Week 10- La Granja

Onto our final excursion we went. I must say it’s been pretty cold in Segovia these last few days. It only got worse visiting La Granja which is even at higher elevation and closer to the mountains.

La Granja was really interesting and full of history as well. It’s so neat to learn that an actual king lived there. The king built the palace here as an imitation of the palace in versailles because he was from france and missed home so much.

The palace in La Granja

The palace in La Granja

Another picture of the palace and it's gardens and fountains.

Another picture of the palace and it’s gardens and fountains.

 

Week 11- Just another week

Finally a week where there’s nothing major going on. Just another typical week in Segovia. Classes monday through thursday and going out with the group at night. I’ve spent this week going to class and hanging out with friends. What I enjoy about living in Spain is that every day is relaxing and there is always something to do. It’s really neat to be able to go for walks to the plaza mayor, the cathedral, the castle or just anywhere in Segovia. Segovia is such a great city to live in, it feels so comfortable to walk anywhere and just roam the streets.

I’m accustomed to everything around me and the live style. I’ve gotten used to the food and living here. I eat a three course meal everyday for lunch. For breakfast I always have the same thing as well. The milk and yogurt taste different here. It’s so interesting how people here buy milk in bulk and it’s not even refrigerated until it’s opened.

My breakfast everyday

My breakfast everyday

The cathedral of Segovia

The cathedral of Segovia

The Alcazar of Segovia

The Alcazar of Segovia

The Aqueduct, I walked through this every day.

The Aqueduct, I walked through this every day.

This is the building my school was in.

This is the building my school was in.

 

 

Week 9- Andalucia

After being back from a 10 day trip we just can’t stop traveling. This weekend we had our long excursion to Andalucia the south of Spain to Cordoba and Granada. We left Segovia on Friday morning, it was going to be a long bus drive but thank goodness we had our own private bus.

I was really excited for this excursion because it was going to be our longest one and it was going to be in the south of spain where I still hadn’t traveled too. The south was beautiful. Spain just keeps getting better and better. I noticed the people here speak faster spanish, i still understand them but I can notice the difference. Spending the weekend here was packed with places to visit and places to learn all the history. It blows my mind to hear our director go on and on about all the history we find in Spain. We visited two of the major, well lots of attractions in the south in Cordoba we visited the famous Mosque that has a cathedral inside. In granada we visited the Alhambra.

The mosque-cathedral in Cordoba

The mosque-cathedral in Cordoba

Inside the Alhambra

Inside the Alhambra

View of Granada, Spain

View of Granada, Spain

I really enjoyed this excursion because as a whole group we bonded and all learned new things. I’m ready for this upcoming week to be able to relax and slow down on the traveling. One more excursion to La Granja and soon our program will be coming to an end.

 

 

Week 13- Final Week

This week has been pretty bitter sweet. I’m beyond excited to be heading home but sad that I have to leave my friends. One friend mentiones “we will never all together again in this place” that is really crazy. I’ve grown close to lots of people on this trip and it is really sad that I have to say goodbye.

I’ve started packing my bags. It’s kind of nice to know that all i have to do is pack everything in my room and not worry about what to leave behind but with that I have acquired a big load of souvenirs and that is a problem. I don’t have all the room I need to pack everything. 2 check in bags, my backpack and my purse and I’m all set to go.

I’ve said my goodbyes and people have started leaving to the airport. This is a sad time. I took my last walk around Segovia and said my goodbyes, I will be back one day.

Saturday morning my host brother will drive me to the bus station and I will get on the bus to Madrid once in madrid i’ll hop on the metro and make my way to the airport. I’m so glad I know the metro and wont get lost on my way there especially with all of my luggage. I just have to make it to the airport and check in and I will be golden. Goodbye Segovia, until we meet again.

Week 8- Fall Break-Italy!

