Saturday, October 25, 2008

Life Happens

Wow, has it really been since June 13th that I have posted a blog! Crazy. Well I got back from Europe (forever ago) and I guess I kind of forgot about this thing! So here I am again, wasting time and updating it, even though I have no idea if people read this thing.

I worked at a grass seed research farm (same place I worked the summer before). It was pretty uneventful. I worked 50+ hour weeks and worked right up until before school.
Had one fun trip before school started, went to Fort Stevens for a 2 nights with Michele and Zach and then for one night Matt Lee, Micah Houck, and Tiffany Hartmann all came up. It was perfect weather and we had fun climbing around the ruins and walking through the dark passageways of the fort!
Also went to the wedding of Amy and Jesse Dill, it was beautiful and their reception was a blast! Everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves, it was great. Next was the wedding of Amaris and Mike Moss, which was also really fun, Amaris looked beautiful and Mike couldn't stop smiling at his new bride!

Moved into an apartment this year, again with 2 other girls. I am now located in the Parkwest Apartments, which are very close to campus, and close to some of my good friends! I am living with my best friend Michele Sweeney, and another girl that Michele and I just met, Joanna. So far the living arrangement has been working pretty well, Michele and I share a room, and Joanna has her own and so far its been good!
Classes started the last week in September and I am taking 3 english classes, 1 spanish class, 1 french class and a teaching class. Which is a full load, but i really enjoy all my classes! Im finally in a major in enjoy, which if anyone doesnt know, I officially changed to a double major in English and Education, and a double minor in Spanish and French. Which means I will be in school for awhile =D
I got a job down in Corvallis, I am the front desk receptionist at the Motel 6! Which is actually a great job, I work 16 hours a week, and I get to help people, which i enjoy.
Other than that, I'm just doing homework and hanging out with friends! And trying to find out how I can get back to Europe =D

Friday, June 13, 2008


Well I made it out of Spain! My parents arrived and I showed them around Santander, then we headed to a town called San Sebastian where we walked around some and got a general feel for the town...after driving there and almost hitting two bikers and other cars etc.
Then we took a train to Hendaye which is on the border of France and Spain, where we stayed in a small hotel that supposedly had a pool...this consisted of a small goldfish pond haha. We bought some yummy pasteries and walked to a Castle that was really neat to see.
The next day we headed to Tours, France where we ate dinner at this really cute little Grill, and so far have managed to survive knowing no French.
Then we drove to Caen, France, and on the way saw Mont St. Michael, which is an Abbey out on an island that was later a prison, and is now a tourist attraction haha, but it was really pretty.
Now we are in Caen, and today we saw the beaches of Normandy, also really cool.
If you want to read more and see some photos my dad has been keeping a blog with more details, and i figure it wasnt worth it to write the same thing. The address is

Cant Wait To Come Home!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Has It Really Been That Long??

Can´t believe it, but my time in Spain is actually coming to an end! Today I had my last final, my last class, and got handed my diploma. Wont actually get my grades until August, but I´m not worried. So now to start packing up and getting ready to travel some more. My parents are coming Saturday, cannot WAIT to see them, then we are heading out into great ol´ Europe and seeing some more sights, including France, Switzerland, and Italy.
I get home June 26th, have a whole weekend to relax, eat the food I miss, catch up on movies I´ve missed, and hang out with my friends. Then I start work on July 1st. Back to the real world and working 50 hours a week on a farm...not the most exciting thing to come back to, but I got to pay for Spain somehow!
Can´t wait to see you all soon!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Me gusta leer

( I like to read) which is true. I´m also a bit bored today so I´m not really writing about anything in particular. Just randomness. About reading...I have read a total of 8 books and counting while here in Spain, and I love it! I never have this much time to read at home!! Here is a list of the books I have read (and some side comments for fun!)

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern -- An easy read but really cute (and sad). There is a movie based off of the book, but they are infact complete oposites (basically). For example, in the movie, the husband is Irish and they live in New York. In the book, they are both Irish and live in Ireland.

