Archive for the ‘bilbao’ Category

Adiós

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Yes I am home, back in America!  My flight back went well.  The layover in Paris wasn’t bad at all either.  The 8 hour flight to Dulles sucked.  There were kids running around, Shaq was a flight attendant and kept hitting me every time he passed by, and the food wasn’t that great either.  Also, when I went through customs they didn’t believe I was 20 so they stopped me and searched my bags!  Wow, there went another 30 minutes!  Anyways, that night was long, but we made it home with a stop at Chad’s house, who did not have popcorn like I wanted!  But pizza made the cut!

Back to Spain, I love Spain.  It’s so beautiful and I loved learning about the culture and such, but I am glad to be home and to be an American!  I would love to go back too!  Who wants to join me!?  Anyways, I am thankful for the opportunity and the experience! Yay, until next time Spain, agur (goodbye in basque).  

Adiós

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Yes I am home, back in America!  My flight back went well.  The layover in Paris wasn’t bad at all either.  The 8 hour flight to Dulles sucked.  There were kids running around, Shaq was a flight attendant and kept hitting me every time he passed by, and the food wasn’t that great either.  Also, when I went through customs they didn’t believe I was 20 so they stopped me and searched my bags!  Wow, there went another 30 minutes!  Anyways, that night was long, but we made it home with a stop at Chad’s house, who did not have popcorn like I wanted!  But pizza made the cut!

Back to Spain, I love Spain.  It’s so beautiful and I loved learning about the culture and such, but I am glad to be home and to be an American!  I would love to go back too!  Who wants to join me!?  Anyways, I am thankful for the opportunity and the experience! Yay, until next time Spain, agur (goodbye in basque).  

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! 

Three weeks and counting

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Yeah, I’ve been in Spain for more than 3 weeks and I leave in less than 2 weeks. That’s so crazy. This place is so beautiful and peaceful. I realized that after I heard protesters gelling something in Spanish about a barrio which is a district of a city. I felt bad for the cafés and stores around it. I am just not feeling a little but homesick, only my mother’s cooking and my family/friends and my dog. It’s not serious, just every now and then I’m craving some good sinegun (Filipino soup) or some adobo (Filipino meal) or even some darn good cornbread!! Where is my mama?!!? On the thee hand, I go to Germany this weekend to visit my brother, Herbbie, and his family!! I haven’t seen them for about 3 years so this will be great! I can’t wait, also because it will deter my homesick feelings! Yay for traveling!!
So an update on classes. Spanish is still difficult, but I’m learning a lot and it’s almost over haha! IB is so interesting! Seriously, we learn about business around the world, hence International business, but it’s in a fun way. Even the teacher is cool. She knows when class gets boring and tries to help us get out of class early. Ahh, please come to Mary Wash and be my teacher for every class! Anyways, we have finals in two Mondays! Yay!

Deusto should seriously come up with a new printing system.  The library is so difficult and you need a flash drive for the photocopy room.  NO ONE TOLD ME TO BRING A FLASH DRIVE… Anyways, good thing I can email from my iPhone; it saves me every time!

Also, I just realized that I have to walk down the side of a mountain in order to go to school and/or walk back home.  It’s about a 5-10 minute walk down/up the mountain.  I mean it could be a hill but it’s so huge so I’m going to call it a mountain! Recently, I’ve decided to climb back up the mountain to get back home instead of wasting money and taking the metro up the hill; it’s a struggle especially when it’s like 80 degrees.  Who has time for that!?  But it’s a good exercise I must say!

I will be gone this weekend, pray for safe travels! Thanks (:

The business group went to an engineering company and we saw 3D…

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013


The business group went to an engineering company and we saw 3D printer !!! So cool #3dprinter #spain #bilbao #deusto

Amurica the beautiful and free

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

HAPPY BELATED INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!  It was way different celebrating the 4th in Spain.  A few girls and I went to the beach first which was extremely hot! Then Karolina and I were so hungry we found a kebab near by!!  That was my first kebab and it was so good.  Karolina said they are so much better in Europe than in America!  Good thing I had it here first! Anyways, the students tried to get the whole program to hangout at a bar and they would play american music.  That was pretty fun, but it was a Thursday so everyone who lived far from that bar had to get on the last metro to Bilbao — which was like 10:30pm.  That night ended early.  I chilled outside my apartment and just embraced my surroundings.  It was nice!

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FRIDAY


So everyone wanted to go the beach after school.  I went to the res. halls and had my siesta there.  Then, I went to check out the mall with Brittany. There is a McDonalds and a Burger King there.  The McChicken is call the McPollo…. bahaha! But the Big Mac is the same.. Do you Spain! Also, they serve beer here! What an option!imageAfter that, I went back to my place and chilled in the park and just was in realization that I’m so excited to be here, in this country.  I was literally smiling for like 30 mins, then I heard this owl, but it wasn’t an owl.  It was some like of pigeon.  Annoying little thing! image

Saturday


We had a planned excursion by the school to Urdaibai, Spain.  It was about a 30 minute bus ride to the east near the Bay of Biscay. (The video I posted yesterday was from the Mundaka beach. The place was spectacular!  This is the beach that people are allowed to surf at.  We didn’t have much time to go in the water, mainly because we were hungry so we chose finding food over getting to the water.  But we had a great view of the beach and was able to watch the surfers do their thing.  It was awesome! image

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image(also this is a tortilla de patatas)!

