Archive for July, 2013

¡Estoy aquí!: Llegada en Madrid y Segovia

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Después de un viaje muy largo que incluyó Dulles, Paris, y alrededor de ochos horas pasaron en aviones, finalmente nosotros llegamos en Madrid al mediodía del 24th de junio. Al Tyrp Hotel Chamartín comimos y tuvimos un descanso breve. Más tarde, visitamos algunos lugares diferentes de la ciudad. Vimos La Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, el Palacio Royal, y la Catedral de Almudena. El centro de Madrid está en la Puerta del Sol. El Palacio y la catedral fueron mis lugares favoritos que nosotros visitamos. El palacio era muy elegante y cada cuarto tenía impresionante decoración.

Me and the Royal Palace

 

 

Me and Almudena Cathedral

 

Al día siguiente fuimos a Segovia que era muy bonita y pintoresca. La arquitectura antigua era extraordinaria y tomé muchas fotos por toda la ciudad. La vista de la torre a El Alcázar era la mejor parte del día. La escalera de la torre era muy antigua con 152 peldaños de piedra. El Alcázar es una castilla muy antigua y bonita. Muchos americanos están familiares con el diseño y la arquitectura de la castilla porque es una de las inspiraciones por la castilla de Cinderella en el mundo de Disney. Las salas de El Alcázar también son muy bonitas con oro, tapicerias, y pinturas. Yo preferí Segovia a Madrid porque era más tranquila y no estaba tanta gente.

Segovia Castle

 

 

Segovia 3

Durante nuestro día final en Madrid, visitamos el Museo de Prado que contiene muchas pinturas muy famosas. Yo estaba emocionada de ver Las Meninas de Diego Velázquez porque aprendía sobre la pintura cuando estaba en mi clase del español de AP en el colegio. La pintura es muy grande y impresionante. Estaba muy feliz que tuve la oportunidad a visitar un museo con obras famosas de arte. Después de la gira del Museo de Prado, salimos Madrid y empezamos nuestro viaje a Bilbao.

期中考 學習 玩。。。芒果 噴 有害怕我。。。 雪麗 男 對 菜: 台灣 式 … “Midterm exam study fun…Mango Season Has Mortified Me…Shirley on Man Vs. Food : Taiwan Style…”

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

期中考 學習 玩。。。芒果 噴 有害怕我。。。 雪麗 男 對 菜: 台灣 式 …

二 零 一 三 年. 七月. 二 十 六 號. 星期五

昨天我很高興 因為  星期五!    上中文課很 玩。 老師 幫我們 複習 星期一 的 考試。 我們 打一個 遊戲.  要是 我們 給老師 錯誤的答案 然後 我們 獲

Team Xueli delivering punishment: 1 Minute Wall Squat! They did better than I thought...maybe 2 minutes would have been appropriate.

Team Xueli delivering punishment: 1 Minute Wall Squat! They did better than I thought…maybe 2 minutes would have been appropriate.

xing。 Team A(雪麗) 比 Team B(麗蓬) 好! 哈哈哈哈!  我  說著wanr! 雪麗班 比 麗蓬 班 都很好! 。。。可是 學習班 的獲xing 非常好! ONE MINUTE WALL SQUAT! ! 哈哈哈哈!  請 大家 看 照片。。。

My food buddy, Aaron, and I tried this burrito! 很好吃! AND the mango smoothie that didn't last long...hehe

My food buddy, Aaron, and I tried this burrito! 很好吃! AND the mango smoothie that didn’t last long…hehe

下課 我的 Food buddy, Aaron, 跟我 一起 去 找 新菜。 大家 常常 說 “墨西哥 菜 商店 的 burrito 非常好吃!” 我也 們覺 的 非常 好吃! Burrito 祇 五 十五 塊 錢! 台灣 菜 比 美國 菜 便宜…非常 便宜 ! 我們 買 burrito 以後 我們 買 芒果 冰沙! 我們 很開心 芒果 冰沙 非常好喝! 每天 我 吃, 喝 芒果。。。我 愛 芒果! 大家知道這個!哈哈哈哈!  台灣 的 芒果 比 美國 的芒果 便宜。 。。。可是老師告訴 我 “下月 下來, 芒果 噴”. The Skies darkened, 我 嘶叫 。。。然後 我 說 “什麼!!!!!?!?!?!” 我不知道這個! 。。。我 開始計劃 。。。每天 上午 我 吃 芒果 。。。 什麼! 我決定: 我 得 很多吃 芒果! 問題解決了。。。哈哈哈哈!

