It rained for the first time on Friday night since I’ve been in Sevilla. It DOWNPOURED! We made the best of it and donned rain jackets and plastic ponchos. Some Spaniards thought we were crazy, but it was a great time! We found a mexican place and it was good food. They only had lemon margaritas –  different, but I really liked it!

Thursday night I did a scavenger hunt with the school. It was so much fun and really made us talk to a lot of different people. Sarah and I were partners and we won! Our treat at the end was some ice cream 🙂

Enjoy the pictures!

Bus Tour

Las Cetas

Monuments At Night

Roman Monument and the History of Spanish Cinema Exhibit

Centro del Mudejar

Palace de Lebrija

Betis Soccer Game

Weekend in Portugal

Palacio de Alcazar

Day Trip to Ronda

Adjusting to Life in Sevilla

The past few weeks have been quite an adventure! I have had a few struggles with posting because our internet doesn’t always work at the apartment, but hopefully today it will cooperate!

I think I am finally getting adjusted to life in Sevilla. We just finished our THIRD week of classes – I can’t believe its been that many! I had one composition and two quizzes this week, which took up a lot of time for extra activities, but we have a scavenger hunt later today and then it is the weekend! Tomorrow I will be going to Ronda for a day trip with a professor. I am excited to explore another Spanish city, even for a day.

Over the past few weeks I have really gotten to see many different sides of Sevilla and city life. A bus tour, going out for “tapas” and drinks, seeing different monuments, and a Betis soccer game. I also got to spend a weekend at the beach in Lagos, Portugal!

Life in Sevilla is so different from anything I’ve ever experienced in the United States. In the morning I have classes or free time for homework and going to the gym. I have lunch every week day at 2:30 and then “siesta” for a bit after along with working on homework or an afternoon activity sightseeing around the city with the school. Dinner is at 9:30 and then I do homework or go out with friends. It is very typical on a weekend to begin dinner about 10-11 and then you go out to different bars or sit at a table outside the restaurant and enjoy a few drinks with friends. It is a completely different time frame than in the US.

One of my favorite nights so far in Sevilla was walking around and then sharing a few “tapas”, or appetizers. The tapas we ordered were amazing! Papas bravas – potatoes with a really great sauce on the side and a tomato and fresh mozzarella slices covered in a balsamic vinaigrette sauce.  We also got flan – a creamy dessert. After dinner  we went meandering around taking pictures and enjoying the different monuments and people watching.

At SAIIE, all students take an Art class that focuses on Monuments in Sevilla. We learn about the structures, architecture, decorations, and history of each part of Sevilla. We also get to tour some of the monuments and see the different aspects we learn about in reality. There is so much more history and art applied to each structure than I would have ever realized. It is a great opportunity and helps us open our eyes a little more and see the background of each monument.

Our group also went to a Betis fúbol match. Sevilla has two professional teams, Betis (green/white) and Sevilla (red/white). It was the first time in about 7 or 8 years that Betis has played in a European league, and the stadium was pretty crazy the entire game with chants, cheers, green, and white. It was great to get to watch a second professional match, but unfortunately the game ended 0-0. I don’t think I bring any good luck to the games I attend, but it was still fun!

Last weekend our school went to Lagos, Portugal to relax on some different beaches. It was about a 3 hour car ride from Sevilla and we stayed in little two bedroom vacation homes that were within walking distance from shops and restaurants. The first day we did an amazing boat tour and I got a lot of really cool pictures of rock structures and beautiful caves. As everyone says when the go to the ocean – the water was REALLY BLUE! After the tour we spent the rest of the day on the beach swimming, reading, and relaxing.

At night we walked to a restaurant with local cuisine and had quite the experience. Some of us ordered sea bass, which (typical for different countries) came as a WHOLE FISH. Not even kidding – tail, head, eyes, and all. It threw some of us for a loop and some didn’t feel comfortable eating their meal. (You try eating a fish that is staring back at you!!) It was definitely different, but I decided to go with their culture and I ate it – very carefully I might add because of the many, many little bones (of course I avoided the head/eyes/tail combination). It was the best fish I’ve ever had! I was pretty proud of myself for trying something new too.

The next day we drove about 30 minutes to a huge beach that had some amazing waves and a ton of surfers. I swam and played in the waves the entire day! It was by far the best beach trip of my life and I wish we never had to leave. After the beach we went to dinner and ate at a tourist-y place (nobody wanted another fish shock) and I had a really delicious pineapple chicken. The group then split up because the ladies wanted to do some shopping, and of course, the boys did not. It was a great time in Portugal and I fell in love with the beautiful views and the wonderful beaches.

Thanks for reading!

Erin

PS – The internet is pretty terrible and I can’t upload any pictures. I’ll try another day to get them uploaded to share with everyone.

First Days in Sevilla

So I finally made it to Sevilla!! IT IS SO HOT. I finally understand why they “siesta” in the afternoon – you need to get out of the sun for a bit! I have been adjusting to the climate change, but it was a shock the first day or two.

