Monday, November 30, 2009

happy december!

This will be quick, since I should be getting to bed. But WOW. It’s December already! Who can believe that…time has flown! In less than 3 weeks I will be on a plane on my way home, starting the process of being an American student again. It’s a bittersweet ending for all of us I think –we all want to go home and see our families for Christmas, but none of us want to leave this place we’ve called home and the wonderful friendships we’ve created in the last 3ish months.

The weather has definitely turned “December-y”…it’s been more overcast lately, although unlike home it clears up a lot faster! The air has a chill to it, too, and the breezes are less welcome and more like wind. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s been about 60-66 degrees here and honestly, it feels COLD. I’ve been bundling up with the rest of Sevilla in a fleece coat, multiple layers, boots, hat, scarf, and gloves. And it’s only been 1-2 mornings where I’ve been able to see my breath…I’m going to have quite a surprise when I get home, I think. As if I needed to be less tolerant of the cold!

Can’t wait to update more later – for now, goodnight! :)

quick link round-up

Happy December all! (In Spain right now, at least!) It kind of makes me shudder to realize it’s already December…where did the time go!?

Been obsessed with several things lately: music (Sea Wolf, Imogen Heap, Sufjan Stevens, Jason Derulo – ha); books (basically anything I can get my hands on by Nora Roberts – I know!); and videos of college acapella groups.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

change is good!

…At least, I keep telling myself that!

I just imported my food blog (delicious talka) into this one – I think I’m going to be merging them. It’s becoming redundant to update two blogs at once when I want to be able to blog about all of my interests on talkanatalka. So, time to condense and keep on trucking along :).

More later!

computer woes, solved

Taking a break from study abroad for a moment…my faithful T60 Thinkpad school-issued computer pretty much died a hideous death before I left for Spain (2 days before, to be exact). At RPI we make give our computers a LOT of crap, both mentally and physically. Although the T60 line is ESPECIALLY not known for its problem-free, trustworthy-computer usage, it was a workhorse and handled my Adobe software suite as much as its tiny little processor let it.

t60 lenovo-t60

Ok, I’ll admit it. The thing was a pain in the you-know-what. My class to special pride in trash-talking our computers and bragging to those freshmen with shiny new computers who complained about theirs that WE had T60s…the most defective, recalled versions of the school’s issued laptops (every class gets the next newest model). Among other things, ours were recalled for defective/explosive batteries, and known to have issues with the BIOS, motherboard, CD/DVD drive, processor, and pretty much every other piece of hardware known to man.

I’m not bitter at all!

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised that after a long and drawn-out battle (VERY drawn-out, I can’t even emphasize how painful this process was – nights and days of sweat and tears and screaming “WHY WON’T YOU BOOT UP MY PROGRAMS IN LESS THAN 10 MINUTES!!! WHY!!!”)…my laptop died. One morning it just decided, I’ve had enough.



Luckily!! My dad and I had been thinking about this (well, more that my computer might break while I was IN Spain – guess it jumped the gun – or that if it was stolen, that computer has everything important on it, tons of software, and even more personal information). So, we decided the best bet would probably be to get one of those fancy new-fangled netbooks:


Mainly it was the colors that drew me in. I’ve always been a sucker for packaging ;).

Anyway, there it is. My one and only computer since I got to Spain. And I love it! It’s so easy to pack into a purse and go, it weighs literally nothing compared to my old computer, and it does exactly what I need it to while here – surf the internet, post blog posts, upload photos (built in memory card slot, swoon!), makes calls on Skype (built-in webcam – I’m spoiled now!) and that’s about it. It handles heavier programs (I may or may not have some video editing software on here, oops) very impressively, too. I’m sure it wouldn’t work for an entire year’s worth of, say, graphic design classes, but it’s not supposed to. This little computer does everything it’s supposed to and a little more, and handles it beautifully.


I’m so not used to that!

Anyway, I’m a little scared about what I’ll come back to once I turn on the T60 again (ugh). I need some files off of it and I’m hoping the (4-month) break will have let it rest a little and, I don’t know, be more agreeable? I fully believe that computer has a mind of its own and just likes to spite me!

Wish me luck with that….T-minus 3 weeks until I find out what’s up with it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

thanksgiving, spanish style

First of all, I’m going to apologize for the awful photos before anything else! I could only take photos with flash, the lighting was way too yellow and too dim to take no-flash shots. So, I’m sorry!

Anyway! CEA brought us all out to dinner on Thursday night for an American Thanksgiving meal! It was really nice to be celebrating together. Surprisingly, lots of people have asked me if I was homesick spending the holiday away, and my answer was “no”. I feel almost guilty feeling this way, but I think the reason why I wasn’t homesick is pretty simple.

It didn’t feel like a holiday here in Spain at all. We still had classes, I went to study later in the day at our usual cafe (ok, ok, it’s Starbucks but whatever!). I went home and siesta-ed, Skyped with family and Chris, and read my book. In Sevilla it’s already Christmas season – decorations and commercials started 2ish weeks ago. So my thinking pretty much leapt to that and not Thanksgiving.