上個 星期 我 請大家 見 我的 language partner, Christina. 她們 很 好人 。我覺得 她 很喜

the night market crowds are no joke! ;The fly swatter is electric (inside joke, Ha!); The scent of the herbs on that grill was SO strong...and delicious!; John and I were in a trance staring at how the man was preparing the meat...it looked SO delicious...then we found out the servings were in pieces...just give us the entire thing!  Hahaha!

the night market crowds are no joke! ;The fly swatter is electric (inside joke, Ha!); The scent of the herbs on that grill was SO strong…and delicious!; John and I were in a trance staring at how the man was preparing the meat…it looked SO delicious…then we found out the servings were in pieces…just give us the entire thing! Hahaha!

歡她們.  Doris 幫我 計畫! 今天 晚上我跟 台湾朋友, 美国朋友去吃漢堡。飯館叫Honey Bee. 我覺得那名字很有意思。 Honey Bee, 漢堡… 很有意思。。。她很高兴认识他們可是她很忙。。。所以Sean, John, Doris, 和我 等 她, 點菜。我點牛肉慢報。 我记得请Sean “這個漢堡大不大?” 他 告訴 我 “漢堡 很大!” 。。。我愛漢堡所以…我很開心。 可是我很吃驚了!!!!! 哈哈哈哈!   服務員 給 我們 防毒手套。 我跟John 說“什麼?!” 我 請 Sean,“為甚麼 服務員給我們 這個?” 他 告訴我 “我們用吃漢堡, 漢堡很膩, 保護 双手”。 服務員帶我們 漢堡。 。。。很大! 我很驚奇。。。那個漢堡很大! 我覺得我在 Man. Vs. Food 電視! 我 開始 有 “the it is.” 要是 你 很多吃 然後 你 有the itis. 你覺得 昏昏欲睡. 可是 我們覺得 漢堡 非常好吃! 下 吃 Christina 到 飯館! 我很 高興看她! 我教我的 台灣 朋友…” itis …not food coma!” John 跟我 辯論 了! 他 告訴 他們 “food coma”. 哈哈哈哈!  誰 說 那個??? 請告訴我…

The Honey Bee restaurant was interestingly decorated... but that hamburger was HUGE! l was eating a hamburger with Gloves...this is Man vs. Food! Ha!

The Honey Bee restaurant was interestingly decorated… but that hamburger was HUGE! l was eating a hamburger with Gloves…this is Man vs. Food! Ha!
John tossed everything into his hamburger!

我們 去夜市。 一直夜市 很忙 可是 我們 有 玩。 台灣 的 真皮 比 美國 的 真皮 便宜! 第一天 我去夜市, 我 見 墨西哥人 男。 他 說 中文, 英文 可是 他 告訴 我 “我不說 英文” 所以 我 說 他 中文. 那天 說很難. 他 台灣  朋友 所 我 可是 他們 知道 他 說 英文。他 幫我 練習! 哈哈哈哈! 我喜欢  墨西哥人 男。

下夜市 以後 我很累! 我要看 Inglorious Bastards 可是 非常累. 我很高興 去 睡覺。 每天 我 很高興 去 睡覺。哈哈哈哈!

明天見!

At the end of the evening! From right to left...Sean, Doris, Me, John, and Christina!

