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Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Walkin in the Rain

Yesterday we took a group tour of our "barrio" and learned about all the great places to eat and where the police station was...etc. The only problem was that it started to pour!!

Needless to say the group dwindled gradually, as we passed through el centro. However Mari, Cecy and I had to hang in there til almost the end, as our street was the furthest, much to the detriment of my dripping hair, squelching boots and two pairs of soaked through socks.

When we finally were able to leave the group we bagan to look around for someplace to warm up....and thats when we saw it!!

!!!CHOCOLATE!!!!

Now I say this in large letters because this is no ordinary hot chocolate. It is a special drink that is 1000x better than our thin watery chocolate drinks. Instead, it tastes like pure smooth melted chocolate served hot and thick!

We stopped in for a small taza on the way home, and it made all the difference on our soggy way home.

As Cecy said "barriga llena, corazon contenta!" lol

more mañana...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cosas Culturales

Hola!

Ya empecé con mi primera clase :) Es una clase de la historia contemporánea de España, y es muy interesante!

En este programa hay 3 chicas que tienen familias de países hispanohablantes así que estoy hablando con ellas mucho.
Son muy simpáticas y es muy buena para todos nosotros.

Anoche, fuimos al teatro para ver la obra que se llama 'Bodas de Sangre' y fue muy grave. Lo hicieron tan bien los actores, pero es un cuento muy triste y serio. Es una exploración de la muerte y de la venganza.

Los vestidos y las cosas escénicas eran muy simples, como por ejemplo unos vestido blancos y unos negros con un acento del rojo de vez en cuando. Ese color se refería a la muerte, la culpabilidad y la venganza...y para mi era muy bien ejecutado esa referencia. Rojo también era un símbolo para la vida de un humano de carne y hueso. Pero a la vez ese color se muestra el fuerzo de la vida llena de emociones y experiencias también ilustra que es muy frágil.

En la obra los actores tenían que decidir cual era mas importante, los emociones o la honradez; creo que tenía un propuesto al decir algo contra la falta de respeta que tiene la gente por la fragilidad de nuestras vidas.

Quizás además de esta opinión había otras temas también incluyendo la importancia de la familia como estructura social y la justicia divina que al final y al cabo todos se da lo que merezca.


Mas mañana...

Monday, January 25, 2010

'following' the blog :)

Thank you all for the comments and feedback so far!
I like hearing your thoughts and reactions, and it is great to know who I am writing too.

If you have not yet done so, please create a simple
GOOGLE MAIL ACCOUNT

and become a 'FOLLOWER' of this blog.

That way you can comment more easily and I can better know my audience.

Gracias otra vez!

Sherlock Holmes

ok so after a frustrating few days of figuring out how to get from my residencia to CIEE and from there to Triana and from there to the Catedral...I was ready for a calm afternoon.

so I met up with my friend form Elon and we decided to go see a movie...it did not occur to us however that it would be dubbed in Epsañol!

If you have never had the experience of watching an American movie in Spanish, I would suggest it. At first we were skeptical as we watched Rachel Mcadams speak with a spanish accent, but it was very interesting because we were able to understand both her gestures and the conventions of communication as well as notice the effort in translation of jokes and phrases.

My favorite was hearing Roberty Downey Jr. playing a bumbling old beggar and muttering in a raspy Spanish voice "Dios se salve la reina."

Oh and later in the movie there was french being spoken by several characters which was roughly translated into Spanish subtitles...lol it was an experience i am not likely to forget.

More mañana...

Los Cipreses

Influences from other nations...

The River Guadalquivir
(or in Arabic guad = river, al-kebir= the big/large)

The ruins of an ancient Roman city, Italica fundado 206 antes de Cristo

The city of Sevilla is full of history and culture...

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Italica was an interesting city to see because although it is located not far from Sevilla it feels like a completely different place and time. There is one house called the Casa Pajaros that has been preserved enough to see the different rooms and atrium space. I was struck by the size of the house and by its organization.

