Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From Pepé to Piper

Hola! Welcome back to another episode of Piper’s Life Abroad… terrible title-- forgive me. Forgive the corny TV catch phrase, too, but since Manola (my señora) enjoys the TV so much and chooses to watch shows that resemble Spanish Jerry Springers, at all hours of the day, I’m starting to feel like maybe I am living one of the crazy soap operas she so enjoys! Oh, also, Extreme Makeover Home Edition with Ty Pennington is about 100 times better dubbed in Spanish—Ty Pennington scored himself the squeakiest little mouse voice I’ve ever heard, and when the people walk in the house all they say is “¡Oh Dios Mio!” which makes me realize how much Americans say “OMG!”… sickening, really.

But enough about the grand ol’ tube. Onto bigger and better things!
Last weeks classes went well, we visited more churches, drank more coffee, and learned more Spanish slang. I’ve started to use my map less, umbrella more, and am definitely finally stepping out of the “hate” stage of being abroad. ¡Oh Dios Mio! I just admitted it online! Okay fine, you caught me—when I first got here I wasn’t exactly in the “Honeymoon” stage as some of my peers exclaimed to be… at ridiculously loud levels everywhere we went.… No, I was pretty annoyed that I just skipped the whole bliss stage after having to listen to some dried up, old lady with a monotone voice discuss the “4 Stages of Going Abroad” into a crackly microphone at Study Abroad orientation—seemed like I deserved some sort of prize for sitting through that. But I guess that’s the price you pay when you have great people surrounding you in a place you love, and then you decide to jump ship (questionable joke and that sounded like brown-nosing… sorry). BUT the point of this complaining is to say—I AM STARTING TO REALLY LIKE IT HERE! I have not sent my mother emails twice a day (sorry Mom, no hard feelings), I have not skyped someone everyday (don’t take it personal folks), and I HAVE laughed everyday (aren’t I a ray of sunshine?!).

A wall in a church I saw with my class-- it hasn't been renovated at all since 1496, and that is gold dust blown on the sculptures... the lack of flash doesn't do it justice!

Speaking of sunshine, it’s getting warmer here, and yesterday my friend, Eve, who lives in my building and is in the same program as me, and I made the trek up to the roof of our University. We were able to see the “skyline” for the first time and sit in the sun—two very big pluses...  my Vitamin D reserves were really running low.

Even better, today I ran in shorts and little kids smiled at me on the street… HOLD ON—I know that sounded creepy, but people do NOT smile at one another here unless they are already in conversation. The people are all very nice, but no one smiles as they pass by—it’s very different than in Colorado… so that’s why the kids smiling at me made me happy. Alright, well…

The sun helps. Especially because I was sick with a nasty cough for awhile there. I originally blamed it on the cold and rain, but after pulling my bed away from the wall and seeing the amount of dog hair and dust that was hanging out back there, I got another idea. So come Sunday, as soon as Manola had finished banging some pots and pans in the kitchen (what Eve refers to as my “daily wake up call”) and had left for Mass, I found the broom and went to town. As if reading my mind, Manola changed my sheets when she got home and told me I could hang photos on my wall. So my room actually feels like MINE! This also is partially due to the fact that Manola and I have been getting along much better. You probably could tell things are better since I’m actually using her name, but she is using mine now too—I am no longer Pepé or Pee Pee… two things I would like to never think about in corrilation (sorry spelling is really hard for me these days...) to my identity again. But. At first I struggled to gage how much time I could just shut my door and be alone in my room versus how much time I should sit and watch Pedro try to find his long lost brother via some female Jerry Springer… clearly I have done a little of both. But after Manola told me the same story about her fear of swimming for… oh… probably the seventh time, I realized she wasn’t exactly remembering every session we spent in front of the TV together, and started to feel less guilty about retreating to my cuarto… Vale.

So! Saturday when I still questioned if death was going to come grab be in between coughing and blowing my nose, my program and I headed up to Arácena, a little town in the mountains (Ha! Mountains my butt). We saw a mine (NOT super exciting) and a cave (SUPER EXCITING!) Unfortunately, photos were profibited in the cave, but not in the mine (typical), but due to some of my more rebellious amigas, I have a few shots for you below! Manola made me a beautiful cheese and tomatoe sandwich for the day (which all the other kids were jealous of, not to be a first grader or anything…) and the whole experience of traveling made this idea of being a study abroad student thing kind of click finally—in a good way!

Rosie, Eve, and I at the mine.


CAVE! Oh P.S. the humidity in these babies did wonders for my cold!

The little town of Arácena

"Mountains"... I'm still laughing.

Rosie, another friend from the building & program (see pic above!), agreed to join me in my quest to go to the art museum. The museum was nice… full of guards who took their jobs extremely seriously and quite a bit of Jesus pictures… but overall a good time. To make up for my… hmm… feelings… toward the museum (yes feelings…), I took a lot of pictures on the walk home… I’ll make my own art…

Obviously art-worthy... CHOCOLATE! (I'm coming home AT LEAST 20 lbs. heavier, get your fat jokes ready!)
This was actually in Arácena, too, but how funny is this?! A fish shop with a shark on the front!

Outside the Museum
Maze thing?

Ceiling of the Museum

A broken water-pipe outside a store! This poor store owner had to sweep water out of his store!

¡Hasta luego!


  1. Piper, you are hysterical! I am laughing out loud at your funny stories. It seems that you are settling in and taking it all in stride. And doing the best thing of all: finding the humor! We are all sending big hugs from the freezing freezing cold! Love, the Rowes!

  2. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! It's blowing mine out of the water, so stop it! Haha jk! But seriously, I laughed out loud sooo many times. You truly do an amazing job of describing all the details and making us feel like we're there with you! Thanks for the shout out and I'll see you in PARIS very soon!