At the end of the evening!
From right to left…Sean, Doris, Me, John, and Christina!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013.07.26. Friday

Yesterday, I was excited because it was FRIDAY!  Class was really fun. My professor helped us to review for Monday’s midterm.  We played a game. If we gave our professor the wrong answer then we were punished. Team Shirley was MUCH better than Team B!!!! HA! I am just kidding…Both teams were very good! …but Team Xueli’s punishments were extremely good! ONE MINUTE WALL SQUAT!!! Everyone, please view the photo…

Team Xueli delivering punishment: 1 Minute Wall Squat! They did better than I thought...maybe 2 minutes would have been appropriate.

Team Xueli delivering punishment: 1 Minute Wall Squat! They did better than I thought…maybe 2 minutes would have been appropriate.

After class my food buddy, Aaron, and I went to eat a new food. Everyone kept saying “The Mexican burritos are EXTREMELY delicious!” Aaron and I also felt that the burrito was delicious! It cost us only NT55 = USD1.83! Taiwan’s food compared to American food is significantly less expensive! After we bought the burrito we also bought mango smoothies! We were happy because they were extremely delicious! Every day, I eat mango…I LOVE mango! Everyone knows this! HAHAHA!!! The mango in Taiwan is significantly cheaper than in America…but today my professor told me that “This month mango season will be over.” The skies darkened, I screamed….then I said, “WHAT!?!?!?!?!!!!” I didn’t know this! …I started to plan….every morning I eat mango… I decided that I will eat a LOT of mango! Problem solved…HAHAHA!

My food buddy, Aaron, and I tried this burrito! 很好吃! AND the mango smoothie that didn't last long...hehe

My food buddy, Aaron, and I tried this burrito! 很好吃! AND the mango smoothie that didn’t last long…hehe

Last week, I asked everyone to meet my language partner, Christina.  They are very good people. I felt that she would really like them. Doris helped me plan! Tonight, my Taiwan friends and American friend went to eat hamburgers! The

the night market crowds are no joke! ;The fly swatter is electric (inside joke, Ha!); The scent of the herbs on that grill was SO strong...and delicious!; John and I were in a trance staring at how the man was preparing the meat...it looked SO delicious...then we found out the servings were in pieces...just give us the entire thing!  Hahaha!

the night market crowds are no joke! ;The fly swatter is electric (inside joke, Ha!); The scent of the herbs on that grill was SO strong…and delicious!; John and I were in a trance staring at how the man was preparing the meat…it looked SO delicious…then we found out the servings were in pieces…just give us the entire thing! Hahaha!

name of the restaurant was “Honey Bee. I felt that that name was very interesting. Honey Bee and hamburgers…very interesting indeed. Christina was very excited to meet everyone but she was a little busy… so Sean, John, Doris, and I waited for her and ordered hamburgers. I ordered a cheese hamburger. I remember asking Sean “Is this hamburger big?” He told me “the hamburger is very big!” …I LOVE hamburgers so I was very happy. But I was shocked!! The server brought us gloves. John and I were like “What!?” I asked Sean, “Why did the waiter give us gloves?” He told me, “We eat hamburgers with them because the hamburger is very greasy and the gloves protect your hands.” The waiter brought us our hamburgers…they were HUGE! I was shocked… that hamburger was HUGE! I felt like I was in the Man vs. Food show!  I started to get “the itis”. If you eat a lot then you get the itis. In other words, you feel VERY drowsy. But…I felt the hamburger was extremely good! After we ate, Christina arrived! I was very excited to see her. I taught my Taiwanese friends that when you eat a lot and you get tired, you have the “itis”. John and I argued because he insisted it was “food coma”. WHO says that? Please tell me…

The Honey Bee restaurant was interestingly decorated... but that hamburger was HUGE! l was eating a hamburger with Gloves...this is Man vs. Food! Ha!

The Honey Bee restaurant was interestingly decorated… but that hamburger was HUGE! l was eating a hamburger with Gloves…this is Man vs. Food! Ha!

