So as per the norm, I'm super not sure where to start, but I guess I could rock the chronological approach.
Still sick, by the way. Not like dying in bed sick but more like disgusting stuffy nose and super icky cough sick, you know, the kind you get dirty looks for because you sound repulsive. It reaaaally reals in the men.
Thursday night involved copious amounts of delicious Chinese food and some seriously horrible movie-watching. PSA: For any and all who ever watch a movie with Erin Zern, do NOT let her pick the movie. She will pick a crappy one with no plot that makes your brain hurt because it sucks so bad but you can't stop watching it because you feel like that's quitting, while she is asleep within the first twenty minutes.
This Friday we all skipped our irrelevant intensive class to sleep in - which by the way does not happen for me past 10:30, this country does not want me to miss out on anything because I have yet to be able to sleep in past then. And Er, Abbe and I went bar hopping Friday night! It's exceptionally gratifying to walk into a bar and be able to order something as an almost 20 year old from the States. It's even more gratifying to be able to order the most amazing sangria you've ever had the pleasure of consuming. This stuff is like alcoholic sugar water, it's almost not fair. Surprisingly enough, I was actually dressed like a real person with real people clothes which as many of you know is a rare occurrence. There are bars everywhere here. Places that are considered cafes by day are bars by night, with the tequila stocked behind the espresso machine. These people know what they're doing. The bars are each very unique and you can choose, as usual, by the kind of atmosphere you want to be in. Personally I would much rather split a few jars of sangria with friends while we sit in a more relaxed bar, or even go to somewhere like Revolver which plays Rock n' Roll music (which is pretty sick if you ask me) and dance with friends someplace like that. I'm usually happy to go clubbing but that usually involves heels and considering that ALL of my friends here are 5'4 or shorter, heels would sooo not be my friend unless I wanna look like Andre the Giant - which I don't.
Saturday morning Er and I left for Cartagena on the 11:50 train out of Murcia! First off can I just say that having this much freedom and free time is totally disconcerting. We wanted to go somewhere, so we went. I had no homework, no prior commitments, no nothing. So we went! Let me preface the rest of this paragraph by saying that my poor, poor legs walked NINETEEN MILES yesterday. A mile and a half to and from the train station to my apartment, and then sixteen miles in Cartagena. Suffice it to say that I plan on staying in my bed as much as possible today. So as I said, we left on the 11:50 train and it took about 45 minutes to get into Cartagena. Honestly when we got off the train we were worried we had gotten the location of the train station wrong and were actually in the middle of nowhere outside of Cartagena (I swear we looked it up first), BUT, walk a few minutes up the main street coming out of the station and hello beautiful port city. I actually think I stopped breathing when I saw the water for the first time. Ask Er, the minute we saw it off in the distance I literally couldn't stop laughing and smiling. I don't think a single minute passed yesterday when I wasn't smiling. We walked up to the water and had bocadillos (hot sandwiches) and drank water from a glass bottle out of wine glasses (I know, I know) and looked out at the water. We followed the edge of the water for a few miles and just appreciated it for awhile before sitting down and talking on the edge of the pier for about an hour with my feet about a foot away from touching the water. Then we moved on into the more historic part of Cartagena, and holy wow was it beautiful. We walked through the city and without intending to Er found some super posh and really gorgeous wardrobe additions and I finally got jackets! I love them. It's pretty chilly here in the morning and at night and I was smart enough to leave my jacket on the plane so I (terribly unfortunately) had to buy some new ones in Spain. We walked around for hours and when about 4:30 came around we realized that we still had six hours in the city (our returning train left at 10:05 and it was about time for some food. We basically stumbled into a tavern looking restaurant built into the structure of some of the old Cartagenan aqueducts. We stopped to ask for a bathroom but were captivated by the place, so we sat down for a snack. We decided to stick with tapas because the place was fancy and our wallets were empty. Er ordered grilled scallops with baked potato and a salted cheese sauce, and I got what the waiter recommended, "angus burger" tapas which sounds super American but it was absolutely not. I don't even know how to put into words how amazing this food was. Like, it was life changing. An out of body experience. Every