Not such a “Gringa” anymore

Hola amigos!

So I thought I was very clever with the title of my blog “Gringa en Granada,” but when I googled it I found that there are 5 others who had utilized my same punny brilliance as titles to their study abroad blogs…boo…well, I am happy to say that I no longer feel like a gringa anymore. After spending 4.5 months in Spain, I feel like Granada has become my second home. I was comfortable giving directions to strangers, if restaurant owners started talking to me in english from the get-go I’d pretend like I didn’t understand them and speak spanish back;), I started forgetting my english-“Katy how do you say “alcachofas” in English?” “uhh, it’s the same isn’t it? hold on I’ll google it…oh yeah, artichoke!”, I can recommend bars and places to go, and I’ve made lasting friendships with my host family, other students, teachers, and the speech pathologist that I shadowed. I know I will miss everything about Granada until I return…

I’ve been back in the US now for two weeks! The flight home was a very deja-vu sort of experience. Staring out the window I vividly remembered my flight to Spain-the anxiety, the sadness of leaving my family, friends and Tommy, the excitement of going to Europe, and the free airline wine;-) My flight back to the US was much the same- I was excited to see my friends and family, see my dogs!, but I was sad too leaving behind my host family and the city both of which I grew to love. I am sorry that I have not been super diligent with my updates during my last two months abroad, but I was very busy with school work, travels, y demasiado divertido (too much fun)! This will be my last blog post and it is going to do a very poor job of sufficiently wrapping up my last two months, but it will give you all (my many fans;-) )a little idea of what I was up to and what I learned overall (I’ll post a giant montage of pictures at the end).

Instead of explaining every last place I went these past two months- Las Alpujarrras, Sevilla for feria de abril, Mijas, Sevilla again, Barcelona, Oslo (Norway), Munich (Germany), and Rome (you know where that is)-I’d rather give anyone planning to travel to Spain, or any country where they don’t know the language, a list of useful phrases (these will be in spanish but you can translate them to any language) that they can use to get by. The problem is that if you start speaking the native language, the locals might think that you know more than you actually do and that makes for awkward situations. For example, Tommy has been learning german on duolingo (an awesome, and FREE, phone application for learning languages) and he’s pretty decent. He knows just enough german where germans think that they can respond normally with advanced vocabulary and grammar leaving you tongue tied and confused, “uhhh…..” These are no brainer sayings and if you really amp up the english accent, you should have no problem being mistook for a local:) My family visited Spain and I think they utilized some of these phrases well:

1) I don’t speak Spanish: “No hablo espanol” or I know a little spanish: “Yo se un poco espanol”

2) beer: “cerveza”, tap beer: “cerveza de grifo”, wine: “vino (white: blanco or red: rojo)”, house wine “vino de la casa”

3) I would like a beer: “me gustaria una cerveza” or I want a beer: “quiero una cerveza” or “me pone una cerveza, por favor” (if you wanna be fancy)

4) Where are the bathrooms?: “Donde estan los servicios (aseos or lavabos)”

*5) Try to know the numbers 1-10 and all the factors of 10 through 100. It helps when you want to give your taxi driver an address. “uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.” “20-veinte, 30-trenta, cuarenta, cinquenta, sesenta, setenta, ochenta, noventa, 100-cien”

6) It’s nice to meet you: “encantado (guys), encantada (girls)” or “es un placer conocerte”

7) Hello, my name is….”Hola, me llamo….”

8) Where are you from?: “De donde eres”, I am from the United States: “Soy de los estados unidos”

9) popular meats: carne: meat (in general), pollo (chicken), pavo (turkey), pato (duck), jamon (ham), jamon serrano (disgusting ham…raw ham that most people like except me), jamon iberico (jamon serrano but from fancy pigs), tocino (weird bacon), conejo (rabbit), ternera (veal or as I like to say baby cow), pescado (fish), bacalao (cod or white fish), trucha (trout), *de la plancha (pan seared), *frito (fried)

10) I am a vegetarian: “soy vegetariano(a)”

11) Thank you: “Gracias!”

12) The check please (or the bill please): “La cuenta, por favor”

13) tap water (so you don’t have to pay for it): agua de grifo

14) Where is the club/bar?: “Donde esta el discoteca/bar?”

15) Left: “izquierda”, right: “derecha”, straight: “derecho” (confusing)

I think these will get you by in Spain. I got by in some countries knowing far less. I am very thankful that my first language is english because I found that in Europe it is sort of the go-to second language. In most countries, many people speak english. If you want to be more daring and have some more interesting conversations in spanish, I am going to provide the list of spanish words that I learned during my time in Spain. Most of these are thanks to my host mom, dad and brother. Some of them you might only want to use in the company of amigos;-)

Katelyn’s list of words:

“guay” (cool), “chulo” (another word for cool), “mesa de camilla” (coffee table with heater undereath), “sello” (stamp), “tamano” (size), “protecion solar” (sunscreen), “quizas” (maybe), “oveja” (sheep), “acuarela” (watercolor), “remotes” (chair lift), “sotano” (basement), “subir” (to go up), “bajar” (to go down), “empollon” (nerd), “freakie” (geek), “calabacin” (zucchini), “tatuaje” (tattoo), “cochinillo” (baby pig), “hielo” (ice), “espinaca” (spinach), “madera” (wood), “lentejas” (lentils), “enmohecida” (rusty as in out of practice), “vidrio” (glass pane), “hortera” (tacky), “peliculon” (block buster hit), “revientalo” (kill it! like an exam or test), “mierda” (shit), “espachurar” (squish), “baneras” (moguls), “cabina/telesferico” (mini gondola), “teletransporte” (transport), “chuleton” (steak), “buho” (owl), “esta chupao” (it’s very easy), “estar de tope” (to be on fire in a good way), “chantaje” (blackmail), “malvada” (evil), “casco” (helmet or ear buds), “moqueta” (totally carpeted like in the living room), “darle los recuerdos” (give my regards), “Climatizada” (hottub), “jicara” (piece or chunk of something), “lagartija” (lizard), “daltonismo” (colorblind), “contrabando” (smuggled), “patear” (to kick), “marcar” (to score), “portero/guardameta” (goal keeper), “medios” (midfielder), “delanteros” (forwards: as you can see we were watching futbol), “senal” (signal or deposit), “dibujo/diseno” (sketch or design), “letrero” (street sign), “bucear” (scuba dive), “acojonar” (poop your pants from nerves), “conmocion” (concussion), “tener agujetas” (to be stiff), “desbordada” (overwhelmed), “chungo” (ugly, bad), ****”cozcoron” (nap: this literally means to hit yourself or someone else in the head but my host dad uses it to say nap (because you hit your head to the pillow)…I had an awkward moment talking to the speech therapist I shadowed because I thought this was the word everyone used for nap), “redirse” (to give in/up), “grabados” (ink prints), “flequillo” (bangs), “sujetador” (bra), “agrio” (sour milk/cheese/person), “acido” (sour like a lemon), “pitufo” (smurf), “naufrago” (castaway), “porra” (lottery pool), “quiniela” (bracket like for march madness), “vaguear” (bumming out), “casero/a” (a home body ), “Sonar la nariz” (blow your nose), “anorar” (homesick), “nitrogeno” (nitrogen), “fisgar” (to pry/be nosy), “chanclas” (flipflop ), “soso” (it’s missing something), “azahar” (the flower that grows on orange trees), “noria” (ferris wheel), “manchata” (80% coffee/20% milk drink), “crapula” (night owl ), “bombilla” (lightbulb), “tirarse en plancha” (slide tackle), “la marequita” (ladybug but is also a derogatory word for gay person), “muslo” (thigh of a chicken leg), “ala” (wing), “expomanga” (comic-con)