We went to the night market. Usually the night market is very busy but we had fun. Genuine leather in Taiwan is MUCH cheaper than it is in the United States. The first time that I went to the night market, I met a Mexican man. He spoke Chinese and English but he told me that he only speaks English so I spoke to him in Chinese. That day speaking in Chinese was extremely difficult. His Taiwanese friends were amused because they knew that the Mexican man could speak English. He helped me practice. Ha! I like him though. I said “hello” to him!

After the night market, I was VERY tired! I wanted to watch Inglorious Bastards but I was extremely tired! I was excited to go to sleep. Every day, I am excited to go to sleep! Hahaha!

See you tomorrow!

At the end of the evening! From right to left...Sean, Doris, Me, John, and Christina!

At the end of the evening!
From right to left…Sean, Doris, Me, John, and Christina!

Blog 16 My week in review gets profound

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013, updated 7/29

 

Things are clicking into place. I watch television and understand the commercials, movies, and much of the news. They talk so fast! In the beginning I could only pick up words, then sentences, and now I understand the meaning. I am so glad I have a host mother like Lourdes. She is very independent does her own thing often, giving me a lot of freedom. At first I didn’t know what to do with myself in Spain or how to adapt to her costumbres. Being isolated from the English speaking students at Colegio Mayor, I have a much of a richer immersion experience: applied Spanish skills, exceptional food, good company, and an insider’s insight on the culture. I am very independent and not afraid to take myself on my own adventures.

 

Yesterday, I finally wrote my blog entries about Barcelona and Fiesta de Paellas! Amid the fast pace of events, I wasn’t sure what was right, but I clung to my original choice. I didn’t know the word to describe the feeling. Could it be stubbornness? I described it to Felix in Spanish like so: “I choose a path and keep walking straight on the path no matter what.” What do you call that? No not stubbornness, he corrected me: capacidad de decisión. Through putting the chaos into words and sharing my story with Lourdes and Felix, I appreciate how unique and strong one must be to travel alone, smartly.

 

Today the first article that I coincidentally encountered in the Spanish fashion magazine, S Moda, was titled “Pasajeras solitarias,” meaning, solitary female travelers. I can’t find the article anywhere online and, besides it’s in Spanish, so bear with me as I relate it to you. The author, Leticia García, says that tourism is ever more popular among solitary female travelers today. In recent years, women have traveled 53% more and they have done it with their suitcase as their exclusive companion.

 

As the writer Mark Twain used to say…

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

 

This quote sums up the broader mind that cultural awareness brings. However in Twain’s world, women were prohibited from travel and García features how women have broken out of the preconceptions of a society that viewed them as housewives and regarded female travelers negatively. Even today, many people believe that women go alone because they have nobody to accompany them. Today (as of 2011) CAP Strategic Research findings show that women are the most important sector in tourism. There are dangerous societies for women, maintains Mary Morris, author of Journey Woman. Meanwhile, she upholds that being alone permits a woman to learn more by herself.

 

I am fortunate to be able to travel and gifted with courage. In retrospect, with regard to the Barcelona trip, I could not have done it without my grandmother’s advice to not go. Nor could I have done it without my mom’s unconditional support. Nor could I have done it without my inner drive to demonstrate to myself (and to my grandmother) that I will go and I will have a good time. It was a learning experience. The worst decision I could have made in traveling alone would have been to never try at all. In overcoming the challenges of travel I show myself that I can be the better person, even though it is not easy.

La Ciudad y la Arena 2013-07-26 19:02:34

Friday, July 26th, 2013

DSC_0106   IMG_1789

A treadmill is dragging me whether I want it to or not. If I run the other way I will just fall off and miss everything that is to come. When I finally found the perfect spot to watch the sunset, it had already sunk into still indigo waters. Everything is moving faster and I can’t press pause. I want to breathe and pretend that these moments of clear salt water laughter and the echo of a grand piano through walls older than my country won’t fade to memory.

I am gripping every moment as tightly as I possibly can, but they are now slippery wet between my fingers and are sliding backward and forward. Into the known and the unknown, where all of everything that is so real and deeply embedded in my heart at this moment will soon fade to distant memories.  I will carry these memories, these moments that have changed who I am in far more aspects than I could have imagined with me in a leak-proof jar within me forever, but I will never be able to open their lid to revisit and relive.

