Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Day in the Life...

I am dedicating this post to Meredith Fennema because of her great idea to share a day in her life. I figured others would appreciate finding out what my days are generally like.

8:15 - Wake up, shower, eat breakfast, get ready and devos.
9:30 - Class with either Alfonso, a hard to understand Spanish professor or Victoria.
11:10 - Break time! Where I just sit with mis companeros or get a cafe con leche.
11:30 - Class resumes with either Victoria or Profa (Cynthia Slagter).
1:30 - Lunch time at mi casa with mi mama, Maria y mi hermano, Raul.
2:00 - Watch the Simpsons/the news with mi familia or take a nap.
3:00 - Nap or homework.
4:15 - Go to the UNED to meet up with people and study.
8:30 - Dinner time!
9:00 - Back out on the town, usually to the Super G to get a drink with friends and do homework or just hang out! It's open til 3am and sometimes we're there that late, yes even on school nights!
2:00 - Bed time!

Rinse and repeat.

One thing I love about Spain is their white lines. You wouldn't think that white lines are magical, but they are! There are white lines on the road and this is where pedestrians cross the street. However, they are magical because the cars MUST and DO stop for pedestrians. You just go ahead and walk no matter whether or not there is a car speeding towards you. It's CRAZY I tell you! Just pure insanity. But I love it. Haha. I feel so powerful and important when the cars stop. At first it took a while to get used to, sometimes I still hesitate. But I'm getting better.

Two days until the test. Tonight we're meeting at Profa's house for a bible study. That should be fun--will get my mind off the studying which I feel like I've been doing all day (but really haven't because I took a siesta for an hour and a half! Haha).

Welp, it's almost five o'clock and I've only got about an hour or so of free time left until bible study time. Thanks for reading, and I love you all!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Torrential Rain Storms

Okay so sorry if this typing is messy--I´m using my brother´s computer and its got a different keyboard than American ones do.

We have been having torrential rain storms for the past two or three days! Oh my goodness. I walked to school today in water up to my ankles, NO JOKE. And my pants were SOAKED by the time I got to school.

Nothing much is new here, I just wanted to drop bye and say hello to all my readers (all three of them, haha).

Me and Mer and Alyssa are meeting today to plan our Europe trip so that should be fun. I can´t believe the whirlwind trip that we are doing. It´s going to be insane.

We have a test on Friday plus about 150-200 new vocabulary terms on top of that. Prayers would be much appreciated. Plus continue to pray that our group gets along well, especially seeing as we are going on this trip to Cantabria this coming up week. That should be fun.

Well, back to the books. Love to you all.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vall de Laugar

First and foremost, I think the vocab quiz went well, so that was a huge blessing. Next I'm just worried about our test on Friday. Ugh, I am so not looking forward to that.

But on a positive note, this weekend our class went to Vall de Laugar for a little hiking trip on Saturday. We hiked for about FIVE hours. We hiked up and down three peaks and it was INTENSE! I am SO sore. But it was a blast--so much fun. I even got to eat a fresh pomegranate from a pomegranate tree. Yum. But the views were breathtaking. Naturally the pics won't capture the essence of this tiny town, but it was fun.



I tried my very first cous cous for lunch today and it wasn't half bad! I kinda almost liked it. I ate my whole portion so I thought that was a good sign.

This next Saturday we leave for Cantabria for a week long trip. I'm very excited! I can't wait. It will be nice not to have classes. So that's good.

Well, I've been sitting at Ciber Denia for long enough. I think it's time for me to call it a night. Love to you all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Prayers Please!

So we have our first vocabulary quiz tomorrow and its over about 200+ words. I've made all the flashcards on squares of regular paper and I've been going over them again and again and again so much that my eyes have started to blur.

I'm just jamming out to HaHaan Mix #2 and zoning in a world of Spanish vocabulary. It's utterly exhausting. So your prayers would be VERY much appreciated.

We have our first test next week Friday as well, so prayers as I prepare for that would be much appreciated too.

This weekend we might be going to our bus driver, Ricardo's pueblo where we will hike and hang out. Should be a fun time. Hopefully it happens, it might not happen due to rain--but it should make for some beautiful pictures, and you'd like that, wouldn't you mom?

Today Alfonso (one of our professors) talked and talked and talked about Spanish holidays and I feel like everyone else in the class understood except for me. I'm really hoping those Holidays aren't important. The only one I understood was Christmas Eve. Haha. Oh goshhhh.

