Caitlin's email from Oct. 7 to Oct. 15


American products here are ridiculously expensive...a PS3 is like 500 euros, and Levis are 110 euros...what's up with that?? You will be proud of me, I went shopping today, and I didn't buy ANYTHING!

Okay, so I broke the ONE rule we have on this FSP...don't go into public parks at night. And guess what happened...I got robbed. Yeah, it wasn't traumatic or anything...they took my purse without me noticing. When we stood up I noticed and a man came over to us and asked if something was stolen because he saw two men going through a purse and throwing it in the garbage. So, I was quite optimistic right after when I went from losing everything, to still having my purse, wallet, CREDIT CARD, KEYS, driver's license, Spanish dictionary, Madrid map, chap stick and we get to what I lost: my cell phone, my metro pass, cash, and the camera. Ouch...well, I guess I won't break that rule again. Although, as far as the professor is concerned, it was merely dusk when all this happened. It I felt too awkward to tell my host family...but I did tell the professor and other it should be fine. I am going to the police station with the professor tomorrow. But don't worry about ME, I'm definitely could have been way worse if there had been some sort of yeah.

So a guy on the FSP had two phones, so he gave me one, and Vodafone replaces the SIM card the first time for YAH! All I lost was the credit on the 30 Euros.

So that was the excitement of the past 24ish hours


Last night we had pizza, Doritos and sangria out of a box for dinner. Ah.... life without the parents...although pizza is not really pizza here; its quite lacking. Then I went out to meet Andres and Diana to go to a club. But, Andres was hungry so we went to BK...seriously...omg its soooo weird here....not only is it like 6 euros for a hamburger, but you can get beer at BK...oh and all the menu items are in English! Very strange experience, and there was this drunk Swiss couple (they were decked out from head to toe in the Swiss flag...a little much if you ask me!) in the restaurant too, and they were absolutely hilarious...their Spanish was horrible and everyone was laughing at them...then the girl spilled her drink all over the place. It was interesting to watch, that's for sure.

When it was 1:30 we thought it might be late enough to go out, so we went to Palacio Gaviria again. It was filled with old people again...and this time it cost us 15 euros...a little steep. The music was not so great, and there were tons of sketchy people...but thanks to having a guy there, most of them stayed away. So apparently it was sooo intense last night, that they blew a fuse and the music died on the dance floor where we wer dancing and it started smoking and everything. It was pretty sweet...we decided to leave at that point. When we were collecting out jackets a security guard wrapped up a fire extinguisher in a shirt (to hide it?) and when running up the stairs....clearly we chose the right moment to leave! I made it home at 4:30...and slept until 1:30...when Carlos called and woke me was a good thing he was about time to get up!

Today we went to lunch with my "aunt" at a Chinese restaurant. Well, it was as Chinese as they really get here in I didn't have to be too scared of the food. I mean when we sat down they gave us a plate of olives to munch on (sigh of relief). The menu was not extremely Chinese that I could tell...even the fried rice had ham in god that's weird. I got chicken wasn't very good...but it was nice to have some good old Indian food (my favorite!).

So I am learning a lot more Spanish slang and that is REALLLY exciting. I now know how to say: come on!, sweet tooth, slumber party, to hit on, creepy old man, preppie...and much, much more! I love slang... are some pictures too, both are at the royal palace in Aranjuez...Sam P is the other girl in the picture.


Hey kids....sorry I haven't written in a few days...Anyway....So Friday night Sam and I went to Jess's apartment to have a girly sleepover because her host family was away (that was sooo awk to explain to my host family). We made cookie dough, watched Grey's Anatomy and walked around barefoot (totally not acceptable here). It felt good to actually feel at home for once and be able to be American! Then we had to wake up early yesterday to go to El Escorial with the whole group. It was rather pretty palace and monastery, but it was a very simple style. It was in a really beautiful mountainy area though, and it was surrounded by a gorgeous park that was very natural and reminded me of Vermont a lot...sadness. Yesterday I never felt more like a stupid American. On our tour, which was a huge group (40 people at least) the tour guide kept asking if we wanted English and we were like "NO! We are one THIS tour!" She was really obnoxious, I hate that, its like I speak Spanish, leave me alone. It got to be a little too much for me to be on that tour though, so most of us separated and went ahead and just followed the info that was in my guidebook. Then we realized though that you have to be on a tour to see the royal crypt (obvi the best part), so we had to bargain with this security guard to let us backwards through the museum to go see it...worth it though. Then we went ahead of the tour again to have some peace. It was pretty much the worst I have felt in a crowded space ever. On our way back we stopped at a café near the train station to grab a little to eat and the waiters were so weird, there was some major confusion and misunderstanding which only added to our stupid American day.

