Thursday, April 28, 2011

One vacation, down, on to the next!

Alright, well, Semana Santa was GREAT! So much to say about it, which I will, obviously! Just wanted to let everyone know that I am now on my SECOND spring break, haha. La Feria! This year was weird I guess because usually Semana Santa and Feria have two weeks of school in between them, but this year because of when Easter was it was different! So we literally had Semana Santa, four days of school, and now we're already on break for la Feria! Don't understand it at all, but I'll take it!

So, Semana Santa. AKA SEMANA JAM PACKED WITH PEOPLE IN EL CENTRO CAN'T MOVE ANYWHERE PEOPLE SHOVING PUSHING ALL TO SEE THE PASOS! Okay seriously there were SO many people it was insane! Okay, so here's how it went. Adrienne and I went out Sunday afternoon to watch some pasos, right? So, I was ready to leave my house around 3ish after lunch. It was a pretty hot day so, like normal, I put on my T-shirt and athletic shorts, slip on my adidas sandals and we're good to go, right? Yeah, wrong. I go to open my door to leave the house, and my señora stops me. "Oh, but your going in those clothes? To see a paso? You don't have better clothes?" Yeahhh, that was pretty rough. Don't get the wrong idea, Maribel is the most wonderful woman in the world and I'm obsessed with her, so she wasn't at all being mean, more just looking out for my own good. Pretty much she just told me that people here dress up a lot for these kind of things, so I better dress up. It's funny too because after I agreed to change we bonded over the fact that we both love sweats and would rather be comfortable than anything else. Loved it. So glad CIEE placed me with my soulmate. (Right now I'm actually listening to her yell at the television during her favorite game show, Pasapalabra. Another reason we're soulmates - can't count how many times I scream out the answers to Wheel of Fortune during dinner. Gah, gotta love.) Anyway, so needless to say, I changed and then met Adrienne to head out for El Centro! Like I said, madness. Tons of people. All the time. We didn't really have to go out looking for the processions, we kind of just ended up running into them, which was fine by us! So pretty much they were all very similar -- "Nazarenos", pasos of Jesus and Mary, and a band! But they were really cool!

So side note, if you are unaware, the pasos are carried by PEOPLE. 50-70 people are underneath those things carrying them, for the entire day/night. Insane. My host dad told me there is like a waiting list and people like, sign up and like TRAIN for it! I mean, I guess you have to. But they like crouch down and carry it using their like hands and backs -- I mean I don't even know, but its crazy. I saw the neck of one person who carries, and there was a HUGE lump! It's so insane, but so cool. I like how dedicated they are to their traditions and their faith and stuff here -- it's pretty inspiring!

So, anyway, that was Sunday. And afterward, Adrienne and I decided some river time was needed just to escape the crowds a bit. The river was much less crowded, but look, this is even the bridge I take to walk home and this was EXTREMELY packed! Basically when I got home, all I said to my host family when they asked what I thought was "MUCHA GENTE." They were in agreement.

As if Sunday didn't Semana Santa me out, I saw more pasos on Monday! Why? Good 'ol host bro Jorge was in one! Yeah so the fam was pretty much all over it all day. Maribel was up early freaking out, fixing Jorge's .. costume? clothes? Not sure what you'd call it, but she was doing it. Nuria came over with her baby early to eat! Host dad was getting all excited. Everyone freaking out, even me, making sure I WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES THIS TIME. Everyone that is, except for Jorge. His procession leaves at 3 from his church. Jorge rolls downstairs around 2 to eat lunch, and is slow-paced, not really worried about it. When I asked him if he was ready, his words were, "No estoy preparado" as he smiled back at me. I mean, the guy has to walk from 3pm until PAST midnight! How would you be ready? But he didn't seem too concerned, and eventually left the house in costume, without too much time to spare.

So around 3, the rest of the fam and I walked up the street to watch the paso, which was really great! Nuria's baby, Pablo, who actually really isn't a baby, he's two. But saying Nuria's toddler sounds weird. Come on. Okay, so he was dressed as a Nazareno too, so cute! And he had a bunch of candy to give out! It was so fun, and we eventually saw Jorge pass by!

