Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Moroccan Baby

Hola Todos!

Sorry it has been a few weeks but time passes so fast here I don't even realize it. Midterms are over, thank goodness, and all of the tests went very well. Well all but one because he still hasn't graded the exams yet. I'm glad I'm going to take a few classes this summer when I get back because I don't know how I would handle it jumping into the fall semester after this. Not that the system is bad, but classes here are not nearly as time consuming as the ones at home. I've been planning the rest of my trips this week and finally realized that I brought way to much stuff!!! I use it all and am glad that I brought it but how the hell am I going to get all this crap home, especially with all of the souvenirs I've gotten!? For those visiting me be prepared to take home a load for me. It's crazy to think that I've been gone for almost three months now which isn't a very long time, but so much back home has changed. My brother bought a house, my mother bought a lake house, my Dad started a business, and a friend just got engaged (congratulations Rachel & Ty), sheesh!!

So this past weekend was pretty awesome, I was in AFRICA!!! My program took us to Morocco for four days it it was probably one of the best trips I have been on. I have know that I would study abroad since I came back from Italy sophomore year of high school. That trip for me was a pivotal moment in my life. I know it sounds crazy because I was so young but I can't describe how it affected me. Ever since then I have always been in the mind set that I would one day go back to Europe. There was a brief conversation about going on a European tour with a friend after graduation but for whatever reason that fell through. So I promised myself that I would study abroad while I was in college. Anyways that feeling I got from going to Italy has eluded me for the past three months. Not that this has not been an awesome experience but I guess I was just expecting the same. In Morocco though I found that feeling. I guess it is because I was seeing a place so completely different from anything I had ever experienced.

Morocco is a third world country where there is a large gap between the rich and poor and it is very obvious. While touring a Moroccan University I saw this poster that talked about why they are studying. Like giving a push to work hard because one day they could be making a salary of 50,000 - 100,000 Dirhams, which is equivalent to 5,000 - 10,000€ a year. This is what the Prime Minister and wealthy businessmen of Morocco make. It really is a different world down there. A few things about Morocco, it is an Islamic country so five times a day you hear the call to prayer, which is not actually a prayer but like an alarm clock, dogs are not allowed in the homes b/c they are unclean so they are only guard dogs.

So Thursday morning we began our trek to Morocco by a 3hr bus ride, 1hr ferry ride (thank you Dramamine b/c I was one of the few not sick), bus ride to the border and another hour to Tetuan. the first place they took us was to a craft school where kids as young as 12 are sent to learn how to make crafts such as decorative mirrors, mettle works and carvings so they can begin to provide for their families. They had beautiful works but it was crazy to think that a parent would say "I already have a few kids in school so you are going to work at age 12 to help provide for your family." Across the street we walked around the Medina, which is like a market. The market was probably the most disgusting thing I had ever seen. Everywhere you look are dead chickens, heads and hoofs of goats, rancid cheese patty looking things (which I'm sorry to say babe remind me of the asaderos sp? that your parents like so much from Presidio) and sweets infested with bugs that people just pick up and eat! I know that it is bad to judge another culture and I'm sure if I grew up with it then it would be very normal but it was a gross experience. In the market though is where I noticed that we were being followed by armed security guards, dressed in street clothes but obvious. everywhere we went they were there stopping traffic so we could cross the street, making sure no one got lost and once pulling some guy away from us by the neck and beating him. I have no idea what the guy did.

The next city we went to was Tangier. While there we went to a Moroccan "sweat shop" as everyone called it but to me the working conditions were actually really nice. Personally I would not want to work at the same station for eight hours a day sewing clothes but it was clean the people seemed happy and for Morocco they had pretty high wages. I think the best part of that city though was when we got to tour a business school and talk with the students. Our tour guide painted this picture of a very traditional Morocco where women were obedient, didn't go out, couldn't go to the Beach and arranged marriages still happened. But while talking to the students the generation gap makes all the difference. Obviously they are better educated since they are at University and there fore a little different, but on the whole they were just normal kids like us. The only difference was that they do not have any sort of physical relationship until marriage. They were all so great though and everyone in that country was just so nice and hospitable. They were so happy they we were visiting, I'm sire part of it was that we spent so much money there but still. even when we were in the markets if a store didn't have what we wanted they would send us to another no problem. That night in Tangier we went to a belly dancing show, which was....interesting. I mean it was cool to see I guess but it was a little raunchy. I think the best part though was that they pulled up this guy from our program, took off his shirt and dressed him up as a belly dancer. I have to give him props he completely went for it (of course I thought of Tony b/c I know that would have been him if he was there). Thankfully all they made me do was balance a candle on my head and dance, which is actually very hard! lol and the guy was so short I had to kneel down for him to put it on my head. AWW and there were these two little girls, no older than 8, who looked like Cirque 'de Soleil acrobatic stuff. I felt kind of bad for them, like why weren't they home asleep. We had a chance to ride camels the next day after lunch but I figured I could do that in Egypt so I went down to the beach instead. It was so beautiful and I found some great sea shells!

