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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hasta Luego Sevilla...

So my time here in Sevilla has come to an end... and as I began packing, deciding what to keep and what to throw struck me that even little ticket stubs and notes scrawled in my notebook suddenly seem like things I can't part with.

Much of the experiences here in Sevilla challenged me and at times the cultural learning curve seemed imposibly steep, but after looking through and reflecting on my notes and drawings I am realizing that this place and the people who live here have really impacted and inspired me.

Once I had finished packing I dropped by the chino- the corner zippy mart where I bought super glue, oranges and other random necessities- to say "tsai chen" (goodbye in chinese). Its funny how you can adapt albeit reluctantly at times and make a whole new life in completely different city across the globe- It makes me appreciate imigrants who leave everything familiar behind in search of a better future or freedom or opportunity...they come sometimes with no support and have to build their communities from scratch- and this really impresses me because I feel blessed to have a supportive and loving family which makes it possible for me to branch way out without fear of falling. But being away from that net of support really pushed me to test the waters and also to appreciate what I have.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Great Gaudi

I visited my friend Dasha in Barcelona and she took me on a grand tour of the city to see Gaudi's masterpieces including El Parque Guell, La Sagrada Familia y otros edificios como la pedrera.

His unique style is highlighted even among the many impressive buildings in Barcelona. It is amazing that his work continues to stand out and is immediately recognizable, from its organic shapes, brightly colored tiles, and whimsical curves. 

Monkey see monkey steal!

Ok so in my experience wild animals tend to have a healthy fear of humans at least so I thought... but the monkey's in Gibraltar act more like we are in fact the ones who should fear. Check out the oversized primate next to me and you can see that he was certainly less than thrilled to have us encroaching on his territory.

The Barbary apes of Gibraltar are entertaining and amazingly smart- while eating lunch (inside a protected enclosure) we spotted one of them scurrying of with a pack of principe cookies...a few minutes later we caught him dextrously unwrapping the food and pulling out one cookie examining it and then eating it in small bites as though he knew the proper procedure- it looked like a furry oversized todler who had finally gotten into the cookie jar- and DID NOT want to share the spoils :)

We took a cable car to the top of the rock and the views were amazing! It was funny to hear and see english everywhere and I was impressed by the ease with which the sales clerks and tour guides flowed from english to spanish flawlessly.

It is quite a unique place and I am glad to have been able to visit it. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dinner and Dancing

So last night we went out for a girls night :)

The plan was to try out a new Moroccan Restaurant nearby....

The interior was decorated to the nines and genuinely felt like we were sitting at a fancy restaurant in Marakesh, with tiny candles, glass lamps, handmade tasheens, and traditional music filling the warm colorful space.

We had a lovely 2 hour meal with hummus, olives, various tasheens, moroccan mint tea and dulces arabes... 

We were just begining to try our tea when all of a sudden the music got louder and out came a bellydancer! She performed for a few songs and then went back to change costumes. We discussed her style and wondered where she might be from, and then out she came again, this time with a more traditional outfit. Before we knew it she had come up to our table and invited the 3 of us to come and dance with her. :) We had a blast trading moves, dancing around and laughing together. 

Once we had sat back down she came over motioning to the veins in her forearm "Viene de la sangre, no?" I smiled nodding and then she asked "where are you from?" I explained that I was Lebanese and that when I hear the music I cannon help but dance. She complimented our dancing and for joining her on the floor and we thanked her for a great performance. 

After dinner we took a walk around Sevilla just taking it all in... it is crazy that in less than a week I will be leaving this amazing city.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feelin HOT HOT HOT-45 degrees to be exact!!

SO we decided to go to the Reales Alkasares to draw on the hottest day we have experienced so far here in Sevilla.

11am and temperatures had already reached 45!!! (thats like over 100 degrees farenheight)

But we chose a place in the shade and drew one of the many beautiful fuentes in the extensive gardens behind the Alkasares. After several hours baking in the sun- i mean sketching, we walked around to see if we could spot the famoso pavo real!! And after about haf an hour we were just about to give up when we practically stepped on the thing as we rounded a corner.  It was just sitting calmly in a pile of leaves enjoying the shade.