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt -- Also an easy read because it is a young adult book. But really well written! About these 4 kids who are "abandoned" and they have to walk a long ways to find some place to live...hard to describe without giving it away or writing down too much, but its good!
Dicey´s Song by Cynthia Voigt -- The second book in the "Tillerman Series"
A Solitery Blue by Cynthia Voigt -- The third book in the "Tillerman Series" There are quite a few more books in the series that i will have to read once I get home cause I dont have them here. Mom I recommend these books to you because they deal with phonics in them!! One of the kids is a bit slower at reading and they find the best way to teach her is by using phonics haha and it was written in like the 80´s I think, also they might be good ones to reccomend to kids to read since they are about kids...just a suggestion!

The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry -- bought this one here at an English Book Shop, its about a possible link to the lost Library of Alexandria, a fast paced book full of twists and turns, pretty good though there were some themes about the validity of the Bible in the book (saying that the lost library had evidence of it being false or something silly like that) but it ended up not being a big deal.

Leaning Towards Pisa by Sue Howard -- A story about a woman who ends up living and teaching in Italy, not the most exciting book, had a very non-climactic ending, basically just a plain old story.

Come Back: A Mother and Daughters Journey Through Hell and Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine -- "stole" this book from a hostel in London, and I actually really liked it, its a memoir and actually really sad (happy ending of course!) but hard to get through because you feel so bad for this family. Its about a daughter who is sexually abused as a child, then grows up and gets into drugs and such, and finally her mom forces her to go to a school that will make her break her habits and be able to function again in the real world. Its really powerful and impactful, I learned a lot about it and recommend it to everyone!!

Currently I am reading Atonement by Ian Mcewan -- also has a movie made about the book, which I havent seen yet, but want too! Im trying to make this book last since most of the books I have read quickley...but I still have a month overseas and will need to find another book soon. Going to Ireland this weekend maybe the hostel there has some books I can "borrow" haha.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Roommate!

So the empty bed in my room is now filled by a 20 year old girl from Texas! Her name is CC Copeland and she´s really nice! I couldnt have asked for a better person to share my room with for the next few weeks! She´s already feeling overwhelmed by how fast our host mom talks, and I just keep trying to assure her that it is normal and she will get used to it. She came out with us last night and got a feel for the late night-ness of Spain.

Here is a photo of Me, Our Host mom Alicia, and CC!

Monday, May 19, 2008

In the Land of Ladies and Gentes

Oh London, how I love thee. Visited London this weekend and absolutely adore it. I had a blast, even though the weather was not great (until the day we left of course ha). We, Shannon, Lindsay, and I saw a ton of stuff, but of course there was still a ton to see and hopefully I will go back one day and see it all.
We arrived in London the first day and just went straight to our hostel. The next day we got up early and headed to Buckingham Palace to be able to see the Changing of the Guards. Which was packed with people. Also found a place where we could take a photo with a guard up close! Poor guy couldnt move through out probably hundreds of photos daily haha.

Then we headed to Hyde Park, where we ate lunch and I had a goose eat out of my hand! Then we went to Trafalgar Square and on to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I absolutely LOVED westminster abbey, the coolest cathedral I have been to yet! Saw the tomb of Elizabeth I and Mary I, and also Mary, queen of the Scots (as well as many more). Also saw the Coronation chair. Also they have an area called the Poets Corner and there is buried tons of Authors(musicians and other great minds too), including; Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Handel, Thomas Hardy, Isaac Newton, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Darwin, and many more!

Then we went on The London Eye, which is Europe´s largest ferris wheel (443 ft high). It was pretty cool! Didnt go very fast (which was good) gave you a chance to relly take in the view and take some photos too haha. Then we headed home!

Just going over the top of the London Eye.

The next day we headed out to the older side of London and saw St. Paul´s Cathedral, The Tower Bridge (what people think is the london bridge) and The Tower of London: where lots of prisoners were held! Also where the crown jewels are held, beautiful! The weather was really rainy and windy that day, but we still walked everywhere, at the end we went to the the largest deptarment store ever, Harrods, 5 floors, and you could get lost easily. We had a hard enough time just finding bathrooms (had to ask where to go, and even then it was confusing).

The Tower of London!