I didn't do anything last night because I was exhausted. I just stayed in and watched Pride and Prejudice on my computer and read Emma...I was in a very Jane Austen mood. Today I went to Aranjuez with Sam, Jess, Olivia and Andres. Aranjuez is about 30 miles south of Madrid and it was like the royal family's little getaway palace and it's surrounded by tons of gardens. This palace was amazing; it is like what you picture when you imagine a palace, very ornate rooms and beautiful paintings and frescos on the ceiling. It was really cool, and we got an English audio tour so we actually learned some things as well!! Also, since we have been learning a lot about architecture in art class we have been trying to figure out what each of the different parts are, its like studying but actually getting to see the place is way more fun! We have an exam in 2 weeks, so we really need to start practicing now!! It was such a nice day today; it was a perfect time to go see the palace and the surrounding gardens. They were restoring a large portion of the palace though, so we were a little limited in what we could see. After we went on our little tour we went into the gardens and had a picnic and ate some cookies that Sam and Jess baked last night. They were good cookies, but it made me miss my own chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!! And, we saw another wedding party...she had a great dress! We got yelled at for going on the grass for a was worth it though! It was a great day over all...just can't get over it.

I think I will go out tonight, but that means I am going to have to take a nap now...I am pretty tired after our walking today. I feel like I can never quite get enough sleep here...I hate not having the energy to see the things I want to!!

Andres and Caitlin

Aranjuez Garden

El Escorial


Hey kids! date with Carlos this evening....hehe. So yeah, I didn't really know what to expect, but my friend already has had a date with her Madrileño, so she clued me in a little.

We met at the metro and then walked around for a little while, went to a park to chat...then we went to my favorite pastelería for a little sweet...then shopping at El Corte Ingles. He was so cute, he even walked me home after...loved it. AND I understood everything he said, he taught me a few things in Spanish I didn't know before, like a phrase to say when you aren't hungry that literally translates to "my stomach is closed" haha. I think that's funny.

Oh, other exciting news, I got my Abono de Transporte today, so now I have unlimited rides on the metro! Now I don't have to walk anywhere....yah for being lazy! I feel like such a Madrileña now! Not to mention people here actually think I am from here, they all know my friends are from the US, but people always ask me questions in Spanish and happy I am fitting in! Also learned something else interesting today...when walking alone in the street I cannot smile (this was very difficult today!). Strange men try and talk to me, and I am just like leave me alone, let me be ridiculously happy in peace! So I have to hide my smiles now, which is really no fun at all! Oh well, I guess most people don't grin while walking down the street, but I do!!!

By the way, I have totally been her too long because I am starting to look forward to my fried food. I am acquiring a taste for unhealthy food...great. I get excited for the fried hamburgers and fried chicken...still don't like the fried whole fish though. I really don't like how much work you have to do to eat food here, everything is on the bone, with skin, with the gristle...delicious! Haha...I guess they just don't mind picking apart their food because it's the same with the fruit, grapes and watermelons have lame. Something interesting though, this I think the fried food is helping me lose weight, I mean the scale says I way HALF of what I did in the US! Just kidding...but I really have lost weight...its freaky...especially with all the yummy fried food and dulces I am enjoying.

Well that's all for now...I would love an update from you guys, just so that I know you are all still alive and well. Thanks!!!


Okay, so I have a problem, someone help me! I have a shopping addiction!!!!! I mean, what am I to do when there are cute stores in every direction?? I only bought one thing today, but it is the cutest little brown dress...only 13 euros!!!! Oh well, maybe in the future I will learn self control. I saw it, I tried it on, I bought it, and now I am happy...isn't that all that matters? Someone talk some sense into me!

In other news, I have not been doing the reading, well, I did half, and I didn't understand the discussion in class about the half of La gitanilla I did read, so why read the other half?? I have better things to do, like shop, and see the city! Oh well, I will read tonight's homework, happy mom?

This afternoon I went to the Botanical Gardens with Sam and Jess, it was nice, and smelled really earthy, another good escape from the stinky city. Obviously it was not the best season to go, but there were some flowers to take pictures of, and they had some cool greenhouses with rainforesty stuff in a few and desert plants in another. Sorry mom, but pretty much the only plants I recognized were rosemary, and sage...But you can look at the pictures and tell me what they are!

Oh, so incase you are madly curious to what my apartment is like I made a super sweet floor plan. It took me two weeks, so you better damn appreciate it!!