Needless to say we took loads of pictures and we were amazed at how close we were able to get to the beautiful bird ...perhaps he is used to the paparazzi -i mean after all his feathers really are exquisite.

The only funny thing was that compared to the female, the macho was much more beautiful and she looked extremely plain.  But the grounds keeper was saying that the reason for the colorful feathers was merely to show off for the female and the rest of the time he had to drag the heavy load behind him lol its amazing what some creatures do to attract a mate.

Mas manana!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Out on the Town

As my time in Sevilla comes to an end...I am trying to aprovechar all of the beauty, excitement and culture the city has to offer. This past weekend we went for tapas and a flamenco show at La Carbonería.

It makes me smile to see families out for a walk or just sitting down to dinner at 11:30 or midnight. Apparently as the summer nights get warmer the Sevillanos stay out later and later...

Sorry for the abbreviated posts- but exam time is also here and I am definitely feeling the time crunch!! 

Más Mañana!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

We Are Family :)

Mom and Dad came to visit this past week and it was a whirlwind of travel, sightseeing and fun times :)

It was a wonderful and a much needed dose of family :)

We went all around Sevilla including a riverside bar with mojitos and great music, a traditional flamenco performance full of duende, La Catedral, La Giralda, Los Reales Alkasares and then the Costa del Sol.

We also sampled all sorts of tapas and local is a picture taken by our waiter who had studied abroad guess where??? JAX, FL lol it is such a small world!

We missed Mattman but I am sure we will have more adventures this summer with the whole family :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Looking The Part...Moroccan Style

Except for an unfortunate run in with a carpet seller who offered to show us some of the rugs his family had been weaving for centuries and would never pressure us to buy only to have a look, we had no real trouble with walking through the town and looking in little shops and bakeries. 

Our first official perchase in Chaoen was a headscarf for me, because, as I mentioned it is a rural town and so the women there were more conservative and after a few too many glances in my direction I realized that it was perhaps improper for me to be flaunting my light colored hair which inadvertinly also announced that I was a tourist. So we popped into a small shop where the man was watching a Spanish novella and spoke a bit of broken English and found a reasonably process scarf to cover my head. Once covered we began to blend much better (Justin in a traditional Moroccan shirt and me in the scarf and a longsleeved blouse)

The next day after a bit of exploring and a formal lesson on how to wear on a headscarf- I asked the cook if she would mind showing me how to put it on properly to which she smiled and replied in polite french that it would be a pleasure. So several pins and some time later I emerged with my hair tucked away and looking rather local if I do say so my self. J

Sunday, May 2, 2010

La Feria cont.

Sorry for taking so long to post these pictures:

Before heading to Morocco we went to la Feria dressed in traditional wear to take part in one of Spain's most famous celebrations.

From Ferris wheels, to churros and chocolate...and of course people dressed in their finest trajes de gitana of all colors of the rainbow la feria is a lively family affair full of Spanish pride. I will include some crowd shots and some that can help you see the absolutely huge fair grounds full of striped tents and carnival rides.

Friday, April 30, 2010


So walking through Tangier was much like walking through any other port city apart form the fact that everything was written in Arabic and French and that the women wore headscarves and the men wore a combination of traditional clothes and western attire. We both felt like foreigners that first day and decided that we would try harder to blend in. To make a long story short we took a taxi to a neighboring pueblo called Chefchaoen for the night- we had looked it up on the web and found a great little guest house called Dar Meziana which was quaint and situated in the center of the little mountain town. Watching the scenery was breathtaking and we saw everything from lakes and mountains to sheep and horses and even huge evergreen trees next to palm trees! 