It was the home of a wealthy aristocratic family and as such the mosaic work was particularly ornate. The house's namesake comes from one such mosaic floor located near the main entrance, which features more than 30 types of birds!

The main gathering room was the comedor located in the back center of the house complex across from the entrancway past the atrium (which is located in the center of the house, from which all rooms were accessible.

Later on we visited the "spa" or bathhouses. Apparently this was a popular meeting place where one could relax and enjoy the series of cold, roomtemperature, and hot baths while catching up with neighbors and friends.

Too bad this tradition has not lasted...not necessarily the communal baths, but rather the purposeful allotment of time for relaxation with friends as an important part of daily life.

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The other important note form our trip to Italica was a story about LOS CIPRESES!!

The guia told us that Cipress trees are planted at many ancient archealogical sites because they have a special root system that grows very deep instead of spreading laterally. (so they do not disturb the mosaics or home foundations)

Also the branches reach very tall toward the sky pointing to heaven and to God. In this way the trees indicated a connection to the divine through nature.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

being foreign

So over the past two days I have learned what it is like to be in a new country away from anyone you know and all who care about you. I dont say this in a melodramatic way, but in all seriousness I have come to really really appreciate those people who help make the "new kids on the block" feel welcome.

It is not easy making these adjustments but it is worth it for sure, othewise we serve as barriers toward our own growth and with sooo much out there why in the world should we block ourselves form discovery and revelation...

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I am going to visit Italica tomorrow and on Monday our intensive class starts- the actual semester begins in 2 weeks...so much to do before that.

More later...and pictures too ;)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tonight we watched a Flamenco performance!

The guitar player and the male dancer were great, they played off eachother's rhythms and kept the crowd guessing with their creative exchanges. I was impressed by the complexity of the footwork and of the playing, but was not so captured by the singing or of the other dancer.

The others in the group were helpful to round out the show, but they did not bring the life and passion to the stage as the first two did. Flamenco is a serious and intense artform that includes guitar, dance, and canto, and in order to have an authentic experience these three parts must work together...

I am eager to start classes both academic and dancing, to see first hand the techniques and combinations that are involved. It looks to me like an artform that incorporates the whole body, mind and spirit...because it requires a certain rawness and willingness to perform without reservation because it is an art that hinges on interaction between dancer, cantaor and guitar player, who all add to the complex rhythms and each contribute to the performance.

More on this subject later.

For now I also wanted to mention that Haiti and the tradgety they suffered is on everyone's mind here and that we are praying for the victems and their families...

Monday, January 18, 2010

add on...

Ok so today I am finally in Sevilla...I took the AVE, which was way cool, very fast and very modern. And when I arrived at the Sevilla stop I ran into another girl who was from CIEE and we grabbed a cab together...lol the guy was like "oye trajiste toda la casa?" I guess he thought all the equipaje was mine at first.

And the other highlight of the day was that Andres and I went to buy un móvil! So now I have 3 contacts and have made my first International call from my Spanish cell phone. :) Sometimes its little things like this that help smooth the bumps of travel.

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Also yesterday I abbreviated as to the actual story of my visit with José Miguel ...The house was quite unique and very eccentric but in a good way. But the story of what happened during our visit was far more strange...

Loly had called around lunchtime to make sure he was ready for our visita, but he stopped midsentence and despite her repeating José...José he did not answer. But she heard the TV in the back so she assumed he forgot to hang up the phone.

We packed up the colored pencils form Tia Nini and Tio Mario along with the leftovers form our Cuban almuerzo and headed for the metro. After we changed several times and walked a few blocks we arrived at the parte antiguo de la ciudad, donde vive el. We knocked on the door and rang his bell but no one could hear us, eventually neighbors buzzed us in and up we went to the very top floor to the attic where he lives.

We had to ask around for a key because we were beginning to get worried, so once we got inside Loly went to the back to see if he was alright, and I entered behind her taking in my surroundings. (Refer to yesterday's blog) So we find out that this very clearheaded man is unable to sit up and has not left his bed for days...we call the medico who takes forever to arrive and he then tells us that in fact Sr. Miguel has a high fever and possibly an infection of some kind.