This week my friend and I spent our whole week in Italy. It was a really neat experience and I loved it. We started off in Rome and I must say Rome is really great it’s filled with so much history. I really enjoy living in Europe because there is so much history background. There’s no just starting at when America was discovered but there’s so much more here! People lived here long before and it is so cool to see all the ancient buildings and things left behind. Rome I’d say was the most history filled city I’ve see with all the Romans left behind.

Colosseum in Rome

Colosseum in Rome

After Rome we headed to Milan and that wasn’t too excited other than seeing the duomo and the shopping center. Milan I feel was one of the cities I found to be least pretty, it reminded me of a suburb with not a lot of money. There was a lot of fog and smog there too. It wasn’t the prettiest of cities. After Milan we headed to Florence and I must say Florence was by far my favorite place of Italy. Florence was breathtaking! I felt Florence was the city I fell most in love with.

The Duomo in Florence

The Duomo in Florence

The view from a hill. Beautiful!

The view from a hill. Beautiful!

We’ve seen so much history and been to so many museums while in Europe it’s all been so neat. I must say the pasta is better in Italy and i fell in love with tiramisu! it was so good, i want to learn how to make it. Tiramisu is an Italian dessert kind of like cake made with a cream filling and a taste of coffee. It’s really yummy.  After Florence we headed to Venice and that too did not disappoint. It is so neat to see a city off in an island and all the different islands are connected by bridges.While I was there I heard that Venice might be under water in the future, since the water is rising.

Tiramisu in a cup! so good.

Tiramisu in a cup! so good.

Venice, only way to get around is by boat or walking over bridges.

Venice, only way to get around is by boat or walking over bridges.

At the end of the trip i was exhausted and we didnt get back till Sunday and unlike back home once were out of the airport we have to take public transportation back to segovia. First the metro then the hour long bus ride we were so happy to be back in segovia. We missed our home.

Some differences and similarities I found was that wherever we went to any restaurant or place they never picked up after themselves. In europe everyone eats a three course meal, even at restaurants. They always sold beer at mcdonalds which was something different and they always had a mccafe like an actual cafe, in its own area. Unlike the U.S i feel that they’re a bit more proper when eating their meals and with the alcohol part they’re just more accustomed to it, like alcohol isn’t seen as a bad thing, it’s what everyone drinks.

Back in America

Now that I’m back in the states it’s been quite the adjustment. My biggest problem was adjusting to the time difference. I would wake up way too early at times but I would fall back asleep later. I’m really glad I get a few weeks off before heading back to school. I really need this time to adjust, get used to things, and reconnect with people I missed.

The first thing I did when I got home around 1am was shower and fall asleep but the next morning my moms delicious tamales were waiting for me. I sure missed my moms cooking so much!

I feel like i’ve had to adjust to being around all the americans and speaking english now. English is all around me and I have to get used to speaking it on a daily basis. I still get flashbacks of Spain but I don’t miss it terribly.. yet. It feels like the 3 months were a dream. I still can’t believe I was in Europe.

A lot of friends and family want to know all about my trip and it feels like I say the same thing over and over, I think i’ll make a script and repeat it to every person that asks. I really enjoy showing all the pictures I took and reminiscing on the memories.

I feel study abroad has helped me tremendously, i definitely grew as a person and experienced new things. My life will forever be marked by my study abroad experience.

Week 12- Thanksgiving

This week we had out thanksgiving dinner AHA does for us. It was potluck style but we did have a turkey which was really good.Like any celebration people celebrate in Spain we had our lunch at a restaurant near our school. We all dressed up went to class then headed to the restaurant to eat.

The turkey!

The turkey!

How we felt when we were done.

How we felt when we were done.

Overall this week went well. Classes went well and outings with the group are always fun. I finally feel like Segovia is my second home. I’m accustomed to the culture and the living, it’s going to be different when I go home.

 

Week 7- Midterms

After our last week of great excursions it was time to get back to study mode and focus because midterms were up next. Unlike back home we didn’t get a study guide to know what was going to be on the test but we did have review days which were really helpful because our professors let us know what was going to be on our tests. I was a bit nervous for these tests because they were going to be in a whole different language and although I know the language it was still nerve racking because maybe I’d forget what to say and how to write it in spanish. But just like back at WOU our tests were split up into two days, half the classes Wednesday and the other half on Thursday.

