Thursday, November 7, 2013



Something in Spain has shifted in the last week. I feel like this is becoming home. I don't know exactly how to describe it.

I have a sushi place. I have a place for scarves. I have a go-to order for most bars/restaurants for various times of day (a few different breakfast items, a few different lunch/dinner options). I have a few go-to quick and cheap food places. I have a burrito place. I have a go-to cheap store. I have a few go-to shoe stores. I have a favorite bakery. The baker there knows that I have trouble remembering the word for what I want.I know how I like my Spanish coffee (café con leche [leche templado, por fa], un bolsita de azucar... perfecto). I know how to make American food out of Spanish products. If all else fails, I can tell you five different places where select American products are sold.

I went to Sevilla this weekend. On the bus ride back (yes, we took a bus... keep reading for tales of adventure in Sevilla), I kept thinking about getting home. As in Madrid. As in Madrid is my home.

I can't begin to express the difference I feel with this shift. It's beautiful. The sun shines a little bit brighter now. I feel at home for the first time in a long time.

If you're reading this, chances are you're part of my family or one of my friends back home (shout out to anyone else reading this... welcome!). I still miss you. Believe me. I talk about y'all all the time here. I've probably stolen your Facebook photos to show my students at some point... oh, hey, by the way...!

There's something wonderful about knowing what's going on. I still can't figure out the commuter trains, but I'm okay with that.

I'm sure you're dying to know about the adventure to Sevilla this weekend.

If not, could you pretend you're curious for my sake?

Hey, thanks!

Sevilla went like this:

Decided to go on Monday. Booked tickets on Wednesday. Booked a hostel Thursday night. Caught a bus at 9 in the morning on Friday.

That bus didn't leave until 9:30. Fun fact about buses, they're not fun.

Please excuse my long break here. I know you didn't notice it, but I just spent 30 minutes talking to my baby sister in Minnesota on Facebook video call. I absolutely adore the internet. I can see and hear my loved ones from thousands of miles away. It's the next best thing to actually seeing them in person. My heart is always full after a video chat with my family (and friends!). 

Sevilla!! Buses aren't fun. Much less spending 7 hours on one. But, hey, the tickets were cheap! Everything is an adventure, no?

If you ever stop on that route, don't eat the pizza... it's quite lackluster.

When we finally arrived in Sevilla, it was warm and it looked like paradise. Madrid is chilly and cold. Sevilla was warm and sunny. We set off for our hostel and took a nap. I had the best people to travel with. We all agreed on nap time. It was a thing of beauty.

After our nap, we ventured out to find a landmark in Sevilla, Metropol Parasol. I will never remember that name. It's always going to be The World's Largest Wooden Structure in my heart.

A view from under the structure. 

Later on, we went to the cathedral. It was built by the Moors and remodeled (obsessively) by the Catholic Church. It architecturally makes no sense. From what I've been told, the goal was just to keep adding on in any and every style until it was ridiculously large. 

That night, we dined on Mexican tapas and margaritas. Afterwards, we found the Blues Bar. It was a mecca of American culture. Naturally, we were drawn to it like flies. Do you know how to take a flaming shot? Well, thanks to the Blues Bar, I do! Hey, adventure, right??

Don't worry, there are straws involved. 

We proceeded to make our way back to the hostel. We were still a bit drowsy from the trip. Maybe it was the Blues Bar... Either way, it was time to hit the hay.

The next day, we went completely tourist. We ate breakfast (and learned that the cute German guys at the hostel were jerks... tragic) and went out to take a tour of Madrid. Our tour guide was a fantastic guide. He was super amusing. We should have taken a picture with him. Oh well! We learned the history of a lot of Sevilla's customs and landmarks. 
The cathedral

Golden Tower of Sevilla

Plaza de España. This place is too stunning for a photo to begin to capture.

But I tried to capture it... 

Monument to Columbus. Thanks for "discovering" America, friend!!

Yarn bombing. I was impressed!

We found a good, but painfully small portioned Italian place for lunch. It was shortly followed by some of the best pizza I've had in Spain. Yes, we ate two lunches that day. We walked miles and miles. We needed fuel. 

Shopping enveloped the rest of the day until dinner. 

Dinner was 100 Montaditos. Cheap and fast... Hooray! 

That night we mostly wandered and got lost until we needed to get a taxi to take us back to the hostel. It was quite interesting. The good news is, Spain is a relatively safe place for four ladies to wander around the streets until 4 o'clock in the morning. 

We slept in on Sunday. Praise the Lord! We decided we had to do something typical of Sevilla. So, we went to the top of the World's Largest Wooden Structure. It was only 3 euros and included a soda. 

You wanted this elevator selfie. Admit it ;)

At the top of the structure!

We did some more wandering that day before finally making our way back to the bus station and heading home. 

Madrid felt like the arctic in comparison to Sevilla. I was happy to be home, but sad to leave the beautiful weather of Sevilla.

Sevilla was a much needed vacation. This week has flown by. It's already the weekend for me here. I'm going to be lazy tomorrow. 

I lied. I'm making a wonderful Arkansan meal for lunch... 

Other than that, Netflix and I are going to be spending some real quality time together. I might even make a fort. I like forts. 

Do you want to know some fun facts from the week?
You do. 
I know you do. So, here they are!

1. I have a list of Metro-specific pet peeves.
2. There's a ridiculous amount of attractive men in this city. 
3. I have 21 classes of students. I'm never going to remember all of their names. There are over 400 of them. Literally. 
4. I went climbing yesterday. I'm still ridiculously sore
5. I love the internet. I just got another call from my baby sister. Be jealous.
6. I want to show everyone my new life here. 
7. The girls have at least 500 toys. I kid you not. There an entire closet dedicated to them (floor to ceiling). There's a huge pile next to my desk. There're some in drawers. There's some of top of my bookshelf. There's some in the living room. Some in their room. Some under their beds, on their beds, above their beds... There's no shortage of things to play with around here. I still stick to my computer for entertainment. Netflix and I have a serious relationship going on.
8. Fridays are my day. 
9. I might buy a guitar tomorrow. I miss playing terribly. I barely played all summer. I get to Spain and I'm like, "I NEED A GUITAR!!!!!"
10. Liquid climbing chalk is a thing. A beautiful, beautiful thing
11. I still managed to get chalk all over myself. I just didn't choke on a cloud of chalk.
12. I responded to a Spanish question in class today. Only the professor noticed.
13. I'm now "Profesora Kirstyn" on the school's online platform. I'm a big kid now
14. Some of my students are older than me. No big deal. With enough confidence, you can make anyone respect your authority.  
15. If they don't, start rambling about butterflies, rainbows, and clouds. In fact, I said out loud to a class that I speak Spanish today. Not one of them heard it or paid attention. Their loss, I suppose.
16. I need to decide where I'm going to travel to next. I have a few options, but nothing set in stone for the next holiday weekend (or any weekend if I want to travel alone...).
17. I'm sleepy

I'm terrible at conclusions, but my university adviser always encouraged me to write one. 

So, to sum it up: Madrid is my new home. I'm still Arkansan. SEVILLA!!! Madrid. Fun facts. SLEEP.

Goodnight from Spain, 

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