Arriving in Chaoen was as though we had dropped onto another planet-as the taximan opened the door to let us out we were met with the sounds of donkeys and bells carrying loads of straw and artesania to sell in the local souqs, and a cacophony of conversation in a mixture of Berber (high atlas), Arabic, and French.  Everywhere you looked were little pueblo style clay houses painted periwinkle blue with curiously shaped doorframes and flowers growing wherever they could find space to put down roots.

It was a charming place proud of its berber heritage and happy to welcome new visitors. After being led through the winding streets and stone steps of Chaoen to our guesthouse we were welcomed with a traditional Moroccan custom. We were seated on couches with satin cushions and were surrounded by pillows of all colors and sizes in the parlor, which was in fact an open courtyard and were then served Moroccan mint tea with some traditional sweets made of nuts and filo dough. It was delicious and very much needed after a long day of travelling. 

Next we were shown our rooms which was on the 3rd floor leading out to the terrace from which you could see all the winding little streets below and could hear the call to prayer which would be chanted from the tops of the local mosques 5 times a day. It was a beautiful place full of new textures and colors and I couldn’t stop looking around marveling at the intricate design of the rought iron trellace or the rows of fresh mint growing by the window.

I promise to add pictures between postings because words can only describe so much and the rest you will have to see for yourselves.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Planes Trains and...Ferries?

As we lugged ourselves and our equipaje onto the 9:30am bus to Algeciras, Justin and I considered the journey that was about to begin- neither of us had ever been to an Arabic speaking country much less one that also spoke French (a language neither of us had studied) we were exited and a bit anxious to get moving because the trek we had chosen was not exactly direct but in fact was travel as it was meant to be-a journey across space and time to see and experience another culture and its people for oneself.
And that was exactly what we were prepared to do-soak in as much as we could and take in the vibrant personality of Morocco…

Once we reached Algeciras we had to catch a ferry to take us across the Mediterranean to the tip of Africa ie Tangier. Apparently, this was a very big business because when we arrived and eventually made it to the port there was what looked like airplane hangers with counters offering ferries at various prices and speeds of travel as well as combinations of destinations and purchasing options. Thankfully our choice was relatively simple-just get us to Tangier ;)

The ferry was huge and we saw many Moroccans and several French families aboard on their way back to Morocco. It was exciting to receive my very first passport stamp in Arabic.  As we disembarked there were people asking in various languages if we wanted a “tahksi” for “very good price!’ or if we needed a tour guide or even a guy pretending to be some kind of ‘minister of tourism’ Thankfully both of us have travelled enough to know that if we just kept weaving through all these people we could just be on our way. 

Moroccan Adventure

Dear blog followers:

Prepare to embark on a Moroccan adventure full of colorful cuisine, rich textures, and vibrant characters…
In a land in a far away across the salty turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea and bordering along the rolling red dunes of the Sahara Desert lies a country of cultural fusion and linguistic confusion- a place of red clay and elegant art which fills the soul with fresh air thin and full of history…this country that brings together the customs of Europe and Africa is a very unique and beautiful mosaic of colors, cultures, and cuisines.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

La Feria!!

La Feria!!

Fuimos anoche a la Feria!! It was a blast!  The official opening of the festivities was at 12 midnight, the ceremony is called the "Alumbrado". Once inside we saw the casetas and the carnival rides including mini rollercoasters and ferris wheels ;) And there were stands selling everything from chocolate and churros to cotton candy, noisemakers and much much more. As it was the night of 'pescaitos' (fried fish with an andalucian twist) big companies and families held dinners in their casetas to celebrate the begining of la feria.

Each caseta is unique and is decorated with traditional spanish flare. It reminded me of looking at the rooms of a dollhouse: there was wood flooring, wallpaper and real furniture but the only funny thing was that the casetas all are missing one wall so that everyone can hear the music and see the dancing.

Today we are planning to go check out the festivities and wear our trajes de flamenco :) cant wait!!

mas mañana!!

La Feria

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mi Projecto Creativo "La Cascada"

je ne sais pas...


