Monday, January 31, 2011


Okay, so the more I explore this place, the more I fall in love with it. I had SUCH a great weekend here! Saturday morning I went for a run by the river which of course I loved, then came back, cleaned my room a bit (I TOTALLY NEEDED TO), then had lunch with the family. After that, Adrienne and I went out to explore a bit, shop, etc. We also had wanted to get coffee of course, and I had seen a place called "Duffin Dagels" posted online. Basically a knock off Dunks! So you can imagine I was overjoyed that we found it. Finally, I felt at home.

At home that is, until I read the menu. Of course, I expected to go in and order my normal large french vanilla iced coffee, skim milk and two sugars. But nope. Coffee here is of course served basically one way. Small, and with milk. So this is what I got.

Oh, Spain. What am I going to do. Whatevs. Anyway, after that, Adrienne and I wanted to find a different cafe with WiFi, so we could do homework. As we were strolling along on our way, we accidentally bumped into a random parade that was going on. Typical day in Sevilla, right? No big deal, just a parade. No one really knew what it was for. Some people thought it was for Pre-Carnival celebration, which is at the end of February. But I don't really know. All I know is that it was really cool and so random, and I loved it!

So after that, we hung out a bit at a cafe called Café y Té, got some work done, and then after that went home, changed, and around 9 we met up with some friends to go out for Tapas! We went to a placed called Levies, which I really loved! I got two dishes: spinach with garbanzo beans, and mushroom and leak au gratin. BOTH WERE AMAZING OHHHH MYYY GOSHHH! Loved every second. And then we all got some gelato! :) Ahh, soo good. I got mente de chocolate aka mint chocolate chip YESSS! And after that, we met up with some other friends and hit the bars! Gotta love the Spanish way. We went to the famous street by the river, Calle Betis, where everyone goes. We were out until 3am! So much fun, but pretty exhausting!

Sunday morning, I slept in. Yup, I, Katie Zarrilli, did not get up until ten. Pretty sure that's a record. So I got up, had my daily toast with jelly and coffee, and then went out for a run with my friend Daysy. Great run and a great time, but somewhere in all the greatness, I lost the key to my house. Smooth move ex-lax. So today Maribel had to get a new one for me. 6.50 euros. Dang. But whatevs I guess. After that, came home, did the lunch thing, then Adrienne and I went out to explore more of this amazing place! We went to the Plaza de España, which someday I'll figure out what exactly it is, but for right now it's just a gorgeous place that I love!

After that, we went to another cafe (gotta love living the cafe life in Spain), called Café de Indias, which was wicked cute and I really liked it! However, my coffee luck strikes again. Adrienne orders some cappucino that looked delicious and nice and big. I order a coffee, and it comes out the size of a dixie cup. I'll never win here. But it was still pretty good and it was fun to just hang out there.



So I'd say it was a weekend of exploring. Though of COURSE I still have so much more to explore! It's so awesome though just to have so much I've yet to see and do. It just makes me so excited for these five months! I love this city and I can't wait to learn more and just live it up! Gahh :)
Today was a solid start to the week! Just had class, came home, ate, ran, then went out shopping with Adrienne and Ky again in the city center! Now I'm home, exhausted, and ready for bed! But gotta say the best part of my day was skyping with my MOM because it's her BIRTHDAY!!!!! :) :) Love you Mom, miss you every second and I'm so glad we skyped!! You're the best and I hope the rest of your day is amazing!

Anyway, it's about time for me to hit the hay! I'll be updating soon though, as I'm sure this week will be crazy. Thanks for reading! Buenas noches a todos!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fin de Semana..FINALMENTE