I have two roommates – Sarah and Brooke. They’re really sweet and we are having fun getting to know each other and exploring Sevilla. My Señora is so nice! Her name is Maria Carmen and she talks a lot and is a great cook. She has really helped us adjust to Spanish life the past few days.

I am one of six students in the SAIIE (Spanish American Institute of International Education) school this semester (which is a pretty small group!) but I like that we will have only two or three of us in a class and we can become our own little family :)! We have had a few hours of orientation this week along with a professional Flamenco performance and a walking tour of the Plaza de España and the city center. Tonight we are going out for tapas with the school to get to know our group and the academic staff better!

Check out all of my pictures below! Sevilla has some beautiful streets and monuments. I can’t wait to explore this beautiful place for the next few months!

Supercopa de España

¡Barça! ¡Barça! ¡Barça!

Tonight was AMAZING. Dave, Jonathan, and I went to the Supercopa soccer game in downtown Barcelona. (By the way it started at 11:00pm Barcelona time!) We were in the 2nd row! You really couldn’t have gotten better seats! The media and the millionaires who have special connections were in the five or six rows ahead of us (these seats aren’t even available to the public), but we were like 20 feet from where the teams were! The field was about 50 feet ahead of us and it was the most amazing sporting event I think I’ve ever been to. We sat right where Messi played for the first half and then Neymar was in front of us the entire second half. Very cool. There really is nothing like a fútbol match in Spain!

Barcelona was the winners of the Supercopa based on previous games, although nobody scored this game, it was still terrific. The keepers had some amazing saves and the players were aggressive the entire time. Messi had a penalty shot but it didn’t go in the net, but amazing nonetheless! It was the most wonderful experience and I am so thankful that Dave was generous enough to take Jon and I to the game.

I added a gallery of the pictures. Some are from the alley where Dave has his office. Typically they have apartments above the offices and it is a pretty neat area. Then on our way to pick up Jon from the airport we pulled over at a road stop to take pictures of the breathtaking view of Barcelona. Then the pictures of the match are after! Enjoy!

-Erin

I Have Arrived!

I am finally in Barcelona with Uncle David! I can’t even begin to explain to explain how beautiful it is here! Some details and memories of my last trip are coming to mind as I become more acquainted with the city.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to sleep on the plane rides (it has been over 24 hours with no sleep – I’m really starting to feel it!), but I am going to try and stay up for another five or six hours and hopefully I won’t suffer from too much jet lag after today.

The flights were interesting, to say the least.

My long-haul flight from Chicago to Dublin was cramped and we had a lot of turbulence, but I was on the same plane as a classmate from elementary school, Rebecca. She moved to Ireland when we were younger and now is in New York. She was visiting her parents, who moved back to Wisconsin, and then was on her way to visit friends in Ireland. What a small world and such a pleasant surprise!

My second, shorter flight from Dublin to Barcelona felt like such a quick flight, and I was in the emergency exit aisle, so I had tons of leg room. I was seated next to an Indian couple, I think they might have been newlyweds and on their honeymoon. Unlucky for me they really didn’t want to wait until they were off the plane to celebrate… so I was the awkward third-wheel sitting next to them while they made out for about three hours. I don’t know if I have ever been happier to have a plane land in my entire life!

Getting my luggage and finding David was really easy and now I am at their beautiful home to adjust for a few days. I am excited my adventure is starting and  I will post with more pictures and stories soon!

Adios!

-Erin

PS – Jonathan (David’s son) comes home tomorrow from skiing in Argentina and Wednesday we are going to a Barcelona vs Madrid futbol (soccer) match! I AM SO EXCITED!

This is the view off the roof patio of David’s House. BEAUTIFUL! They also have put in a really nice pool since I was here 8 years ago.

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My Last Day in the USA

Today is my final day in Wisconsin before I take off for my semester abroad and I felt that I should probably start this blog before I leave. I wanted to try and keep a blog so that I can share my pictures and stories with everyone back home. I have an amazing support group and I want to share my adventures with all of you! I am not a writer, and I won’t pretend to be one, but I will try my best at this “blogging” thing.

So far there have been tears, smiles, and every emotion in between…. and that is just from packing!! Fitting clothes to wear over four months and a fifty degree temperature change, into one suitcase and a backpack, is RIDICULOUS, to say the least. I have also managed to clutter the entire office and my room in the process, much to my parent’s dismay. In the end I have succeeded, but just barely. My bag weighs 49.6 lbs, just 0.4 under the weight limit! (yikes!)

Tomorrow, the 25th of August, I will be flying out of Chicago to Dublin, Ireland and then on to Barcelona, Spain. I will be staying with my dad’s cousin David, and his family for about 10 days until I fly into Seville. I will be living with a host family and another student all while taking Spanish classes at the Spanish-American Institute of International Education. I am nervous, yet excited, and I can’t wait to see what adventures I will embark on this semester.

-Erin