Overall had a fabulous time! Really want to go back again!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Short Update

Realized I haven´t written in awhile, been quite busy with all the traveling and school work. The weekend after Madrid I went to Granada and Sevilla, which I wrote about some of the crazy adventures in past blogs. Also saw some pretty cool stuff!
Got to Granada at about 430AM on thursday and didnt have a place to stay yet, but wanted to get into the Alhambra which is a palace/museum of sorts, but it sells out its tickets months in advance online, but they reserve a few tickets for walkups. But you have to wait in line for them, and we were told to get there early. So we figured, what better to do than wait until 8AM when it opens, so we started to walk in the direction we thought was the Alhambra, but when it got to about 6AM, we thought it might be too far away to walk there. So we took a taxi, which ended up costing a bit, but got us their much faster than walking. We got there about 615AM and there was already a huge line of people, so we got in line and waited for 2 hours, by the time that we got to the front of the line to buy our tickets (it was about 845) there were hundreds of people behind us. And they only had about 700 tickets, and when we got up there they only had 350 left. So we got our tickets, and headed to where we were staying (with a friend of Shannons, named Brittany) our tickets for Alhambra didnt allow us to visit until the afternoon. Brittany showed us all around Granada in the morning, and then in the afternoon we headed to the Alhambra, spent a lot of time there, and then later headed back to Brittany´s. That night Brittany and some of her friends took us out, and we found out that Granada gives away free "tapas" or personaly appetizers with every drink you buy, even if its just a soda. So we enjoyed that for awhile, then headed home. The next day we just slept in and relaxed, then went to Sevilla.
Sevilla was nice and warm, we found lodging and then the next day we saw the sights! We went to a Palace, and then we went to a huge cathedral. The next day we headed home (a really long bus ride) and that was that.

This last weekend we went on a whole group trip to Segovia, Toledo, and Burgos. Saw some cool things there as well and had a good time all around (minus the rain and cold weather).

This coming weekend I am going to London and I am sooo excited for that!! Cant wait and I will be sure to write about it and take lots of photos!

For photos from Granada/Sevilla and Segovia/Toledo/Burgos go to my facebook account!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Going back in time, two weekends ago, Shannon, Lindsay, and I went to Madrid for the weekend. I was thankful enough to know a friend from high school, Sheila, who had moved to Madrid with her family during high school. So we had contacted her to ask if we could stay with them, which they said they would love to have us (which was such a blessing). We got into the bus station around 1015PM and they picked us up and took us back to their house (they actually live about 30 minutes outside of Madrid, but there is a train we were able to take to get into the city center the next day. Got to their house and they fed us dinner and were so nice to us, it was so nice to feel welcome (and understand the language -english haha).

The next morning we got up bright and early and took the train into downtown Madrid. The first thing we did was hit up Starbucks!! Which was WAY overpriced, but tasted great!

Then we decided to go to the famous Museo del Prado, which was huge, we were in it for quite awhile and I know we still missed some rooms, and they also had a huge temporary Goya exhibit, so we got to see that.

Then we walked around this HUGE park, called Parque Retiro, met some ladies from Lake Tahoe, and just felt very relaxed and it was nice and sunny which was a nice change from windy/rainy Santander.

Then we went to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and had delicious Bacon Cheeseburgers (with real chedder cheese!)

Then we headed to the Royal Palace, got to see the Armory, Pharmacy, and some of the state rooms, it was huge, and beautiful! We just dont have buildings like this in the states!!

The next day we visited the Real Madrid Soccer Stadium, which was huge! Got to see the locker room, press room, sit in VIP seats, trophy room, etc. It was awesome. Then we just relaxed and the next day we slept in then headed home for Santander!

Chapter 2

Our exciting trip continued to be an adventure...where did I leave off...finally got a bed to sleep in. Well when they showed us the room, which had 5 sets of bunk beds, there were a couple beds that had folded sheets on them, the nice lady wasnt sure which one was ours, but just gave us the first on she saw, and said if it was a problem (like if it was someone elses bed) to come get her. We get un-packed, shower, make the bed and go to sleep. I was on the outside and around 530AM i kept seeing this bright flashes of light in the room and this clicking noise, i finally woke up enough to realize that some guy was using his lighter as a flashlight and looking in all the beds. He was leaning over our bed, and in English (i was half asleep) i was like "yeah?" and he responded in english, but with a german accent, "you´re in my bed" So i proceeded to tell him that there was another open one (and pointed to it) and that when they had given us this bed they must have mixed it up. So he was fine with it and just went to crawl into the other bed, but the other bed wasnt made and I felt really bad, and I knew Shannon had a flashlight on her, and so I asked him if he wanted to borrow a flashlight (a bit easier than his lighter) so I woke up Shannon and got it, which surprised him because he didnt realize there was another person in the bed haha. I hear him go outside the room and converse with his friends, and then he comes back in with one of his guy friends and is telling him (in german) the situation, his friend, with our flashlight, leans his head in the bed and is looking at us and laughing...which I understand, if I was going to get into my bed and found two guys in it I would think it was pretty funny. So finally everyone went to bed and that was that.