My first actual relaxing WEEKEND! I'm so glad it's here. I feel like things have been insane, and so finally I have two days to hopefully take a breather and just relax a bit! But this week's been pretty good. Half way done with the intensive class which is good. We had an exam yesterday (hoping it went well) and we also had two papers to hand in last week, so I was definitely working a lot! So one week to go with those and then it will be time for University classes. I'm totally freaked out to take them, but I think I can do it. I'm pretty sure no one here wants to hear me babble on about being nervous to take classes, so I'll stop. :)
Since it was finally friday, my friends Adrienne, Ky, and I were excited to not have to do homework! So for the afternoon, we went to a place called Plaza Nueva and shopped for a bit! We went to a place called Corte Ingles, which I'm pretty sure is Spain's version of Target. Haha - it was fun! We walked around other little shops too, they have pretty cute stuff here! I confess, I bought gum. It's expensive here though so I need to cut down. Mom -- care package? :)
For the night, we went to a place called Calle Betis, it's the street by the river here. We wanted postres (desserts), but it took us forever to find them, and the one I got, I wasn't a fan of. It was flan? I'd never had it, but I tried it. Yeah, over it! Then we walked around for a little, just peaked into a few bars, but called it a night early. We're all exhausted and need to catch up on some sleep!
Today I'm not sure my plans! My family's not even awake yet (at 9:45AM I can't believe it!) but I think Adrienne and I will hang out for most of the day and do some more exploring! I'll let you know what we end up doing!
I've got some more pictures for you to see my life here :)
I look gross but here's us at the bridge! Adrienne, me, Ky

My bathroom!

My bed -- a mess of course! Some things never change.

My rooooooooom!


Missing everyone at home so much! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time for SCHOOOL.

Alright, so class has begun! For the next two weeks we're in what they call the "intensive session", which means we take one class for three hours a day every day. Mine's Intensive Advanced Spanish Grammar every day from 12-3. Sounds fun, right? Yeah. Not bad so far, I need the grammar help haha! Anyway, so every day I meet my friends Adrienne and Kylene, AKA Ky, who are in my class too, and we walk there together. It's like a 30 minute walk both ways, but the first day it took about an hour both ways because we got lost haha, but it's fine. So our professor is pretty cool, but since we have only two weeks of this class, it feels like there's a ton of work. Our first homework was to go to the public library and then write a two page essay describing it. Wasn't awful, we all needed practice on SER and ESTAR. Tomorrow morning we have to go to the Mercado de Triana and then get recipes from the woman who works there, and then write another essay for friday about that. Not to mention we have an exam on friday. See what I mean about PACKING IT ALL IN TWO WEEKS? Gah. I just hope once I get into classes at the University things will relax a bit more. I still feel so tired. I mean granted it's been one week, but it feels like it's been years already!
So class has been pretty good, and other than that not too much has gone on. Yesterday afternoon I was happy that I got to go for a run, and I ran along the bridge and next to the river which was absolutely beautiful! After that, Adrienne, Ky, and I did some shopping along the street San Jacinto, which had tons of sales and some cool stores! I bought gum, toothpaste, and razors. The bare minimum I'd say. Then we hit up the library again, and wrote our papers!
So that's kind of been my life lately. Kind of boring. Class, eat, homework, sleep. Once classes start everything gets boring! But let me see what other pictures I can find for you!

Not sure exactly what this is but it was on the street. Gorgeouss!

Plaza de España -- SO gorgeous!

Still the plaza. Pardon my nasty appearance - orientation BLAH!

Another view from the top of Arco de la Frontera

I need to take more pictures. So that's the next thing I'll be getting on. I want to show you my house, room, maybe family, and class buildings, etc! Just give me some time. For now, I need to rest a little bit. Like I said, I'm pretty exhausted still. I'll be posting very soon! Missing everyone at home like crazy! Thanks for reading :)
Hasta luego.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Las fotos que he prometido

I'll add more later I promise -- here are some of the best!!

Need to go back to this place. GORGEOUS. Plaza de España!

My orientation group - GRUPO CINCO. We are all obsessed with each other.

In Maine we have apple trees, in Spain we have ORANGE trees!!! (Don't eat them though, they're acidic and gross.)

Cathedral en el Arco de la Frontera (Cadiz)

The view was honestly inCREDIBLE from the top of el Arco de la Frontera!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Me duele mi cerebro