I have to say though, once I got all dressed up for dinner and started walking to our meeting point, it started feeling like a holiday – it felt special! Especially once I met up with everyone and we were all dressed up and excited. Dinner was really fun!


We went to a nearby Italian restaurant (believe me, we had a fun time with that – having an American dinner in an Italian restaurant which is in southern Spain…lol). We even got our own room :). The dinner was interesting…turkey (of course!), green beans, corn on the cob (extremely sweet and not very crunchy, but still somehow delicious – but no butter!), and the most goopy, pureed mashed potatoes ever! (But still good.)



I think you can see what I mean with the potatoes ;).


The pumpkin pie was the surprise of the night! It did not look too impressive, but it was DELICIOUS. It tasted like pure pumpkin! (Which it probably was, lol.) Yum.

DSC09664 DSC09672

They even let us have champagne at the end of the night! :) So much for the no-alcohol policy…I think this was a good occasion for it!! On the right, the bar 3 friends and I went to down the road after. It was a very cool place, lounge-y and relaxing. Exactly what we wanted – a place to stay out a little longer, but not crazy. So cute! I’m actually heading there in a few minutes, so as always, more later!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

in a funk

It seems that all of us here are officially in a funk. The one month left marker passed by without much fanfare last week – I remember that the halfway mark was sometime immediately after our Ronda daytrip, and everyone couldn’t bear to think about it. Although it definitely still feels that way, we’re at a weird point in our experience.


We’re getting so close to leaving that we can count the number of weekends left on only a few fingers, and it’s depressing. At the same time, the midterm week blues are only just starting to wear off, but finals week wear and tear is already beginning. None of us want to leave Sevilla but we’re starting to think about packing and seeing our families and what the first thing we’ll do when we get back is. I’m starting to think about writing rent checks again, fixing my spring semester schedule, and cleaning my room at home. It’s a very strange mix of emotions.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on lately. A lot of us are feeling a strange mix of homesickness and a desire to never leave Sevilla, as unrealistic as that is. It’s dramatic, but none of us will have this exact experience again with all of us together, here, hanging out, traveling throughout Europe and Spain and just being together at this point in our lives. Of course part of the appeal at first was that it’d be a finite experience. We’re being forced to come to terms with that part of the agreement now, and it is not too pleasant.

Enough depression talk now. Fortunately, all of this drabble means that we’re all dedicated to making this the best next few weeks that we can! This Thursday, CEA is hosting us at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. The email told us to “dress up” – I can’t wait! It’s strange because I’m sitting here in Starbucks, drinking from a red Christmas-themed cup, listening to Christmas carols, and looking across the street at a giant Christmas Nativity scene market next to the Cathedral. All of the decorations have jumped straight to Christmas with no fall in between, because there’s no Thanksgiving here – so I don’t even feel like it’s the Thanksgiving time of year. But I still can’t wait! :)

DSCN1438 DSCN1551

Sunday, November 22, 2009

things that make me happy


flannel sheets on my bed!


new slippers because my old ones stunk (ew)

mocha praline1

holiday drinks at Starbucks!


new perfume (don’t judge me on the name! it smelled good)


going out for drinks with friends :)


emails from my mom!

and, this last thing…which was the biggest surprise to me ever and I cannot wait!!!


Yep, that’s right!!! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

feliz cumpleanos and other news!

It's been awhile, I know I know. Happy late birthday to MY MOM!!!!! :) Sorry I didn't post this yesterday!!!


Anyway, in other news! I feel like I've really become a part of this country and am loving living here. I went to a copy center the other day, close to the Starbucks I like to do homework in, because I wanted to print out a series of cards to send to my mom for her birthday (sorry Mom!). The lady gave me a hard time there - kind of standard problems with the paper types, files, whatever. It was almost funny because I've experienced the same problems at Kinko's at home!

I was pretty proud of myself - I carried out an argument completely in Spanish. And the best part is, it felt natural - I wasn't translating in my head, the words were just flowing out and moving fast. Those are the moments where afterwards, I feel the most legitimate studying in this country. I can carry on heated conversations in Spanish!

Also, I feel like I've been dressing the part of "Spaniard". They really care about how they look here and it's rubbing off on me in a good way. I like feeling pulled together and looking my best. No Spaniard here would be caught dead in their sweats or ill-fitting clothes. I love it.

The one thing I've held on to though, and refused to part with is my backpack. I cannot bring all the stuff I need for class in a cute small purse and hold onto the books - first of all, I can't leave home without about 232,246 notebooks "just in case". Not to mention, I have more classes in a row than most Spaniards (all of us do in the program). So, even though I know it makes me stand out pretty badly, that's the one thing I'm still hanging onto that's ridiculously "American". We'll see how it is at the end! :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Goodbye, Italy! Take 2

It’s my second last night in Italy within the past month. I am too freaking lucky. Look at all this great food!


Caffe Latte and Pastry at a Cafe at the corner of Via Nazionale and Via Faenza in Florence.