WOW. Looking over that list it’s weird to think how some of those words came about in normal conversation like pitufo (smurf) and contrabando (smuggled)! However, after living somewhere for 4.5 months and talking everyday you are bound to have some weird conversations.

I know this was an unconventional blog post, but I hope it made you chuckle:) I just wanted to thank everyone who kept tabs on me while I was away and a special thanks to those of you who left comments:). I want to thank my Granada family: my friends and my host family. To my friends: thank you for helping keep the homesickness away. I can’t wait to come visit those of you in Chicago and Michigan<3

Kaitlin- my namesake

Lili- you were the first friend I made abroad:) Thanks for trekking around Spain with me and convincing me to use blabla car! I’ll keep the photos of the 1am Tinder fail until the proper moment…;)

Steph and Nola- Evil cats!! thank you guys for getting this homebody out of the house cause without you both I probably never would have made it to a discoteca;-)

Abi- Thanks for always reading my blog:) it’s not everyday that you make a friend because neither of you can figure out how that one shower in Morocco works!

Marianne- Thanks for joining me in Portugal! and for being so easy to talk to about anything.

Luci- Thanks for helping me improve my pobre spanish and always walking me to the bus stop even though it was out of your way (sorry we never got those gofres..)

Katie and Shaheera- Congrats on your graduations my lovely friends!

Marilyn- Thanks for making my eyebrows on fleek?(did I say that right;-) )

My UW friends: I think we represented the university well! I’ll see you all around:)

To everyone at Cegri: You guys were my family while I was away and I can’t thank everyone enough for being so welcoming and friendly!

Allie: Thank you for being my US pen pal! My heart jumped every time I saw a letter addressed to me in the school’s mailbox:)

To Jenny Hofer, Tom and Janet: Thank you guys for making the trip to Spain to get a taste of what my semester abroad was like! I really enjoyed our lazy days in Mijas and our day trip to Ronda!

To my host family: Gracias por una experiencia increible! No puedo expresar mi gratitud y os recordare para siempre. Os amo mucho!! Siempre tenies un hogar conmigo y espero que vengais pronto a los EEUU!<3

To Tommy: Dublin, Killarney, London, Alnwick, Edinburg, Granada, Mijas, Sevilla, Barcelona, Oslo, Munich, Rome. 12 cities and 7 countries-I think we did good work:) I can’t wait for our future world travels, but for now I am looking forward to traveling to the memorial union terrace, having a pitcher, and enjoying the simple bliss of reliable wifi and sharing the same time zone<3

To my family: Thank you guys for supporting me both financially and emotionally throughout my time abroad. I am so grateful for wifi calling because you guys never felt too far away. I know it’s hard to travel somewhere that you don’t speak the language-so thank you guys for stepping outside your comfort zone to visit me and explore the south of Spain. Lesson learned: never rent a car in Europe again:) I love you!

Here’s some pics from the last two months (in relative chronological order)!:

Cows in Las Alpujarras!

Cows in Las Alpujarras!

Hiking selfie in Las Alpujarras!

Hiking selfie in Las Alpujarras!

Sevilla for La Feria de Abril

Sevilla for La Feria de Abril

Feria!

Feria!

View from atop the ferris wheel at La Feria de Abril in Sevilla, Spain (at 2am)

View from atop the ferris wheel at La Feria de Abril in Sevilla, Spain (at 2am)

Comic-con in Granada!

Comic-con in Granada!

surfing in Lisbon, Portugal!

surfing in Lisbon, Portugal!

I'm so glad my family could visit me in Granada

I’m so glad my family could visit me in Granada

the girls at La Alhambra:)

the girls at La Alhambra:)

Rowing around La Plaza de Espana

Rowing around La Plaza de Espana

La Plaza de Espana

La Plaza de Espana

Ronda, Spain

Ronda, Spain

Touring the FC Barcelona Stadium

Touring the FC Barcelona Stadium

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gondola ride in Barcelona!

gondola ride in Barcelona!

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Inside La Sagrada Familia- Barcelona, Spain

Inside La Sagrada Familia- Barcelona, Spain

La Casa de Gaudi-Barcelona

La Casa de Gaudi-Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Making paella in Barcelona! Yummmmm

Making paella in Barcelona! Yummmmm

learning how to make sangria in Barcelona!

learning how to make sangria in Barcelona!

Prawn boat cruise in Oslo, Norway

Prawn boat cruise in Oslo, Norway

The most prawns I have ever seen...

The most prawns I have ever seen…

giant Norwegian cat named Bussel

giant Norwegian cat named Bussel

Naked sculpture park in Oslo, Norway

Naked sculpture park in Oslo, Norway

hmmm....

hmmm….

Holmenkollen Ski Jump- Oslo, Norway

Holmenkollen Ski Jump- Oslo, Norway

River surfing in Munich, Germany

River surfing in Munich, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany!

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany!

The Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome

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The pantheon at night

The pantheon at night

Pizza and wine in Rome!

Pizza and wine in Rome!

Roman pasta:)

Roman pasta:)

Thanks for the memories, Granada. Hasta Siempre <3,

Katelyn (Katy)

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The Four Best Days of my Life.

Hola a todos! I am sorry for being MIA for a while– I’ve had a lot going on and I also had a lot of homework to get done before my spring break. This post will mostly be about my Semana Santa in Ireland, London England, and Edinburgh Scotland, but I will give a brief summary of some of the things I did before I left for my European adventure. Since I last posted I have done many firsts: I went snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada’s, I went to my first futbol (soccer) game where Granada played Malaga, a heated rivalry, and actually won!, I went to Cordoba, Spain to visit the famous mosque there (check for pictures on facebook, es una maravilla!), and I went to the Parque de las Ciencias en Granada (and unfortunately deleted all of my pictures trying to post them to facebook…sorry Abi). After a few presentations, some papers, and procrastinating packing until the very last minute, I was off to visit my boyfriend Tommy in Dublin, Ireland!