Okay, so we just spent the weekend in Cadiz at a hostel type place like I told you about. Basically it was a weekend of full on immersion in Spanish. There were about twenty of us and I want to say..12 spanish students? So, we all were pretty much forced to be speaking nothing but spanish all the time. Of course we all cheated, especially because the spanish students loved to practice their english on us! But anyway, so we left Sevilla around 9, got there around 11, and we started out by each getting a partner to talk to for an hour. It was so hard for me! I'm so not used to having conversations in spanish for long periods of time, and it's so frustrating not to be able to articulate and say what I mean to say. But I knew this would happen and I know it will take time, and I do feel somewhat like I'm improving, poco a poco. So after that we had lunch, and then, because we're in Spain, we all took SIESTAS! Again, I'm totally not a siesta-taker, but I actually slept and it felt good. I've been so exhausted from such a crazy week. Anyway, after that we had more one on one conversations, and then had to give small presentations to our program director, Jose Luis Martinez. I presented for about 3 minutes about my family, but I think it was fine! After that was dinner, which wasn't bad, but I was actually happy to say I miss my host-mom's cooking. (Don't worry Mom, I miss yours most of all!!) But yeah, and then after that, we all went out to a pub, and stayed there until about 2am! SO not me! But I am proud to say I did have my first drink. I guess it's a local favorite - Tinto de Verano - a red wine with a lemon type soda mix? It was good! :)
This morning, we got up early, had breakfast, and were supposed to go on a hike en el Bosque in Cadiz, but the rain stopped us! So instead we just did more activities all morning. We did some competitions and we won bracelets that say "No Hablo Ingles" and there were prizes for the number of bracelets you had at the end. I had three, so I won a sick CIEE T-shirt. But those who know me know that T-shirts are my LIFE and so I was pretty PUMPED!
We had lunch after that, and then we went to Arco de la Frontera, a BEAUTIFUL city! I can't describe it at all, but I'll put up pictures soon enough! But yeah, it was pretty beautiful and amazing and the pictures I put up soon won't do it justice. After that, we headed back to Sevilla! I came home, and my host-mom made me paella, which is a wicked popular dish here with rice and different types of fish. Might have been my favorite one of her meals yet! Loved it..way to go Maribel! I sat and talked with her a while after dinner too. She's so great! After that, me and some friends went to a pub to watch football. I wasn't too into it, but it was fun anyway! Now I'm in my comfy bed and dying to go to sleep. It's a school night. I have class tomorrow at 12. We have to take one "intensive class" the first two weeks before university classes start. So for three hours a day I'll be learning spanish grammar. Can't wait, but I DO need it! So I'm off to bed, but I'll be sure tomorrow to put up pictures and let you know how my first day goes!
Buenas noches,

PS - Funny story. I can't for the life of me use the key right to unlock the door. Tonight as I was coming back home - got in around 12:30, couldn't open the door. Luckily my host-brother Jorge was up. But he then spent about 10 minutes trying to explain it to me. I had success for the time being, but I PRAY this gets better!! I pretty much fail every time trying - luckily my host-mom was here when I got back before dinner. Ugh. My life. I'm studying abroad in a foreign country, speaking a different language, living with strangers...and I can't open a door. Hm.

Friday, January 21, 2011


This one's going to be pretty short - just wanted to fill you guys in on what I've been up to since my last post. It's kind of weird how I'm getting addicted to posting, but I like it. Anyway, last night we had more tapas - I had marinated carrots and chicken with almond sauce! DELICIOSO :) After that, we went to a coffee shop and had ColaCao - aka Spain's hot chocolate. It was amazing of course and SO much fun! I feel like I've laughed so much here. We ended up staying there until really late - almost 12. Then we walked back and I got all warm in my AMAZINGLY COMFORTABLE bed and then slept for the first night in my new house! :) I slept so easily and I already decided one of the worst things about leaving is going to be parting with this incredible bed.
This morning, Maribel woke me up at 8 and gave me some frosted flakes for breakfast! I loved it. She sat with me as I ate, which was so cute because I knew she was going back to bed after. Then I had to rush out and go to more orientation stuff at the university, basically just learning more about classes and stuff. They don't start until Monday but it's weird. I'll explain when we start.
Then I came back here around 2 and Maribel had made me some type of beans with fish, and I polished it off with some fruit! Loved it. After that, got in a quick Skype sesh with the fam, then walked around a bit, and then we had to go back to the program place, CIEE, to learn about all the different activities going on in Sevilla. Maybe I'll join some, but for now I'm just going to try to get my life situated here before I jump on any bandwagons. After that, came home, it was probably around 8:30, Maribel made me an omlette with tomatoes and rice, and I just sat with her for a while and watched TV. Later, my friends and I polished off the night by going out for churros! Fueron maravillosos. I haven't had a churro in SO long. I think I've had one once in my LIFE. But anyway, it was a blast and I loved it!
Sorry, I feel like I rushed this one. Tomorrow we have an immersion excursion weekend - should be interesting. 12 spanish students, 24 american students, no english allowed. Mmmm! Well, I need to sleep for this great adventure. Hasta luego!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Estoy acasa