Monday and Tuesday consisted of review and lots of studying. On mondays i also have my internship at Caritas. I really enjoy volunteering there, the people are all so nice and after a few weeks we’ve had a good group of 10 people that come on a daily basis and really want to learn. We have a diverse group of people in our class we have people that have never learned any english and then we have others that know a few things and are a little better at English but they’re all learning. Pronunciation is the key thing everyone needs help with.

Caritas, The organization where I volunteered at.

Caritas, The organization where I volunteered at.

Since we all had midterms coming up we all headed to a cafe to study all together. I’ve developed a slight addiction to Cafe con Leche (Coffee with milk) it’s really good. I’ve noticed the coffee here is a lot more strong and the amount you get is way smaller. A lot of people get what looks like a shot of coffee, i dont know how they can handle that, i bet it’s really strong. After talking to one of my proffs he mentioned a lot of people here like the strong stuff and even dark chocolate is preferd more than milk chocolate. Talking about chocolate, I miss hershey’s chocolate, they dont have that here but tehy do have Kinder and Milka which I believe is chocolate from germany. Chocolate from Spain is Valor.

Cafe con leche and a piece of bread

Cafe con leche and a piece of bread

I feel midterms went well and once they were over it was time for fall break! Italy for 10 days! I’m really excited! Rome-Milan-Florence and Venice. It’s going to be quiet the trip with just my friend alison and I but i’m excited. First off is Rome we left Thursday night and arrived Friday morning. And so the Italy adventure began!

Week 6- Excursions

This week went by really fast. We had 2 big excursions and a small excursion to the Museum of Segovia. One of the things I enjoy about classes here is that our professors are all really helpful and try their best to help us fully understand what is being taught. Also, I only have class till 1pm which is nice and then at 2pm I have lunch.

I forgot to mention in my last post that I started teaching English at the non profit organizations Caritas and that has been going great. The feeling I get after teaching class is great. There are 3 of us girls from the program that teach the class. There are about 15 students each class and they’re all adults. I’ve really grown to get to know the people in class but I’m still working on learning names, I just recognize faces. Teaching the class is really helping me become more of a leader, I’m slowly enjoying being in the front of the class and teaching.

The museum of Segovia was really neat to visit. I especially enjoy going with my professors because they always explain everything really well. There is so much history in Spain and Segovia it’s unbelievable. Our next excursion was to La Montana. Here we were able to learn about the Spanish war and we saw where one war took place, we saw trenches and it was really cool to see with our own eyes where people fought and lived. The history part was really cool but the walk up was not easy.  I can only imagine how soldiers were able to walk up with all their gear and everything. The walk down was way easier. To top off this excursion the view at the top was amazing! To see Segovia and the surroundings from the top of a mountain was so neat.

Exploring the battle site

Exploring the battle site

Trenches

Trenches

Really cool picture! follow the leader :)

Really cool picture! follow the leader :)

Edu! my culture and civ professor. He's Awesome!

Edu! my culture and civ professor. He’s Awesome!

My host mom continues to make delicious food for me, this week we had Paella again except this time it was made of Chicken and it was really good. Since I was home this weekend my host mom really wanted to spoil me and she made Tarta de Queso (Cheesecake) it was really good. I told her I need the recipe so I can make it back home. Any weekend that I am here I go to Sunday mass with my host mom and that is nice because I go out with her and she enjoys that.

Our excursion to Toledo was awesome as well. I know I’m expressing myself a bit much but everything I’m experiencing here is so wonderful and I’ve fallen in love with Spain! Toledo was a really cool city to visit, it was once the capital of Spain but it is now Madrid. Toledo is seriously built on a mountain and is surrounded by the Tagus river all around. We visited the Greco museum and that was neat too. To travel around Spain and Europe in general is really cool because their is so much history in this country!

The view of the city!

The view of the city!