Ahhh Chef Chouine, what do I say about this city...it was easily the most beautiful set up in the mountains with white washed houses and blue doors. Although while touring the city we found out people didn't really like you taking pictures of there houses. I mean I can understand why, if some random group of tourists started taking pictures in my neighborhood I would think that was a little strange to. They say that they paint the doors and some of the walls blue to keep the mosquitoes away in the summer. I can't even really describe how picturesque it was. We stayed in a hotel even further up the mountain so we could see the entire village below. It was interesting to me though how they kept all of there traditions. As far as Moroccan cities go they are supposed to be one of the richest. They have a great infrastructure, which sounds strange but don't take it for granted, but it was interesting because they still wash all of their clothes in the river. They have like these open air buildings set up with built in wash boards and this river coming down from the mountain runs through it and you just see all these women there talking and washing. I think it's kind of nice that they have kept some of the tradition.

*Sigh* Now on to the title of this blog...so Sunday morning we had two choices; go on a three hour hike through the mountains, or go down to the town and walk around/do some shopping. Obviously you all know I'm not athletic, i mean I do like to hike but not with a group of about 25 and not in the thin mountain air. So i decided to go down to the square, and I am the absolute only one who takes option number 2. So after going down with our tour guide who stayed at the hotel where we were supposed to have lunch I went off to walk around. There were several groups of tourists even other students who I made sure to always be around just in case. Honestly though I have never been more openly stared out in my life. I don't know if it was because I wasn't walking with anyone or because, like and idiot, i decided to wear a dress that day, but yea I mean blatantly by like anyone from age 10 to 60! I found a few things that I had wanted, some silk scarves, a leather bag and this awesome green tea that is a local drink, and I'm looking around when I walk through this hallway that opens up to a courtyard with more shops. So I start browsing and the owner comes up and of course is trying to sell me rugs, jewelery...whatever. After a while i find a few things and am about to finish bartering and leave right, well he invites me to have this tea (and we've been told about this that its a local custom and it's ride not to accept) so I'm just like ok. We sit just like in the middle of the shop with people still walking around and I'm asking him questions because I think it's cool that I'm talking to a native so on and so forth. Well then he like takes my hand and asks me if I "have a son" of course I'm like "no I'm just a student," so then he asks if I would "like to have a son on both sides of the ocean." Of course I'm just like shit what did I get myself into so i like jerked away and was like "o I'm sure my group is looking for me gotta go peace", and as I'm literally running away he's like "don't forget about me." lol so yea some interesting times in Morocco.

All in all a wonderful trip though. The cities are kind of sad because you see how poor they are but once you get out into the country side it is just breathtakingly beautiful. I'm sure it's not high on people's places to travel but the people were so friendly and the scenery is worth it, just watch out for those shop owners.

I hope everyone has a good week!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fotos de Espana

For all of you who I didn't e-mail with this information, I finally put up all of my pictures from Spain! Of course Blogger doesn't let me put up more than a few at a time so they are on shutterfly. If you would like to look at them go to www.shutterfly.com and sign in with my user name and password. it's no big deal but please don't delete any, they took forever to load!

username: adri87
password: password

Besides that it's been a pretty chill week so far. I have two tests tomorrow but I'm not very worried about them because at least they are in English. I went to the Maria Louisa today (a park) with my fellow Texan Angela to get some sun. We got some pretty weird looks for wearing shorts but all in all it was very relaxing and I must have got a little bit of a tan b/c I can see thee outline of my watch very well now, lol.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Hola Todos!

