Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Since the Cats Out of The Bag...

I was going to wait until after my travel blogs were done, but people WILL find out before then, so here goes...

Side profile...

Long Blonde Locks!

Short and cute!

I'm LOVING my new haircut!!

And this is where I got it done...

Suprise! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Image of My Happiness

Hello again,

I am going to try to keep this blog short and sweet because it accompanies my last blog. Here are the pictures I didn't get to post in my last one...

My Certificate, at last!

This is at Cituadella Parc (where I went with L.A. and Argentina)

I have a secret love of lampposts...

Boats in the parc.. they just looked really nice...

So there's this mammoth elephant in the parc...


Another good place for a pic...


I love this picture!

I also have a thing for doors... especially when they're this cool...

A street that looks like an alley...

Bienvenida a mi casa!

This is actually an opera house/ theatre, but it's so lovely and I think it should be my new home!

On the train to Sitges beach outside of BCN

They are SO happy (they were actually really tired and hung over from the night before, LOL)

Serenaded on the train.. he was playing the Titanic theme song.

Gazing out the window...

This is how I spent a Wednesday afternoon :)

The beach we were at. I took another photo, but I realized later that there is a topless woman walking into the frame of it.. I'm keeping this blog PG, so sorry, no boobies on here!

Beautiful views and sailboats!

Oregan, Venezuela and I

Boys, splashing around

Oregon threw Venezuela- he got up pretty high!

Dad, I thought you'd appreciate this..



More friends

Chillin on a rock

I love this one too...

More sunset...

Kayaking at sunset, livin the dream

I actually took WAY more photos of the sunset, as per usual, but I'll end with this..

Empty beach

My dinner at the paella restaurant..

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Four Girls and Two Clams Between Them

Well, exams are over, and life is still going crazy. My exam went very well actually. I got a 93% and ended up in the top of my class (There was one A in our class and 5 B/Borderline A's- I was a Borderline A). I am so thankful that exams are over, but this means that the real work begins. Finding a job, finding an apartment, hoping to get papers and not get deported in 2 months... you know, the usual. I am also taking 2 extension courses through my school: English for Young Learners and English for Business Professionals. I have experience with both, but the certificates will help with my job search and hopefully get me more money faster.

Now for the fun stuff: After my exam was finished, I went out with some friends to meet up with some new friends here in Spain. It happens that the new friends are actually from England, not from Spain, but it made it much easier to communicate. We went out and had a couple of drinks and then decided to move on. I think we've all discovered that "moving on to the next bar" really just means walking around for about an hour and then ending up somewhere we didn't plan on being. It's become somewhat of a joke at this point, though it's still an annoyance. We ended up at the beach. Someone made a joke about skinny-dipping, and someone else... well... let's just say someone's new nickname is Dong. One of the crazy Brits stripped down to his birthday suit and ran straight into the sea. Hilarious. (I was behind him when he was running in, but definitely had to look away when he ran back out 10 minutes later). After the beach, we walked around for a while again and decided that we were hungry. MacDonald's is open late in Spain too.. only thing is, they hate Americans. So our excursion to MacDonalds at 4am went something like this: walk up to the window, get ignored. Wait. Finally get someone to talk to us, they don't serve walk-ups to the drive-thru window. Okay, so we hire a cab to take us through. We order. The don't give us sauce of any sort, instead they close the window in our face after handing us our food. Our order was wrong and we must have paid twice what we should have. And there was a hair in the chocolate chip muffin that was supposed to be a breakfast sandwich. *annoyed*. Oh well. So we walked back to one of the guy's places to hang out and eat our MacDonalds. We didn't get home until 7 am. All together, it was a good night.