I thought of coming back for a whole semester, but I realized that nothing could ever be the same.  I can always come back here, but I can never come back to now. The people I love would be missing, and I would have aged in mind and experience. In several days the joyous curiosity of trials, failures, winning, learning and the perfect friendships of the present will be lost in a state of time hardly different from a dream. I want to stay and learn and live, but I feel like I’m leaving home with no way to ever come back.

IMG_1800  DSC_0107

我記得了…那碗面…我愛你!!! “I Remember…That Bowl of Noodles… I LOVE YOU!!!”

Friday, July 26th, 2013

今天是 二 零 一 三年. 七月.二十五 號. 星期四

好久不見! 明天我開始寫我的 网志 中文! 我得練習很多!

Richard, Alan, Laura, and myself after filling bowls of delicious noodles and a game of  cards!

Richard, Alan, Laura, and myself after filling bowls of delicious noodles and a game of cards!

今天我很忙. 我覺得 非常 累 可是  很 高興! 今天 上午 九點十 我 去 看 我的 導師. 我們 練習很多我的語法, 生 詞, 發音, 聽, 說. 中文很難可是我很喜歡學習中文. 我每天覺得 “學習 中文 很難!” 今天我卡住了! 我的發音非常不好. ..非常難 可是 今天比 上上個星期 很 好. 我的 导師 常常 告訴 我 “說慢 所以 你 學習 發音!” 我的導師 非常好!  每天我複習 四聲. 我常常聽錄音練習. 我看导師 以後 去 上課. 老師教了我們 複習, 練習四聲, 生 詞. 還有 老師 告訴 我們  “下個星期一 我們 考試.” 今天我的朋友有考試. 她們告訴 我 “考試 非常 高難.”這個周末我要 練習很多! 下課我常常複習我的 筆錄 所以 我 還是 有考試考得很好吧.

Wanton dry noodle...just delicious!

Wanton dry noodle…just delicious!

今天下午我跟我的同學, 台灣朋友吃午飯. 我們去餐廳吃 一 碗面. 我覺得 一 碗面 非常好吃! 我 買 dry noodle and wanton. 很好吃…  下個星期我回來! 吃午飯 以後 我的朋友和我 打 西班牙人 的 牌. 我的美國朋友Richard 教 我們  (Alan, Laura, 和我)…可是 他 常常 非常 偷偷摸摸! 我不喜歡那個! 他告訴”我不是偷偷摸摸!” 哈哈哈哈哈哈!!!

Playing cards...Richard has graced us with one of his many facial expressions. As usual, Up to no good! Ha!

Playing cards…Richard  graced us with one of his many facial expressions. As usual, Up to no good! Ha!

今天 開始 複習 星期一的考試! 我得做非常好. 收到了!!! (我的 导師 教 了 怎麼說 那個.

現在 一 十二點 二十七 上午…我非常累 所以 我 去 睡覺.明天見我很忙 可是 我 就有 二节課.
明天 星期五! 我很高興 可是 台灣的天氣 非常熱…我常常覺得 非常累…這個周末 我得學習 中文,睡覺! 我也 得 寫 完 我的 研究生院 文章.

明天…我再覺得很忙.明天我希望我不太忙… 可是。。。收到了!

所以…我得說…明天我跟朋友要吃 漢堡! …非常好吃…我在很高興.    哈哈哈哈哈哈!!!

明天見!

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“Today’s date is 2013. 07. 25. Thursday.

Long time no see! Tomorrow, I will start writing my blogs in Chinese! I need to practice a lot!

Richard, Alan, Laura, and myself after filling bowls of delicious noodles and a game of  cards!

Richard, Alan, Laura, and myself after filling bowls of delicious noodles and a game of cards!