Yesterday evening I went to a bullfight...I didn't want to, but I figured that I had to while I was in Spain, and the season is almost over. We bought the cheapest seats possible, for 4.20 euros, and you certainly don't get much for that. There is no foot space or back space, like your feet go where the person in front of you sits. It was a little cramped, and the seats were so steep it was a little nerve wracking being 3 rows from the top of the whole stadium. It was interesting from a cultural standpoint...but I really did not like watching them torture and kill four bulls in a row (and we left before it was over). Only one bull had some vindication when he flipped the matador and gored him a little in the butt...but he was fine and went back out to kill the bull. The fights are organized from worst matador to the best, so the first sort of desensitized us to the rest. I was glad I went to see the arena and at least say that I have been, but I will not go again in my life, its just not necessary.

So, last night I was lounging in bed, and Elena knocked on my door so I attempted to crawl out of bed and get to the door, but on my way I felt a snap under my knee...oh shit. After dinner I lifted up the mattress and noticed that of the 12 wooden slats supporting the mattress, one is missing and two are broken!!! I swear I only broke that one, but of course, it has to be right next to the missing one, so there is this whole section un supported, now I am trying to be as careful as possible with that bed because there is not much holding me up!!! And its not like I have been jumping on the bed or anything...ooopsy

After classes this afternoon I went on another shopping spree....whoops. I started out just to buy a mini Spanish-English dictionary (so its easier to talk to Carlos...hehe) at FNAC, which is a eight story book store!!, and then some black flats (so I can wear my hot pink tights)....but then I ended up buying a pair of pants as well as I was walking home from the metro, but I just could not resist, they were cheap and I just didn't bring enough pants, especially now that one pair is ripped, are now simply my club jeans.

Okay, well I have to go catch up on the reading I haven't been doing! Ciao!


Yesterday we went to Toledo as a whole group, and it was just as I remembered it. It is such an old city it is ridiculous. It was founded by Romans, and then was a Moorish it's like REALLY old! Its really cool because it is really well preserved as an ancient city. Most of it is the same as it has been for hundreds of years. This was also a city of religious tolerance for centuries so there is Islamic, Judaic and Christian influence in every part of the city. We saw the main cathedral, a synagogue and a church where EL Greco's most famous painting is. We had a really great guide through the city, but toward the end of the day, it got to be too much talking and I just could not focus any more. Every building in Toledo is made of lots of brick and some stone, and walls surround the whole city. It is situated on top of a hill and is surrounded on three sides by a river., so as you can imagine, it is very majestic. The only problem about the hill part is that pretty much everything is every direction...haha.

Toledo is famous for three things: marzipan, knives and swords, and Damasquinado (don't really know the word in English) stuff (this is where threads of gold are woven into patterns and pictures on a steel background). Well, I got to enjoy all three yesterday. I had always hated marzipan, but I figured I couldn't really say that until I tasted the best in the world. It was really good, not too sweet, and not to almondy....very subtle and yummy. I also bought a little sword letter opener of course, and some pretty little earrings, both of which were Damasquinado.

After a huge long tour of the cathedral we finally got to eat...we were STARVING. We went to a really fancy restaurant (paid for by Dartmouth...YAH!) and had some really good food. I was excited because this was a place I could let my inner food critic come out....I do love to be a food snob. It was also really weird because for everything but the meat course there was one plate to share between 4 was nice and cozy! So, the bread was DELICIOUS, and we has salad, and ensalada rusa, and risotto with vegetables, some sort of tempura vegetables (yum!), pheasant (the only nasty part: and my friend found a piece of shot in his meat!), and more marzipan for dessert! It was so yummy. They left us wanting more in the end though because they gave us spoons with dessert so we kept waiting for our ice cream, but it never sad!

When we were in Toledo we saw three weddings, and they were all so cute!! People here get ridiculously dressed up to go to a wedding, its pretty cool. Everyone looked so fashionable.

I had to get up at 7am yesterday to go to Toledo (an hour bus ride), so when we got back at 7:30pm I went to sleep immediately (come on, I missed my siesta!!). I got up for dinner, and then I got ready for a night out on the town. I was meeting Carlos again at CATS. It was sooooo much fun....but it was way more crowded this time. It was a little too much for me at points; people were just pushing all the time! They played a ridiculous amount of American music too, so we had a lot to get excited about! We could sing along and dance like the crazy Americans we are. I think its kind of funny to listen to the song "my humps" with all these Spaniards, when there is no way in hell they would know what it's about! Haha. We went home pretty early last night, we left the club at 4:15 or so...and made it home around 5:30. Jess and I were pretty proud of ourselves because we figured out which buses we needed to take at night to get all the way home....YAH! Soooooo glad that there is someone who lives near me so we can come home together and I don't ever have to pay for a taxi!

So that was my was a 22-hour day, but totally worth it.

Campo del Moro in Madrid


Fellow Dartmouth FSP Students Sam and Jess with Caitlin