Got up in the morning and got everything packed up and we moved to the room we had reserved for the next night, which was a queen bed in one room (no strangers for roommates! haha). Spent the day seeing the sights of Sevilla, which I will post photos and details of in the next blog or so.

Then we have to go home on Sunday, we after missing our bus to sevilla from granada, we were sure to get up extra early and get to the bus station we had come into very early! So we are waiting at the bus station, and not seeing our bus, which was supposed to leave at 8...gets to be 750AM and still no bus, so Shannon goes to ask someone if its late or something...only to find out that its at another bus station across town...because Sevilla has two...which we didnt bother to think about...and the bus tickets didnt say the name of the bus station, so we figured it was the "estacion de autobuses" (where we were) that we would leave from...not the "estacion de autobuses plaza del armas" (where we needed to be). So we run (literally) outside to get to the taxi, by this time we have only 5 minutes, which he says we cant make it there that fast, but we try anyway! We get to the bus station, and its we know the bus has already left because they are never late in leaving. We slowly start walking over to the bus station hoping they have another bus heading to Santander that day (but we thought this was the only one going out that day). As we are crossing the crosswalk to go into the bus station we see this bus stopped at a red light, and Shannon is like "Bus 61...thats our bus!!" So we run over to the bus and I get there first so I knock on the door window to see if the driver will let us in, well he angrily waves his finger at us, basically saying NO. Of course i start to tear up because im so frustrated, and we step back and are basically like well I guess we go in and see if there is another bus. When apparently the bus driver had a change of heart because we hear a honk and he turns the corner and lets us on, we try and explain to him why we were late but he just hurrys us on and doesnt even check our tickets. We were so thankful to be on that bus! haha it was crazy. Again I thank the lord that the timing worked out so perfectly that the bus happened to be stopped right when we got there. And Shannon happened to see it. We got home safe and sound, but that bus ride was the longest bus ride ever! about 14 hours, with probably around 7 to 8 different stops of dropping off and receiving passengers. And we were the last stop. And we drove through a crazy lightening storm.

But we made it, and despite all our crazy adventures had a great time!

Friday, May 2, 2008

An exciting adventure

I know I haven´t written about Madrid yet, and I will get to that next week when I am back in Santander and have time to sit and write, right now I am thankfully in a hostel in Seville (sevilla en español) and I wanted to write and tell you all about how i managed to get here...

Shannon and I decided for our long weekend (we didnt have school thursday) that we would go to Granada and Sevilla in the south of Spain. Wednesday afternoon we got on a bus which took us to Granada, about 12 hours total, we arrived at 430AM. In Granada we stayed with a friend of Shannons who is studying abroad there, then today we were planning on taking a bus to sevilla and staying here til sunday then heading back. We splet in today, which was nice, then headed to our bus station because our bus left at 330PM. We hoped on a city bus (to get to the bus station) at 225

Needless to say, we missed our bus! We walked into the station and Shannon was like "I want to get a post card" and proceeded to look at her watch to see how much time we had to do that, only to find out that it was 330!! our city bus had taken a lot longer than we thought. We rushed to where the busses were parked and ran up and down the parking area trying to see if our bus had left yet. It had. Haha, so we headed back up to the ticket desk and asked when the next bus was, which thankfully was only and hour later. And, thankfully they didnt charge us for the new tickets, they just let us change!! So we just waited around (got a postcard haha) and got on our 3 hour bus to sevilla.

