Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Episode 3: Piper NEEDS to make more friends here and type a lot less...

Woo! I have to catch my breath before this one-- things have sped up! GET READY FOR ME BLABBING (maybe read this in intervals? I really am sorry.)!

Saturday my program and I had a scavenger hunt through Sevilla. It was an unpleasant experience due to wind and cold (I take back all of my "oh, I'm from Colorado. I'm so tough-- nothing is cold!" comments...), but we did stumble upon the Plaza de España and much like Sir Charles Wasson told me-- it was pretty darn cool. The producers of Star Wars liked it so much they pretended Princess Leia lived there-- she wishes. Charlie also gave me that information-- I wont try to take credit... but here is a picture of me freezing to death in a bright teal raincoat (unheard of to wear color or raincoats here...didn't get that memo... or care once I got it....) at the Plaza de España:

Hard to see, but there is a moat behind me!

On Sunday, my program and I went to see Alcázar-- the beautiful palace Isabel and Fernando lived in. It was absolutely breath-taking  (cliché, I know, but I have to be a corny European tourist now and then). The palace has an amazing mixture of Italian, Arab, Gothic, and other types of architecture that I can't think of right now. When Spain decided to "discover" America (a thing they know don't seem to like to talk about too much...) Alcázar was where the king made all the big decisions about it. A garden sits outside the palace (but is fenced in) and hosts peacocks (pavos reales en español). Once it gets warm I plan on camping out there to study... peacocks are bound to make that dreaded activity more fun, and students get in for free! Hoorah! Unfortunately, it was pretty chilly outside so we didn't stay in the gardens for long because we all just wanted to go get coffee and sit in a room with central heating, but here are a few pictures from the whole ordeal!:
Part of the garden at Alcázar

Virgin Mary-- she's pretty popular in these parts

A SMALL part of a wall in the palace

So while on the subject of cold I guess I should fill you in on my living situation a little more—if standing, please sit: my stupidity/ the ridiculousness of it all is about to kick in.

So my señora is quite old. To say as minimal as possible: she has a fear of fire, trees, water, people of Sevilla, running after eating, and what could possibly happen if I forgot to turn the modem off every night. What could happen you ask? Well it could start the bookcase on fire, which would then start the entire living room on fire, and then, of course the entire house would be incinerated. I could say more, but for the sake of being a “good” (ha!) person I am going to leave it at that. Well, due to all of this fear, I figured after stepping into the shower one morning and BLASTING it on hot only to receive freezing cold water that left me gasping and with tears in my eyes, that we sadly didn’t have a water heater (I mean if a modem is going to start a fire, a water heater most certainly will!) This cold shower business went down twice, before I finally inquired with a quivering jaw and icicles dangling from my hair—turns out we have a waterheater! More excitement followed: we have a hairdryer! My father will no longer have to inquire via skype if I am indeed “going rasta on” him. Still no central heating or carpet, but today I went for a run (which, those of you who know me well enough, know that always puts me in a better mood), took a warm shower, and blow-dried my hair! Talk about a great day! I was ecstatic all afternoon!

I started class yesterday, and my teacher told me that she didn’t see the point of grammar worksheets in a classroom to learn Spanish when we are IN Spain. She brought a whole new experience to “hands on learning” (don’t worry not like THAT): we left class, went to a church where precious old ladies prayed in front of an intricately sculpted Virgin Mary and Jesus, and then went to a café for café (coffee for those of you who haven’t had yours today ;) ). She is a great teacher and told us all about colloquial language here: she told us that she thought vulgarities in language show what that culture values (Spain values men, not women). Now I will know if anyone says mean stuff to me at a bar here… and how to respond if they do!

Oh! And for all of Cohort G buddies, here is what the children’s section of the library looks like here! (Yes, I have already been to the library, and yes I did take a picture of it, all of you can stop judging me now.):

I have made a few friends in my program who live in the same building as me. We went to a tea place to study the other day, had pizza, and went to Burger King for ice cream. Nothin’ like going overseas to act American!… In our defense every local ice cream store was closed and women need their chocolate when they need their chocolate—obvious rule of life.

Some verrry exciting (and frightening) news: the wonderful Michelle Toteve and I just purchased tickets to go see the lovely Gabrielle Gelinas in Paris this February. Can’t wait to spend some time in a mansion overlooking the Eiffel tower… ah, how homestays vary :).

Well, until next time... take a water break... hope you skimmed that puppy. 

Miss each and every one of you-- I mean that from the bottom of my heart.



  1. Piper, you are the best! You are clearly rocking your experience, cold showers and all!! Are you in the homestay the entire time you are there? Or is that for a short time and then you live somewhere else? Sorry, you probably told us before you left, but I forgot... I did a month-long homestay in France in, oh, 1988, and your experience brings back some memories!! (no drying machine for clothes, for example) Love, love, LOVE your blog, and I get so excited when I see you have a new post! Stay warm, and COLORFUL!!! :) Big Hugs from the Rowes. Kerstin :)

  2. PIPER!!!! So exciting to see your pictures and read. I really like the side bar vocab :-) I didnt go to the Alcazar until my last month in Sevilla! Good luck learning your ways around that beautiful city! You won't need that map for much longer. Tips for you: Take the bus to lagos portugal on your own in April with some friends. Its BEAUTIFUL! Let me know if you have any questions guapa! Alyssa

  3. Kerstin-- Thank you so much! Yes, I am in a homestay the whole time- should be interesting! I keep thinking about your stories about Africa and coming back with nothing too different-- it is calming :) I miss you all soo much-- send my love to the rest of the gang!

    Alyssa-- Thanks for all of your help and advice!! I will most certainly take you up on this Portugal idea & will most likely be sending you questions about how to do it!! I am living near the Plaza de Pelicano en Alcantara, where were you?? I can go say hi to your family for you if you still want!! Youll have to fill me in about Honduras stuff soon! Hope all is well! xoxo!