It would literally be impossible to do one blog post of my incredible 10 day Spring break so I am gonna talk about my 4 favorite days and throw in a little bit of extra stuff from the other days. I’ll start with the best day of my life numero uno: Howth, Ireland.

Howth

Howth isn’t a place many people would go because it’s not a familiar sounding as Dublin or Galway, but it is an awesomely quaint and beautiful coastal city. It’s about a 30 minutes train ride from Dublin, the perfect afternoon trip to do some hiking. Howth is one of Tommy’s favorite Irish cities and he told me that they had some cliffs there that gave the Cliffs of Moher a run for their money. Once we got to Howth, Tommy took my down a pier to get some fish and chips (the best fish and chips I’ve ever had and I’ve been to London!). We ate our fish and chips sitting on the edge of the pier where we could look out and see Ireland’s Eye. Then we just spent the rest of the afternoon hiking around the cliffs of Howth and ended our afternoon with a couple of cupcakes from a local farmer’s market that has going on:) Unfortunately it started raining as we were taking the train back to Dublin–I say unfortunately cause we were going to go to an irish Hurling game (couldn’t tell you what this is other than it’s huge in Ireland and is kind of like lacrosse and hand ball mixed together??). Instead we went back to Tommy’s apartment, made some soup and got ready to watch the elite eight badger match up against Arizona. Before the game we went to Tommy’s favorite pub, called O’Donahue’s, so I could try my first official irish Guinness! It did not disappoint! Tommy made sure to teach me the proper way to drink a Guinness, elbow up, staring into the eyes of your partner, saying “Sloncha” whilst cheers-ing, and making sure you sport a nice Guinness mustache after the first sip. They take their Guinness very seriously in Ireland and I thought it was a little silly until I went to the Guinness Factory and learned how to pour a “true” Guinness. I’ll tell you all the secret; you must fill up the Guinness until the beer reaches the top of the harp crest of the Guinness glass and then let the beer settle for 2 minutes. Afterwards, you top off the Guinness by pushing back on the tap instead of pulling forward. It’s an art and every bar in Ireland pours Guinness this way. I will never look at Guinness the same way again:) Here are some pics of me at the Guinness factory!guinness Guinness 2

The next best day of my life was our first day in Killarney, Ireland. Killarney is a national park 3 hours away from Dublin by train. It is beautiful and I would recommend going, but try to keep an eye on the weather. We didn’t have much luck weather wise in Killarney, it rained and was chilly everyday, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time. The first day we got there, we checked in with our airbnb and then went to the city center to rent bikes so that we could explore the Irish countryside a bit. We had no idea what we were in for! We followed a bike path around a lake and had some incredible views of the mountains. Sometimes the best adventures are ones you never planned for and while biking around we came across Muckross Abbey and Muckross House. I felt like we were biking back into the late 1800’s! for those of you who know my obsession with Jane Austen, you’ll understand how excited I was! Jane Austen Housewaterfall

In Killarney we also visited Dingle. If you want an authentic Irish experience you must drive around the cliffs of Dingle! We had some pretty gnarly weather, but it was still really cool.

Dingle 2

I think Tommy’s face says it all right here:)

After our Dingle day, we came back to Killarney and went to the world’s best pub.shire

Yes, we actually went to the Shire and it was as cool as you think it is. They had different Lord of the Rings themed beers and the inside looked like a Hobbit Hole. My only disappointment was the signs in the bathrooms: the Men’s bathroom read “Hobbits” and the Woman’s bathroom read “Ladies” (Why couldn’t it have said “Lady Hobbits?”).

Before I talk about the 3rd best day I should probably mention that me and Tommy got stuck in Westminster Abby. It usually costs 18 pounds to tour Westminster Abby, but everyday at 5pm they have mass and can’t charge you to “practice your religion.” What they don’t tell you is that once you are in, you are in and can’t escape until mass is over unless you wanna do a serious walk of shame. Mass was only an hour and there are definitely worst places to be stuck in for an hour than this beautiful Cathedral.

Westminster

After that word of advice (or warning haha) we are onto the 3rd best day of my life: the Harry Potter’s Warner Brother’s studio tour in London. Anything I try to say about this day will be an understatement. If I was asked to rate my experience there on a scale of 1-5 stars, it would be an insult to not put 10! We had no idea how popular this was because we tried to buy tickets three days before and they were sold out! Luckily my nervous self continued to check everyday until we left for London and lucky enough, 2 spots opened up for the day we wanted to go!! We spent 6 hours in Warner Brothers exploring the sets, costumes, props, flying on broomsticks, drinking butterbeer, and seeing all the animatronics involved in creating the magical world of Harry Potter. It was a dream come true! For anyone who is even remotely into the HP series, I recommend going because you will gain a whole new appreciation for Harry Potter. One of my personal favorite parts was learning about the day of filming were they brought in a bunch of kittens on set to film on a green screen so that they could put them on the plates in Professor Umbridge’s office. Here is a grossly simplified view into my day at Warner Brothers (more pics on facebook).HP 8 HP 7 HP 6 HP 5 HP 4 HP 3 HP 2 HP 1

Fun fact: for Fawks, the phoenix in Dumbledore’s office, they hand painted every single feather that they put on him!

We spent the rest of our night on Camden Street which is the hip part of London. Here we got the famous fish and chips at Poppies and talked about the magical day we had <3.

The next day we kept the magic rolling by visiting Alnwick Castle in Alnwick England (5 hours by train from London). This is where the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed! To my surprise the Christmas special of the most recent season of Downton Abby was also filmed here so we got to see some costumes and sets from the show! (Tommy wasn’t as excited about this as I was 🙂 ). Alnwick castle was a serious hastle to get to, but seeing it was worth all struggle. hogwarts

The day we saw Hogwarts also happened to be Tommy’s birthday (still no acceptance letter though 😦 ).