We get to sevilla, and go to the info desk to try and get a map so we can find out hostel because all we have is an address and phone number for it. And the info desk gives us directions to the Office of Tourism in Sevilla (it was close to where we were) we get there and its closed. =( but there was a lady sitting in there, but she was busy I guess. So we went to the store next door to ask for a map, buy it and try and find the street of our hostel, after searching and not finding it, we go back in the store to ask if they know where it is, only to find out that it is not actually a street address, but a town name...this is what it said "apt. 32 Montellano, Sevilla" we just assumed montellano was the name of the street...oh no it is the name of a small town outside of sevilla, but in the sevilla Providence...which is like our they called the number for us to get directions there...and maybe a street name because they had never heard to the town before!! The guy they talked to didnt know. haha. He didnt know how to get to his own hostel from sevilla!! they told us he was a bit crazy sounding, then they proceeded to google map it. Found out Montellano is about an HOUR outside of Sevilla!! And they then called the bus stations and such to find out if there was a bus that went out there...nope. So we thanked them so much for their help (which was so nice of them to help us out!!) And we found an internet cafe and tried to search for a new hostel that was actually in the right city, but its a holiday weekend so everything we found was booked except for ONE hotel room for 300 euros haha. which was not going to work. We called this hostel to cancel, with thoughts of just sitting up all night on a bench in the city center as our backup plan. We cancelled it, after having to talk through why we couldnt (and didnt want) to get out there to Montellano!! So they thankfully didnt charge us for the hostel!

So we decided to start walking around looking for a hostel to ask if they had a bed or two open. The first one we found was booked but he verbally told us directions to another hostel that might have beds open (not likely). We tried to find it, but ended up getting lost and finding a burger king so we decided to grab food since we hadnt eaten since a piece of toast at breakfast. Then, with food in our stomachs, we decided to get back on the road in search of a place to stay. We decided to call our hostel we have booked for tomorrow night(had to book two seperate hostels because none had two beds two nights in a row because of the holiday weekend) because they might have a bed open (even though they were full online). Come to find out they have ONE bed!! So Shannon and I are staying in a twin bed together, but hey its so much better than a bench outside haha!

Was definitely praying hard core through out this whole time, and God faithfully provided a place to stay. He is so great!

I will put up photos and such later next week! I just couldnt resist writing about our exciting experience haha. Oh and our hostel has free internet and three open computers which is really nice! Tomorrow we are heading into the city (like a 5 minute walk) to see the sights of Sevilla, which should be great, the city is very pretty!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cuando era niña...

(When i was little)...I wanted to live in a castle...heck I STILL want to live in a castle!! This weekend Lindsay, Shannon, and I (basically the two girls I love and do everything with!) decided to explore a little more of Santander, since we had nothing better to do.

Friday, we just walked around town and went into some shops, we found this really cute jewlery shop with TONS of stuff, we probably spent over an hour in there looking for gifts, and some stuff for ourselves ;-)

Saturday, we decided to go to one of the malls in Santander, but they are not in the city, they are on the outskirts of town, so we had to take the train!! Which was fun, and pretty cheap. So we got to the mall, Valle Real, shopped around and then decided we wanted to see a movie (in spanish!) so we took our train BACK to santander and then took a bus to another mall, Corte Ingles, which has a bigger movie theatre (and happens to be like right next to Valle Real haha). And we saw "Papa por Sorpresa" which is the movie The Game Plan in was good and i was able to understand the main plot haha.

Sunday, we went to El Sardinero, which is basically the beach part of Santander. There is this little offshoot that has a "Zoo" -- which consisted of 3 "pens/cages" which has Penguins, Seals, and Sealions...nothing very exciting haha. Then we walked up this road to this Palace, which we couldn´t get into (dont know if it is ever open) but we were able to walk around and take photos and enjoy the nice weather! Here are some photos!

Monday, April 21, 2008

What I Miss

Well first off I miss all my friends and family, but there are some superficial things I really wish i had right now...and I felt like blogging about them. So here is my list (with some side notes for fun!):