bite was even better than the last which makes no sense but I swear you'd get it if you'd had it. The thing about tapas is that they're the Spanish version of social food. Like, you don't go out to eat tapas, you go out to socialize and tapas is what you get for everyone to share while you talk. As a result, the serving size is small, which in this case was perfect because instead of gorging myself and not appreciating the flavor explosion I had just received, I got to enjoy what I had and then sit there and think about what an amazing person the chef must be to have created something so awesome. I could honestly probably write this entire post about my food yesterday, that's how good it was. Er and I just sat and enjoyed the view of the birds playing in the fountain outside until we headed back out into the city. We walked around (19 miles worth) and actually found a bridge with a walkway that led back behind some houses down a beautiful cobblestone pathway, and to those of you who are my Facebook friends, that's where we found the "Te amo Alex J" which was beyond cool, I mean we went down that pathway because Er thought it looked pretty and then someone wrote that there? Come on serendipity. We wandered back into the city and went shopping for awhile, stopped for coffee to give our legs a break, and watched what we could see of the sunset behind the mountains (yes, mountains at the waterfront). We sat for awhile looking out at the water with the night lights reflecting on it and talked about some of the scary stuff - life, our futures, that kind of thing. Then we made our way back to the train station and stopped for some tortillas españolas and chicken croquettes, which got us talking about our traditional foods from home (as someone from southern California and someone from Amish country Pennsylvania, we have plenty of food to be proud of) and decided where we would take each other when we came to visit each other's homes next year. We finally headed back to the train station and got home at about midnight. We'd made a deal that if there was a taxi already at the station when we got there then we would take it, and if not we'd walk home.. guess which actually happened. Yay exercise!
All in all it was an amazing day. Honestly I couldn't have asked for better and I could not keep the smile off my face. I learned that Erin can't spell to save her life and that there is absolutely no point in trying to navigate through anywhere without Google maps on your side so it's best to just wander and see where it takes you (cause usually it's pretty great). Er and I agreed that part of the reason we're so carefree and happy here is because we don't have our whole lives going on yet, we literally and figuratively left everything in the actual past (because I'm 9 hours ahead of home and she's 6 - yay time differences), but I also think a huge part of it is how amazing this country is and all of the opportunities it holds for us in the next five months. I am so, so happy to be here.
Lastly, the word of the day today is atascarse. It means literally "to get stuck." I learned what it meant when I was washing dishes last night and I asked Ysa how to say "the food gets stuck in the drain" - I'm a pretty inquisitive person, I probably drive my flatmates crazy because I want to learn everything ever, but what can you do. So anyway, I figured it was a good fit, because getting stuck is not fun. As Dr. Seuss once said, "I'm sorry to say so but sadly it's true, that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-y perch, and your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a lurch. You'll come down from the lurch with an unpleasant bump. And chances are then, that you'll be in a slump. And when you're in a slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done." The man was right, un-slumping is a difficult process. But people get stuck. Whether it be at work, at home, with family or friends, you can get stuck. And sometimes you don't realize it until you've been there awhile, but you'll come out of it. I think there are a lot of lurches in life, but you've got to get past them. And while I do understand that un-slumping is much easier when you're a new resident of a beautiful country like Spain, if I can do it, anyone can. Interestingly enough, if you wanna get reaaaally metaphorical and philosophical with it, you can take into account the fact that atascarse is a reflexive verb, meaning that in a literal translation it would mean that something "gets itself stuck." Do what you will with that bit of insight. Anyway, sorry for comparing myself or anyone else having a rough time to food getting stuck in the drain, but analogies aren't really my thing, whatever. I think it's about nap time, yesterday wore me out and if I'm gonna make it till tomorrow I need some hard core sleep between now and then.
Till next time lovelies <3
I wrote this blog while living in Spain my second year of college - figured it wouldn't hurt to share.