Wednesday, September 30, 2009

skipping around…

WELL hello there! I have accidentally abandoned this blog! Unfortunately, that means I’ve missed out on some amazing stories, like these perfectly ripe and delicious strawberries my mom and I picked in June.






…and strawberry ice cream..


…and the perfect foamed tea latte (finally!).


But all of that is a moot point right now, because by the way: I’m studying abroad in Spain! The food here is incredible, yes, and my goal is to blog as much as I can, of course! I don’t have steady internet access as of yet (it may be changing soon), but keep your eyes out for many new posts throughout the year. I’m returning to the states on December 19th, just in time for the Christmas season: aka, BAKING SEASON. I cannot wait!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

twitter on blogger

Quick update: had the feed from my Twitter linked above here on this blog, but something funky's going on and it was displaying the wrong feed, and far too much of it, for whatever reason. It's temporarily removed until the issue is fixed but you can still follow me on Twitter if you want!

P.S. If anyone has any idea what was happening with it, let me know :).

Monday, September 21, 2009

a spot of shopping in Sevilla!

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So, Saturday I went on a glorious shopping trip a mere few blocks away from me. Uhoh. The shopping is AMAZING here – so many good deals and (almost) everything is really good quality! Some pictures from my shopping:

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Pretty ivory crocheted tee – wore this out on Saturday night.

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2 blouses that were on sale also.

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My downfall: 3 pairs of shoes. I’m wearing the white leather sandals now – they are SO COMFORTABLE! The women here wear BEAUTIFUL sandals, all leather and just so amazing. I want to buy so many, but I have to keep remembering it’ll be winter when I get back! The sandals and the heels (they are SO HIGH and SO COMFORTABLE) were both on sale for 9 Euros – score! The boots were quite a bit more,  but still a good deal. And I can definitely wear them when I get back!

P.S. Mom – see, I got boots!! Before you told me even :P. Nina wants me to buy her some too, without a heel!

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Left: Proof of cheapness – it was half off the marked price!

Right: DELICIOUS mini muffins, I got them as a snack. Yum!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

quick foodie update!!

YES, I am still alive and doing very well!! I have no regular access to internet as of yet, and have been slammed with TONS of homework this week, so a real update will be coming soon, I promise!

I wanted to update about the food here though – it’s about time! Right now I’m in a cafe bumming off their internet. I usually just order a cafe con leche, it’s about 1,20 – 1,80 euros and always VERY good. I do miss the coffee drinks at home (ahhh I cannot WAIT to go to MochaBlend when I’m back!) but the coffee here is good and strong!

lentajes pimiento frito lunch

Anyway! I asked my senora if I could take a picture of my lunch yesterday – it was delicious!! I had a lentil stew/soup, and “pimientos fritos”. YUM! I think those are a kind of fried pepper, obviously from the translation at least, but they are really really good. Even though everything here is fried or cooked in olive oil, it’s not that bad and pretty healthy overall! No processed foods whatsoever, and no snacking, so it really adds up.

More later! :)

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P.S. Loli MADE SURE the fruit was included in the picture! She’s so nice :). She said she didn’t want my parents to think she wasn’t giving me any fruit! Haha!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 2 pictures: Winery & Beach!

Day 2: Day trip to Tio Pepe vineyards/winery in Jerez (origin of Sherry) & the beach at Conil:

I’m testing this photo album feature, so I hope this works! Anyway, here are photos from the winery and the beach. The winery was GORGEOUS – they use the grape vines as a ceiling for most of the room, to create shade and to catch the evaporating alcoholic fumes from the barrels of aging wine, to kind of infuse the grapes with extra taste and alcohol. The fumes were strong, haha. There are also some photos from their celebrity barrel room – any time a famous person or celebrity visits Tio Pepe, they have them sign a special barrel. There were some awesome signatures there!

The beach was GORGEOUS! The only problem was that it was super windy, as in, the sand took out chunks of our skin windy! So, yeah. Apparently most of the beaches around here are like that! I couldn’t believe people still went to the beach. But once you’re in the water, it’s beautiful and the wind doesn’t matter. I swam in the Mediterranean!!

Settling in!

Heyyyyy folks!

So, I have been in Spain for over a week now! 98 days left in the program!! Craziness!

I’ve been struggling on and off with homesickness, but it’s a lot easier now that we’ve started classes, I’ve made friends, I can’t leave till this is over, etc etc ;). Thank you everyone SO MUCH for all of the encouragement, advice, and positive thoughts – it means a lot to see that and read them every time I’m starting to miss home again.

It’s really nice to be able to talk to everyone here about it as well – EVERYONE is going through the same thing, and we all just have to remember we’re going home eventually, and we will probably all be crying about leaving! Not to mention, we’re paying good money for the experience (haha!) and there are tons of people who would love to be able to have this experience as well! Personally, I’m in it for the weather and the tan I’ll have when I get back in mid-December ;)…..ok ok that’s only part of the reason.