So I was in a café this afternoon reading a bit about fonologia and enjoying some cafe con leche ;) descafeinado of course and in came a group of french folks. They sat nearby and I couldnt help but notice the adorable kids who were all decked out for the occasion-the little girl in a ruffly flamenco dress shoes and all and the little brother in a little suite.

The mom went to order leaving the kids to explore and play around- or rather to come over and begin speaking to me in rapid french to which i quickly responded "je ne sais pa" (I dont know) but somehow this assured her that yes in fact i did! lol it was very cute how she asked me questions which i understood at times but could only respond with "oui" or "no"

I wished that I could dig up some more vocabulary words to tell her that I likes the colors of her dress but unfortunately my french is limited to an assortment of ballet frases and tid bits from Madeline...

well mas mañana!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Perro Cara Abajo

So a few weeks ago I decided to join the gym near my school...they offer many exercise classes which can be taken for FREE once you sign up so I thought what the heck Ill try some of them out...On Monday I walked in at 15:30 and began streching while I waited for the yoga teacher to arrive. Once all the mats had been layed out and the lights turned off and the music set our teacher had us start the class by focusing on our breathing...she said that deep breathing helps calm the mind-especially when the 'expiracion' is longer than the 'inspiracion'. It is a phisiological phenomenon that slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure and stress levels as well as focusses the mind on the task at hand which in this case is being centered for yoga class.

After the breathing we began the "saludos al sol" :) And let me just say that in whatever language you take Yoga class the chaturanga does not get easier except with practice...ouch!

And then she gave us a talk about protecting the curvature of the spine with proper posture discussing different muscle groups etc...and then came my favorite part....PERRO CARA ABAJO lol I had to remind myself not to was just so literal that it made me smile.

Anyways the class was very helpful both for streching and getting focussed. And I am excited for next week!

...Mas mañana!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

SEMANA santa

I was very impressed by the staggering lengths to which the city of Sevilla went in order to host its annual Semana Santa festivities. The preparations began more than 3 weeks prior to the start of Holy week and everything from the construction of new newsstand to stadium seating to restuccoing and restocking was all in expectaion of a massive influx of people into the center of the city throughout the week. and come they did from across Europs and South America from Morocco and the States, and believe me Sevilla was ready... the funny thing was that many sevillanos as well as most of the students actually left the city for the week to escape the crowds and enjoy a weeks vacation at the beach or in their hometowns.

The Calle Principal as it is called here actually runs about five minutes from my dorm-which would seem like a great convenience, except that people practically camp out to get a spot on the road to watch the hermandades pass by ...making it impossible to reach our dorm by any direct route. Although a bit frustrating at times, I did manage to learn about 100 other ways to get home ;)

Los Pasos were exciting- especially the ones with music!...the nazarenos (members of the hermandades themselves) are usually are stoic and silent, carrying 1.5 meter tall candles that look more like thick walking sticks.They are dressed in special outfits called an "antifaz" which is the cover worn over the head with a pointed "capriote" inside. These outfits are meant to disguise identity and to emfasize their penitence.

Then come the clergymen dressed in ornate attire remeniscent of early 19th century formalwear...then come the children who most always carry little baskets and bags filled with 'caramelos' (in spain this refers to basically any type of sweet in a little wrapper) and with estampitas (small pictures of the statues in each procession that many people collect) that they hand out to the crowd.  Finally comes the paso which is a giant wooden structure featuring a scenes from Jesus' life depicted by large carved statues dressed in velvet cloaks and leather sandals. And all this atop an ancient wooden strucute which is covered also by fresh flowers, roses or violets (as in the pic below) as well as heavy candleabras which are filled with more candles and are made of gold and or silver. (needless to say these things weigh a ton!!) 

Each paso is a sight to see with decorative carvings covering every inch...and some were originally built in the 15th century. And as they have been for centuries, each paso is manually carried through Sevilla upon the heads of 50+ men who stand 5 across and more than 10 deep shoulder to shoulder !

(All the crowd can hope to see of these costaleros however is perhaps a tiny glimpses of their feet as they march in perfect rhythm along with the drums of the band behind them...