Today, I was very busy.  I felt very tired but very excited! This morning at 9:10 AM, I went to see my tutor. We practiced a lot of tones, vocabulary, grammar, listening, and speaking. Chinese language is very difficult but I really like learning Chinese. I think “Chinese is very difficult!” every day.  Today, I was struggling! My pronunciation is really bad… pronunciation is extremely difficult but my pronunciation today compared to my pronunciation two weeks ago is VERY good! My tutor often tells me “Speak slowly so you learn pronunciation!”  My tutor is the best! :-D Every day, I review tones. I often listen and practice. After I saw my tutor, I went to class. My professor taught us tones, listening, speaking, and vocabulary. Also, laoshi told us that next Monday we have a test.” Today my friends had a test and they told me the test was “extremely challenging.” This weekend I must review a LOT! Today, I started to review. After class, I often review my notes so I’d better do well on that test.

Playing cards...Richard has graced us with one of his many facial expressions. As usual, Up to no good! Ha!

Playing cards…Richard graced us with one of his many facial expressions. As usual, Up to no good! Ha!

Wanton dry noodle...just delicious!

Wanton dry noodle…just delicious!

This afternoon my classmates, Taiwanese friends, and myself went to go eat lunch! We went to a restaurant to eat a bowl of noodles. Those noodles were EXTREMELY good!! I bought dry noodle and wanton. VERY delicious! …Next week, I will come back! After we ate, we played a Spanish card game. My American friend, Richard, taught us how to play… BUT he is often very sneaky! I don’t like that! LOL He told me “I am not sneaky!” HA!

Today I started to review for Monday’s test. I need to do extremely well. I GOT THIS!!! (My tutor taught me how to say that.)

Right now it’s 12: 27 AM… I am extremely tired so I’m going to sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll be busy but I just have two classes.  Tomorrow is Friday! VERY excited but Taiwan’s weather is extremely hot so it makes me very tired very often… This weekend, I need to study Chinese and SLEEP!  I also need to finish writing my graduate school essay.

Tomorrow, I will be busy again but I hope I won’t be extremely busy. …BUT…I GOT THIS!

Sooo… I have to say… Tomorrow, I will eat HAMBURGERS with friends… EXTREMELY good! I am too excited! HAHA!!

See you tomorrow! “

Les Zombies

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Les zombies

 

Les Zombies: the best French 80s, female punk band that you’ve never heard of.

Lions and Dogs

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

On Monday, Caitlin and I visited Saint-Denis in the north of Paris. Saint-Denis is known for 2 things; first, it is the first church to be done in the Gothic style and second, it is home to the burial place of the French kings.

One thing that I noticed while I was that the sculptures of the kings and queens up until the 16th century had lions and dogs buried at their feet. I noticed that almost all of the women had a dog or dogs at their feet and the men had a combination of a lion, a dog, or both at their feet. So I did a little research and I discovered what the symbolism behind them is.

Lions represent strength, bravery and courage, which makes sense that they were at the feet of kings.

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However the dogs can represent 2 things. First of all, when they are at the feet of women they symbolize fidelity and affection. When they are at the feet of a man, it shows his valor as a knight or a hunter.

IMG_0466

Bogna Jakubowska, “Give Me Ex Ore Leonis,” Artibus et Historiae 12 (1991): 57.

Side note: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe was made for John the Baptist in the 10th century!!! Old much

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Side note: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe was made for John the Baptist in the 10th century!!! Old much

Last few excursions!!!

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Winery- Rioja Alavesa


We went to a winery this week for the business program.  It was such a pretty area.  Our tour guide was saying that this winery is protected from the heat from the south (Madrid and stuff) and the cold weather from the north!  It was just a super pretty place, we toured the company and then we had wine tasting.  I am not a big wine person, the red wine was better than the white wine; in the end they both were not enjoyable.  Also, all my friends enjoyed the wine and said it was one of the best wines they have ever had.  What ever floats your boat!  Even afterwards students bought wine for their family and themselves.  I bought zero bottles; my parents aren’t even wine drinkers! Now I can say I’ve been to a brewery and a winery; now what?!  Fun fact: they have a bottle of wine from every year since they have existed! Which is from 1800s.  So crazy, they only use these bottles for special occasions like the king of Spain!image