But he can do nothing more than try to lower the fever by giving him pastillas to which he said, "pero no me gusta" Well i'm sure they were not as tasty as caramelos pero a veces tiene que endurecer...

Then 45 min later the ambulancia arrives and in come two rather hefty hombres who after seeing the stairs say a few curse words before mounting the first one. But when they arrive they realize the journey and the complications have just begun. They squeeze through the tiny hallways of José Miguel's house and then roughly try to lift him and put him in the medical gurney/chair.

This was a horrible sight to watch and it made me thankful for our medical care here in the states, because el es un viejo y era muy debil at that moment, but they were harsh with him. They couldn’t really get their grip on him and he ended up on the floor at one point. I felt helpless and insulted that they would treat someone this way.

And to top things off they insisted that he remove his ring which he was not ok with, but Loly reminded him that is he took it off here there was less chance of loosing it, so he consented but barely.

So then we had to rummage through all the loose papers to find medical records of some kind...and then it came to the medics attention that José Miguel was part of a private hospital así que they could not help him. So after all that they put him in a chair and left him with us to wait on the 3rd medics of the day. It was incredible the way they could just leave a sick man when it just wasn't part of their jurisdiction.

An hour later the private doctors show up and eventually with the help of a neighbor we literally carried him down out of the attic and all the way down 3 floors worth of stairs to the ambulancia outside. We told him he looked like a king being hoisted above the crowd but I’m not sure he believed us.

Needless to say it was a visit quite different than the one I was prepared for, but in the end it was an adventure...

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Loly me llamó and told me he's doing better...more mañana

Sunday, January 17, 2010

José Miguel

Today was an adventure...

I woke up rather late because I was recuperating from yesterday and adjusting to this time zone, but I had ZUMO aka "jugo" para desayuno, and then later Loly cooked a delicious Cuban meal!! Complete with yuca, mojo, congrí and picadillo....mmmmm I felt right at home :)

Then we all got ready to go and visit the famous José Miguel- we also took some of the Cuban leftovers for him to sample.

5 metros and 9 cuadras después...llegábamos a su casa. We had been calling him all day and he was not answering así que we were a bit worried. Eventually un vecino let us in and we climbed up the wooden stairs. 3 floors up we banged on the door but no one contestó...a different neighbor helped us get inside and there began the laberinto que es la casa de José Miguel.

Estaba ilusionada con el carácter de su caverna creativa...tenía estatuas de mujeres, unos de elefantes y uno muy particular de un monje sin brazos que guardaba la entrada de la casa.

Tenía cuadros por todos lados y libros gigantes de historia y cultura en cada mesa.

Su casa era como una extensión de el, con libros de historia de arte y cositas en todos los rincones que expresa sus intereses diferentes...Era una casa tan linda, tan impresionante, tan curioso y además era una casa que refleja tanto una alma de el artista quien vive allí. Su casa expresa su vida enfocada en su arte...

Nunca me voy a olvidar entrar en esa museo en vivo, de tanto carácter...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Day in Spain

Today I arrived in Madrid...

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The journey was long to be sure, but the flights were smooth and the people entertaining.

If anything I have learned a valuable travel lesson:

NEVER BRING MORE THAN U CAN CARRY!!

Metros and staircases are not made to accommodate wonky luggage carts especially not when driven by a girl in boots and a dress balancing two gigantic suitcases a backpack stuffed to the brim and a winter coat.

Needless to say once I arrived in Madrid and found out that in order to get to my final destination for the next few days we would have to walk 10 blocks luggage in hand, I was so used to the idea that it barely fazed me. And on the bright side it was much more relaxed a walk than I had had all day.

And once I got to the apartment I felt very welcome. "Esta es tu casita", Loly told me after giving me warm PJ's and a blanket. They are very accommodating and happy to have me in their home, which I greatly appreciate.

Ok Spain here we go...more mañana...