So that was great. And while we watched the rest of the procession, my host dad was teaching me all about it! Pretty much all that I already wrote to you, but here are some more pictures!

And then I even got to meet my host mom's sister and her daughter-in-law Kristi, and her baby! It was great. Love the good 'ol family times! And Maribel was pretty excited to tell me that her name was Kristi because she knows of my wonderful sistahhh! :) Gotta LOVE. (Kristi and Maribel met on Skype one night during Semana Santa too -- gotta add that. Hilarious. Kristi understood nothing of what Maribel said, but Maribel did blow her a kiss, so cute!) Okay, so anyway, we just watched the pasos and then headed home, and Maribel made me some delicious coffee. Okay but here's the best part -- I DIDN'T EVEN ASK HER - she just WALKED into my room with it prepared. Gah, she knows me TOO well. How am I going to leave her!

Alright, so I spent the next couple days doing some homework and just relaxing by myself because Wednesday was going to be a BIG BIG DAY! Why, you ask? DMMMAAAAAAA!!!!! My grandma came to visit me and finally arrived on Wednesday afternoon! So, Dma had wrote me saying she was going to get here Wednesday, but wanted to meet up Thursday. Yeah, not so much. I couldn't let her arrive in Sevilla without a WONDERFUL GREETING! So I surprised her at her hotel!!! Things didn't go EXACTLY as I planned, because their bus got there early, and I had to talk to her tour guide to find out about where she was and stuff, who might I add thought at first that I was a pick-pocketer and was reluctant to talk to me until I told her who my grandma was! Thought that was pretty funny! Anyway, EVENTUALLY I found Dims and we were reunited at last!

So, we hung out Wednesday and caught up! I didn't stay for too long because her, her friend Joan who was along with her, and their tour group went to a Flamenco show! Pretty sure Dma's exact words were, "Yeah we gotta go see the flamingos or whatevah.." I died! So anyway, I went back Thursday afternoon and hung out for a while at her hotel, and then she took me downstairs to the farewell dinner they were having for their tour group! It was great, very good food and I liked meeting a lot of the people from her trip! From all around! Tons from Australia which was cool! So, then I stayed the night in the hotel which was great. Slept on the floor, but I totally didn't care. I just loved being with Dma :)

So friday we got up, had breakfast in the hotel, but we couldn't do too much or see too much because it was RAINING! Seriously, Sevilla. Don't understand it. We have had the NICEST weather for like weeks now, and now when it's Semana Santa it starts raining? Cool. They actually said it was the worst Semana Santa in over 80 years - because when it rains, none of the processions leave, so nothing happened thursday through saturday! And the people here get WICKED upset, there were tons of people crying on TV and stuff. I mean I guess if I couldn't do an easter egg hunt every year I'd cry, so I see their pain.

Anyway, so Dims and I didn't do much for the morning, but in the afternoon we went over and she met my host family! It was SO great and SO much fun! Literally I played translator for a good two hours, but it was so fun and really great practice for me I suppose!! But it was great, we had coffee, talked, it was awesome! Dma was fascinated with everything about Semana Santa so she kept talking to them (through me) about that! Maribel even gave her some pictures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus and a charm for her bracelet of Jorge's brotherhood! SO cute. Gah, but it was a great time! They all got along well, and on the way home, Dims couldn't stop saying how happy she is that I got such a great family, and I am completely in agreement. :) That night, Dma, Joan and I went out to a restaurant close to the hotel, called San Marco. Huge restaurant, and DELICIOUS! I got salmon and spinach in a mushroom sauce, side of vegetables! SO good. Dims and Joan loved too. This was Dma's quote as we left -- "Yeah I liked that place better than all those TAPO places or whatevah!" Guess she's not a fan of the tapAS. Haha, LOVE HER!

Saturday, Dma took me to Córdoba for the day! It's about an hour and a half from Sevilla, and we went by bus around 9am, and we had a tour of the Alcazares, the Jewish Quarter, and the Mosque-turned-Cathedral! It was all really cool and really interesting! Not going to explain -- pictures can do it better than my words.

