so awesome!!!! People were going crazy!!! We were yelling in the streets, all of the cars were honking, everyone was chanting and celebrating, it was so cool! They blocked off one of the streets and set up a huge screen for everyone to watch. There were probably a couple of thousand people there. I could barely see since I´m so short and I was on my tip toes the whole time, but it was SO worth it!!! (Even though my calves kill today). After Spain won the game, we went to this huge fountain in the center of town, and everyone jumped in. It was CRAZY!!!! There were probably 100 people in the fountain and then another couple thousand people on the streets surrounding it. People were splashing hard core and they had this huge soccer ball that they were volleying around. I wasn´t going to get in because I had jeans and tennis shoes on and was planning on staying out for a while afterwards, but then I was like well ¨When am I going to be in Spain again when they win the world cup for the first time ever? umm, NEVER!¨ So I jumped in jeans and all. Even though I was completely soaked and miserable afterwards, it was SO worth it. When I got home, my host mom saw that I was drenched and started cracking up. She thought it was great that I celebrated and got in the fountain! Anyways, sorry this is so quick. I have to go meet my group and professor at the cathedral. I´ll give more updates later. Here are some pictures of the madness:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Some Funny Stories So Far

So, I have forgotten some funny stories that have happened throughout my trip so far. While I was in Rome at the Vatican Museum, I was walking out of it and a vendor guy was trying to sell me stuff. I completely ignored him, didn´t even look at him or anything because I didnt want to deal with it, so I guess that made him mad and he said ¨MEOWWWWW¨ right in my ear. Yes, I got meowed at. Naturally, I was like what the heck?! That was SO weird! But then I immediately started laughing because it was hilarious. Another story - I was in Paris and Chrissy and I were in a phone store trying to find headphones with a microphone. The guy working there didn´t speak any English, so we were just looking around minding our own business. Well, he starts trying to talk to us so I tell him that we didnt speak French, in French. Ya, huge mistake. He took that as I do speak French. I kept talking and talking and talking and I kept telling him that I didnt understand him - in French. I really had no idea what in the world he was saying, but he was super convinced that I did. Finally, we just started cracking up and left the store because he wouldnt stop talking to us. He probably thought we were some stupid Americans. Oh well.

Ok, now for some Spain stories. So, my first night here my mom made me dinner. (btw, whenever i refer to my mom, i mean my host mom.) She made me a fried egg and ham. Harmless, right?! WRONG!! I took a bite of the egg and it was so salty that I almost threw up right there. It was horrible! Like, I was crunching salt. I couldnt eat it and I didnt want to offend her, so I just scarfed down the ham and told her I was full. The next day, she made me a salad. Just lettuce and dressing, what could go wrong? Well, appàrently she coats her salad with salt too! So, after that I decided that I had to say something. At dinner the next night, I saw her getting that salt out, so immediately I go ¨NO ME GUSTA MUCHA SAL EN MI COMIDA!¨ (Which means I dont like a lot of salt on my food.) She goes, oh! Ok! She thought it was strange, but layed off the salt thank goodness. Now, everytime she cooks she jokes with me that she´s only using a tiny bit of salt. OH! I can´t believe I forgot to tell this story - when I first got to Oviedo and met my host mom, she grabbed my face and was telling me how beautiful I was. She had my head in a firm grip and kept moving it towards different people and saying ¨Don´t you think she´s so beautiful!¨ She did it to my professor too, which I hadnt talked to much before and he was just like ¨Oh, yaaa...¨ As if I wasnt overwhelmed enough, having a grandma that I just met squeezing my face definitely didnt help. Anyways, Im out of time. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Hey! I know, I know, I´ve dropped off the face of the earth for a few days. I´ve been super bad about keeping you all updated. Sorry! But hey, in a way that´s good because it means that I´ve been busy and having fun! I don´t have time to give you a full update, but here´s the short version: the rest of Rome - great! Paris - awesome (except for the lack of AC and stinky people). I´ll put up pictures and more in depth updates later. I just got to Oviedo and well - it has been interesting so far! On the train from Madrid to Oveido I sat next to this really nice girl. She was 16 and from a town near Oviedo. I practiced my spanish with her and she practiced her english with me. It was really good! Then, I got to Oviedo and met my family - or lack there of. Its just me and an old lady. Exactly what I didnt want, but she´s really sweet and was super excited for me to get there. It was SO cute! When I showed up at the University, she was standing there with the letter I sent her (which had a picture of me) and when I walked up she had a huge smile on her face and said ¨Anna!¨ She greeted me with a huge hug and immediately started talking my ear off. haha! We walked to her apartment which was close to the University (thankfully) and showed me around. I have my own room and bathroom, which is nice! After showing me around, she made me some food. It was some janky pasta that was already sitting on the stove for who knows how long, some old,. hard bread, and some chicken. Oh well, she said that tomorrow we will have something better. I sure hope so! Then, she turned on the TV and it just so happened that The Notebook was on in spanish!! We watched that and then I showed her my pictures from Rome and Paris. Then, she talked my ear off some more and I´m not gonna lie, I understood probably 10% of what she said. She talks SO fast its ridiculous! I told her to slow down, but that didn´t really happen. Then, we rode the bus to her son´s house. He´s in his 50s I would guess. He has a wife and a daughter (maybe more kids, but that´s all that I met). I was so sad though because his daughter was leaving right when I got there. I need another young soul around here! Oh well. Her son and his wife were really nice. They made me feel at home and they actually understood that I dont know spanish that well so they talked slower. We sat around and watched another super sad movie. Luckily it was in spanish and I didnt understand much because it was so sad I was about to cry! If it were in english I for sure would have bawled and that would have been super embarrassing! Then, instead of riding the bus back, we walked. That was a long walk. Especially since she talked the whole time and I still understood almost nothing. I probably covered all of Oviedo in my first few hours there! Anyways, and now I´m here at the internet cafe writing this. My madre made me come in here (I mean there was no objection on my part). She was like you need to call your family and boyfriend! haha! Anyways, I have my placement test for my spanish classes tomorrow. I´m so nervous!! Wish me luck! Adios for now