So I know I said I would try to write this one in Spanish, but it’s late and I don’t feel like it…but I will eventually! Anyway, I know it’s been a few weeks for all of you that I’ve left on the edge of your chairs but there hasn’t really been anything exciting to write about. Or at least not that’s easily conveyed. The beginning of my mid terms was last week. Two down, two to go. I think they went pretty well. They were the two Spanish classes that I have so it has all got to be easier now, right? I hate it when you make those stupid mistakes though. Like when you completely forget to write something and then once you leave, it dawns on you…o’well. So for the last week that’s pretty much all I did was study. The week before, though, I finally walked the entire park across from mi casa. It’s not a huge park put I always go through Placa de Espana and leave out Maria Louisa. It was such a beautiful place. Dirt paths with a stream of bikers, walkers and horse and carriages for the tourists, but I would still do because it is fun. I decided to walk around one day after class, forgoing my siesta, and it was well worth it. There are endless little gardens and water features all tucked behind trees or through grassy areas all of which are heavily occupied with couples or groups of friends just sitting there relaxing, enjoying the beginning of spring. To me that sums up Sevilla. It is such a laid back city with early 20th century charm and 21st century conveniences. All of these teenagers just lounge around the park up to nothing more than talking. You all know that I’m a pretty independent person but that was a moment I wished that I had someone to share it with. I sat on a bench and just read for awhile completely undisturbed and content. I’ve decided to make that a weekly ritual. I can’t wait until the weather gets a little warmer so I can have a picnic!

Today I went back to Cadiz, the sight of my Carnival adventures. This time though it was day light and completely different. Come to find out though the beach where the kid hurt himself with the barricades…there was a real beach like a minute walk from that!!!! Ooops. Cadiz was a great little day trip. We walked the city in a few hours through the gardens, the cathedral and the plazas that are so characteristic of Spain. Most of the time though I spent sitting on the beach. It was a beautiful spring day and it was nice to just relax and stick my feet in the sand. I am way excited for Greece now!!!

This week coming up I have two more midterms but they aren’t a big deal at all, (I say that now). Besides that I’m determined to finish planning all of the trips! Especially since once Morocco starts I won’t have much of a break.

So here’s how it’s looking so far; during March I will be going to Dublin and Morocco. April; France, Poland and Egypt!!!! May; last part of Egypt, Portugal…then the program is over! May; Greece, and June; Madrid, Majorca, Sevilla, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and London. Then it’s back stateside. It still seems far off but with that schedule I’ll be back before I know it.

If I haven’t extended the invitation before I would love visitors!!!! And they have some great deals b/c of this recession thing I keep hearing about. Seriously though if anyone would like to visit I would love to show you around or we can go wherever!

Love you all, Have a good week!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So I’ve been here for almost two months now and have little over three left but I still find myself amazed that I’m here. I think mainly because I’ve adapted so well. I mean when you have to you adapt but I just seem to be in a complete routine now in a country I’ve never been before with people I’ve never met! It’s just crazy...lol! I will say that I’m enjoying every minute of it. Ash Wednesday was today and I didn’t go to mass. My excuse is that I don’t know when services are but I think more than anything I’m just intimidated. Especially because I literally live right across the street from a church! So I received a request for things to write about in the blog so here you go, afterwards stayed tuned for my weekend at Carnival in Cadiz!

I would have to say that my favorite foods here so far are the tortillas. Nothing like our tortillas at home. These are more like omelet’s or egg casseroles. Its round and about an inch and a half thick consisting of different things depending on what kind you get. The most famous is the tortilla Espanola which is with potatoes, onions and cheese in it. Although the one I had tonight for dinner was amazing!!! It had chorizo, cheese and onion. As for the rest of the food I have a feeling I’m going to be eating a lot of lentils (sp?) when I get back. Always had a bad stigma to me but actually very good…lol.

For the best thing I’ve seen…hmmm…that’s a tuffy…I guess I would have to say Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It’s not even completed but it was still so amazing. I can’t really even begin to describe it but it was like abstract but religious with cubist like sculptures and organic forms and amazing use of light and line…..pretty much just awesome. I haven’t been out of the country though yet so I’ll get back to you on that.