1. Italian food...fettuchine alfredo, breadsticks, cesear salad, lasagna, tortallini, manacotti -- the closest thing I have had here to italian food is my mom made me spagetti (she called it that) which was plain noodles and tomato paste...thats flavor no nothing!! And the salads here all have just vinigrette dressing, and they are Drenched in it, so much so that it makes the lettuce turn kinda clear from soaking it all up.
2. Mexican food...burritos, tacos, nachos, Taco Bell, tortilla chips, refried beans -- I haven´t had anything close to mexican food here, and one of our teachers told us about a restaurant in town that is a mexican restaurant, but expensive...I might have to splurge.
3. Chinese food...panda express and lucky fortune -- there is a chinese restaurant here but I havent gotten up the courage to try it, I cant imagine it would be very good, or what I miss...basically it wont be american chinese food haha.
4. American food, a REAL hamburger (a hamburger here is just a flat burger patty...thats it), Red Robin, Chilies, BBQed anything really-pork, chicken, ribs, steak!! I would kill for some good BBQ sauce--they dont have that here, in fact i dont know if they even have BBQ´s here.
5. CHEESE...tillamock cheese, chedder, provolone, american, sharp chedder...Yum. The cheese here is just weird haha, and usually doesnt have much flavor.
6. Ranch/Ketchup...basically any sauce, tartor sauce too, they dont have sauce here unless its oil haha. I asked for ketchup the other day, because she made me greesy french fries, and she gave me tomato paste...not quite the all.
7. Cheesecake...plain and simple, they dont have it here (or many desserts for that matter) and i miss it. They do have Chocolate con Churros here...which is this deep fried dough which you then dip into this cup of thick is delicious...and terrible for you...but still not cheesecake
8. Goldfish crackers/cheeze-itz...their snack food here isnt very good, they dont have good cheese so they dont make good cheesy one saving grace has been Pringles...I found sour cream and onion pringles in the grocery store! -- which i might add the grocery stores here are about the size of a gas station store.
9. Wheat bread...never thought i would say this since generally I like white bread, but they dont have this here...all they have is white bread, and even that is not good. Though i will say, we have a slice of a baguette with every lunch and dinner and I am sooo thankful for it because it is a taste I know from the states! And whenever I am served something I dont really like, I just follow every bite with a little taste of bread.
10. Sour candy...cant find it here...they have tons of little candy stores, but none of them sell sour candies...which i love. Its very sad (though they do have great chocolate here).
11. shower consistes of a bathtub with a hand held shower head which i have to hold in one hand...and there is no curtain so I have to be careful not to spray the entire bathroom...and they expect showers to be short, a bit difficult with the set up they provide.
12. Nice people...people here are not the nicest, when I am walking down the street if I just smile nicely at anyone, they never smile back...they just keep on their frown...I want to tell them to lighten up haha. Same when like I am nice and move out of the way for someone to get past me, or if there is only room for one of the sidewalk i stand aside and let the person coming at me smile of appreciation...they just keep walking. I also feel a bit of racism here, when people assume I am american they are more rude to me then their other native spaniards...I dont know why, but sometimes I feel as if there is a huge prejudice against me.
13. English...haha this one is expected, but I can not wait to get back to the states and be able to speak a language fluently and not have to think so hard about everything I say.
14. Our keyboards...I´m sure the keyboards here are more efficient for when you are typing in Spanish, but things are in all sorts of weird places, which takes getting used to, they also have another type of shift key because their keys have three different options on them. And then they have weird symbols like: ç that I have no idea why they are in the spots they are! Now I will have to get readjusted to the american keyboard haha.
15. Television...I miss The Office, Lost, Scrubs...etc etc, they have some shows here on their tv´s that are reruns of ours (new to them) but of course they are in spanish. Its funny to watch shows like House, because Dr. House has such a distinct voice, that really fits his character...well whoever speaks it in spanish doesnt have his same accent or voice inflections...its just not the same!
16. Dryers...we hang dry everything here, because dryers are expensive. So it takes awhile to get clothes...and shirts and things dont re-shrink up so everything just feels a bit stretched and too big now.
17. Wireless internet/my laptop...dont have it. miss it. Have to come to a computer lab during the day to check email and such. also miss my camera...brought my parents camera which is nice, and takes good photos...but i still miss my camera that I know how to work!
18. Our outlets...killed my converter with my hair straightener because it didnt convert the energy right or something...and almost melted my straightener because my converter was then giving too much i have no way of charging my iPod and camera battery, so I have to borrow a converter from friends.
19. Our schedule...Here (on a school day) I get up (8am), eat, go to school (930-2pm), eat a huge lunch (230pm), nap, go to computer lab, eat a big dinner (930pm), study and go to bed (11pm). Not much to do, and people dont really go over to friends apartments, dont know why, but its just culturally not accepted. So to hang out, you have to go out, which means spending money basically. I miss just sitting and playing cards or watching a movie with friends.
20. Small portions...My host mom here feeds me SO much food, and when I dont finish it all she gets I stuff myself and feel sick after. I am going to gain so much weight and im not excited haha. I mean I walk most everywhere so that helps burn it off, but I eat basically 2 peoples servings here, and I always try and tell her I can eat that much...but it never seems to stick. Can´t wait to be able to serve myself and not have a full plate with a huge bowl of soup, two big pieces of meat, a piece of bread, and a thing of rice. (for example).

