“No hay lluvia today”: Week 12

26 Nov

So, Week 12 has flown by. I cannot believe that I have been here for about 3 months already. Only 4 weeks to go! The idea of only having 4 weeks left is conflicting. Compared to the time I have spent here already 28 days seems like a breeze, but in reality it is still essentially an entire month. So, while the time with probably fly, I don’t want to rush it!

Once again, an uneventful academic week. The only thing interesting about this week is my exceptional lack of motivation. For instance, I had a 4 page paper due on Thursday which I began on Wednesday. It is also much harder to drag myself to class in the cold weather. I am only ever warm if I am in my bed or in my apartment between the hours of 5 and 10pm. Never again will I take central heat for granted! It kills me a little inside when I check the weather and see that it is colder in Granada than at home. Seriously, I thought that I was getting the better end of the deal! But you know that it is officially cold in Granada when people start dressing up and insulating their dogs. So far I have had the distinct pleasure of seeing a dog in a Christmas sweater, one in a soccer jersey, and one in a puffy pink winter jacket. I also saw the fattest pug ever, who obviously doesn’t need a coat because his excessive blubber is protection enough from the cold.

Along with the cold, I made the mistake this week to start thinking about all of the food that I want to eat when I return to the US. It is a scarily long list. I would post the entirety of it on the blog, but I am sure the judgement that I would receive would be immense. Essentially this magnificent list contains everything from chocolate cake to Italian chicken and from skim milk to ribs. I spent far too much time thinking about food last week and according to my father (who is not notorious for his math skills) the list added up to 15 thousand calories. So, no, I will not be eating it all in one sitting. But, I do await the joyous food that awaits me in the great U. S. of A.

Another funny volunteering story for you: One of the activities that I do with my students is a question game. I wrote questions on slips of paper and they pick a paper and answer the question. Last Monday a girl picked the question “Describe your parents/guardians. What are they like?” And her answer: ‘My dad is very happy and friendly. He is always smiling. I love him a lot. And my mom is a vegetarian.’ Well, I am just going to take a guess and say that she and her mom don’t get along so well. 14 year olds, so sassy. Don’t worry, I was able to contain my laughter at this answer until I left the classroom!

And then this weekend was an educational trip to Sevilla and Cordoba, two Spanish cities. It was a whirlwind 2 days that began with a delicious typical Andalucian breakfast of bread, tomato spread, ham, cheese and hot chocolate. Absolutely delectable. In Cordoba, we toured the old market-place, the Alcazar of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, and the Mezquita/Cathedral. The Alcazar is a giant old fortress where Isabella and Christopher Columbus met for the first time. Although Columbus was not the best person in the world, it is still cool to know that we have walked in the same spots. The Mezquita was quite unique. It is a combination of a mosque and a cathedral; the only one in the world. It has very eclectic architecture and design, so it was fun to walk through. In the mosque there is a giant picture of Saint Christopher holding a boy. It is legend that if you are female and you look at this picture, if you see an image of a baby in the background, you will get married. Guess who didn’t see the image? This does not bode well for my future plans of being a trophy wife…

Alcazar of Cordoba

Alcazar of Cordoba

The Alcazar

The Alcazar

Just some cool arches at the Mezquita

Just some cool arches at the Mezquita

A cold, rainy night was spent in Cordoba. I went to a nice American restaurant and had diet soda with free refills. Amazing. Give me some soda with unlimited refills and I am the happiest girl in the world. I then spent the night in a very warm and comfy hotel (the perks of traveling with the group). At breakfast, there were also boxed American cereals and I am not ashamed to admit that yours truly took 6 boxes of Cornflakes to serve as snacks for the next 3.5 weeks. It was a great overnight experience. It is the little things, my friends.

Saturday was spent touring Sevilla. First we visited Plaza Espana where some Star Wars movies and Mission Impossible movies were filmed. Considering I have never seen any of the movies in either series, I have no idea which ones were filmed there. That being said, please, Star Wars fans, feel free to be jealous of me! It was a gorgeous plaza with quaint bridges and ornate tile-work. After that, we visited another Alcazar, the Sevilla version. This version was even cooler because it had hedge mazes. Yes, I did spend some time running through them. It was surprisingly fun! This was the second place that had giant pools of water with fish in them. These fish were the biggest ones that I have ever seen in my life. I don’t know what it is with obese animals and me, but they are everywhere!