Being surrounded literally with spaniards of all ages waiting sometimes more than 3 hours just to see the paso is a great albeit tiring experience...The waiting time is filled with card games talking and getting to know the people around you so that by the time the paso gets within eye distance or sometimes ear distance (the drums are quite dramatic) you are ready!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

A portrait of the artist in Sevilla…

I love being surrounded by art! 

Be it music, painting, theatre, or dance…art fills you up and helps you to make new connections and to open up to the possibilities of creativity.

Last weekend I went to the inauguración of the new exposición de arte featuring the painting students in their senior show.  The gallery space, I had heard, was a sight to see…however I had never actually come across the space though I had class in the building almost every day…

I came to find out that the gallery was actually in the basement and to get there you had to take the elevator to floor (-2) labeled SÓTANO …a bit sketchy but al final I reached the space and it was bustling with art aficionados, family and friends who had come to view the impressive and imaginative works that were being displayed.

The show was breathtaking both in the sense of beauty and also in the sense of poignancy…each artist had his or her interpretation of several common works of literature (they were studying to be illustrators) and the show was organized thematically to reflect the various ways each text could be represented.

My friend Leticia’s work was quite remarkable because it was a blend of fantastic surrealism and dark tragidrama. Each painting contained within it a sort of vigor and passion that kept the viewers staring and thinking. 

It is refreshing to have such a thriving arts community here in Sevilla and I hope to become a part of it as the semester continues.  :)

más mañana...

Monday, March 22, 2010


Ok so as many of you know Semana Santa is coming up so I thought I'd post some questions for you all about the week's festivities and traditions: (please feel free to post your answers I'd love to know what you all think)

How many Virgen Mary's are included in the Semana Santa processions?

How can you get a seat in the city center  to watch the processions?

What time/day do the processions depart form their 'home churches'?

What is the name of the traditional dessert made during semana santa?

bueno como siempre más mañana!!

The boys next door

:) lol so last night I came home a bit late because I had gone to see the Universidad de Sevilla's choral performance at the Catedral. It was a beautiful -un poco largo- but I really enjoyed seeing my friend sing and hearing the orchestra. 

Ps...apparently getting there early meant 'go to the preceding mass and then keep your asiento'.  ;) No one told me it was also the feast of St. Joseph- everybody was dressed to the nines and the church was packed!

So after the concert was over I headed back to my residencia. I walked up to my room but was having a bit of trouble with the lock on my door. I guess the guys next door heard me rattling the lock, because all of a sudden all three of them burst out of the room. I think they were expecting someone else because for a second we all just looked at each other confused.

But then we all burst out laughing and they were like where are you coming back from? I explained about the concert to which they responded -we should help you integrate more into the real Spanish culture lol I'm Manuel, Jesus, Julio ...etc, come on we will presentarte to the others.  So we then proceeded to meet 1/2 the building throughout the night as we shared music and YouTube videos while attempting but not quite successfully to go dancing at the nearby discotec. 

It was a funny and random way to meet the neighbors but I’m glad we have now been introduced. :)

mas mañana!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Culture shock...

A Few Notes From the Field:

1. So yesterday I needed to use the restroom during one of our descansos in art class. I followed the directions given to me at least I thought so...that is until I walked into the restroom to find two guys using the sink! 

Trying to recover I apologized saying "ay lo siento... me equivoqué..." but my attempted recovery was met with smiles and shaking of heads...confused- I stood in the doorway staring in bewilderment as one of the stall doors opened and a girl walked out!! Apparently it was a co-ed baño!!

I suppose it serves the same purpose and perhaps more economically...however socially it’s definitely different. But hey that’s why I'm here to experience and appreciate the culture...whatever that may mean.

2. I believe that all nations have their sacred Spain this high honor is held by two seeming simple things: 


The best part is that you can order them about 100 different ways and together the cost is about 1 euro.

