Archive for July, 2013

Mis primeros días en el País Vasco

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Los tres días en Madrid pasaron muy rápidos y mientras estabamos allí, me sentía un poco inquieta. Era difícil a vivir “out of a suitcase” sin tiempo libre. Sabía que me sentiría major cuando llegamos en Bilbao. Tan pronto como llegamos en Bilbao, nuestros familias estaban esperando por nosotros. Encontré mi mamá del anfitrión (“host mom”) y tomamos el metro a su apartamento en Gexto. El apartamento es muy bonita y mona. Yo tengo mi propio cuarto con Wi-Fi. Mi madre se llama Arantza y ella es muy simpática. Siento muy cómoda en mi nueva casa para un mes.

Pais Vasco Flag

El primer día a la Universidad de Deusto era muy emocionado y interesante. Mi parte favorito era la pequeña excursión de la ciudad. Bilbao es muy bonita y limpia, más de Madrid y diferente a Segovia. Caminamos en Gran Vía, una calle mayor de la ciudad. Todo la Universidad y la ciudad son mezclas de edificios antiguos y nuevos. Después de la excursión mis amigas y yo vamos de compras en Gran Vía y tomamos helados en Moyua.

U of D Bilbao River


El próximo día tenemos una gira de la Universidad y después visitamos Plentzia. Pienso que podría vivir en Plentzia porque es tan hermosa y tiene una playa. La playa a Plentzia es unas de mis favoritas que he visitado en mi vida entera. También el tiempo cuando visitamos estaban perfecto con sol y una brisa.


Plentzia Beach

La visita al Guggenheim Museo de Bilbao siguió el próximo día después de Plentzia. Usualmente, no me gusta arte moderna mucha pero disfruté el Guggenheim. La arquitectura del edificio asombrosa y es díficil de ignorar si estás dentro o fuera del museo. Aunque caminé a lo largo de la mayoría del museo, pienso que el “Puppy” todavía es mi favorito. Las flores son tan brillantes y el entero es tan colorido. También en sábado muchos estudiantes del programa CIDE fueron a la festival de Sopleana que estaba muy loca y divertida. Los kalimotxos eran deliciosos y baratos.



Gugg Pup and me

El 1 de Julio es el primer día de clases y estoy emocionada y un poco nerviosa. ¡En mi próxima entrada escribiré sobre mis clases, qué haré con mi tiempo libre, toda la comida comeré y la excursión a Gernika!

Blog 14 Barcelona!!! 7/19-21

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

I am the kind of person who makes a decision and follows it through to the end and makes the best of whatever happens. Felix, Lourdes’ friend, calls that “capacidad de decisión” or strength of decision. My friend Mary, who wanted to go to Barcelona with me, changed her mind last Tuesday after I had already bought plane tickets and reserved a hostel for 2 on Monday. I booked it because another group of girls I know was going to sleep there and I decided it would be better to stay together. The cancellation fee was 35 euros and I paid for all of it. On Tuesday I didn’t know whether or not to still go; My problem was that I had a roundtrip flight but no place to sleep. Still, I felt that it was my decision to go and nothing was going to stop me from seeing Barcelona and enjoying myself. Capacidad de decision. On Wednesday I connected with another student named Jackie Chan on Facebook who had reserved a hotel for herself alone. She offered to share the room and we upgraded to a 2 bedroom hotel. After the culmination of stress throughout the week, I was not in the best shape for going to Barcelona but I already made up my mind to go and have a good time. I was too headstrong to back down.

I flew into the Barcelona alright by myself on Friday at 7:10pm; I took the green bus to the blue terminal; I got on a train and headed for the stop Passeig de Gracia. I got off the train at the Passeig de Gracia stop and tried to find my way to the hotel on foot, carrying that green OAT duffle bag. I stopped and asked strangers for directions multiple times and walked for over an hour. When I finally made it to the hotel, I was surprised to see Jackie walk in 15 minutes later. She was on the 9pm flight and I expected her to take longer to arrive—but no, she took a cab and it only took her 6 minutes. When I considered that my long walk could have been prevented if I too had taken a cab too, my heart sank a little. Nevertheless, the only things that were important were that the place was clean, secure, and right in the middle of downtown Barcelona!

