Saturday, September 12, 2015

The woman who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd: or don't be afraid to do things by yourself

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to blogging all week. Even though I journal every day, it’s more fun to blog because I’m telling a story to other people as opposed to recording it just for myself. I like the opportunity for my inner author to come out-did I ever tell you that I want to write a book? Before we get to chapter 2, I just wanted to let you know that 1. I’ve started to put pictures up on Facebook and 2. I have a Spanish blog as well; it’s less stories and more my thoughts on various things. You can check that out at

Without further ado, here’s chapter 2!

Let me set the scene: it’s colder this morning so I’m eating inside at Granier on calle Asuncion. I have a plain old cafe con leche and a caña de chocolate. They’re warm and yummy. I managed to order everything and answer questions without faltering in my Spanish. My laptop battery is half dead so I need to focus.

Off to the market! (thanks Asian tourists!)
Last week after I finished blogging and had lunch, I went on an adventure to Alameda de Hercules. A few of the girls who live in the neighborhood next to me went to a “medieval market” with their host family that morning and told me that it was cool, so I decided to check it out. Now I’m just going to assume that you know nothing about the geography of Sevilla and tell you that it’s at least 2 miles from my house. Of course, I didn’t pay attention to that as I put on my sandals and didn’t grab my water bottle. After trekking across town, I found it. It was so cool! There were a bunch of vendors, everything from meat and cheese and jewelry to cool themed stalls where you could drink tea in an Arabian style tent or try your hand at making pottery. I spent a bit of time watching kids try and make bowls on the pottery wheel before a gelato stand caught my eye. Now it could have been the heat (85 degrees) that attracted me or it could have been the fact that they made their cones by hand right there. I watched for a minute before deciding that some chocolate gelato would be the most amazing thing ever. As I was about to order a huge family beat me to it. I spent probably 20 minutes waiting (since they had to make the cones and wait until they cooled down) but in reality the family was adorable and I’m now an expert in the ancient art of cone making. When I finally did get it, it was nice and cold but I regretted my decision immediately for two reasons. The first was that gelato does not quench your thirst and the second was that I walked by a sangria vendor. I know I could have easily gotten something to drink, but let’s be honest I’m too cheap for that. After walking around a bit I decided to start heading in the general direction of home, but taking the back (shady) roads. I ran into a woman from California who was looking for a museum and tried to help her (using the “” app-LIFESAVER). We weren’t successful so I continued on my way and after walking past Nuestra Señora de Buenos Libros (my new favorite Virgin) I found myself in the plaza of the museum we had been looking for. I was sad that I wasn’t able to help the lady find it, but then SURPRISE, 5 minutes later she walked right into the same plaza. Unfortunately it was closed, but we had a nice conversation anyway.
Cone maker

On Monday we started orientation classes, they’re interesting but I’m just really excited to start regular classes. I’m going to be taking (at the moment) three “cursos concertados” which are for American students but taught by the university professors and one “curso regular” meaning a regular university class. I’m a bit nervous for it but my host mother says that I’ll be fine. I’m also excited because I think that it’s a good way to get a more authentic Spanish experience and meet Spanish people. Also go big or go home, right? On Monday I went on my first run-lol why is sunset so amazing?

I might be slightly obsessed with religious art, it's amazing
Tuesday was easily the most exciting day of the week. Well. Tuesday night was easily the most exciting night of the week, though it didn’t start off that way. I was having a pretty rough afternoon (a mix of various things, mostly stemming from being hot and tired). I went on a run at Plaza de España before dinner, which helped. After we ate I was moping around in my room while my roommate got ready and went out (every night is a goodnight to go out here). I was going to try and go to bed early but then like five minutes after my roommate left I had an overwhelming sense of 1. You’re in Spain, get out of bed and 2. I want sangria.  Well I couldn’t contact anyone because at that point I didn’t have my Spanish phone yet and people who were out were not going to have wi-fi (wee-fee). So I decided to go on an adventure. Without thinking too much, I got dressed and walked out the door, no turning back now! I remembered that there was a bar on calle Betis that had free flamenco on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I headed out to find it. I finally got there, only to find a nearly empty bar. After reading the menu and debating for a couple of minutes I went in and sat at the bar (as opposed to outside). I immediately ordered a sangria (which was amazing) and looked around the bar. It was covered with Flamenco themed things and postcards from around the world. After sitting there awkwardly for like ten minutes I asked the bartender about the flamenco, which he said would start back up in two weeks. Another 5 minutes of silence later I asked about the best places to find “flamenco puro” (not touristy) in the city, and so started an hour long conversation about a million things-all in Spanish of course. I learned a lot about Seville and the bar, but also that he and his wife and his daughter (who is currently in India) are all vegetarians! I even got invited to come eat with them at some point! So after a great conversation and a shot of Miura, a Sevillan made liquor, I headed out. I have literally never been so proud of myself. I got about halfway home before I saw these two guys and this one girl sitting on the side of Plaza de Cuba. I walked by slowly and heard them speaking English. Since I always air on the side of skepticism I decided to see what they were up to, because the girl was clearly intoxicated. I found out that the guys were trying to help her find this party she was going to. Her friend ran over a few minutes later saying that she had found the party (it was an erasmus party, for foreign students in Seville) and they all insisted that I come along. The night was still young and the party was literally right there by the river, so I agreed. After about an hour of talking to some very cool people, it was time to go home. [If you’re reading this-I hope y’all got back to Ireland okay and thanks for a great night!] I learned many things that night: that I CAN go socialize and make friends by myself, my Spanish is not actually that bad, but most importantly that there’s a whole world out there, all you have to do is go. Go and something beautiful will happen. Go and something terrible will happen. Just go.