The fascinating hedges!

The fascinating hedges!

Plaza Espana

Plaza Espana

The next stop was the Cathedral in Sevilla. In the Cathedral, I climbed 35 floors (using ramps) to get to the top of the Tower or Girandula. Some people did not enjoy the hike up the tower very much, but I figured that it was just a really nice butt workout. It justified the bread that I ate later! The view from the top was absolutely incredible as it looked out over the entire city. The rest of the Cathedral was very large and cathedral-like. I must admit, after seeing so many different churches in Europe, eventually they all start to blend together. But, this Cathedral contains the official (DNA proven) remains of the one and only Christopher Columbus. After seeing the tombs of countless dead famous people, I am still impressed when standing before their remains (even if they started the genocide of natives in the Caribbean). In this Cathedral I also learned that if single girls pray to Saint Anthony for a boyfriend, he is supposed to bring you one. So all you single ladies out there, let me know how that works out for you!

Aerial View of Sevilla

Aerial View of Sevilla

And so, you might be asking me, what the heck does the title of this post have to do with anything? The beautiful sentence “No hay lluvia today” was the coherent sentence that I spoke to the director of my program. Amalia, the director, is awesome, but also quite intimidating. She is always someone I want to impress. So, when she asked me about my shoes, after noticing that I was not wearing my broken sneakers. I told her that I changed my shoes because “No hay lluvia today”. Yes, three months of total Spanish immersion has me speaking Spanglish. Good to see how much I have improved. But, on the bright side, a shop owner, after hearing the Spanish I was speaking with other girls from my program, asked where we were from. When we said the United States, she looked surprised and told us that our Spanish was good. So although I have some Spanglish issues, it is nice to know some random Spaniards think my Spanish is good!

Overall, it was a very educational and fun weekend! But, after 4 straight weekends of traveling, I was glad to spend Sunday in Granada. I essentially did nothing all day and it was beautiful. I even cleaned my room and enjoyed it (who have I become?).

So, this week is Thanksgiving! One of my all time favorite holidays: food, tradition, Turkey Trotting. I thought that I would be able to skip this holiday with little sadness, but after seeing countless posts on social media about going home and stuffing faces with food, I must admit some pain about not being able to be home. I mean, I am just worried about my family missing me too much…It is also true that Team Jaegermeister will not be trotting in the Turkey Trot this year. Rumor has it that the MVP of the team is studying abroad in Europe and the rest of the team is afraid they will lose without her. So, in honor of Thanksgiving and my favorite running team, here is a little throwback from last year!

There is not one normal picture of this team...

There is not one normal picture of this team…

Some Team Jaegermeister love!

Some Team Jaegermeister love!

And, a special shout-out to my best bud, Chris!

And, a special shout-out to my best bud, Chris!

So, while I will miss hating my life during the 3 miles of the Turkey Trot this year, I will use my painful uphill walk to school to justify my pie eating. Because yes, although I am thousands of miles away, I will still be celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional dinner in Spain. And, I hear the food is delicious! Of course, that is what I would be concerned about…

The other tradition I will miss is baking German Christmas cookies with my Oma (its German for grandmother, in case you were confused). I mean, this is the first time I have ever missed this special day. Without me, I fear the quality of the cookies will simply not be up to par. Plus, there will be no one to make sure that a certain one of my brothers (ahem, Brendan) doesn’t make too many stupid lion and duck cookies. Let’s hope he is over that phase… But, I have been assured that I am irreplaceable (in the cookie baking sense), so I am already looking forward to next year!

So, for those of you back home, have a lovely Thanksgiving and make sure to eat some stuffing/apple pie for me! And, best of luck to those running the Turkey Trot! Enjoy running through the cold and don’t think of me curled up in my bed taking a siesta, which is exactly what I will be doing while you are trotting.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve Eve to all!

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