Later, we talked about what we wanted to do tomorrow. Jackie wanted to go shopping. “Sure, I’d like to see the interesting/unique stores here too!” I said. “No,” she corrected me: she only wanted to go to the upscale stores (Chanel, Burberry, etc). Louis Vuitton, too? No, she wanted to save a trip to Louis Vuitton for when she goes to Madrid after the summer classes are over. I considered joining her, so as not to go solo. However, I had come to see the city, and I was going to see it! We both woke up early and walked together to see “La Mercat St. Josep: La Boqueria.” I saw the largest variety of produce, smoothies, seafood (both dead and alive), etc. It was spectacular! After about an hour, we agreed to split up: she went to see the shops and I went to see the city. I bought a tourist bus pass for Saturday and I got a guided tour of the city. I got off the bus 5 times. First, I walked through the antiquated streets of Poble Espanyol. Second, I enjoyed the breeze at the boardwalk at Port Vell. Third, I saw the architecture of the gothic quarter on foot. Fourth, I got off to take a picture of La Sagrada Familia. Fifth, I explored Gaudí’s masterpiece, Parc Güel. It was exhausting, but I successfully saw all of the sites on both the red and blue lines and explored numerous wonders.

Early Sunday morning, Jackie and I split the hotel bill, it was comparable prices to the hostel I almost went to. Then, before my 3pm flight…me, myself, and I went to La Perdrera! It’s a Gaudí masterpiece and a true marvel. In the gift shop, I saw some perfectly artistic plastic placemats, and matching cup mats to liven up the dining room that I knew my mom would love. I made it back to the hotel where I had reserved my luggage and I had the concierge call a taxi to take me to the airport. I was just tired and tired of carrying the duffle (Never again that duffle! I’m bringing a tiny carry on rolling suitcase next time). Moreover, I was an attractive young woman traveling alone and had not encountered any mishaps yet. I did not want to try my luck. Some of the employees in various places I went to had asked me “Are you traveling alone?” truly concerned, too. Before, I felt like only my parents and grandparents would worry about me traveling alone and that it was a silly concern because I am a capable adult. When I saw the people who live here troubled about me a similar way…I felt not proud but rather, embarrassed to say “Yes” because I understood it could be dangerous and I tried not to feel sorry for myself. Perhaps I made it all the way around Barcelona safely because I stayed where the crowds were, perhaps because I was lucky. I know it is better to have a traveling companion—but, given my circumstances, I feel I made the best decision possible. I had a great time too.

I would say that this is a lesson learned is to always research where to sleep because those same girls told me horror stories when I met them on Sunday for the return flight. They had arrived to the hostel on Friday late at night (10pm) and found that the place looked nothing like the online pictures—completely unlivable. So they relocated to an actual hotel even later that night! Oh my, what a REAL nightmare! They still had to pay for that hostel even though they didn’t sleep there. After hearing about this, the cancellation fee that I had paid seemed much more preferable to their nightmare. It is not easy—to be an attractive young woman traveling alone—but I did it safely.

love it

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

love it

So, so far…

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

..Europe has been so good to me.  I’ve realized that I would not mind living in Europe except I would miss my family and the food in America or at least my mother’s cooking!  Other than that, I love it here and the way things are run, but not that they’re in a crisis!  It’s just so antique and I love that stuff.  The people aren’t vintage but the places show how old the country and town actually is.  That’s cool to see.  Either way, I’m hoping to come back to Europe soon! Or just live here for a few years! Who wants to join me?

I have one more week of classes, then exams Monday and then back to America!  Wahhhh.  Tomorrow, the business group goes to a winery and Thursday we do not have class, so this week will go by fast! 

Today, Brittany and I went to Mr. Wok in the mall, which is a chinese buffet!  Yes, I know why eat chinese in Spain?! Well, I was craving some rice so we went!

Well adiós for now! :)

Germany !?

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Guten Tag!! Alemania (or Germany) was great! I went to visit my oldest brother, Herbbie, and his family!  So I left Friday by plane and Stuttgart is such a big airport that we had to get off the plane and take a bus to the terminals.  That was new and different! I also, felt like the president coming out of the plane by stairs ! imageAnyways, Renee (Herbbie’s wife), Courtney (Herbbie’s daughter), Monica (Renee’s daughter), and Chamberlain (Herbbie and Renee’s son) were waiting for me at the airport!  That was great!  We first went to the military base and met Herbbie there!  It’s crazy not seeing them for like 2 years and now being with them, so unreal but exciting.  Then we went to this beer garden, which only happens during the summer because it’s outside.  Other times the place is shut down.  It was such a beautiful afternoon, and  apparently this summer has been hotter than normal, even thought it was around the 80s.  I ordered a sausage thing and a Mezzo Mix drink, which is coke and orange Fanta mixed together.  It was so good, and I do not drink soda, but when in Germany!  Also, baby Chamberlain is the cutest thing ever!imageimage


imageI learned Herbbie and I had a lot in common.  We love Europe and how advanced legally and economically.  Also, how efficient they are due to age, because America is a baby, essentially! One difference, is when the economy goes bad Germany doesn’t lay off people because the shortage in money but they decrease everyone else’s salary and no one gets laid off.  I like that idea, but that’s my opinion!  And Germany is a quite hilly country, not mountainous but hilly!  But that night we had some family time by watching a movie and facetiming dad!