Well, it's been a jam packed two days of orientation stuff, but I'm glad to say that I'm finally home! (In my homestay, that is.) We met our families today at the hotel. SO INTENSE haha! Basically they called our name, and all the moms were standing there, and then they called the mom's name and matched us up! I was so nervous but after I met my mom I think I relaxed a little. We met her son, Jorge, who then drove us back to the house. Okay I have to describe this place - I'm basically in LOVE with everything about it. First of all, the house from the outside is beautiful. Inside it's even more nice! My room is bigger than my room at home and I have my OWN bathroom! I'll post pictures soon - but I'd rather not have my family walk in to my room while their exchange kid is taking pictures of their house. Awkward? My family is SO nice too. My host mom is Maribel, my host dad is Eduardo, and my host brother is obviously Jorge and he's 28! It's already been great. I got here, moved in, and then Maribel cooked me some type of beans, and some patatas con huevos which was really good! They are all about lunch here, it's their biggest meal, and so far I like it! After that, Jorge and I watched soccer news for a while! They are big fans here which is PERFECT! Betis is the team they love. He went to a game last night (he has SEASON TICKETS -- jealous) - and Betis beat Barcelona which is like a HUGE deal because Barcelona is the best team in the world, Eduardo told me. I really hope I can go to games this semester, that would be AMAZING! They are really patient with my Spanish too - I can understand them pretty well but I feel like I take 948029384 years to form a sentence. But I think this will be really good for me and I really like practicing!!
Right now I'm just in my gorgeous room hanging out, I might try to sleep a little because I'm exhausted! I still have to tell you about yesterday and today! My bad. Just had to tell you about the family first! Anyway - yesterday was full of orientation-like stuff. We got up, had breakfast in the hotel, and then took the metro over to the Universidad de Pablo-Olavide where we learned about our classes and so on. We spent the day there and then came back to our rooms. After that we all had interviews with the program directors as part of our exam to see what classes we got into. We find that out tomorrow I think. I have no idea what to expect but I'm sure I got into wherever I need to be! After that, my friend Kylene, Adrienne, and I walked over to the mall for a little bit. Found a Starbucks which was a HUGE fail for two reasons - 1. Can't use my $100 gift card here - apparently it won't work. 2. Asked for an iced coffee and apparently Spain's version of iced coffee is pouring hot coffee into a cup, dumping ice in, and calling it good. Yeah, not gonna work for me. I was so maddd. But whatevs, you live you learn I guess. Coffee is the one thing that's KILLING me here. They have it in SUCH small doses and like only at breakfast! I've had two cups every day but the cups are the smallest things EVER! Ahhh. Might die. Already miss my Dunks. 6 more months! Haha.
After that, we all went out for Tapas! I got Pisto con Verduras y Pollo Altamira! Aka, amazing blend of vegetables and a piece of chicken. It was really good! Then we went to a Flamenco show. Impressive dancing, but I was pretty tired at that point! But I still loved it. After that, people still had enough energy to go to bars. I didn't want to miss out, so I rallied. My group ended up finding a discoteca! So we went in and danced until like two in the morning. Pretty fun and met some interesting Spaniards haha! So we got in at like 3AM which is SO not me, and then we got up early this morning -- 8ish -- for breakfast and then had to be moved out by 930! Then we went on a Scavenger Hunt around Sevilla, I definitely have no idea where anything is or how to navigate at all still, but seeing the city was SO sick and it's just a huge place, so beautiful and I can't wait to continue exploring! When we got back, we met our host moms and yadda-yadda. So here I am now. Sitting in my room for the next 6 months! I'm pretty exhausted, so I might try a little siesta -- try to make myself accustomed to the Spanish way! Haha, but we'll see how that goes. I've never been one to nap so..should be somewhat interesting. I have to meet my group later on for more TAPAS! I'm excited. But need some energy -- let's hope I can sleep for a bit!
Sorry this was so long -- feel free to skim, but lots of stuff going on here, and so far, SOOO good! :)
Escribiré más cuando puedo!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Que un viaje..