Speaking of which, I’m trying my hardest to go to Egypt!!! Like most kids I went through my Egypt phase but I’ve still always wanted to go and it’s a definite possibility. Yes I do know what happened there earlier this week but I actually people living there that I’m staying with and helping me out. The plan is for Cairo and Luxor, where I think I will fulfill another dream of mine which is to take a train and be in a sleeper car! Random I know but still cool to me.

Now for the third largest party in the world!!! So I’ve been to Mardi Gras one time while I was in high school, but it was in Galveston and I didn’t stay long. This was an all night affair which I took a party bus to leaving at 8:30pm and returning sometime around 7am…yea. So you all know I am not a party person but I can now say I have been and more importantly that I’ve been to a bigger party than Tony, hahaha!!!! Lol jp (if you don’t know Tony he is my older brother who has always been disappointed in my inability and utter dislike of partying). WARNING the next little bit isn’t so much graphic as just gross: so we arrive after I and everyone else have been drinking on the bus the whole ride there. My poison this night was Smirnoff and Sunny-D, lol. So obviously we all have to pee. For half of us it was no big deal because guys are lucky bastards that can literally go anywhere! For me and a few others on the other hand… so judgment was a little impaired and we decided to go between cars…AHHH! Although I was the fortunate one because I was able to hold myself up... my friend, who shall remain nameless, wasn’t so fortunate and fell backwards off of the curb and ewwwww!!! (LMAO).

So after that whole ordeal we walk around, talking to random Spaniards and honestly that was about it. Carnival is literally one big costume party (like Halloween) in the streets drunk. No music or clubs or nothing. Although they do have this nice tradition of throwing glass bottles across the plaza…just because, but we had walked off by then thank goodness! Our next adventure came around 3am when we just thought it would be great if we went to the beach! Good in theory, but… so the beach is not a normal beach with sand but a VERY steep hill at the end of which are huge concrete blocks and after that water. One of the guys went down first but ran and instead of falling, rolling, skidding or whatever he picked up speed! I swear it was like a you-tube video he hit the barricade so hard he bounced off! Right afterwards he jumped up and was like “I’m good.” Of course when he climbed back up cuz there was no way in hell we were going down there, we saw his eye brow was split open, it was nasty. Then proceeded the problem of finding an ambulance which we did find but that took him to a hospital where he was going to have to take a cab back to Sevilla, with only 20€… not possible btw. Turns out the bus waited for him, he got stitches and now has a cool story.

After the beach accident we were then left to take care of the most pathetically drunk person I have ever seen dressed in a lobster costume! Needless to say I have no desire to ever go to Carnival again or for that matter Mardi Gras either! Lol but I’m still glad I did it just this once.

I love you all, have a good weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009


So last weekend I went to Barcelona, and it was awesome! It’s such a beautiful city with all of these amazing Gaudi buildings, and is like the fashion capitol of Spain, and we stayed in the area where all of the high end stores were. Not that I shopped there, but you know it gives a good ambiance. I was curious if I should even go to Barcelona though. It all started when I received an e-mail from the US embassy alerting us about the ETA which is a Spanish terrorist organization recently bombing cars and busses in Madrid. Now I will say that they are supposed to be an anti-government group who does not target foreigner’s, only political figures, but stuff happens. So I forwarded this e-mail to my parents who proceeded to call and e-mail me about how “maybe I shouldn’t go.” But I had already bought my ticket, which was an adventure in itself.

I bought it because it was so cheap but it was so cheap because it was to an airport 100km outside of Barcelona. I wasn’t the only one though. So me and four others had to take a bus from Reus, birthplace of Gaudi, to Barcelona, lol! Then I proceeded to take us to the exact opposite side of the city we needed for our hostel because, of course, I thought I knew where I was going. We had an ongoing joke that karma was just being a bitch that weekend. In my defense I found the hostel, it just wasn’t the one where we were staying, oops.