Guess thats all for now, and all of this just really makes me appreciate and be thankful for everything God has blessed me with in the United States. It really is a great country!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Guggenheim

Saturday a group of us, Aubrey, Ben, Danielle, Francisco, Jim, and I, traveled by bus to Bilbao where we visited the ever so famous Guggenheim Museum. It was actually really neat, you can see the building from quite a distance in the city and once you get there its greatness takes your breath away. The building itself is a work of art, meant to mimic the sails of a ship. Once we got inside there were 3 stories of art work to go took us about 3 hours. We walked around a ton, took a few photos (even though we weren´t supposed too) and had an all around good time.

The weather was beautiful so we went to a supermarket and bought all the makings for yummy sandwiches and found a park to eat in, which was basically the prettiest park ever! We stayed there chatting and eating and goofing around for the rest of the afternoon when we headed back to Santander. Bilbao is a really cool city, more what i was expecting Santander to be like. It smells 10 times better, looks 10 times prettier and has a ton more green areas and such.

While we were sitting in the park enjoying ourselves this guy came up to us asking for money. He spoke in Spanish, telling us how he had had a few jobs in the past and that tonight the church would feed him, but he needed money for tomorrow (because all shops are closed on sundays) so he needed money now so he could buy food for tomorrow...then he starts talking in English (broken english but still very understandable) so that he made sure we knew he was really going to use the money for food for him and his was kinda sketch, I mean he was really nice, but he wouldnt take the food we had on us, he only wanted money, we gave him a bit of our change, nothing huge, but we are pretty sure he probably wanted it for alcohol. If he can speak 2 languages he should be able to find a job! But he was very convincing and very appreciative haha, saying that if we were ever in his position we would understand and how he wished he could do something for us in return...I guess he plays some intrument but it "broke" haha. who knows, but hopefully he got his food.
Our view for where we ate lunch

Exploring Caves

Friday our whole group went on an excursion to see some caves! The first one was called the Cueva del Castillo (Caves of Castillo), we couldn´t take photos inside, but they were pretty cool. Much more intricate than the hollowed out lava tubes I´ve been too in Oregon. There were also some original cave paintings on the wall, some bison and hands had been painted. Amazing to think that people lived in caves. Not going to lie, some of what the historians and culture analysis people have come up with are a little strange. Saying that the cave people drew things for "this reason" or whatever, they have no idea, it´s all just guesses. But they don´t ever phrase it like´s more of a "they drew the bison along this crack in the rock because it helps form the line of the back bone of the bison..." they have no idea if they chose that area of rock for a reason, for all they know the rock cracked After the picture was painted. Oh well.

Then we proceeded onto the Altamira Caves...well kind of. We went to a museum that had replicas...not the real thing (aparently they are too delicate for us to visit). First we went to this little lesson on how the cave people back then made fire and spears, which was interesting. The guide took a specific type of rock which they use for spear heads and knives and he broke off a sharp piece and then cut some girls hair to show how sharp it was (she volunteered of course). Then we got to throw a spear! They had these huge painted deer and bison at various distances and we got 2 chances to throw our spears at them, my first one barely went anywhere, but my second one would have hit the deer had i been aiming better (forgot to aim because I was so focused on getting it to go far).

Then we went in for a tour of the replica caves, which were basically a joke. It wasn´t in a real cave, just a man made one, with nice ramps and nice little video tour things as you went. The first little narrative was this video. It shows a family of cave dwellers, the dad is sitting around his fire sharpening a knife or something, and the mom and child come in (aparently they have been gathering shells) and they are all just one big happy family talking spanish and behaving perfectly...a little hard to believe...first who knows if they were speaking spanish, and secondly whose to say they had the same mannorisms as we do today?? It was hard not to laugh. Then we walked and saw the replica cave paintings, which if they had been real would have been really cool...but its hard to be impressed when you know someone just repainted the old ones. It really is too bad that we could not see the originals!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Further Look Into the Workings of Spain

Sorry this post has taken so long to come, I find that every time I get a chance to be online I have so many e-mails and such to respond to I forget to update my blog! So here goes!