Well, I’m absolutely exhausted from such a long day, but I survived! I have to tell you about my insane trip here. Talk about a series of unfortunate events. My flight from Boston to New York was fine, basically two seconds long. Then from there I had a five-hour layover, but it was alright because Adrienne, who also goes to Gordon and doing this Spain program, got there around two. So we hung out together for a while, mostly talking about the fact that we couldn’t believe this day was actually real. Then, as we were sitting there, we met three other girls who were in our same program; Izzy, Nicole, and Sarah! So we all talked basically just about how excited we were and stuff. So we boarded the plane and took off around 5:30PM, and got to Madrid at 12:30PM our time, 6:30AM their time. All was well, right? Haha, well not exactly. After I got my boarding pass, I started to get really lightheaded. It got worse as I went towards customs, and when the guy asked me how long I was staying for, I started getting really dizzy. Another woman then came up to me and asked me if I was pregnant. Mmm, not so much. Then I remember trying to sit down on the ground, and the woman picked me up and brought me into a different room. (Which Adrienne told me later looked somewhat intense: a woman with a large gun carrying your friend away from customs, normal?) I remember sitting down, and then waking up on the floor to one woman holding my legs up and the other pulling the gum out of my mouth and Adrienne was right there too. I sat up finally, and a woman handed me a Cocacola which I can tell you has never tasted better. After that, I got some food in me, and was good to go. So, my first day in Spain, and I faint at customs. Sweet. But hey, I thought it was a funny experience to share. Wish I could say the day got a little better from there, but we ended up being delayed for SEVEN HOURS in the Madrid airport waiting to get to Sevilla. We waited 7 hours for a flight that took 43 minutes. How does that even work? Agh well, we got to Sevilla around 3:30, got to our hotel probably around 4:15. We checked our bags in, got into our rooms, and then had some free time before dinner. SO I SKYPED MY WONDERFUL FAMILY J Well, only Kristi and mom! Missed you Dad! SOON! But it was great, and then we had dinner, scrambled eggs first then some type of codfish, interesting Spain, but I’m too tired to even care. It’s definitely time for bed. Our day begins at 8am tomorrow, and it’s packed! I’ll be sure to update on how it goes! For now, it’s time for me to hit the cama! Buenas noches!

Bienvenidos de Sevilla

Don't have enough time to write a full post right now (we have orientation stuff starting in 20 minutes!) -- but I just wanted to let everyone know that I made it to safely to Sevilla! Well, somewhat safely. Stories of my travel experience will come later, because let's just say it was interesting. But for now, I'm in the comfort of my hotel, Hotel Hesperia Sevilla, and getting settled in before heading downstairs for orientation! Thanks to everyone for your prayers about my flights! I'm so excited to be here!!! :) More later, for SURE!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Departing in an hour...

It's 10:01. My plane leaves at 11:10, I board at 10:40. I just said goodbye to my family and headed through security. It was of COURSE emotional, and I already miss them like crazy. My grandma came too, and I said bye to her also. So far everything has gone really smoothly. We left my house at 6am, got to Logan by like 8 and it wasn't busy at all today (I guess no one flies on Martin Luther King day?) and so I got to hang out for a bit before going through security. Of course I received the lovely pat down from the TSA, but I'm good! Now I'm just sitting waiting for my flight to start boarding. Like I said, it was really hard to leave my family and I can't stop thinking of them, and all my friends that I'll miss, but I'm ready to take on this adventure and I think I can do it! 20 more minutes until boarding. Ahh. Well, I better make sure I'm ready. I'll be in touch when I get to Spain! Here goes nothing!

Mom, Dad, Krit -- I love you so much! Thanks for everything.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Spain Bound

Hey everyone! So I made this blog today because tomorrow is the beginning of a huge adventure for me. Tomorrow morning at 11:10AM is when it begins. I'm flying to Spain to spend a semester abroad in Sevilla (we'd call it Seville)! There I'll live with a family, take classes at the Universidad de Sevilla and/or the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (all in Spanish, mind you) and just experience life and culture in Spain! I'm really excited! I've loved Spanish since 8th grade, and have taken it throughout college and high school, and so this is totally the next step for me. I've spent the entire day finishing my packing and I'm almost set! Just a few odds and ends left to do I think. Print the boarding pass, photocopy the passport, and get my suitcases in the car. We're leaving here at 6 in the morning, and the family's bringing me to the airport in Boston! From Boston I fly to JFK, from JFK to Madrid, then Madrid to Seville. I'll finally arrive in Seville at 9:45AM Tuesday morning! And that's when it all starts. I'm so excited and lucky to be able to have this experience, and even more excited to be able to share it with you on this blog, so please sígueme (follow me) as I live as a Spaniard for the next 6 months!