Café: manchado, cafe con leche, cafe solo...etc 

Pan tostado: pan integral, tostado con aceite y tomate, tostado con jamón, mitad con mantequilla y mermelada...etc

Lol like I said everyone has their own order. It reminds me of the ridiculously specific starbucks orders in the US...except that here in Spain the more concise the better so you better know the distinct names the variation you like. 

And when foreigners enter a bar for the first time and order a "café" they are most often met with a quizzical expression and extended pause.... well what kind????

So for me its usually 'un manchao co' la mita' d'pan integral' lol we have been studying dialects in class so I thought I would try to simulate the cuban-in-andalucia accent ;)

3. Did I mention that when u walk into said bar you better be prepared because as soon as you squeeze in you hear "¡Dime!" which means 'tell me!' (the 'what you want' part is implied) and if no hay una carta you just have be ready to probar algo nuevo..."¡¡Buen provecho!!" 

¡Bueno... más mañana!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Birds of a feather...yup we stick together

So yesterday I attended a few new classes at the university...and first off lemme just say that I love my Arabic teacher! We learned all about Iraqi culture and how their dialect is very tied to their history and cultural values. haha apparently if you breed palomas people do not trust you because sometimes after you let them out to fly around you end up with other people's palomas asi que your word is not the most trustworthy or so society thinks. I imagine it’s a similar phenomenon con any language...take español por ejemplo: in Spain there are a million expressions that have to do with bulls and bullfighting. 

And then after dialectologia de arabe I was looking for my next class and ended up asking these two students if they knew which direction the room might be. lol so far I have learned that if you ask a Spaniard for directions chances are that if they begin with "ah si me suena... " it will be followed by "todo recto todo recto" which is great but how long should you go todo recto?? No one ever seems to clarify this but that’s another story...As far as I can tell Sevillanos are born with an innate sense of navigation via plazas and zonas peatonales.

Anyway although I was expecting to be told to just "keep going straight" the girl thought for a second and was like "dijiste aula 241?""Si" "Creo que estoy en la misma clase! :) So we walked all around the facultad til we found the classroom. We still had some time to kill so we decided to go for some tea at the tetería before class started. :)

lol I think the owner should hire me as a marketing rep hehe because each time he sees me come in with a new group of first-time-baklava-tasters ;) 

Apparently foreign exchange students although not quite birds of a feather indeed flock together ;) lol it was a German girl a Moroccan boy and me but 'la lingua franca' was español por su puesto. 

I felt like I was back in the International Pavilion at Elon lol but dubbed in was a strange phenomenon but definitely cool that we could communicate through a common language. 

After class the Moroccan dude invited us over to make crepes :) He went to cooking school and had worked in a restaurant in Paris for 5 years! lol so we were like ok!! And lemme say that crepes are one of the simplest cheapest and tastiest snacks you can have. 

The Recipe: 
8 huevos
and you need a stove of course ;)

He taught us how to make the batter flip them and everything...and with a bit of nutella they were quite delicious!

We also met his flatmates who were really amable and they tried some of our crepes too. So despite the rainy day we were quite content with our snack and our earl grey tea.

well bon apetite y mas mañana!

Monday, March 1, 2010

¡¡Una Noche Cubana!!

In Mallorca we happened upon a litle Cuban cafe- and they were hosting a live salsa band Saturday night. So we decided to check it out :) and it was a blast! We met some other Cubans nd many other great characters...including the mojito lady who was dressed as Celia Cruz!

They played "Besame!" and Buena Vista Social Club and all that good stuff.

The singer came to our group and had us join him on the stage for a few songs, and later we all danced and learned some new turns and tricks. Lol who would have thought that we would have had to travel all the way to Los Beleares to find a taste of the Caribbean. :)

We also visited the cathedral in Palma, which has an altar piece by Gaudi and a contemporary mural by Miquel Barceló. It has a really modern look and it was fascinating. We stayed there trying to figure out all the meaning he tried to includ in his work. I think we all related better to that piece than to the older parts of the church.

Besides that we checked out the beaches and some of the smaller towns around Santa Ponca.

Bueno mas mañana...