The view was so great, seriously I thought I was dreaming again.  Angelica and I were talking about how we dream about going to amazing places in the world.  We’re here at this beautiful beach and now what you know? We just sat there after the ledge and watched the surfers and enjoyed the short time provided to us!  Then it was time for SIESTA!!! Can we begin by stating that there were only 3 serves for 120+ students and staff there.  Let’s just say it took a long time to get the food to everyone!  Our first course was a ensalada con atún = salad with tuna.  They love themselves some tuna!! It was good, but they drenched it in vinegar and oil! The second course was this beef with veggies and mash potatoes.  That was good, but the mash potatoes were different; there wasn’t a real flavor to it.  Almost like paste!! I don’t know!  The dessert was cheesecake.  I do not like cheesecake for real, but this was more like whipped cream and it was soooooo good! I which I could have had seconds on that! It was drizzled with cherries and pistachios! YUM, then they gave us coffee to end the siesta!  It took us 3hours to do all of that! 

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We ended that trip with at tour of the Gernika Museum and of Peace.  That was pretty cool with the conflict with the Civil War and the Basque Country and also how other countries helped Spain recover! image

Diferente dos

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I’ve been in Spain for two weeks now.  It definitely does not feel that way.  I haven’t been home sick, so that’s a plus! But here are more differences that I have noticed over the weeks.  I wanted to post these before I post the next blog!

1. The building floors began at 0 and go up positive and down negative. For example, a house in America can have a first floor, a second floor and a basement. In Spain, it would be first floor = 0 floor, second floor = 1st floor and basement = -1 floor. Yeah, it makes sense to me, but the whole 0 floor gets me all the time.

2. Beaches in Spain: women are allowed to go topless and babies can be naked. There are some nude beaches but you have to go find them haha. I think it would be cool to say that I’ve been to one, but not take part in it!

3. There are so many pigeons in Bilbao, like there are squirrels on the UMW campus. I prefer the squirrels, because they don’t poop everywhere and they cannot fly!! Also, you can get really close to these pigeons and they don’t fly away just walk faster.  Becka and Haley tried to grab one, I would definitely try it.  But I don’t want the locals to think I’m crazy or something…

4. Families and their kids play on the wide sidewalks throughout town, like in the city!! It’s like normal. Kids ride bikes with parents and there are numerous play parks for kids. I feel like it’s more accepted here, in this busy city than in most American cities. But I found out part of the reason is because a lot of people (adults—between 18-26) don’t have jobs so they go out and do things. The unemployment rate is 28.6% !!! That’s crazy and unbelievable!  They do appreciate their environment and enjoy it while they can.

  • Also, that’s what most host families become host families.  They cannot get a job so they get paid good money to care for a college student.  I could dig it.  I mean it’s sad, but you have to do what you can!

5. People tell me wifi is scare, but it doesn’t seem that way! There is wifi in plazas and in coffee shops and such. We just can’t do anything without wifi. America needs to step it up with free wifi in plazas or at parks (if this isn’t already a thing)!

6. People stare a lot. It’s kind of uncomfortable. They stare for a long time too, like I smile back and they look away like I didn’t catch them staring… Yes, it is apart of their culture like I stated in my earlier post, but it can get uncomfortable.  I’ve learned to say HOLA or smile.  One time I did give them a nasty look, but that wasn’t a good day.  They just know we’re Americans and want to admire and observe us! Different right?

7. There is no HUMIDITY here. It’s amazing. When we went to the beach it was nice not having my towel drenched in sweat! I’ve never experienced that before. So it’s so great! The downfall is iI’m dark-skinned so ash is noticeable on me and my skin gets so dry from no humidity.  It’s so crazy!

8. School is really cheap in Europe.  We talked about this in my IB class, which I found interesting.  It makes me want to move to Spain and go to medical school here!  Why not? WHILE IN SPAIN…..  The bad thing is that the job opportunity sucks here.  A fresh out of school doctor gets paid like €2.000 ( which is less than $2,000)

9. There is very little handicap accessibility.  It’s sad, the entrances to most places/building has a little step.  That is nothing.  I was surprised by this.

10. So let’s talk about the bars.  Some places with a bar do not open their kitchens until 8pm or 9pm.  So they serve pinxtos, which are basically small plates of food to go with your drink.  An example is, tortillas de patatas or a mini sandwich.  They are so good, but it sucks when you go with friends before your host mom has made dinner (remember they don’t eat till like 10pm) so you want to go out and look for food, we have to wait till places are open.  It’s a little different and sometimes stinks because you have not had food since 1pm… yep the ultimate struggle!

