Sunday, December 7, 2008


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fancy shmancy

1. I bought a dress for the good-bye cocktail party (tomorrow night) yesterday. I bought it in an eccentric little shop with a sort of hippie aesthetic, and the owner had just gotten a tiny, tiny puppy. He was black and white and fat and smelled like a puppy and had razor-sharp teeth. I wanted to buy him, too, but I didn't. But I did play with him for a while. Today I cut out the underskirt of the dress to make straps...and it actually doesn't look bad.

2. I went to the pay-to-get-in part of the Alhambra for the first time today, after three and a half months of being in this city. I went alone, because everyone else had finals today, and it was not as exciting as I had hoped. It was sure pretty, but I could only remain engaged by making up stories in my head about the people who lived there a thousand years ago. It probably would have been more interesting with a guide. Also, my camera ran out of batteries the instant I got there, so I have no pictures. Fortunately, a million other people have taken way better pictures than I could. I'll try to put some of those up on my Picasa site soon.

3. I can't believe that tomorrow is my last full day in Granada. It's been a surprisingly comfortable experience, as well as new and exciting. I don't think I'll miss it too terribly, but I hope I come back some day.


Monday, December 10, 2007

I told a lot of lies today

I haven't really had any adventures recently, but I thought I'd write anyway (I'm procrastinating). I had my Arabic final this morning, which I think went reasonably well, but I told a lot of lies. Since our vocabulary is so limited, I had to describe the activities of me and my family in terribly, terribly inaccurate words. So my fictional dad works in a bank, and my mom is a first grade teacher. Sorry Jesse, you became Jessica because I didn't know how to pluralize the word "brother". Haha. Perhaps even more ridiculously, my fictional self studies African political science (???).

I was just reading in the NY Times a little bit about Barack Obama, and I got all optimistic and excited, which is probably a little silly. But he actually said our American "exceptionalism" shouldn't be based on military might or economic dominance! He said it! Maybe I haven't really been paying attention at all, but hey, that's just refreshing.

Right. I really have to go write this paper now. I now have less than a week in Spain. :(


Friday, December 7, 2007

Raptors are cool

Hey! I got a new charger in the mail today! I wanted to write about last weekend but I didn't have time. On Friday Callie and I went to the science center, which is directly adjacent to our house. There was a terrifyingly realistic moving raptor (dinosaur), a whole bunch of little activities to demonstrate physical phenomena, a butterfly house and, best of all, a raptor (bird) show! The men doing the bird show told us to stay still and had a hawk fly among us, to show how this particular species was agile in the forest. It was so cool to have it right in front of your face--Callie even got smacked by a wing! I'd like to go back there; we didn't even see the main exhibit, which is about poisonous reptiles, amphibians and insects (pretty sweet, right?).

On Saturday we took a bus out to the Alpujarras (mountain region near the sea) and stayed overnight at a sustainable farm. This Swiss-German family moved to this farm about six years ago. They grow olives for sale and a bunch of vegetables and fruits for their own consumption. They have never been on the electric grid and get all their power from sun and wind. They are tapped into a irrigation network that is more than a thousand years old (left over from the time of the Moors), and they produce one trash bag every month. Everything else is recycled. They are these nice hippie-types with these blond, blond children (two girls and a boy) who are so self-sufficient and responsible. It blew my mind, honestly. I have rarely felt so at peace in a place. There was no hum of power lines, no distant roar of cars, no light pollution, and it was warm as September in the Northwest. Their neighbor came over and taught us how to weave this native grass into baskets (legit baskets!), we collected acorns and shelled them and ground them and made them into pancakes, and I was totally uplifted by the evident possibility of living simply. They do it so happily, and I was happy there, too.

I've now had my last class, and finals start on Monday. I leave Spain in nine days. So soon!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'll charge YOUR battery

So I had the misfortune of accidentally breaking my laptop charger the other day. Or rather, it stopped working all on its own, and I received the misfortune. I didn't realize how much time I spend on the computer when I'm at home! I took the opportunity to watch a bunch of vhs movies my host mom has in the house (all dubbed in Spanish, unfortunately): Al Sur de Granada, Dirty Dancing, some weird Egyptian parody, and Interview with a Vampire. I spent way too much time in the house but it was nice to relax.

Our program took us all out to dinner on Thursday for Thanksgiving, and it was really nice. The turkey was some sort of weird loaf with prunes in it, but everything else was delicious. There was a copious amount of wine served, and it was fun to hang out with the language teachers and the support staff in such a festive atmosphere. If you ever have the opportunity to try pumpkin flan, do it. It is amazing. I was sad to be missing Thanksgiving with the Vermont Willards and Jesse and Alix, but I had a good time anyway.

Last night a bunch of us went out to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant and I had the most amazing experience smelling my sushi...I know that sounds weird, but it was wonderful. I had tuna sashimi and cucumber rolls and everyone's leftovers and it was joyous. I'm getting all hungry again just thinking about it.

Well, happy Tuesday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beware the old ladies

Hi all,

I got back this morning from Barcelona. It was a good trip, but I'm glad I chose to study in Granada. We became very familiar with the metro, as our hostel was about as far out as Haverford is from Philadelphia (15-20 minutes on the train). I like riding the metro, but one of the girls got her wallet picked right out of her bag while riding during rush hour. I was almost picked too; I felt something and looked down and the zipper of my bag was open, so I felt around and everything was there. I zipped it back up and kept my hand on it, and stared suspiciously at the old woman who was standing on that side of me with this big shawl over her arm so I couldn't see her hands. She got off at the next stop and two minutes later Alex realized her wallet was missing. I wish she would have gotten mine too, because then I would have confronted her and maybe gotten both back.

We were on our feet in the city all day Friday and Saturday, which got to be a pain. But we saw some cool stuff: the Goudi park, his museum, some houses he designed, the Sagrada Familia (which he also designed), the Gothic quarter and the waterfront, as well as a whole bunch of shops and booths.

Sagrada Familia (which is a cathedral) was really cool. It's still under construction. The style breaks so obviously with traditional architecture that it's really fun to see; instead of gargoyles there are these weird fruits, and the columns branch like trees. We rode the elevator to the top of a spire and walked down another with a spiral staircase that was truly dizzying. I counted 350 steps. Most of all, I like the tile that he does. It's all very colorful and imaginative.

Aside from the pickpocket paranoia (there were signs EVERYwhere advising us to take care), the people were cool. We ate at an Indian restaurant which was more exciting than I ever would have imagined. I miss Asian food! I had these vegetable "meatballs" that were mostly chickpeas I think, in this tomato sauce and there was paneer and I "mmm"ed all through lunch.

Our flight out was at 5:30am, and the bus to the airport had peculiar hours, so we slept at the airport. We got there at about 11pm and bought some wine and kiwis and goofed around. At about 1am we put on all the clothes we had and lay down on the floor with our heads on our bags and went to sleep. It was so cold it was sort of horrendous, but there were people sleeping all over the airport (apparently that's how it works around there). I also slept on the flight and on the bus ride from the airport, and when I got home. And now I'm in Granada again, and there are only four weeks left! I've got to start buying souvenirs.

With love,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Over barns and whatnot

By the way, I've learned to fly. This was taken at that national park last weekend. LOVE it.