So after we had our inaugurating ride on the Spanish sub-way system we found out that the hostel booked us wrong so two of us didn’t have beds for the night. It all worked out because they didn’t charge us for two and Caryn and I shared a bed. Never again though because she speaks French in her sleep! And when you wake up to someone yelling at you in French it’s not fun… Jenny got the pullout bed, which was absolutely disgusting cuz we pulled it out and there was a large red stain on it! We flipped it and put on a sheet before she saw….. I might feel bad except she proceeded to embarrass us for the rest of the trip. Jenny is from Oregon (pronounced Ore-gone), and I don’t know if it’s all the people from Oregon or just her but she has absolutely no social etiquette! I mean I know it sucks having to get used to new customs and such but we’re not at home. Ex: we were at a fairly nice restaurant for dinner and she orders a glass of water, that’s not what they do here. If you want water you have to buy a glass bottle for the table, which is like 1.85 €. And she just could not understand why he wouldn’t just give her a glass of water even after he explained it and we translated. So they give us a mug with our silverware and napkins in it as a holder right, she empties it and is like “I’m just going to go to the bathroom and fill this up with water!” all of our jaws dropped and we practically tackled her to say no. the next day we’re at a bar and she pulls out a loaf of bread, literally, from her purse and starts eating it!


We saw the Gaudi houses and toured casa Batillo and Sagrad Familia. They were so awesome because they were so organic and insane for the time-period. Well even now. We also went to this great market, kind of like Farmers Market in Dallas with all of the fresh food but ten times better! It had fresh fish, poultry, candy, nuts, breads; cheese etc. so one day we went there for lunch and just bought all of this random stuff and ate it in the park.
I thought my feet would fall off after walking so much, and almost wish they had so the pain would stop. But my fault I didn’t bring my tennis shoes, (I know Adrian!) but I just don’t like them! I’ve learned my lesson though.

This week has been good, nothing of much consequence except that it went by so fast…13 weeks left in the program. This weekend is Carnival in Cadiz. We’re going on a night bus, kind of like the casino busses to Louisiana where you leave late at night and come back the next morning. It’s supposed to be the third largest party in the world! Why the hell am I of all people going….not sure but at least I can say I went. I found this really cool mask today though so I’m excited. It’s like Halloween though because most people dress up. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have a good weekend everyone! Love you!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

!Espana, Espana!

SO yesterday I went to my first pro-futbol game. It was INSANE!!! But in a good way. I started the night across from Prado (Prado San Sebastion-the us station right near the center of town). Chevy, which i thought was "An American Tradition," was holding a big tailgate sort of thing. Along the same lines as they do for the NFL, with stands and arcades and stuff. Not much there but I did get free sunny-d. Then we went to Nervion Plaza, where the stadium is, and all hell broke loose. It was England vs. Spain and the best part was the atmosphere of all the people. The English were dancing in the street chanting their songs and the Spanish were everywhere else doing the same. I was starving so went into the mall food court to get food, but strangely they only had one fast food restaurant and the rest were bars. Entire bars chanting the same thing and singing the Spanish fight song, waving flags and dancing on tables, lol. All we could get were four beers. Trying to make our way into our gate we saw some younger guys throwing glass bottles at the side of the stadium and out of no where come like ten cops in full riot gear. They took everyone remotely close to them down and just started beating them with batons. That was a little scary. I mean you always see that these things can turn into riots quickly but still it was a little harsh to see it. I did realize why i go to sporting events, 50% the sport and50% the stuff you can do in the stadium, which isn't like that here so i don't know how many games I would go see but it was still a great experience. There is absolutely no checking of bags or throwing drinks out when you walk in the stadium. If you have a ticket that's it. So at half time we're starving when the entire place pulls out bocadillos and the rest of their dinner and starts chowing down lol! David Beckham played the second half and I'm sad to admit I was following him with my camera, and I don't even lie him, lol! Some of the songs the were singing were "Yo soy espanol, espanol, espanol. Yo soy espanol, espanol" so my version was "No soy espanol, espanol, espanol. No soy espanol espanol!" lol. and "Villa, Villa, Villa. Villa para (not sure it was either para Villa or para Sevilla). Next time I'll just bring my own sandwich! lol.

Well I'm off to Barcelona this weekend. I'm pretty excited. I've always wanted to see all of the Gaudi buildings, and I have plans to see the Picasso and Miro museums! Wish me luck, and warmth. It's supposed to be upper 40's there all weekend and 70's in Sevilla! lol

!Hasta Pronto!