11.  The stairwell is backwards here.  Look at the picture and the upward stairs are usually on the right.  THEY’RE ON THE LEFT HERE.  I’ve ran into people because no one knows to walk up them.  We’re not use to this!image

12. Everyone smokes here.  Literally before class Thursday all the teachers were outside smoking! I just walked by all of them and said Hola… It has to be a European thing, because even Erin said people smoke out Italy too. I mean I guess it’s culture! I don’t know if you know this but in the UK they are trying to make a talking cigarette pack to try and make smokers stop smoking.  How crazy is that.  They mentioned it on Live with Kelly and Michael (yeah I still watch it when I have time)!

Mundaka, Spain.

Saturday, July 6th, 2013


Mundaka, Spain.

I kind of like it here…

Friday, July 5th, 2013

I really do.  Okay, so Bilbao is a city but it doesn’t seem as hectic or dirty as the cities in America.  I don’t like comparing, but let’s compare a few things.  

  • First, it is so clean here; yes they smoke a lot (it’s Europe) but the streets are pretty clean.  The metro is so nice, extremely nicer than the ones in DC (haven’t been on the ones in NYC).  The downfall is that it ends Sunday to Thursday at like 10:45pm and Friday and Saturday it runs all night.
  • People stare a lot and it’s a little strange.   I mean different; it’s part of their culture, which I can get use to because they’re basically admiring me (that’s what I’m telling myself!).  
  • Bilbao is near a river (Ria de Bilbao) and a 30 minute metro ride to the ocean/Bay of Biscay!  DC isn’t really near a body of water… 
  • DC is probably twice the size of Bilbao.  It also isn’t very well know, so when tourist visit they stick out like a sour thumb!
  • Continuing off that… DC is so diverse I love that so much!  You basically get food from everywhere.  I would never be homesick. 
  • Bilbao is pretty safe.  I think the professors keep telling us to not go to this part of town that is far south but other than that it’s quite safe!  Ehh DC is safe if you know people from there and familiarize yourself with DC.  Then you will know what parts are not safe, like the SW region!
  • Everyone in DC basically knows some kind of english.  Bilbao’s main language is Spanish or wait is it Basque? Yeah either way it is not my native language.  I could learn, but Basque is a whole other language! Wahh!!

I just adore cities.  The idea of walking around to a shop and saving money (that I do not have) sounds awesome and possible.  And cute shops are everywhere! I want to live in one after college! Who wants to join me!?  (:  Anyway, school here is really cheap but the job situation here sucks.  So I would love to go to Medical school there and then move back to the US and find a job!  That’s possible right? Yeah, let’s do that!

Hey lovely people! Bilbao has been treating me well.  Yes, classes are getting better as we speak….

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Hey lovely people! Bilbao has been treating me well.  Yes, classes are getting better as we speak.  The Spanish 4A (there’s a B class) class is tougher than I thought, but pray for me because the woman talks faster than what I’m use to.  Sorry if I am reiterating this, but there is a guy in my class that speaks French, Spanish, English, German and Arabic… tell me again how I got into this class. Well, he’s not the only one.  There are about 4 other people who are bilingual and are learning spanish as their 3rd language.  Also, it doesn’t help that my host family congregates in the living room and we don’t have dinner together because there isn’t a place to eat meals together.  That’s part of the experience I guess!?  I try to speak to them often, but I feel secluded in my room.  But it hasn’t been a whole week yet either! On the other hand, María complimented me this morning and packed me a lunch for the siesta! (:  And I discovered these beauties during lunch today.  America or UMW needs to step it up. It makes you coffee for like €0,60 (or not even $1) and gives you a good size.  The other machine has sandwiches and some other good options!  Why go out to eat when you can buy a while siesta here?! image

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This International Business class is getting really interesting.  Since I am the only person that is not majoring or minoring in business, everything they say is so interesting about how globalization effects people.  It’s just different than what I’ve been learning with math and science.  So I enjoy that aspect of class.

Then, I was walking down the hallway with Brittany and I saw this man that looked so familiar and realized it was Dr. Jose Sainz (the program director for study abroad to spanish speaking countries I believe, I could be wrong?!)  !!!! I didn’t know what was going on but I was so excited to see him.  I gave him a hug and we talked for a solid 10 minutes.  He was saying that he thought about me when he was at the airport because they were about to miss their flight to Bilbao but they made it in time.  But we will have a UMW meeting tomorrow.  He is just a great person and I was so ecstatic to see him. Haha that was a great and happy moment!

Shopping again?! Psshhh yes, we (Brittany and I) went shopping in Moyua!  They had so many sales.  I think I might be broke by the time I get home?! Yeah, ehh WHEN IN SPAIN…  !

Yesterday, I meet this girl from Norway, Ida, and I asked her if she was with a group like CIDE or something at Deusto. She say she found this program online and doesn’t know much spanish but is in Spanish 3.  She knows the basics like hola and adios.  The point is, I saw her today and we had coffee at Café & Té (which is an awesome place to chat and/or do homework!) after class. While in this coffee shop, I talked to Erin B!!!  We were planning our trip to Rome (:  YAY!

Ciao for now! ("bye" in Italian)!

Words to live by: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign." — Robert Louis Stevenson

Song of the day: Love and Happiness by Al Green