Thursday night consisted of me doing my final Material's Project teaching at 6pm and finally getting out of school at 8. We bumped into one of our teachers (he taught us all of our grammar) and we went for beer with him. He's hilarious, but he won't let you tell him that. He's a great teacher, but he won't let you tell him that either. He should "Grow a vagina. At least they can take a pounding." (yup, that one's for you!). After drinks with him, we went home to change and meet up with everyone else in our classes. We met up at the same bar we meet at almost every time we go out on a Friday: Alfa Bar. Don't ask me why we meet up at this place. I don't particularily like it. The music is weird and the drinks aren't cheap. No one is there until 12:30 and the bouncers give you that "you Americans better spend money and not cause a ruckus" feeling. As per usual, and as I stated above, we moved on. When you're moving a group of 40 people, you should a) know where you're going, and b) know that the place you're taking us is close and c) know that the place you're taking us EXISTS! We walked (while we lost people and people left to go home) for about an hour and ended up standing outside of a closed up shop that is not a bar. On the left of it was a corner store at which some of the guys bought a bottle of whiskey and a coke, and on the right was a gay bar. And it wasn't a gay bar like the bars you'd find in Toronto on Church Street with crazy-loud music, dancing and men doing body shots off of drag queens. No, no. This was a gay bar that you would find in Kitchener on King Street in between The Wax and Dallas Country Bar, with five guys  in their 40's and 50's sitting in there sipping their Long Island Iced Teas and waiting to be hit on by... no one. There was lots of interesting art on the walls, consisting of exactly what you think you'd find in a gay bar. We went to the back room, which was empty, and hung out there for a while just talking and drinking beer and the whiskey we smuggled in. We finally got kicked out around 2 am and started our walk home. We had a glass candle holder thrown off a balcony at us, at one point. I got into bed around 5am, and got up again around 9.

On Friday, we graduated. It was a great graduation- very relaxed. We were each handed someone else's diploma and told to say something nice about the person without saying their name, and the class would guess who we were talking about. I got Tommy's and said that he was taller than me, a great person to go out and drink with, and that he's opened my mind to new places to travel to in the States (Colorado- apparently its beautiful there!). Joseph got mine. He said I have nice eyes and beautiful hair, and that I'm his wife. :) It's true really. Joseph is my Barcelona husband. (One of the first nights out, Joseph played boyfriend for 7 girls to protect them from creepy guys. I was number 8. Lets just say that number 8 stuck. lol.)

L.A. and I at graduation...

San Diego and I ... thinking, because we're smart now.

The whole class (the 19 of us who spent the month together anyway)

A bunch of us girls went for lunch after graduation and had delicious little pinchos at a restaurant in Las Ramblas. The food was delicious.

Where we ate...

My food.. sooo good.

L.A... shoving face :)

Aussie nibbling..

After that, it was home to siesta, and then out again. We met up at a little bar that has 3 euro cocktails before 11pm, called Subrosa. Its a tiny little place, but the drinks are good and the atmosphere is great. We moved on to a Jazz club, which we actually had a little trouble finding, but at least we found it. The music was great and the company was nice. I didn't drink anything, because I don't usually drink alot when we all go out (I'm not sure why- maybe it's because I have a fear of making a fool of myself, or maybe its because I'm cheap/broke, but either way, I don't drink alot). We moved on again after the band ended to a place called Jamboree. It's in one of the main squares and they have two floors. The bottom floor is all hip-hop and top 40, completely made me feel like I was back in Toronto and I kept forgetting that I wasn't going to see Chris or Carrie or Rue or ... anyone from home. Upstairs was cheesy bad 80's/90's music. I didn't go up there. L.A. and Arizona and I stayed downstairs to dance it up on the overly-large stage which acted more as a raised dance floor. We ended up leaving at one point because someone was unneccesarily rude to L.A. and she just wasn't having it any longer. Home to bed.

Art in Subrosa.. don't ask. I think it's cool.

Oregon and I.. why do I have crazy eyes?

Seattle and Aussie.. two lovely ladies!

Me and the lovely Texas.

I was up again on Saturday morning to go eat clams. I've never eaten clams before, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. Barcelona being a harbour city and known for their extensive sea food, I figured: what better place to try clams than at a fresh market in the heart of Barcelona with two of my favorite ladies, and one really awesome chick who I just met that week (she's a friend of Australia's- from down under herself- who is living in Amsterdam). The four of us shared two plates of the most amazing mushrooms anyone could imagine, two plates of clams and a plate of grilled veggies. The food was SO good. I must describe to you the feeling of eating my first clam. I'm not much for sea food, and I can't stand fishy smells, so I was a bit nervous trying clams in a market. Luckily, where we were in the market wasn't overly odorous, so I was able to breathe in the fresh air as much as possible. I have an issue as well with texture. I'm not one for Jell-O and I don't like calamari. I've had octopus and I almost vomited, and afer a while sushi gets to me because of the raw fish (even still, I LOVE it!). The clams we had were small, which was a good thing. The way you eat them is to suck them out of the shell. (Mom, I can practically see you squirming). I picked up my first clam and took a long look at it. I looked to my right and watched Aussie eat a couple. Then I looked to my left and watched L.A. eat one. Okay, this is it. They all turned and looked at me. Just go for it. *glulp, slurp, chew, swallow* That wasn't bad! It wasn't rubbery like you'd think it was, and it wasn't flavourless because of all the sauce. It was actually quite good. I ate another. And another. We demolished the first plate of clams and that's when we ordered the second round of mushrooms and the second round of clams. Yum, yum. Four girls and two clams is a good mix for a Saturday afternoon.