Pastries from Il Forno, by the Mercato Centrale.




Firenza salad, Mostodolce pizza (tomato, mozzarella, truffle, mushrooms – AMAZING), and the Martellina beer – this restaurant/pizzeria brews their own beer. I tried the honey brew, and WOW. It was so good! I haven’t have house-brewed beer since I left the States, so this was a real treat – very sweet with spicy notes and a just-bitter-enough finish. Perfection!! All from Mostodolce, Via Nazionale in Florence.

Sadly, I didn’t get ANY pictures of our pasta courses we ate out our first night. Extremely disappointing. It was amazing and I forgot my camera. More later.

I am super sad to be leaving Italy.

Goodbye, all you lovely Italian pastries and caffe lattes :(.

I will be back.

last night in italy :(

Not that it’s much of a  “night”….getting up at 4:30am with my mom to catch the bus at 5:20am, fly out of Bergamo, Italy at 6:25am..eek! As soon as we got to Bergamo we both wished we were staying another night here – it’s an adorable, amazing city. Very small, feels safe, and has SUCH a Christmasy hint of winter in the air! I love it! Reminds me of Lake Placid, a lot.

On the train from Florence to Milan with my mom (which was an AWESOME train, way nicer than one I’ve taken before – so cool!), we met a really friendly, CUTE Italian guy sitting next to me/across from my mom. He was born in Sicily, lives in Rome, has a best friend who lives in Sevilla! We also met a shopkeeper in Florence who adores Sevilla, and has many friends there as well. It’s so nice running into people like that “abroad” from Sevilla! Almost the same feeling as running into Americans in Spain…I love it.

DSC08705 DSC08715

DSC08721 DSC08805

My mom and I are both super sad to be leaving Italy.

Goodbye, all you lovely Italian pastries and caffe lattes :(.

We will be back.

Florence Day 2


(happy with the apartment!)



(our view)





(rainy Florence)





(just hanging out)


italy take 2!

My mom’s been visiting me for the past few days in Spain! It’s been hotter than hot, definitely weather that calls for a siesta. I really don’t remember the last time it was so hot in Sevilla – I can’t figure out if it has been, and I just don’t notice because I’m usually in classes, or if the temperatures suddenly soared again.

Anyway, my mom’s visiting at a really great time for me because not only did I just happen to have a 5 day weekend, but my normal “weekends” are 3 days long, and 2 of my classes were cancelled this week. So we have maximum time together!

I wanted my mom to be able to experience more of Europe than just Sevilla. But, I didn’t realize how much she would like it there! For me, it’s the place I live and go to school every day now – it’s still super awesome, don’t get me wrong! But I love travelling and wanted to grab the chance to be able to travel more and most importantly, travel with my mom. I know she loves it too and I thought it’d be really cool for her to get to do that, since she was already in Europe!

So, right now we’re in Florence, Italy (again for me!! :D)! I found an amazing deal on an apartment here, $34/night each, bringing the total per night here cheaper than most hotels in the U.S., which is pretty great! We have a huge bedroom with 2 beds, a really cute bathroom, balcony with a wonderful view of the Duomo, a kitchen(!!!), a dining area, couch…it’s amazing! The couch may or may not be a futon – I’m currently sitting on it and a little afraid to find out…it keeps creaking and sliding around!

BUT ANYWAY. Yes, we are in Italy! We had an amazing dinner last night at Trattoria Za Za – definitely, definitely a place we are visiting again. My mom got spinach, ricotta, and truffle ravioli that actually almost had me shedding some tears it was so good. And I ordered a delicate, tasty fettuccine with pesto sauce. Yum! Sadly, no pictures, since I stupidly decided not to bring my camera.

All this build-up, just to get to the bad news…it is raining. Hard. And the weather report for the rest of the week is rain as well. I feel so ridiculously guilty – weather really hasn’t been an issue for me while studying abroad (Sevilla doesn’t really get weather! It’s just varying levels of HOT), so I don’t make a habit of checking. But even when I do check the weather, I don’t really care much about what it says – to me, rain is rain, either way I’m in Europe!! :)

But stupidly, I didn’t think about my mom. She came to Spain out of upstate-NY crappy pre-winter weather – rainy, cold, and gross. So of course, she loved the weather in Sevilla. I didn’t think about this until the plane tickets were booked (and we booked RyanAir, so pretty much our flight was set in stone), and basically I feel pretty guilty because all it has done so far is rain, rain, and forecast more rain. Oops :(.

Anyway, I feel a little better only because of these two things: 1. the amazing food; and 2. this apartment. It is such a great deal! So, I have high hopes for this trip, but I hope they don’t get smashed by this weather….more updates as I can find internet access!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

soooo off topic

Guys, I totally freaking suck for not updating so much. BUT COME ON. I'M STUDYING IN SPAIN.

It seems like a good excuse to me, at least ;).

Anyway, I saw this post on LiveJournal (ahh I know) and I really want to make them when I get back. Can't wait to get into a kitchen again!!

Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuit Recipe