¿Que es la lengua?

Un debate muy interesante...

El País:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

revolving door of roommates

Just found out that my french roommate will be heading back to France in 30 days :(...which means it will be time for a new roomie to move in. So far in my college career I have lived with 6 differnt roommates...4 of which have been during my time here in Sevilla! lol but it has been cool meeting new people and learning about them.

Hopefully this new roommate will be Española...vamos a ver!

Tomorrow we are going to Mallorca for the long weekend and are hoping for nice weather...

mas mañana...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

¡Livin la vida Sevillana! :)

Today it occurred to me that I am beginning to "go native" as the ethnographers say, well not quite as drastic as that but I do feel like I am blending in here. I finally have a basic routine: going to school and to certain shops/kiosks and even having regular meeting places to go grab a cafe etc. Its funny how you can adapt to a new environments without even realizing you are...that is until one day you notice that you unconsciously get from your dorm to school without being offered any rosemary or "free" palm reading. :)

ITS A SIGN THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER A TOURIST...and well on your way to becoming a native ;)

I was marveling the other day at the normalcy of waking up and walking to school, with everything I needed for the in Sevilla unless u want to end up with blisters from redundantly retracing your steps, I have learned to do as the Sevillanos do: PREPARE FOR EVERYTHING! lol That is you have to be sure to bring a paraguas, your books, and of course some kind of entertainment with you as you leave for work/school in the morning.

Well, more observaciones mañana...

But for now thank for reading and please feel free to ask questions and suggest a topic that you would be interested in me writing about (food, people, classes, museos...etc)

The Help

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Conversation of Art... :)

Ya han empezado las clases!!

Arte del natural (figure drawing) es bueniiiiisima :)

Estoy en una clase con 60 estudiantes! Tenemos dos modelos un hombre y una mujer y la aula esta dividida en el medio con un modelo a cada lado.

The class is great because it is a mixture of ages with people from all walks of life...for example I met one girl who is a young mother and who wants to do art restauration, and another middle aged lady who always wanted to study art and who is finally able to do it, and tons of students around my age who are taking the course as a prerequisite before picking ‘una especialidad’-the first few years of study are comun for all those in the same facultad/dept. then you specialize for the last 2 years:)

The teacher is very professional and he really helps you draw with a plan. That is not to say that he expects you to begin systematically attacking the paper as though it was a military operation...but rather in a more strategic sense he asks us to employ different techniques and methods in the creative process. He challenges us to be more like students of the martial arts by interacting dynamically with our drawing, just as they engage an opponent bringing all skills sets to the table, readily available and for use when necessary.

The creation of art is a process, whereby the artist, the subject and the materials remain in constant dialogue, negotiating and maneuvering until one conversation is resolved and a new one begins…

Bueno tengo que irme a leer un poco del Don Quixote de la Mancha.....más mañana!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

friends in need...friends indeed :)

So I haven't written in a while... I had a bit of back luck with getting sick. :(

I think everyone here has a cold these days, and apparently there is also a stomach virus running around Sevilla which unfortunately caught up with you know who. Good news is that my roommate was wonderful and helped me get through quite a rough night of literally expelling all the contents of my stomach.

When you are not feeling well and are far from home it really means a lot when people do little things to help you out. My friend from Elon came and visited and he brought Aquarius and water for me. The medico had told me to have only liquids for a few days and to take it real easy, and this friend went out of his way to help me do just that. Needless to say I depended a great deal on my roommates and friends during this past week in particular.

Although I also must say a very big thank you to you guys back home for calling and emailing to check on me: THANK YOU!!! :)

A funny consequence of getting sick was that my roommate and I really bonded lol and now I have met several of her other French friends-one of them actually grew up in Senegal!

But all that said things are looking up, as the weather gets better and classes are starting on Monday!! -They certainly do take there time here ;) and thank goodness.


Random aside- I met a new friend from Croatia and we are planning to take Flamenco and Belly dancing together :)

Más Mañana...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Teriaki Pollo

Yes we ate like spaniards tonight...started the evening at 9:30 sat down at a sushi place around 10:30 and wrapped it up around 0:00 (that's right midnight!)