Roman Ruins
Wednesday morning was a struggle. Luckily, instead of class we got to go see the Roman ruins of Itálica. Itálica was the first great city outside of Italy, it was pretty amazing to see, though it is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that the Romans just casually set up this huge city so far away from the center of their empire. In other academic/culturally related news, I went on a paseo (walk) of Triana, one of the neighborhoods, which was really cool as well as one of baroque Seville, which I already knew a bunch about (thanks Mark). I also had a taller de flamenco which was amazing. I need to sign up for regular classes today or tomorrow.  On Friday (yesterday) we went to go visit the Alcazar, which was amazing, but I had seen it when I came to Spain in high school. My favorite part was something I hadn’t seen before, a huge map of Southern Spain and Northern Africa. It was so cool though because it was upside-down. It is just so interesting to me that they had that perspective. I mean, why should maps be the way they are? The earth is a circle, who’s to say what’s the top and what’s the bottom?

Map in question
Trips. Just to give you a mini update on that part of my life, I thus far have three trips planned for this semester as well as The Big Adventure. If you’ve talked to me recently you probably know all about them. If not, I’ll give you a few hints.

Trip 1: It feels like we’re going south, but we’re not
Trip 2: Cat boat and coffee shops
Trip 3: Return to the homeland (kind of)

I also realized that my birthday is over a long weekend and I think it would be amazing to go to Paris. I’m still trying to see if I can swing it budget-wise, but the thought of Paris in December is just too amazing to pass up-Christmas markets, ice skating, going to the ballet (not the Nutcracker though, because POB is too good for that). I mean what else could a girl want for her 21st birthday? (hinthintwinkwink mom and dad).

The Big Adventure: I’m going to start booking flights/accommodation for this today/tomorrow. It’s a bit intimidating to plan for a month long trip, but better to do it now when I’m not super busy. My itinerary? Some time visiting camp friends in the UK and then heading off the central/eastern Europe for three weeks! I’ll keep y’all updated on that one!

Mosaic work from the ruins
Some final observations: I have found that if I sake a siesta, I can’t sleep at night, which makes me tired/angry/frustrated, which makes it even harder to sleep. So no more siesta for me. I have to force myself to talk in Spanish to my American friends, it’s so easy to speak in English the whole time. When I spend time reading in English and then someone speaks to me in Spanish, I get caught really off guard, so I should probably just eliminate all English from my life. I love my señora’s cooking, everything is literally amazing but I think my favorite is berenjenas fritas con miel, fried eggplant and honey. ¿Efectiva? = cash or credit? It’s interesting to keep up with Spanish news and not US news (note I’m being PC and not saying American), it’s what’s on TV and all my news sites since my laptop realized that it is in Spain now. Public bathrooms aren’t real, even at McDonalds you have to buy something first. People dress so nice here and the stores are amazing, I want to buy everything.

At the Alcazar
Sometimes it’s difficult: I don’t want you to think that my life here (the whole 1 week) has been perfect. My beautiful friends at home can attest to that. I have gotten extremely frustrated with things here and at times have been absolutely miserable. That’s the thing, there’s no such thing as “perfect” (as I have slowly been learning the last few years) and sometimes things just suck. You get over it though. Ups and downs are part of life anywhere; they just seem to be amplified the further you are from home. There’s no point in me complaining about what makes me unhappy because luckily for me, the ups overtake the downs. Moving to the other side of the world hasn’t been easy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love it.

I’ll end with a funny story: My roommate and I were going to meet people on Thursday night and there was this guy sitting on the steps of Puente (bridge) de Triana wearing a Tom Brady jersey. Since it was game night, we asked if he was from Boston/a Patriots fan. He looked at us like we had three heads. I won’t lie, I was pretty disappointed!

Well, I’d love to keep going, but this is a novel as it is so I guess I’ll leave you here. I can’t wait to share my next adventures with you! ¡Hasta Luego!

PS: feel free to let me know how I’m doing/if you're actually reading this/what you want to see more of!


  1. I love reading your blog, keep it up. Love and miss you

  2. I'm so glad to hear you're having such an amazing time. That's so great that you've been able to move out of your comfort zone and create your wonderful experience. I can't wait to hear what you're up to next!
    -Ms. Cote (well now Mrs. Walsh)