The 4th and final best day of my life was Easter Sunday in Edinburgh, Scotland.edinburgh 1

I had no expectations of Edinburgh, Scotland. We honestly went here mostly out of convenience cause it was only an hour away from Alnwick instead of 5 (like London), but it turned out to be my favorite destination! Tommy had a surprise for me in Edinburgh and he wouldn’t tell me until we arrived at it for our Easter brunch. edinburgh 2

The Elephant House! This is the birthplace of Harry Potter! J.K Rowling actually wrote the first Harry Potter book here on a napkin!

edinburgh 3

We ate overlooking the beautiful Edinburgh Castle, just like J.K. did when she wrote our favorite books series:)

Edinburgh is a beautiful port town and I only wish we had more than a day there. My favorite part of the day was hiking up Arthur’s Seat to get an incredible view of all of Edinburgh. We shared a traditional Scottish meal of tatties, neeps and haggis at “The World’s End” where we also randomly ran into a Wisconsin family on Holiday! (We knew cause they were wearing Badger gear in preparation for the Championship game against Duke). You can probably guess what tatties are (potatoes), but neeps and haggis probably arent words you come across day to day. Well I’ll tell you that haggis is lamb meat (I think) and we are still a little stumped on what a neep is…it all tasted great though!

I just wanted to thank Tommy for accompanying me on such a wonderful adventure! I can’t wait for the many more to come ❤

Un saludo,

Katelyn

Le Tour de España

In the past two weeks I have experienced many firsts: my first blahblah car, my first airbnb, my first paella indulgence, and my first time seeing 5 amazing cities in Spain! My school in Granada had a break from February 13th through February 22nd so my friend Lili and I took this opportunity to explore Spain. We visited Valencia, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla and Cadiz in 10 days—needless to say it was tiring, but also a trip I will remember the rest of my life! It’s impossible to say everything I did and saw, but I will give vosotros (you all) a highlight real of my favorite things in each city.

Before I start, I will tell you guys about blahblah car and airbnb because they were an important part of my trip. For those of you that don’t know, blahblah car is a phone application that functions a lot like ride sharing. Someone posts their travel plans online: how many spots they have in their car, the price, what time they are leaving, and then you email them to let them know you would like a ride. I probably wouldn’t choose this type of traveling on my own, but because I was with Lili I felt safe. It was 1) the cheapest and fastest way to travel 2) a great way to meet Spaniards and other people from around the world and 3) a chance for me to practice my spanish. People who have traveled with the drivers before are able to rate them (as you would a hotel) so we had others opinions on what driving with this person was like. There were some blahblahs I liked more than others, for example our blahblah from Valencia to Madrid, a friendly airplane attendant, was my favorite because he was easy to talk to and the other two girls in the car were from Italy so we had some interesting conversations about different places around the world. There were also some blahblahs where I slept the whole time… Overall though, we had good luck with the blahblahs and I would definitely use them again!

Airbnb is kind of like blahblah but with peoples houses. If someone has an extra room/or is renting out their entire place they will post it on this website where people can leave reviews and comments of the host and space. For us it was cheaper than hostels, we got out own room, our host would give us a map and point out the best places to go in the city and we got free breakfast most of the time. Again it was also a really cool way to meet people from around the world. Each Airbnb was different but I would say my favorite was in Sevilla because we stayed with a Belgium couple who were VERY nice. I was starting to get sick when we arrived in Sevilla but I didn’t have medicine with me. The woman who was also an airbnb guest gave me some herbal remedies to help clear my sinuses. The couple was prepping for a marathon that was taking place in Sevilla so they had much better things to be doing than helping me out, but that is the overall family vibe you can get from Airbnb, and I loved it! There were some low points with airbnb, such as in Valencia our host forgot to tell us how to turn on the hot water so I took an icy cold shower one morning (she made up for it with homemade muffins!), but I would still definitely recommend any of the places we stayed at!

Valencia                          

Valencia plaza

Plaza de Toros (my personal favorite plaza)

On to the more important stuff! Our first stop was Valencia, Spain. Valencia is known for their festival in March called Las Fallas where they make giant floats out of wood and burn them. Unfortunately we didn’t see any giant bonfires when we went, but we did get to see a little bit of the setting up for Las Fallas. Me and Lili were eachothers bae’s in Valencia because it was Valentine’s day weekend….so we saw A LOT of coupling going on, which was kinda cute. We actually had a jam packed Valentine’s day! We took a free walking tour (which you will soon learn that I took free walking tours in all the cities I visited) in the morning which was definitely my favorite of all the walking tours I did. The tour guide talked slow enough that I wasn’t struggling to keep up (all the tours were in spanish) and he also used a lot of terms that we are learning in my art history class which was exciting. Every time he said boveda or fronton Lili and I gave each other a sideways glance of satisfaction cause we totally knew what he was talking about!

skinny building

We saw the 2nd skinniest building in Europe!valencia lookout

We climbed up all 207 stairs of a church tower to get a beautiful panoramic.

eels

We saw some eels get their heads chopped off in the local market! Eel is an ingredient in some of the famous paella recipes.paella dinner paella

We had a romantic dinner for two at a restaurant on the beach (recommended to us by our airbnb host!). I had been saving my first paella experience for Valencia, and it did not disappoint! This was a seafood paella and a little fun fact: paella is actually the name of the frying pan used to cook the famous dish! Traditional Valencian paella contains chicken and conejo (rabbit).agua de valencia

We ended the day with a little agua de Valencia and good conversation:)

Madrid

Madrid 2

Madrid is a huge city with loads to do! It actually reminded me a lot of Chicago just with Spanish style architecture:) The best part about Madrid was the metro! It gets you anywhere lickity split and after two full days in the city, I was metro maestra! I want to thank Grace Birch for all of your recommendations of things to do in Madrid! We did just about everything you suggested and we were never bored! The day we got to Madrid we hit up Museo del Prado which was free for students, BOOM! Museo del Prado is one of the most famous museums in the world because it holds artists like Goya, Velazquez, Grecco, etc. We got to see the famous Las Meninas by Velazquez as well as Goya’s las pinturas negras. Going along with the art museum theme, we also went to Reina Sofia (also free wooh!) to see La Guernica which is hugggeeee! I was pleasantly surprised to see some other famous artist’s work here too like Dali and Picasso:)

imitation game

This one one of my favorite pieces that I saw entitled The Enigma of Hitler because it reminded me of the movie The Imitation Game.

I don’t even want to talk about the free walking tour we had in Madrid because it was terrible! I can’t really blame the tour guide for this because I chose to do the tour in Spanish, but he spoke so fast that I only got about 50% of what he said (I was also tuning out cause he was kinda boring…). The only good thing about it was that we did get to walk and see some places that we may not have made it to otherwise, such as the royal palace!

palacio 2

Palacio Real de Madrid

parque de retiro

We rented some row boats at Parque de Retiro,

los gines

and we got the famous churros and chocolate at San Gines!

While I enjoyed all the sight seeing in Madrid, my favorite part was meeting up with my host sister, Arita, each night for drinks and tapas! el tigre

Sangria and tapas at El Tigre!