I'm in love with cafe con leche. It's like espresso and milk and then I add one packet of azucar. Mmm. So good. Mi hermano, Raul, made it for our family today. It was just what I needed to energize myself. I ended up reading one of my Jodi Picoult books for an hour and a half instead of taking a nap. It's a really good book thus far--called "Change of Heart." At this point, I highly recommend it.

Well I can't procrastinate any longer. I must work on my vocab words, ayudar, contestar, fumar...it never ends.

This really cliche for those of you who get the reference, but "you'll be in my heart!" Love to you all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Clap clap clap...

...goes the thunder, and my heart when we had classes our first two days.

For one thing, it is POURING here. I didn't bring my umbrella to class and so I had to RUN home in the pouring rain. Ugh. No fun. Now I'm sitting in the UNED and I'm still wet, even though I changed clothes and used an umbrella the next time. Haha, oh well. It's not like I'm going to melt or anything.

So classes...they are...well...TOUGH! Alfonso our first professor was really hard to understand and then Victoria, our second professor was a little bit easier. She's really funny. Today she told all the girls that we were going to gain 10 kg and lose all our boyfriends. Good thing I don't have to worry about that, haha. But yeah. So classes are tough. They're in all Spanish, except when we have Profa (or Cynthia). She speaks OCCASIONALLY in English in case we aren't getting something. So that's nice of her.

I feel like I'm slowly starting to get it. When I think of certain words my mind automatically goes to the Spanish version of it, so that's a comfort. But conversation with mi familia is still hard. I hope that this whole experience grows me as a person and not just with my lengua skills.

One thing that has changed being here is my alone time with God. It has grown immensely. And that is a big encouragement. I think it's because when I'm in mi casa I need something to do and where else to turn my rock and comfort? So like I said in the last post, I've been reading Philippians in English and Spanish. I enjoy it immensely. But if you could keep me in your prayers, that'd be great because I'm not out of the woods yet as far as transition and language skills goes. So yeah.

Well, since the school where we are studying at blocks facebook and Skype, I guess I will just have to revert to studying--which I ought to be doing anyways. More flashcards to make, ugh! Haha.

Keep me in your prayers, and you'll be in mine (especially if you shoot me a prayer request!) Love to you all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Running out of Titles!

Hey All.

Last night was fun. I went out for a few drinks and to a few clubs with the guys. Always a good time. Then today we went to Spanish church! We met in the middle of town and then took a bus to a church and it was loco singing in Espanol. But very fun to try it at the same time.

We skipped out of the church service when the little kids were dismissed and our group had our own little Bible verse reading session. It was refreshing. Profa encouraged us to read our bibles in Spanish, so today for my devotions I read the first section of Philippians in English and then in Spanish. It was muy interesante.

Now today I took a two hour nap after a GREAT comida. We had this sweet stew with pollo, patatas, y zanahoria. Mmm SOO good. Now I'm just Ciber Denia with a few people until dinner time. Then an early bed because we start classes tomorrow! UGH. SO nervous. Our two classes tomorrow are taught by people only speaking Spanish so it should be, well, who knows what it will be. Hopefully I'll survive.

Love to you all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mediterranean Sea!

Last night was a good time. Almost the entire group went out for drinks. We went to one place, I forget the name of it, then three of us girls did something LOCO! Haha...mom you're not gonna like this--we went skinny dipping in the Mediterranean Sea! Haha. It was fun and an adrenaline rush. Then afterward we met up with the guys again (don't worry they weren't there when we did it!) and Luke's hermanas met up with us too and they are nice. Too bad we could only talk with the one who spoke English.

Then today we went on a walk along the Mediterranean Sea up to a big tower. We walked for a total of about FIVE hours! It was insane. Afterward I went to my house and took a shower and a short nap and now I am refreshed! I think in a bit me and Mer are gonna grab some helado. Mmm.

Profa said we will be conversational in about a month's time. I CANNOT wait for that month when I can finally talk with and speak clearly to my family. It's exhausting not being able to communicate, oh my goodness! I had no idea!

Welp, I'm off. Love to you all!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sí, sí, sí!

Sí, sí, sí! And bien is basically all I say here. Haha. I LOVE Denia! It is a fantastic city/town! Mi mama is muy simpatica. Se llama Maria, y mi hermano se llama Raul. I have NO idea if that is right, but I said basically, my mom is really nice, her name is Maria, and my brother his name is Raul. Haha.

My room is amazing. I love the bed spread.