Saturday began with waking up to the smell of BACON!!!  Now y’all know I love me some bacon!  So that was exciting, and I had tea with my breakfast, that was good.  Reminds me of home.  Also, just sitting at a table with family and reminiscing!  Herbbie told me he had a collection of fish and I began to notice all these mini fish sculptures or paintings, it was kind of strange! After breakfast we headed to the Zoo and we got lost at first but we finally made it!  I haven’t been to a zoo in so long I don’t know what’s exotic or different.  Therefore, don’t ask!image




imageWe also saw Kevin (from UP!), Nemo and Dori!  It was great! image


imageOur drive home was interesting! Very open areas and fields and fields of fields! And a sleeping babyimageimage




We ordered in that night because we were too tired and a mess to go out. But I ordered Schnitzel, I had that in high school, but this was good even though it was fast food stuff!  Then Sunday I woke up to Herbbie making breakfast and we took a few more pictures and I had to leave for Bilbao!  Wahh, it was so nice being with family.  It is also scary how similar Herbbie and dad are.  They had the same mannerisms and the same attitude to certain things!  Like father like son I guess!?  Love them so much!image

Also, I saw these mountains on the plane! Strange!

Public Transportation

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

So the public transportation in Paris is fantastic. It’s probably the best that I’ve ever been on.

Things that make it great

1. It will tell you when the next train or bus is coming and the longest that I’ve ever had to wait has been maybe 1o minutes.

2. The trains out to the suburbs and the metro is connected

3. On most roads the buses have their own bus lane, so that instead of getting stuck in traffic, the bus is able to go right through

4. In addition to the metro and RER, there is also several tram lines that run around the edge of the city

5. The newest line of the metro, line 14, is ridiculously fast and it was also the first automated metro line, meaning that there are no train drivers.

What I don’t like

1. The bus schedule is super hard to figure out. For example, last weekend Carol and I were coming back from a fireman’s ball and we decided to take the bus back. Well, we ended up taking the bus in the wrong direction and we ended up in Northern Paris. Fortunately we were able to catch a cab and we made it Cité Universitaire. Unlike the metro and RER, the bus lines are really difficult to figure out. There are a bunch of lines that run right next to each other and the maps are really confusing. I’ve also found it really difficult to find the bus stop in the direction that I want to go on.

Overall, I think that the public transportation in Paris is outstanding and it is far better than anything that we have in the States.

First Week of Classes and Gernika Excursion

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

I’ve decided to switch my blog to English because I’ll be able to write more, more quickly this way.

The first week of classes has been a fast and busy blur. Most of the class periods are much longer than usual since I’m cramming nine credits (three classes) into four weeks. I’m taking Culture and Politics in Contemporary Spain, 20th century Spanish Literature, and Spain in Europe. Spain in Europe is going to be a little rough mostly because I’ve never taken a class in political science or international relations. I think once I get used to the organization and flow of the class it’ll get much better. Every day this week seems to go by so slow, but then it feels like the entire week flew by.

I have my culture class from 8:35-9:50 everyday, and then I have a break until 1:10. It’s definitely a challenge getting up early everyday to catch the metro at the right time, but I love the amount of free time during the morning and early afternoon. After culture class I usually do homework outside either the Guggenheim café or another small café that’s right across from the university. Both cafes have free wi-fi which works out great. I’d much rather be outside enjoying the sun while I work than stuck inside the cold library. Almost every morning I get some coffee and a pintxo. Pintxos are great because they’re super fast, easy, and they taste delicious. I’ve been really slacking in uploading pictures on a regular basis, but everyday seems to be full of class, homework, being with friends, and exploring the city. Bilbao is an extremely clean and beautiful city. So far every part of the Basque Country I have seen, I like.

Gugg Silver

We got to learn about a lot of the Basque Country’s history when we visited the Urdaibai area on the Saturday after our first week of class. The Peace Museum was extremely interesting, and the room with the reenactment of the Gernika bombing was very powerful. The museum was a mix of sad and hopeful emotions. Before this trip I didn’t know very much about the history of Spain so the excursion was a huge learning experience. Both the Tree of Gernika and the House of Government there were great parts of the Basque history to experience. The oak tree represents the Basque Country and its autonomy. There have been four oak trees including the current one, and the last three are descendants of the original tree. The one that we saw was re-planted in 2005. Obviously it’s very young, but it will be there for many more years.

Tree of Gernika


walk like a champion, talk like a champion!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

walk like a champion, talk like a champion!

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 (:

Returned from England

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Now that I’m back in the states and fully readjusted, I’ve had time to start reflecting back on my time in England.  I’ve come to the conclusion that most of my time there was spent eating and shopping!  Thusly, I will redirect my blog to showcase my love of food and fashion. Prepare yourselves for the new edition of Nyssa Abroad…from home!