Our final night in Madrid Arita and two of her friends took us to a bar called Ojala which had a beach in the basement! Let me tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten carrot cake sitting on a boardwalk of a fake beach in the basement of a bar!:)

Toledo

We had heard the rumors that you really only need one day to explore Toledo, and the rumors were right. Toledo was by far the most beautiful city we visited, but there really isn’t much to do there except hike and eat deer meat, so that’s what we did:)

toledo view

The view outside our airbnb!

Toledo hike Toledo toledo wind

Hiking around the city!

toledo cathedral

The amazing Cathedral!

caves toledo

At night we took a ghost tour around Toledo which was pretty neat! We got to hear about some scary(ish) history and go into some hidden caves! This is a cave in the jewish neighborhood in Toledo called “La Casa de los judios.”

Sevilla

I know you’re not supposed to pick favorites, but Sevilla is mine 🙂 (after Granada of course!). It may have had something to do with the beautiful weather we had in Sevilla or the beautifully painted buildings, but I felt a sense of relief to be back in the south of Spain. You can really feel the “no pasa nada” lifestyle in the south and going to Sevilla felt like coming home. We took two free walking tours in Sevilla, one on different monuments and one of legends. I personally enjoyed the legends tour more because we got to see the old jewish neighborhood in Sevilla which is a little hidden and we probably wouldn’t have found it otherwise. cathedral sevilla

Sevilla’s gothic style cathedral is unparalleled in both size and design to any other cathedral we saw in Spain. There is a legend that Christopher Columbus is buried here, but I don’t really believe it:).

plaza de espana

The Plaza de Espana is really cool and this picture does not do it justice (you can see facebook for more pictures if you’re interested). There is a monument for each of the 52 spanish provinces in the front and the overall look is really impressive.

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My favorite part about Sevilla was touring the Alcazar. In my opinion the Alcazar is a more intimate version of the incredible Alhambra, but still definitely worth checking out! Parts from Game of Thrones were filmed here so I was mega nerd fan-girling as we walked around:)

Cadiz

Our last stop in our Tour de Espana was Cadiz for Carnival. We were lucky enough to get to stay with some of Lili’s friends in a beach house in Rota (which is just a quick train ride over to Cadiz). I had a good time getting to know Lili’s friends and hanging out on the beach! I am sad to admit that I dressed as a tiger for Carnival, but my costume options were limited…carnival cadiz

The beaches in Cadiz were awesome! It wasn’t warm enough to go swimming, but I did see a couple people hittin’ the surf (to which I was a little jealous, but I plan on taking a surf lesson when I travel to Portugal in May).

I am really glad that I spent my break getting to know the country I’m living in a little bit better. I may be a little biased, but it also made me appreciate Granada that much more. I had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories, but I am happy to back to the city of mountain views, cobblestone sidewalks, and free tapas:)

Hasta pronto,

Katelyn

As-salamu alaykum

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Tetuan, Morocco!

Peace be upon you (translation of my blog title which is in Arabic)! This past weekend, from Friday-Sunday, I explored the wonderful country that is Morocco (Marruecos in Spanish). It was a jam packed weekend so I am going to break down my trip day by day to make sure I hit all the key parts.

Viernes (Friday)

Today we left for Morocco at 1pm by bus. Our route was from Granada to Malaga to Algeciras (the southern most tip of Spain). The bus ride in total took about 3.5 hours but I didn’t mind it one bit because the scenery was incredible! Malaga is a large city on the Mediterranean Coast with a picturesque back drop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Once we arrived in Algerciras, we boarded a ship to take us across the stretch of water between Spain and Africa (only an hour 15 min. ride). The boat ride there was my favorite part of the day. We were lucky to have perfect weather which allowed us to hang outside on the deck and soak in the amazing views. From the boat we could even see Gibraltar! We even were lucky enough to watch the sunset as we sailed over the sea:) Once we reached Ceuta (the northern most tip of Africa which is actually a Spanish city) we hopped on another bus to take us to our hotel in Tetuan. This meant we crossed the boarder into Morocco by bus and I got my passport stamped (My first of many stamps outside of Spain!). I don’t really like the idea of so many people looking at my passport picture (which as my mom and a few other lucky souls know is TERRIBLE), but whatchu gonna do…Once we arrived at our hotel (extremely nice by the way!) we we served a traditional Moroccan meal. I have to say, the people of Morocco eat well! Every meal I had there started off with soup and bread and was followed by a vegetable and meat dish (usually beef or pork kebabs or chicken), fruit, and a yummy dessert. For dessert we had flan. I had heard miraculous things about flan, but to me it was kind of bland and a weird consistency (my apologizes to you flan lovers out there!). After dinner I was off to bed because I knew Saturday would be a very full day!

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Sabado (Saturday)

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Good morning Morocco! (sunrise from our hotel window)

How many college kids does is take to figure out how to turn on the shower? Well more than two because me and my roommate Abi (Look Abi, you made a cameo!) were convinced that ours was broken (we later learned that we are just really dumb…). So we got dressed, brushed our teeth with bottled water, and walked our unshowered selves down to the lobby for breakfast. I was pretty obsessed with these chocolate filled pastries that the hotel served so I ate 4 for breakfast my first day. Then we were off to explore Tetuan! Today is the day that we met the infamous Michael Douglas, our tour guide.

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Contrary to what you may think, this is not a photo bomb. Michael Douglas started off smiling but the cameraman was just too slow…

Michael Douglas like most of the people in Morocco spoke at least 3 languages that I know of: Arabic, Spanish, and English. Many people in Morocco also speak French. Can you believe it, 4 languages! I was extremely impressed. Michael Douglas is from Tetuan so we got a very non-touristy tour of the city (as non-touristy a tour can be when you are walking around with a group of 50 americans). Wallking through the Medina, or central marketplace, in Tetuan was my favorite part of the entire trip. It was such a unique and eyeopening experience. Here are some pictures of what I saw.

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After exploring the market we went to a pharmacy in Morocco where we learned about a lot of traditional herbal remedies for things such as dry skin, hangovers, anxiety, you name it! I bought some Moroccan tea here because I forgot to mention before, it’s awesome! Below is a pic of the pharmacy.

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Just a casual Moroccan lunch complete with traditional Moroccan guitarists and a man dancing with fire on his head before we leave for Tanger.