When I first got there, mi mama gave me a tour of the house. It's very cute! I've got pictures of it up on facebook, so check them out. My room is wonderful. There are two bathrooms, I share one of them with Raul, my older brother. They are both very nice. Raul speaks a TINY bit of English, so that helps on occasion. Our first meal was tortilla espanola, it was A-MAZING. Then today I had breakfast by myself and then lunch was a paella like thing with shrimp. I told her I didn't like shrimp so she took them out for me, it was very nice of her. The lunch was okay but the garlic sauce or aioli (or however you spell it!) was great!

Today we met for class and got a tour of Denia, then after we all went home for lunch, and some siesta time (I watched The Simpsons in Spanish with mi hermano!) we all met up and went to la playa (the beach). I swam in the Mediterranean today!!! It was fairly warm! It was super fun. And now here I am at "Ciber Denia" drinking a Fanta Naranja and it is fabulous!

Tomorrow we are walking along a beach side path that I plan on running a few times a week. It should be fun. I don't know what I'll do with the rest of my day.

Welp, time to facebook then head home for mi bocadillo (sandwhich) for dinner. Mi mama went out for the night and so did mi hermano. Fun times alone at mi casa--I will probably read or watch a movie.

Keep on praying for me, I'll need it! It's so hard to try and understand what they are saying--and it's exhausting too! Phew. Love to you all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Muy Fantastico!

Today was MUY FANTASTICO! Haha. Gotta get my Spanish in there somehow.

This morning we visited a Gaudi park called Park Guell, pronounced Park Gway, kind of. It was BEAUTIFUL but the weather was oh so hot. There's this mosaic lizard that the park is very famous for. We sat under a picnic bench and hung out for a bit before heading back downtown on the metro.

Here's the lizard.

After that we went to a church and sat in wonder at its beauty. Then we visited a chocolate shop where I got a coffee and chocolate flavored biscuit, it was okay. Then we split up. I went with Profa and she treated me to a Catalan lunch at a really good restaurant. I got squash soup (for you mom!) and chicken in red wine. For desert we had apples with a sort of cream on top. YUMMY! Then of course afterwards I found some Nutella flavored helado that I just HAD to try, so I did. It was MUY fantastico!

Theres my ice cream!

Then we shopped, and shopped and shopped and shopped. Mom I got your Christmas present (and it might possibly be your birthday present too, it was a bit pricey!) I'm super excited to give it to you! I bought a Barcelona hat. I bought Harry Potter in SPANISH! Or should I say Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal. Haha...I am super excited to try and read it. Profa said I'd be able to read it, or most of it, by the end of the semester. Hooray!

Now I'm just sitting here enjoying my siesta until dinner time, at 8:30. Be sure to check out the rest of my pics on facebook! Love to you all. *muah*

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Rain in Spain

Stays mainly in the plain...or should I say, in Barcelona. Yesterday it DOWN-POURED! But not until after we got the opportunity to see another Gaudi house and we got to go on the roof, which is closed when it rains.

This picture is on the roof of the building! The inside wasn't quite as spectacular or unique, however, there are no right edges in this particular Gaudi house, which I thought was very interesting.

This picture is of me with part of the roof and La Sagrada Familia in the background, which you can not see too well.

Then we walked around downtown and Mer and I went shopping for a bit. I tried on this super cute little black dress, but it was 30 Euro and I couldn't justify buying it. Then we got down-poured on and thankfully I had my umbrella but it barely worked so we booked it to the next metro station and made our way back to the seminary. Then we hung out and I worked on my presentation, which I feel is all that I've been working on lately, but I give it on Friday or Monday so soon it'll be over with.

Today we were going to go shopping but now it's getting late and most of the girls are still sleeping. I took an hour and a half nap and then read my book which I'm almost done with. So yeah. Off to upload some pics to facebook. Love you to all!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Domingo

Hola! Today is Sunday and it was fairly uneventful. We went to church this morning and then again at night. This morning we went to the International Church of Barcelona in which the service was in English. Then tonight we went to a church for Muslim converts and the service was in Arabic with an English and French translation happening simultaneously! It was really unique.

Now I'm just working on my Pais Vasco, Navarra presentation. I have to give it on Friday, possibly it might be kicked back to Monday, but either way I have to be ready. Right now I'm just adding pictures to my powerpoint and then I'm gonna go through and write down what I'm going to say so that I can semi-memorize it. Hopefully it will go relatively quickly, but we'll see.

I have a feeling it's gonna be a late night--sorry for the short post. Love to you all!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Loving my Life

Ahh I am truly loving the life here in Spain. Not gonna lie, we're still in the honeymoon phase of it all. We haven't made it to our host family's homes yet so we haven't had to deal with the complications of the Spanish language all that much, and we haven't started REAL classes yet so it's all pretty peachy keen over here.