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe


Becka, Haley, John, Jankell and I went on a voyage to San Juan de Gazelugatxe, which is a hermitage (where religious people stay in seclusion) atop a mountain off the coast in Bermeo.  The hermitage seemed empty when we went, but it was a good 230 steps to get up there plus the stairs to go down the mainland.  It was so darn steep; I WILL HAVE BEAUTIFUL CALVES WHEN I GET HOME! But the view was stunning and so amazing.  It wasn’t a hot day either, it semi rained; which was better.  I wanted to stay there all day, but we were getting so so hungry! Also, it was a struggle to get to San Juan because we didn’t know which buses went that far from Bilbao!  But it was a great workout and a great experience! yay!image

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imageBecka and me in our hiking gear!!imageHaley and me, with John in the background…imageThe view from the hermitage.  So crazy!

Either way, the hike was crazy but the end result was worth it.  Then we ended that day with kebabs!!! wahh

Hasta luego amigos! 

Blog 15 Concurso internacional de paellas 7-25

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

School’s off today for the national holiday of Santiago! – and I’m headed to Algorta for the Concurso Internacional de Paellas!!! By the way I was not in that train wreck in Galicia, Spain, and I am ok.

I am very much an independent person, but if I can go with friends I will. And so, I planned on meeting with a group of university students at the Algorta metro at 11am. I waited for a half hour and then decided to walk to the Concurso internacional de paellas alone, sola. Going unaccompanied and being independent has become a lot easier with practice (i.e. Barcelona). I made friends with an elderly Spanish couple and walked with them most of the way to the festival. They were very kind and friendly. The man offered to take a picture of me, one, in front of the old windmill “molina” and, another, in front of the cliff overlooking the port. We said goodbye and then I walked the rest of the way to the festival where I saw the traditional dance, clothing, and music.

Near the entrance, I listened to men playing wood music called “Txalaparta.” They used this all over País Vasco a long time ago to communicate between cities. Then I took myself over to the stage where two men played music – “flute and drum” txistu (la flauta) y tamboril. Adorable Euskaldi children dressed in traditional outfits danced to the traditional music. Llevaban ropa azul marino de arrantzale (pescadoras) de neskas e hicieron danzas vascas – They were wearing traditional navy blue outfits “of the mariners/fishermen,” de arrantzale in Basque. De neskas is Basque for “of children” and danzas vascas are “Basque dances.” It was an event for both families and young people con demonstraciones tipicas de folclore. Euskaldi flags were everywhere, which is understandable. I was surprised by how popular pirate flags are, especially among the young people, Lourdes says it is a sign of rebellion. That seems to me to be similar to the attitude toward pirate flags in the U.S. Cooking the paella is a big deal—but nowhere will you find paella you can buy. This paella is not for outsiders! Each group of people sets up their own tent and cooks their own paella to share with their party. I walked around for about an hour just looking at the people cooking various types of paella, not expecting to eat any. Who did I know? I didn’t belong to any party and came independently.

Then I unexpectedly saw Joseba, the Spanish many I made friends with at the beach party that one night in Sopelana. He was with a party of people cooking paella, drinking sangria, and hanging out. He invited me to join him and he introduced me to his friends, all of them were Spanish and most were of Basque blood and had Euskaldi names that were difficult to remember, like Iratxe. We spoke in Spanish. A few of them tried to practice their poor English skills with me and when I couldn’t understand I asked them to just speak castellano (Spanish). I made friends really fast! They are such nice people gente maja and I got to be the “exotic friend” because I am American. They asked me how old I was and I answered 20, how old do I seem? She expected 25. Maybe she thought I was older because of my maturity, or maybe because I came alone.The girls and I partied all night. By the end of the day, there was trash everywhere and everyone was drunk. People don’t hold anything back during the summer fiestas because it rains so much, they usually stay in their homes. Iratxe accompanied me on the metro, she got off at Areeta and I got off at Sarriko.