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Tanger was a very pretty costal town. The majority of our tour was in a bus, but it was beautiful none the less. Tanger was the stop we had all been waiting for; the place where would get to ride the camels! I started off the day so excited about this, I had even picked out a specific camel riding outfit (you’re probably wondering what that looks like…an outfit to match the camel obviously), but the camel riding was not what I had expected. We reached a cliff that had a stairway down to the beach and we saw about 5 or 6 camels (dromedaries actually cause they had 1 hump) who were resting. I am not going to say much about the camel ride expect that I did do it and it was a cool experience, but I felt very sad afterwards because to me it did not seem like the camels were treated very well and the whole event was very orchestrated and touristy. There were about 40-50 of us who rode the camels and that was like 8-10 walks for each camel around the sandy path that they had made for them. I don’t know. It was my least favorite part of Morocco, but I am glad others really enjoyed it. While we waited for people to ride the camels, we got to witness one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen. From the shoreline you could see where the Mediterranean met the Atlantic ocean and just thinking that I was on the tip of Africa was mind-boggling! We also explored the Medina in Tanger as well, but by this time everyone was tired and hungry so we didn’t spend much time there.

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Domingo (Sunday)

We figured out how to make the shower work! YAY! So we were showered and ready to take on Chef Chaouen, after 4 more chocolate pastries of course! Chef Chaouen is a little mountain town about 2 hours away from Tetuan. The bus ride there had incredible views as well! As you will see in my pictures, the city is entirely painted blue! The blue paint is to protect against flies and mosquitoes because it is scientifically proven that they avoid this color. Cool, huh! We got a tour in Chef Chaouen, sort of, from a local. I say sort of because the tour started off promising because the tour guide actually talked to all of us, but eventually it just became him occasionally stopping to talk to the person who was in the front of the line. So 1 person got to know some fun facts, but the rest of us 49 were out of the loop. The shops in Chef Chaouen had the most beautiful things. On the tour we went to a shop where they had a giant loom for making beautiful blankets and tapestries. I later went back to buy one and had an interesting bartering experience. First off, when I got to Morocco I exchanged 25 euro for dirhams. The exchange rate is 1 euro=10 dirham, so walking around with 250 dirham was just weird in itself. It’s pretty shocking when a store owner tells you that the price is 300 dirhams for a tapestry, but then you think about it and that is only 30 euro. I ended up getting the price down to 28 euro (I was pretty proud of my spanish negotiation skills). Really the conversation went like this: me-“How much for this?” vender-“300 dirham” me-“Is that the best you can do?” vender-“okay 280 dirham” me-“sounds good!”…I was so nervous about the hole bartering thing that I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could, but I probably could have gotten him down to 20 euro if I was determined. I felt like 28 euro was a really good price for the tapestry though seeing as it takes about 3 days work to make one. You can see below that Chef Chaouen was definitely the most photogenic place we visited!

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The boat ride home was insanely rocky! There was a severe weather warning, but we still crossed. Lucky for me I don’t get sea sick, but some of my program buddies are not so fortunate…I thought the boat ride was kind of fun because everyone was super wobbly trying to walk around and a couple of friends and I went to the back to watch the waves from outside.

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That pretty much sums up my Moroccan trip! I am happy to be an ambassador in both the United States and Spain for Morocco. Although I only experienced three citires, I thought it was a wonderful country filled with friendly people, delicious food, and a rich culture.

Fast Forward to today-> I met the speech therapist that I will be shadowing once a week in Granada! I will be working along side Sandra, a local SLP, in a bilingual school called La Asuncion. For me this is an invaluable opportunity to learn what it is like to be a Speech Therapist in a Spanish speaking setting, and I know I will take away many things that will benefit me in my future career. Anyways, I will make sure to let you all know how that goes (I will be meeting with her once a week for 2 hours).

This Friday is the start of my first 10 day break! My friend Lily and I are going to hit up 5 cities in Spain (Valencia, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, and Cadiz) and I can’t wait! I might be a little MIA for a few weeks but I will have lots to say when I next blog! Thanks for reading!

Un saludo,

Katelyn

Nothing like Grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookies!

I wanted to start this blog post off with a shout-out to my Grandma Lil for sharing her amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe with me! This weekend I made chocolate chip cookies for my host family because they had never tried homemade chocolate chip cookies before (GASP!) and they were a mega hit! The cookie making process was a whole day ordeal and I will tell you all why. First, when I woke up Saturday morning (around 9am) it was pouring rain…I had already put off making the cookies for a day (I had promised my host family I would make them on Friday, but Thursday my arm was twisted into going to another discoteca;-)…needless to say, I needed Friday to recuperate) so there was no turning back. After my pan tostada con tomate y aceite de olivo I embarked with my list of ingredients to Corte Ingles (I took the bus so I was only in the rain for a matter of 5 minutes).

I thought I was ready. I thought I had looked up enough vocab for me to easily find everything I needed inside Corte Ingles. Well, I thought wrong. Corte Ingles, for those of you who don’t know, is like the Spanish equivalent of a Macy’s with an additional floor of groceries. The Corte Ingles that I went to was 6 floors and once I finally made it to the top, I looked at a map and realized that the grocery part was on the bottom floor (I walked in on floor 2…classic). I found most of the items on my list without any problems: butter (mantequilla)-Check, sugar (azucar)-Check, vanilla extract (sabor de vainilla)-Check. Then came the the tricky ingredients. I knew that the word for brown sugar was azucar de caña but once I found the area with the brown sugar, I hit my first road block. I needed packed light brown sugar. There were about 4 different kinds of brown sugar and none of them were what I needed so I ended up going with azucar de caña deshidratado because it appeared to look the closest to what I needed. However, the brown sugar conundrum was nothing compared to the chocolate chip fiasco! I’d like to thank Google Translate for making me look like a complete dumba$$ in Corte Ingles (I am exaggerating cause it really wasn’t that bad…). After scouring the chocolate aisle for chocolate chips without any luck I asked a sales associate if they could show me where the “chips” de chocolate were…They took me back to the chocolate aisle (where all the american chocolates are I’d like to add) and brought me to where they had the chips ahoy cookies….I was embarrassed and frustrated at this point so I just said “Gracias” and pretended like this is what I wanted. After a total of about 30 minutes searching for chips de chocolate, I finally found them! PEPITAS! In case anyone is ever in Spain in need of chocolate chips, they are called pepitas de chocolate:) Finally I’d just like to note this weird little fact: I had to go to the pharmacy to buy baking soda! In Spain, the main leavening agent they use is yeast. My grandma’s recipe called for baking soda and I didn’t wanna disrupt the magic chemical properties of her perfect cookies so I stuck with the bicarbonato sodico. I would have NEVER thought to look for baking soda in the pharmacy unless my host family had told me so I am very thankful they saved me another embarrassing encounter with the sales associate at Corte Ingles.