Here are a crapload of pictures from my first 2-3 days here – I’ve tried to limit them, believe me, but there are just so many I want to post! You should be able to click on the images for full-size, I believe.

Day 1: Settling into our housing, and walking tour of Sevilla:


Walking to CEA, where our program and main classes are located. (I’m also studying on a university campus though, so my classes are split.)


Outside of my apartment building – how cute is this??? This is what I see when I leave the house everyday…so cute!


It’s an outdoor bar/restaurant, I definitely need to check it out soon. It seems to be pretty popular judging by the noise at night! ;)


My room!! My bed is on the right. The door is across from Frida’s bed. It’s a pretty small room, but they warned us about that, and we’re hardly ever in the room anyway. It’s like dorm living again lol! (But wayyyyy cleaner, and our beds are made for us….pretty sweet.)

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My closet as I see it from my bed, I usually leave it open during the day so I can see all this stuff. That’s my bed from the doorway, and the closets are built in along that wall.


This is my view every day walking across the bridge from my neighborhood towards the “downtown” Sevilla. HOW BEAUTIFUL! I keep looking at the picture to remind myself how lucky I am to be here. Right???!


P.S., This is called the Torre del Oro. It’s a Moorish watchtower from way back. Yep, and that’s me…woooo!


A tour through the “labyrinth”, the old section of town.


This is kind of like, the center of the city. I’m not sure they refer to it that way but it’s a pretty central shopping/street location! You can see the Catedral in the background, on the left.


The Catedral! Christopher Columbus is rumored to be buried here.


Sevilla and the Catedral at sunset. Muyyyyy bonita!

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Not to just plop down images here, but isn’t it gorgeous??? I think it’s the palm trees. They help a lot. I’ve always had a thing for palm trees! They’re so exotic!


I’m going to separate my pictures in two posts…hope you like these!! Let me know what you all think :).


Talka :)

more than 24 hours of traveling later….

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Before: Still (sort of) fresh in Brussels, Belgium

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After: Greasy, unshowered and disheveled in Barcelona.


my lunch in Barcelona. Looks good, didn’t taste that great sadly. The coffee was amazing though!

Still waiting on my flight to Sevilla. Not by the time I post this, though, since I’m pretty sure the next time I’ll get internet to publish this will be at the hotel there!

Friday, September 4, 2009

oh boy…

So I am sitting in the Brussels Airport, which I won’t be at once I post this because I can’t find the free wifi here that was advertised boooo :(. (Edit: Ok I broke down and bought access at the hotspot near my gate for an hour. Ugh.) It’s pretty cool here otherwise, though, and full of beer and chocolate which really makes me miss Chris but anyway: I am having a ROUGH time right now, guys.

It finally hit me on the plane here (DC to Brussels, blargggg don’t do it!) that I AM LEAVING THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER FOR 3.5 MONTHS. I DO NOT SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. I DID NOT THINK THIS THROUGH. It was SCARY (and still is, but the freak out I mean), and I basically wanted nothing else than for the plane to turn around towards home. Maybe for engine trouble or something. I would cry with relief.

Most of it stems from the unfamiliar: I have no idea what I’m getting into, only what (and who) I’ll be missing from home. I have never been to Europe, I don’t speak most of the languages here, I’m used to everything being American and in English and accessible to me. I’m comfortable with my apartment, and RPI, and driving and getting around NY and the general northeast area. I’m used to seeing my friends and family every day, seeing Chris regularly and talking to him once a day (texting multiple times), and talking to my mom AT LEAST twice a day.

None of this will be the same in Spain, and knowing this fact is really throwing me off. Not to mention the fact that I am currently going through this experience alone, with none of my loved ones to share this with. Everything I see is something that reminds me of someone from home, and I want to have that experience WITH someone. Of course, I’m sure once I get to Spain and the hotel for orientation I’ll immediately start meeting people and going through everything with them. This transition is really rough though – especially for a girl who is used to being connected with her friends/family 24/7, no questions.

Anyway, please comment with any tips and things like that for me. Anything at all would help, I think. I know everyone keeps telling me I’ll have a blast once I adjust and all, but it is a really rough adjustment for me right now just traveling alone out of the country – that’s the part I’m having the hardest time with right now, being alone. :( Booooo. Comment please!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

holy moly, i’m a-travelin’!!

SO!!!! I am at BDL sitting in the boarding area for MY FIRST FLIGHT ON THE WAY TO SPAIN!!!!!!! AHHH!!!! Apparently I am EXCITED!! Craziness. I was so depressed last night!! My flight boards in 20 minutes so this has to be fast, but it’s looking like I have decent seats (window, aisle, window, ??). Of course the aisle seat is on the freaking overnight flight, but I’m hoping to get it changed. It worked once so far!!! (out of like 10 times but shhhh!)