First, had our first "class" last Monday, which consisted of a test to see if we were in the upper or lower level Spanish class, it was really hard!! Then we just got a quick tour around campus. Next day we got to find out what class we were in and I got into the upper class which was a real surprise! I thought I had done terrible, but apparently not too bad haha. So the group of 30 is split evenly into the upper and lower classes, and thankfully both my friends Lindsay and Shannon got into the upper level too! Then we had class, my schedule is as follows:

Monday - Thursday, 930-1130 we have Grammer class with Esther (she´s really nice and a great teacher!) Then we have a 30 minute break. Then from 12-1 we have Conversation class with our teacher Manolo, and he is crazy! But a ton of fun, he has this thing called the "Electric Chair" where he makes you go sit on a table and he gives you a topic (I had to talk about what my perfect future husband looked like) and you have to talk about that topic for 3-4 minutes straight in Spanish, and if you pause for too long you get minutes added on! Its quite nerve wracking but fun too. Manolo is funny though, he loves to cuss (in spanish) and loves to make people uncomfortable, but at the same time makes everyone laugh. Then from 1-2 we have Culture class, which is a tad boring, no extremely boring. Its really hard to pay attention because it is like a regular college class except taught in Spanish, so if you stop focusing for one minute you are completely lost!

Second, no classes on fridays which is awesome! So the popular thing to do here (even for older people) is to go out. There are tons of bars and clubs here and the thing to do is to just get a drink and socialize. Their hours of being awake are so much different than the US, people dont really go out until like 12 to 1AM!!

Third, went to the beach on Saturday because the weather was nice, and it is beautiful here, the sand is perfect, but the water is cold (reminds me of Oregon haha).

Here are a few photos I have taken so far!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

What a change!

Well i am here, in good ol´Santander, Spain. I have very mixed feelings as to whether or not i like it yet. I know the longer I am here, the better it will get. My host family is very nice, though on occasion the son can stereotype me as an american who obvisouly doesn´t know the difference between easy things like "ser and estar" - for you spanish speaking people it isnt too hard, and i do know the difference!! But overall it is good, just takes getting used to the spanish all the time, takes time to have to translate in my head, but slowly it is getting better day by day. and ive only been here since thursday.

The town is very pretty and i have been walking a ton!! The ocean is beautiful and the weather has been really nice, though a bit windy at times!! School starts tomorrow and I think they days will be better once i have something to do, lately all i have been doing is walking around with friends, though i have gotten to know the city pretty well and where things are located.

Miss everyone and look forward to coming home, but i know this experience is good and can only continue to get better!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Leavin' Soon

This blog was originally a place for me to put up photos that I had taken of various friends and family, but as I am leaving for Spain, I realized that I should write in my blog about my experiences so I don't have to write everyone individually telling them all the same thing. So I guess I would suggest randomly checking this blog and I will hopefully be updating it often and putting up some photos of Spain as well!

So I'm leaving tomorrow at 2:45 in the afternoon, I will have a non-stop flight to Frankfurt, Germany, where I will have an hour layover to go through customs and such. Then I will be on my way to Bilbao, which is close to Santander, the town I will be living in. The total of the flight is about 14 hours, which isn't too bad. The time difference in Spain is 9 hours, so it will definitely take some getting used to!!

Be praying that I will feel comfortable with my host family and be OK with making a fool of myself for the first few weeks while getting accustom to speaking Spanish 24/7.

Travis and Shannon

Here are a few photos from the engagement photos of Travis and Shannon. They were great to work with and to see their love for each other as they take the next step in their lives together. The weather was not so great for the shoot, so some photos had to be done inside.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Man in Uniform

My friend David asked me to take some photos of him in his Air Force service dress! Needed some photos to send home to family and loved ones!

We went to Avery Park and here are some of the best -- and funniest.

Had to have a Zoolander picture!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My First Shoot

Amaris and Mike's Engagement Photos!!

I received a new camera for Christmas and I have been yearning to use it ever since i opened it. I was so honored and thrilled when my friends Mike and Amaris asked me to take their engagement photos! Finally a chance to try out my new Canon XTi!!

Here are a few photos from the fun Saturday afternoon in Corvallis!