The cookie making process was fun! My host brother, Richard, needed a study break (it’s exam time at the University of Granada) so he helped me make the cookies. This was great cause I learned a lot of cooking vocab and got to teach him some words he’s never learned before either! The biggest pain in the butt was converting everything from cups and tablespoons to mL. Getting exact measurements was impossible, but we did the best we could. In case anyone was wondering 350 degrees Fahrenheit is 180 degrees Celcius! All in all the cookies turned out pretty good. Nowhere near as good as my grandma’s, but that is to be expected:-). My host family loved them! I made about 30 cookies on Saturday evening and when I woke up this morning (Monday), they were gone!

Wow, I realize I just spent nearly 750 words describing how I made chocolate chip cookies in Spain so thanks for hanging in there until this point! I will skip back to Thursday to tell you guys a little about my field trip to La Catedral de Granada. You may have read in one of my earlier blog posts that I am taking an Art History class. Well, lucky for me every Thursday we take a field trip to some cool place in Granada to study a certain time period, type of architecture, see a certain painting, etc. This week we had been learning about the Renaciamento that took place in Spain so we went to the cathedral to check out an example of architecture during that time.10968405_10152544206192181_1425756740721572208_n 10945057_10152544206807181_5172145374749048835_n10487326_10152544206727181_8760468788044501244_n

The cathedral was incredible! It is actually the starting point (or check point) for the floats that men carry on their backs during the week of Semana Santa. Not a bad way to spend my Thursday afternoon!

I’m gonna close this post with some pics from one of my greatest experiences in Granada so far. On Sunday I took a hike with some friends in Parque Natural Sierra de Huetor. It was a really spur of the moment thing and I am so happy I took advantage of it! On Saturday my friend, Pat, posted something to our Granada program facebook group saying that he and a buddy were going to be hiking on Sunday with a local tour guide around Granada. If you know me and my Hoofer (outdoor club at UW) background, this was not something I was gonna pass up! We hiked around 8 miles and enjoyed some of the best views the Sierra Nevada mountains have to offer. I got to know some great people 🙂 (Mom, I’m making friends!) and learn a lot about different plants, animals, and places in Spain from our rockin’ tour guide Juani!

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That’s all I have for you guys now, but stay tuned for next week where I will describe my weekend trip to Morocco with my school (I leave this Friday)! Can’t wait!

Hasta luego,

Katelyn

I don’t like the ham…

Como estais vosotros? My first week in Granada we had a presentation on culture shock. There are many stages that people can go through such as rejecting the new culture, feeling consciously competent or being unconsciously incompetent, but there is one stage characterized by feeling completely enamored by everything around you…I still haven’t left this stage:) This week I started classes, attended my first Flamenco show, and went to my first discoteca!

Flamenco

Flamenco is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Some of you may not know, but Flamenco actually originated in Granada! Flamenco is a very passionate dance and I was lucky enough to visit one of the non-touristy establishments with my program. The musicians consisted of two traditional Flamenco guitar players, one “background” singer/clapper, and a main singer. The dance is very strong with a lot of stomping and very fast moving feet. I think it would be extremely hard to learn Flamenco because it appears some of the dance is choreographed and rehearsed but most of it is just feeling. Anyways, Flamenco is a must see for anyone visiting southern Spain! OLAY!

The night following the Flamenco show, I went out with friends for the first time and I am still recovering…In Spain it is very normal to eat dinner at 10pm, go with friends to get tapas and vino around 11, copas (more beer or wine) around 12, chupitos (shots) at 1am, discoteca at 2am until 7 in the morning…I made it to about 3:30 before I had to call it a night (soy una abuela!). My friends and I went to La Chupiteria around 11:30 where they had 100+ different types of shots. I am not much for shots (as my roommates know 😉 ) so I stuck with the suave (soft) shots like rum, pinapple juice and lime for example. The Chupiteria was a very cool experience but about half of the people there were Americans since Spaniards have their exams now. After La Chupiteria we went to the discoteca called Campus. It cost 5 euro to get in but that got you two drinks, tinto de verano or beer. I don’t know if I’ve talked about the tinto de verano here yet so I am gonna take a little tangent. TINTO DE VERANO IS AMAZING! It tastes like a mixture of lemonade and red wine with bits of fruit in it. It is winter here so I know I look like a total tourist drinking it all the time (the literal english translation is wine of summer) but it literally is heaven in a tall crystal glass. Okay, rant over. Campus was a very large club with a raised dance floor in the middle. They played a lot of english music (my host brother said this is common) so I could even sing along while dancing!:) The club started poppin’ around 3am, which is when I started losing steam. My friends and I split a cab home and I was clonked out by 4am.

Yesterday I went to the movie theater. My friends and I saw Into the Woods and, let me tell you, it was quite the experience! If you haven’t seen into the woods, don’t worry, I won’t ruin any major plot details for you but I will say it is a musical. The part that made the movie so strange was that the dialogue was dubbed over in Spanish but the songs were in English with spanish subtitles. I swear they use a rotation of 6 or so spanish dubbed voices for all their movies and tv shows here because the difference between the dialogue and the singing voices was very apparent. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the experience because it was good practice listening and reading in Spanish, but I also can’t say I would recommend the movie (especially seeing it in spanish haha). I did think that the song Agony (Agonia) was very funny though!

I’d like to close with some general observations of Spain thus far:

1) Everything is in Military time! I can’t decide if I hate converting everything from military time to “normal” time or if I hate that we don’t have military time in the United States. I learned a trick though for telling military time; simply drop the teen and subtract two. For example 16:00 is (drop the teen) 6:00 (minus 2) 4:00pm. Genius!

2) Store names are extremely unoriginal. If you want to come to Spain and start a store you simply call your store the product that you sell +eria. Pasteleria (pastel=pastry store), Drogeria (Drog=Drug store), Chupiteria (Chupito=shot store), Pescaderia (Pescado=fish store), etc. etc. It makes it very easy to know what they are selling!

3) I don’t think I will ever get used to Celcius vs. Fahrenheit. Every morning I watch the news while eating breakfast and the weatherman says that it is going to get up to 15 degrees today and I panic! Similar to this, the metric system. I have no idea what it means when you tell me the wind is 40 kilometers per hour (is that strong, normal, weak?? I will never know!).

4) I heard cat calling was a thing here (when boys whistle at you cause you are an american…ugh) but I didn’t think my first cat call would be from a group of middle/highschoolers..ew (It’s gotta be the braces).

5) Finally, for those brave enough to read all the way to the bottom of my post I’ll explain my title a bit:). Ham (jamon) is HUGE here! There are about 10 different forms the ham comes in: deli meat, sausages, meatballs, pulled pork, raw, etc…I only have a problem with the last one. Raw ham. It’s called jamon serrano here and it is a major delicacy. My palate is not sophisticated enough to appreciate it, but people love it here! It is much too rich tasting for me, but if you’re a ham fanatic Spain is calling you!

Besos (Kisses!),

Katelyn

He llagado (I have arrived)!