I really want to stay positive about this trip, so I haven’t let myself cry yet. I have cried lots this week for lots of (legit) reasons and I just really want to view this as a positive opportunity rather than a sad departure. So here is a list of reasons to be excited (for me to remember!!) and things I will look forward to at home!!


  • THE FOOD! Sevilla is the origin of the tapas, yum!

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  • The people! Southern Spain is supposed to be the most hospitable and friendly area of the (already-friendly) country!
  • Learning the language (a challenge): I love challenges, and pushing myself, and my Spanish is nothing if not really rusty. Plus, this is an AUTHENTIC Spanish experience – I’ll really be learning the language from the natives!
  • EUROPE! I will have an amazing chance to visit any part of Europe I pretty much want to – and I intend on taking full advantage of this.
  • Scoping out the joint for future outings! Aka, getting a feel for all of the countries I hope to travel to in addition to Spain, and planning my next trip to Europe!
  • An amazing sociological experience. Let’s face it, I really need to find a topic for my STS Senior Thesis, and I ADORE observing and analyzing people. What better chance than this, a semester abroad?!?!
  • The people!! Not just the Spanish people, but the people in my program. They are all Americans and are going through the SAME THING as I will be! How lucky for me :).
  • Have I mentioned the food? I love food!
  • A semester away from RPI: I really need a break from all of the drama that I have been dealing with vis-a-vis my major (or lack thereof, according to them), my degrees, financial aid, etc etc etc
  • Also: the food!

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all photos from the Sevilla Tapas twitter!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

a goodbye, sort of.

So, I wanted to write the One Last Blog before leaving the states. A sort of goodbye post, if you will. I had it all planned out: create a collage of my outfit for tomorrow/the next 28 hours, write out a list of positives to keep in mind for the trip (I am pretty much freaking out about leaving the country for so long right now), and a thank you to all of my family, friends and my boyfriend for being SO supportive and encouraging.

BUT. (The big But in the story, here.) I just got a new netbook for the trip, with the thought in mind that it’d be easier/safer/smaller/faster to carry around while abroad, doing just the bare essentials (not like I’m going to need the Adobe suite in Spain anyway) and having much better performance and battery life than my battered old T60. THANK GOD for this, since my laptop bit the dust MONDAY. No joke. POS.

Anyway, getting a new computer and basically using it for my whole life for the next few months means transferring everything over, remembering my passwords to every site once again so I can reset auto login, downloading programs and browsers and putting in all of my favorites. Thank goodness I’ve had a few days to do this.

All of this to lead up to: I am getting REALLY sick of Opera. I have been going through spurts of using Opera exclusively, then Firefox, then having both running at the same time, and back again, since I met my boyfriend Chris and was convinced to try Opera. I LOVE Opera’s speed and load times, the option to open a tab in the background, mouse gestures, and the magic wand. But man, does it have bugs! I am sick of it constantly hanging up for no reason, and making it impossible to use some sites and bookmarklets that aren’t compatible with Opera (actually I’m mad at the developers of the sites for that, but whatever). After using Firefox exclusively at work for 2 years now, and seeing how the upgrades have consistently gotten better, I’m getting pretty tempted to switch back again.

I’m giving Opera my official warning here.

Anyway, I have FINALLY made this collage that I have been hell bent on creating, after downloading and installing Firefox. Whew. So I give you, my traveling outfit!! Just pretend the shirt and cardigan are the same brand as the ones I actually own.

Also, let me take the time to brag about our SWEET hotel. I’m really having a great send-off here, when you consider everything. I went out to dinner with my parents and boyfriend in CT (where I’m flying out of tonight) at the Cambridge Brew House. It was pretty awesome. There was a $40 deal called Wine Night going on – 2 house salads, bread, a bottle of wine (your choice, and you can bring it home if you don’t finish), 2 entrees, and 2 desserts for $40. NOT BAD! I had a delicioussss steak with garlic mashed potatoes (my fave), White Zinfandel, and an amazing piece of cheesecake. Excellent!


What else?

OH! The hotel. Jeez. I forgot. Ok, so we’re staying in the Springhill Suites by Bradley International Airport, and I HIGHLY recommend it. So cool!!

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Just pretend there’s a king bed in that second picture. Anyway, this hotel was built in January, so it’s VERY new. Aka, awesome! The bathrooms are really cool (yes, bathroomS). I wish they had pics of it on the site. I’m sure my mom will have pictures soon enough though, and I will share eventually.

I think that’s about it for tonight, I’m exhausted and Chris is meeting us early for breakfast. I’m going to try to do one last post before I leave with some thank yous and reminders for myself to stay positive on the trip. Spain, here I come!!!

xoxo Talka