Honest, There's always so much to tell! I've been writing essays for class reflecting on my time here, completing assignments on assignments on assignments, watching Spanish historical movies, watching American movies translated into Spanish, and literally never resting! I've been dreaming in Spanish for a while now and losing common (and not-so-common) English words. Besides making travel itineraries for people coming I've also been making travel recommendations in other cities of Spain and for other travel abroaders. The weather's changed so much here many have been started to say that summer's well on it's way. I've been spending time with my family and friends to take utmost advantage of the time we have left together. So I've been doing cultural visits around Andalusia and spending MORE than enough time in the sun! And I've been trying to grasp as much Spanish as possible while focusing on what's NEXT after I return to the states. In doing so I've acquired a summer time internship, much needed to keep me busy as well as help me have some source of income, AND serve as the confidence boost I needed! Amazing how one thing can do all that:) 

El 3 de Mayo – HOLIDAY
Dia de la cruz, celebrated all over Spain involves construction of magnificent scenes of elegant crosses of all shapes and sizes with religious replicas and pears! (Yes, pears; to cut the ‘peros’, which means to cut the BUTS, or negativity out of life this day. For example, “Yes, it’s very beautiful BUT (PERO) it could be better in this way…”) For one of my classes my classmates and I walked around the city to see some of the nearby displays of crosses. For lunch my parents invited me to private property for lunch and another Spanish BBQ. Unsure of where we were going I dragged my heavy bag of stuff I had kept in the apartment with my parents for the week to to Paseo de los Tristes. I would soon find out that we would be dining, exploring, and celebrating the holiday hidden in the “secret” gardens hidden underneath of the Alhambra. It was another group gathering and goodbye party for one of Antonio’s workers so although I recognized many of the faces I didn’t know what constantly be talking about. Either way, I was glad to be able to see that beauty. Truly felt like VIP and royalty living in Granada. After we climbed the property to really embark on a true adventure, weaving in and out of caves, finding bats and secret garden doors, I found myself really tired from the day of activities. To go home from the secret fardens of the Alhambra, most host father, Antonio and I rode his Beemer motorcycle ride down. It was awesome! First motorcycle ride ever through the city of Granada. I had imagined this more so to have happened on the back of a cute Spanish boy but the security of my host father I'm sure was the safer bet.

It was a tiring week, full of class and things like that. With the forecast of weather for the weekend we knew we wouldn't be as lucky as we had earlier in the week. Rain.

Saturday, May 5 - CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
A program friend and I, Malissa, finally took advantage of one of the school-led cultural trips. So on Saturday with our umbrellas and bocadillos for lunch, we met at the Paseo de los Bosilios with almost 15 other students at 740 in the morning. With one of the most knowledgeable and amazing teachers I have encountered at the CLM, we were off. We learned countless things from our professor (although we might not remember them now if you asked us) because she is LITERALLY like a book! A history book and knows every detail about essentially everything. It’s amazing to hear her talk about history but also about life because she has a wonderful, although sometimes negative point of view, but always humortistic and still full of life! For 35 euros each we had transportation back and forth as well as paid entrance intro the cultural sites. On the way we passed: real alcazar de Los cristianos and some other places but I was awake in fullllllll slumber ( ha ) from the early rise and busy week.
First stop 1) Madinat Al-Zahra 2) La sinogaga 3) La mezquita: we were instructed to not act in manners that could be seem as distespectful, for example, taking silly pictures in the had-been mezquita, but then transferred into a cathedral in siglo XV. Of course when we were there I felt every urge to dance! It was a cool experience to see the ranging contrasts between the Arabic and catholic pieces of the immense structure. I always get inspired by the new place at at..here, especially after all of the history I have learned (heard) over the semester with the Islam and muslim influence in my hometown (Granada) and all over Andalusia, I wish I would have taken a Islamic history class or something of the sort.


CENA DE DESPEDIDA
Thursday May 10 -Something we were looking forward to yet dreading at the same time.Everyone looked amazing I'm glad we kept it a happy atmosphere:) We met at 9 in Plaza de Trinidad to take pictures and then walk  I don't even really know/remember the name of the place where we had dinner but it was a great time and the food was genial as well. Best dressed awards dress awards (if they really existed ha) would definitely have gone to Fatima and Gonzalo!First we got the beer, tinto de verano and water. (Unlimited amounts....) then we were served bread, then a cheese dish. Then a salad with chicken! Mini-meat wraps for everyone. AND THEN we got our main meal (which was salmon for some, tenderloin for others, and pasto (pesto) for la demas. AND THEN we had dessert, to share among groups of 4/5 depending on your table. I left uncomfortably and unnecessarily full :) but delightful. After we left the restaurant we went to go have a drink and dance off our full stomachs with our program director and staffer Jose. We exchanged words in Spanish, of course, and danced to the DJ's mix of well-known Spanish/American music. We called it a night right before 2am!
Pictures up on facebook, and hopefully to come here soon if you cannot access those!

SATURDAY MAY 12, CENTRAL COLLEGE IOWA (2012)
TAKES IT TO THE SUN & TO LA PLAYA - NERJA!
The following weekend on Saturday we had planned a program trip to the beach. I finally made it to Nerja and on the program's dime (included in our program fees), we even got to see the famous caves in Nerja! I'll admit I didn't do my homework on much other than that and additional historical and cultural significance. I don't think any of us really did. Our minds were completely set on the day we would spend soaking up in the sun. The bus from Paseo de los Basilios left at 9 in the morning, it was about a 1 1/2 hour ride to the cave site and a little further to the beach. So before 12 we had picked our spots in the sand. We would have until 6:30 to chill out. With the sun beating directly over us from basically 12 pm until 6:30, I tired out fast and wanted shelter, fast! I spent a good amount of time applying and reapplying sun screen and going in the freezing cold water to cool off but I really wasn't feeling the sun after a few hours. I always tire in the sun easily! It's a known fact. But I made it, although a shade or two significantly darker. We shared food, laughs, and sun burn (not me but MANY of the program). With a sun this strong, no one can afford to not cover-up and wear strong, protective sun screen! One of my friends, who will remain nameless, started peeling from every corner, crease, and direction on her face... she was shocked and slightly embarrassed when it appeared three days after her weekend getaway in Nerja. After 3 days in the sun, she had not applied sun screen once.

Speaking of the sun sometimes I feel like the heats so extreme/I'm not well adjusted to it yet that my hands (well, fingers) swell a little! It's actually kind of uncomfortable, as you can probably imagine. What's also crazy to think about is the fact that, the weather hasn't reached it's PEAK yet. June temperatures can reach up to and above 100 degrees in Spain!  Earlier in the semester I was never applying sun screen to go outside for my daily runs. Now I have awknowledged the fact that every day, when I'm walking for nearly a half hour to and from school, I have to apply it everywhere. I apply in the morning before my run and after my shower before I leave for school. If I have to leave again I make sure to reapply my 70 SPF! I've probably used what's equivalent to what I've used over years. My 70 SPF bottle (I didn't come with it full) is now empty! I have a 50+ SPF left but that's better than nothing, for obvious reasons.
 


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