Alhambra selfie

Alhambra Selfie!

Hola a todos! I arrived in Granada last Sunday and so much has happened since then (Most of which feels like a dream because I have been beaten down hard by the jet lag!). I will explain my title a little-The Urban Dictionary definition of a gringa is: a white female usually used for english speaking persons, it doesn’t matter if she is american, italian, french or whatever as long as she is white and speaks any other language different from spanish. This term is 1) more used in Latin America and 2) can be interpreted in other more “uncharming” ways, but I think the title is clever and catchy so I am gonna keep it:)

I’ll start with my plane ride. I flew out of Chicago O’Hare Airport last Sunday (The day of the Packer win against Dallas!) at 4:55 pm. I flew solo but I didn’t really feel alone because my plane was packed with 20 year old girls who were also flying to Madrid to study abroad in Spain (Mostly Seville). Actually my seat buddy was my age and was planning to study abroad in Madrid. The plane ride was relatively uneventful. We had an hour delay because they needed to deice the plane but then we were off! I was very lucky to have a window seat because my mom upgraded me from the aisle as a welcomed surprise (Thanks mom :)). My seat buddy, Liz, was literally the Mary Poppins of seat buddies! She had all kinds of snacks that she offered to share with me, but I was so nervous for the journey that declined the sweet gesture. On the plane I watched some movies, slept a little, and ordered my very first glass of airplane wine (free!). I flew straight from Chicago to Madrid and the flight lasted about 7 and a half hours.

I landed in Madrid at 8:00 am Spain time (1:00am Wisco time) so that was a mind-f***(for the kids;) )! I had the entire day to get from Madrid to Granada because I had to check into my hostal by 8pm, but I needed the entire day because I ended up having to wait for 4 hours at the Madrid bus station to catch the next bus to Granada, ughhh. While waiting, I met a girl named Colleen who was also from the midwest traveling to Granada (for personal travel). I was thankful to have met her because two confused, moderately spanish speaking americans is much better than one. The weirdest thing that happened to me at the airport was that someone with a giant camera and microphone tried to interview me (can’t you tell by my blonde hair my exhausted green eyes that I don’t and can’t talk to you right now?), but I politely told her that I was from the united states and I didn’t really understand what the interview was about. I’ll skip some other boring stuff that happened that day but after 1 plane ride, 2 taxi rides and a bus ride I finally made it to my hostal, Hostal Atenas, by 7:30pm.

The next day the rest of my group arrived. In my program there are 67 students (I think). I really should just say girls because I think there are only about 8 fellas in my program. Most of the students are from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, but there are also some students from one other university in Illinois, Michigan, and 9 students from the UW. I was lucky enough to be placed in a room with two stellar roommates, Stephanie and Lily, both from the University of Illinois. My first couple days were jam packed with activities! We had a survival tour of Granada from our Granada program dad, Miguel Angel (Super awesome Granadan(?) local who also happens to be one of my teachers at my school CEGRI) which helped me immensely adjust to my surroundings in this pretty large city. We learned where the post office, the market, great tapas bars, the bank with the best exchange rate and the school were.

A few days later we had a touristy tour of Granada. We were split up into three groups of 20 so my tour guide ended up being my future teacher of Art History (which was lucky for me because she knew so much about the ancient history of the Albacin and Sacramonte). The Albacin and Sacramonte are ancient Muslim neighborhoods of Granada with loads and loads of history (I won’t elaborate a lot so you should come and see them for yourselves!). The Muslim architecture is very prominent in these parts of the city. The buildings appear to be very plain on the exterior with no windows or large front entries. This is because in Islam, beauty comes from within. Personal dress, homes, etc. appear very modest looking because beauty is something personal and private. There are no windows looking into the homes because of the privacy concern. Instead there are little holes which one can look out of but no one can see into. The light of the home comes from a central plaza in the center which all of the windows and doors face. We certainly did a lot of hiking that day, but the best part was looking out on top of Mirador de San Nicolas. The view of the Alhambra and the entire city of Granada was worth the trek! Put this hike on the top of your bucket list! We also walked past some of the caves, las cuevas en espanol, to see where the gypsies live and find out the best places to witness Flamenco!

On Friday I moved in with my host family. I was extremely nervous because my spanish needs a lot of work, but so far so good! My family lives about a 35 minute walk from CEGRI up a giant hill on calle real de los neveros. I was determined not to buy a bus pass because even with the bus pass each trip costs 0.60 euro, but after walking that hill one time…I caved and bought one (The bus passes are called bonobuses by the way!). I have a host mom and dad, Araceli and Ricardo, as well as a host sister and brother, also Araceli and Ricardo (I think naming your children after yourselves is very common in Spain), and a host dog Tofe! Me and Tofe are best buds:). My family speaks slowly and clearly to help me understand which is great! I haven’t really had any problems communicating with them so far and I believe my spanish will get better each day! My host dad is an engineer and works from home and my host mom is an artist. She enjoys painting pictures of landscapes and her work is beautiful! I have a lot in common with her. My host brother goes to school for electrical engineering at the University of Granada and my host sister goes to school for biomedical engineering in Madrid. My host brother, 24, lives at home and my first night I talked to him a lot about star wars because we are both super nerds (Las batallas de las galaxias is star wars in spanish)! My family calls me Cati because Katelyn is very difficult to say in spanish hehe. You can see the Sierra Nevada mountains from their living room so I’d say I am pretty spoiled!

Yesterday I visited the Alhambra. Earlier I said Mirador de San Nicolas is a must, well the Alhambra is even more of a must! It was literally the most magnificent place I have ever been and I will be returning at least 3 more times (2 for my art class and once with my family when they visit!). The Alhambra is actually a town with 7 main buildings. We only got to see 2 buildings yesterday which took us 3-4 hours so each time you visit there will always be more to see. I am not going to talk more about the Alhambra because I think pictures speak louder than words so if you want to see what I saw, please look at my photos on facebook!

Today I started classes at CEGRI, or I should say I will start class at 6:30 tonight:). I have one class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30pm until 8 and 4 classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 11am-8pm with a two hour break in the middle for siesta (2:30-4:30 during which the school closes down). I will be taking Art History, Arab and Islamic Studies, Literary Analysis, Linguistics, and a Spanish Cultural Course. My Spanish Cultural Course has a service learning component that we are required to participate in for 2 hours each week. I am hoping to shadow a speech pathologist at either a local school or hospital so I will keep everyone updated on that!

That is all the news that I have for now, but if you want to say hi or have any other questions about my first week please message me on facebook! I do miss all of my family and friends so a friendly hello is always welcomed! Thank you for reading! Nos vemos!

Love,

Katelyn