Yesterday we went to hear this thing about Muslims in Spain and then we went to a beautiful art museum. I took tons of pictures, it was a good day. Then at night we went back to the Ramblas and went to two different bars, the Patagonia and the Temple Bar. Both of them were giving out free shots--so that was really nice. Our whole entire group went so that was a lot of fun, good bonding time for the group.

Then today we were going to go hang out with these kids from the same Christian/Muslim organization from yesterday but we got on the wrong train and took the train an hour out and then realized it--so we just headed back and now here we are, enjoying the rest of our afternoon with nothing to do and no plans--it's GREAT!

I am ABSOLUTELY loving it here. It is so beautiful and wonderful and the group is fantastic and I know all this greatness probably won't last once the language troubles start but still, so far so good and I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

God has been so good to me. I am so blessed to be on this trip. What an awesome God we have! Keep me in your prayers you all, and I will keep you in mine. Love to you my friends and family.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Buenas!

Hola, buenas! Haha. We had our first Spanish class today and we worked on introductions--something most of the kids knew besides me and two others. Tomorrow we get to describe our families, that should be fun.

Today we went back into the downtown area of Barcelona and we went to the Sagrada Familia, a BEAUTIFUL artistic creation started by Gaudi. Seriously, it was GORGEOUS. I cannot even describe it. We even got to take an elevator nearly to the top and saw a beautiful view of Barcelona. Ahh. Later we saw the cathedral in Barcelona but it wasn't nearly as cool as Sagrada Familia.

Alright, here's a pic for your curious little eyeballs:



Alright, time to Skype with my parents and hopefully Kathryn and then go to bed. Buenos noches!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Barcelona...Same Day, haha!

Alright so we took the Metro to downtown Barcelona and I just HAD to put up some of the pictures, so here are a few of them:

This is at a market in Barcelona.

Tomates!

AHH I'm so frustrated, the blogger thing won't let me upload any more pictures. Well, I got some good ones, so either I'll post them later here or on facebook or you'll just have to leave it to your imagination (or over a cup of coffee with me when I get back!)

I gotta head to bed, I'm zonking out. But I love you all. Keep prayin' for me, Spanish classes start tomorrow! And you will be in my prayers. *muah*

Barcelona!

Whew...we made it! After a two hour flight to Newark, and then a seven hour flight to Barcelona, we are finally here! And it is GORGEOUS! I sat next to a girl named Katy on both flights and she's really nice. Now we are rooming together at the seminary we are staying at in Barcelona. The seminary is so pretty. The rooms are tiny but they will suffice for a week until we get to our host families houses. Our group has meshed really well so far and that's good, much better community than the Australia trip, which is a HUGE blessing, because for those of you who knew who Australia went...well let's just say this is going to be much better.

Please leave comments, or better yet send me emails and or letters in the mail! Here's the address at the school where you can send mail (by US post NOT FedEx)

Emily Carlson
C/O Carlos Torres Garcia
U.N.E.D.
Plaza Jaime I, s/n
03700 Denia (Alicante)
SPAIN

PICTURES!
This is the opening to the seminary where we are staying at! Beautiful huh?

This is some wrought-iron work on the window at the seminary.

This is a man holding up the ceiling or whatever. Haha.

Welp, that's all for now. Time to go shower and nap before lunch at two, then we head to Barcelona's downtown area. Should be fun! Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Less than One Week

Hokey pete! I've got less than one week left!

I've started packing, my room is a mess. I am taking WAY too much clothes, but I just can't decide what I'll be needing! Oh well.

I've been working on my presentation about Navarra that I have to give on September 18th. I made a brochure to pass out and a powerpoint full of pictures about the region. Hopefully I can fill a time span of 20-25 minutes! We'll find out soon enough.

My parents and I leave on Friday to head up to Grand Rapids. They are staying in a hotel for Friday and Saturday nights while we hang out with my housemates.

Then the group meets up at Calvin at 6:30am on Tuesday the 8th! Wowza! We take a bus to Chicago, fly from Chicago to Newark and then from Newark to Barcelona. We spend out first week in Barcelona getting intensive language training.

Then we go to our host family's homes. I'm living with a divorced lady named Maria something or other who lives on Emilio Oliver street--it's a block and a half from the UNED, or the university that we study at. I live on the 4th floor and another one of the guys from the group lives on the 5th floor! So at least I'm close to someone who speaks English. Because apparently Maria knows NO English whatsoever! ZOIKS!

So yeah, it's getting close! I'm guessing my next post will be from Spain! ¡hasta luego!