It was a strange experience being in a trilingual environment and attempting to make out the items on the menu which were written in Japanese characters, Spanish descriptions with a few english transliterations thrown in.

As we poured over the menu in utter confusion someone figured out how to order a sort of "plato combinado" serving an appetizer, main course and soup or salad for under 9 euros :) so that decided we merely had to communicate this to our waitress who was at her wits end trying to attend far too many tables during the dinner rush. She graciously waited as we tried at times in vain to describe what we would like in japanese/spanish. My favorite was when our friend proclaimed that she would be having the Teriaki Pollo, because to my ears this was an absurd combination, however along with un poco de Sake and una sopa miso we were in good language melding company.

The meal turned out wonderfully and we rather liked taking advantage of the Spanish custom of longer meals and much conversation. Although I must say at the end once we were all full conversation lulled as everyone dreamt of being tucked into their beds. :)

mas mañana...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Walking in Sevilla's Shoes

Well, someone once said that it’s not about getting to the destination, but rather it’s all about the journey. Well I have news for them, in order to enjoy the journey there is one essential detail besides good company and that is comfortable shoes!! Let me just say that cobblestones and brick walkways are beautiful to look at, but they are a hazard to your feet and a disaster for your footwear. I swear after a week in Sevilla, my boots look like they have taken a beating and my feet feel have suffered the impact as well.

I have no clue how people here do not constantly break ankles and stumble over the less than flat stonewalls. For me each time I go out is an adventure, because along with figuring out my way I have to keep one eye on the pavement, or rather the lack there of to make sure that I make it to my destination in one piece.

But after almost a month here I have become accostomed to the area where I live and I don't mind the walking as much (this could also have to do with the fact that I am loosing my way much less often) and infact I rather like the walk to school and to the cafe.

New Spaces

I recently moved rooms and am now living with a French girl and an American girl in a triple. It is bright yellow and we have plenty of space to unpack and move around. My old room was a small dark space, with no natural light and a tiny bathroom. The shower was about 2.5 of my feet squared… which meant if you dropped the soap you would have to forget about picking it up until you got out of the shower and turned off the water.

It was pretty amazing that they were able to fit a toilet, a sink and a "shower” inside such a small area. However, I have come to find out that it is just so Spanish to use the small space available and squeeze in all the necessities. :)

There is a bar that we often go to in the afternoons and one day I needed to use the aseos, but the place is pretty tiny as it is so I figured they probably didn’t have a restroom. But I asked anyway and the owner pointed me toward what I had thought was a coat closet. To my surprise I opened the door and stared in confusion as I saw that somehow by a feat of plumbing worthy of recognition that there was a toilet with a pull flush as well as a sink and mirror in a space that would have been more appropriate to store winter furs. But as stunned as I was, nature was calling so I hopped inside did my business and found that the closet bathroom was in fact a marvelous invention.

Needless to say that after such compact restrooms the fact of having a full sized tub and mirror in my new room was a joy, and although I share with 3 girls it is big enough to accommodate all of us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Yesterday after class we went looking for a place to grab a cup of cafe or tea.
We stumbled upon a traditional arab tetería and decided to try it out.

The atmosphere was quite tranquilo and there were small groupings of carpets and small chairs, and little nooks setup with lamps and cushions to sit on while you tried some wonderfully spiced tea and arabic sweets.

None of the girls had ever tasted baklava before so I asked the server "andaka baklawa" (do you have baklava?) and he responded in araby!! "Na'am"

I was so escited to be able to practice my arabic and so I asked where he was from...etc. I ended ur ordering and paying using arabic as well and as we left I thanked him "shookran" and said "Ma'selema!"

It was so cool that such a diverse little group: american, cuban, mexican, guatemalan, lebanese, and honduran could all go into this tiny tea house and share a new cultural experience together.

It was great and I definitely plan on going back very soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010