Tiny clam (he was my first!)


We went out that night for a going away party for Arizona. Being that we were all really tired, none of us really drank too much. We went to the first tapas bar we went to on the first day of school. From there, we headed to the new apartment of some of the guys from our class to house-warm. Some of us didn't want to be out too late and after telling myself I would be in bed by 1, I got hom at 2am. C'est la vie.

Sunday we went for lunch with L.A.'s friend and then to Cituadella parc to walk around. Cituadella is where all the locals go to hang out, and one of the largest (and only) expanses of grass in the city. I didn't realize how long it had been since I had smelled grass, until we walked into the park. Seriously, we take some things for granted sometimes. I felt like I was totally third-wheeling that day with my friends, but it was okay. They tried not to make it too awkward. We saw the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona (yes, there is one in Barcelona, and one in Paris... I think there are other cities that have Arc's as well...). It was built in 1888 to welcome the nations. I feel welcomed. Next on the to-do list was gellato. Our friend knew of a place to get some of the best gellato in the city, so we headed in that direction. I found places I'd like to live, which are also places I cannot afford at the moment. Too bad. Gellato was amazing, and then we walked around a bit and sat in a square. This is when I took my leave to go home and get some rest and get freshened up. I was meeting up with NewCastle that night (one of the British friends we had hung out with before) to have some tea.

Tea was great, but I was up much later than expected. School was rough the next day. Early morning classes for young learners where you actually have to participate are very difficult on little sleep and no coffee. Not fun. The class was informative, but I would have preferred a more lecture-styled class than the participation styled class. I don't want to be taught like I AM a child, I want to be taught like I'm an educated person learning techniques of teaching children. *el suspiro*

Monday night I'm not sure what happened. I think I went to bed but I honestly can't remember. Its only because I've been so busy and so exhausted that I cannot remember. Tuesday was class again and again it was participation class. Ugh. 'nuf said.

Tuesday night was drinks at a Belguim bar near our school. Good, good beer (finally). After that, off to Subrosa to meet up with other classmates. We ended up at Jamboree again, dancing the night away and bumped into my Brit friend who was drinking in the same placa as we were and we had no idea. I had an invite for tea again, but being that it was 5am, I told the Brit that his fancy for tea was too much for me and went home to sleep for a few hours. Wednesday was a BCN holiday (I think they have holidays every other week here!) so a bunch of us went down to Sitges, which is a small coast town about 45 minutes by train outside of Barcelona. The beach was beautiful and clean. The water was a little cold for my liking, but we played volleyball and hung out on the beach all day. Lunch was an annoyance, only because the "Americans" get basically ignored, and Spaniards don't work for tips so they could care less if you walk out after sitting for half an hour waiting to be served. That happened twice. We finally grabbed food somewhere, but it wasn't much and it wasn't that great. Whatever.

The sunset was incredible. A bunch of us just sat on one of the piers and watched the sun set over the mountain in the distance. Lovely. It made me want to move to Sitges, just to watch the sunrise and set everyday.

L.A. moved in on Wednesday night and we at pizza. Alot of pizza.

Thursday was another class of Teaching Business Professionals. We had to stop by some friend's house on the way home to get a backpack for our upcoming trip, so we hung out with them for a bit, then took our leave to get back to my house, drop it off and get back out to meet friends for Paella. Paella is a seafoody dish of rice and prawns and a whole other mix of stuff from the sea. It doesn't interest me at all, but I went anyway, just to spend time with some of the best people I've met while on this adventure. These also happen to be the girls I would be travelling Europe with. I didn't order paella. Instead I ordered grilled steak. It was not good. It was really thin and cooked way too much, so it was tough. They gave us two free shots after the meal to help with digestion though, so thank goodness to that. I was craving something sweet after, so of course I went for gellato again :) When we got home, we had to pack. Packing was a bit hecktic and we weren't really sure what to pack, so hopefully we brought some of the right stuff and not alot of the stuff we don't need.

Friday morning we lugged all of our stuff to the school on the metro so that we could go straight from class. It was an even more tedious day then the previous days because we were just waiting for it to be over so that we could get on our flight and head to Paris.

*I will add more pictures later, but this post won't let me add any more at the moment and I cannot stand to look at my computer for another moment today... el suspiro. Adieu.