The rain came towards the VERY end of our visit, but we were prepared!

We left around 4 for Sevilla, and then when we got back, Dims and I hit up the same delicious restaurant again. And I had the same meal. No big deal. Those who know me know that this is how I am. Find something good, ya STICK TO IT! Anyway, so that was great! Easter Sunday was AWESOME! We got up, had a nice breakfast in the hotel, and then went to mass at the cathedral. 3rd largest in the world -- it was PRETTY COOL! Dma was raving about hearing the organ with 7,000 pipes, and she was thrilled to be able to hear it sometimes during mass! Oh, but we TOTALLY didn't go to mass alone! We met up with KY and her dad who was ALSO visiting and all went to mass together! Of course we had a little photo shoot afterwards!


Open those eyes Dims!

And then we all went out to lunch at a place pretty close to the cathedral! It was really fun and everyone got along SO well and it was wonderful!

So after that, we walked around a bit. If anyone knows my grandmother, she's a shopper. So she didn't waste any time after lunch - hit almost every tourist shop she could find! I think she got some good stuff to bring back home, and Joan did too, so that's good! They can always remember where I live! This beautiful city. :) So after that, we went back to the hotel and I just kind of hung out with them for the night. She was leaving early Monday morning, so I had to say goodbye to her that night. I won't lie, I cried. It was just SO great having her here and I'm going to miss her a ton! But seriously, I just need to say she is an AMAZING grandma for coming here. 80 years old and she's visiting me in Spain. THAT.IS.AWESOME! Thanks Dims, you're the best.

So Monday began another week! Nothing really out of the ordinary - just an extremely quick week at school, and now I'm already on another break. Yesterday, though, was great! My communications class got to go to Canal Sur Radio, the radio station in Sevilla! Of course, I freaked out and was loving life the ENTIRE time! It was SICK! Got to meet some radio personalities, see people in action, and just tour the studio! AWESOME.

Our guide, Dani, even said that if we want to, we might even be able to tour the TV station! I JUMPED UP AND TOLD HIM I TOTALLY WANT TO! So I'm hoping that will happen! But anyway, like I said, pretty normal week. Oh, but wait, gotta say. Tuesday was one of the greatest mornings of my life. Why? Well, after coming home from my morning walk, I get back to Maribel saying "You have a surprise!" Now, I won't lie. I pictured Kristi standing in my room, but obviously I knew that wasn't real. BUT, I did get a package of BAKED GOODS FROM HOME THAT I WAS SO HAPPY ABOUT AND WILL ADMIT THAT I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING EVER SINCE! THANKS MOM, LOVE YOU MORE THAN LIFE!!!!!!!!

I also have to say this because I about died in my class today. I have NO idea how this was related at all, but basically my professor was mad because people skip class too much (this is the one who didn't show for a week -- weird?) anyway, and these are today's life lessons he told us, all in the midst of a 25 minute lecture on coming to class.

1. You have to lie in life.
2. Imagination is important.
3. You have to be a hypocrite to survive.
4. You have to attend class 80% of the semester.

Hahahahahah! DO NOT ask me how it relates, DO NOT ask me his reasoning. This was really said. Ah, gotta love these classes at the Spanish university. I'm going to come home with SOME INTERESTING KNOWLEDGE!

Anyway, so Feria vacation began today! Feria is like a big fair and festival week, so that should be fun! But for now, I'm on my way to PORTUGAL! We're taking the midnight bus to Lisbon, staying there two nights, and then from there going to Lagos until Tuesday! I'm SO excited. Gah, just two hours away! And then we'll come back here and enjoy the rest of Feria! But for now, I'm Portugal-bound and I absolutely can't wait! Can't speak Portuguese, going to die in confusion, but it's fine. Just get me to the city and then the beach -- works for me!

But before I go, one last thing. NEED TO SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEST FRIEND MATT SLIPP! He's 21. Wish I was with him, but I'm there in spirit! Love you and miss you Matt, Will and Grace always!


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