AHA Group

AHA Group in Toledo

The group from Oregon! they're all from U of O

The group from Oregon! they’re all from U of O

After our excursions I went out with the group and hung out with them. One night we went to dinner to La Juderia (a Jewish quarter where Jewish people lived) and we had Indian food at a nice restaurant. For it being my first time having Indian food it was really good. After dinner we went out to the bars and had a couple of drinks. It’s going to be different when I go back home because I’m of age to drink here in Spain but when I get home I’ll still have another year before I can drink. It’ll be different to not be able to tell my friends to just go to a bar and hang out since we wont be able to. I’m still not much of a stay out till 3-4am on the weekends even though. That is the common thing around here. It’s so interesting to see so many people out in the streets so late at night and to see little kids out with their families as well so late. They do have dinner at 10pm here so that is another reason they’re out so late but still. I still can’t stay up so late.

People out at night!

People out at night!

The life here in Spain is so much more relaxed and laid back. I’m really enjoying my time here it’s so different than the states. I feel less stressed and life is more tranquil unlike in the states everyone works and then goes home it’s like a non stop routine and here it’s so much less stressful. Midterms are coming up net week and then fall break! Time is flying. I’m halfway through my program.

Week 5- Paris!

Week 5 in Spain went well. I think I have fully adjusted to the culture and lifestyle here. Taking classes that are all in only Spanish is a really neat experience. I feel I am getting a lot out of this program. Now being here for over a month I have even begun to speak the Spanish spoken here, I’m catching on to the language.

This week a few of the girls from my program and I traveled to Paris for the weekend. Paris was amazing! We visited all the main big attractions so it was really fun. The Eiffel tower was breath taking. Going to the top of the Eiffel I’d have to say was the highlight of my trip.

The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower

The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower

WOU in Paris!

WOU in Paris!

I went to the Louvre as well and saw the Mona Lisa

I went to the Louvre as well and saw the Mona Lisa

Traveling to France and spending some time there I feel that Spanish people are so much nicer and welcoming. Although I didn’t know the language and didn’t understand anything I feel that Spanish people are a bit more approachable even for people that don’t know the language. I did get to meet one of my friends cousins who lives in Paris and him and his wife were really nice.

It’s been quiet an adventure traveling in Europe especially with public transportation being our only way of transportation. Coming from Oregon where I live out in the country where public transportation isn’t really available I feel coming here I’m really getting a full experience of living life without a car. It’s the norm around here for everyone to walk or take public transportation. Not a lot of people use their cars, it’s just so much easier to walk especially in Segovia. My host family has a car but they never really use it. I’ve only been in their car once and that was the day they picked me up from the bus station.

My host mom is the nicest person, she absolutely loves me and treats me like I’m her daughter. Her cooking although took me some time to get used to I now really enjoy it and I’ve gotten used to the food here. I feel that I’m even more open to trying new foods. To be honest some of the foods I eat here especially vegetables I would never eat back home or even try. Although my host mom is all about the healthy food and I have times where all I want is a Coca Cola or some candy or junk food I really appreciate her for not having that in this household because it keeps me from eating so much. But I do go out sometimes and indulge in some sweets, we all need sweets in life. Something I noticed about lunch here is that we always eat plate 1 and then plate 2 of food. Plate 1 is always like a vegetable or soup and plate 2 is always a meat or fish. For the final plate it is either fruit or desert and we always only drink water in our meal. Back home we always just have 1 plate with all the food so having 2 plates of food here is a bit much for me. For breakfast though, since my host mom is still sleeping when I get ready for school I serve myself breakfast, I’ll either have toast or cereal with a glass of orange juice and a yogurt. The table in the kitchen is always set up for me with a plate, utensils, napkin and anything I may eat in the morning. I’ve heard from other students their breakfast is always a grab and go kind of thing or they make themselves whatever they want in the morning but it is never set up. I’d say I have a pretty great host mom!

Week 6 is fast approaching and I have 2 excursions this week. One to “La Montana” and the other to Toledo.