Email from Caitlin on her Dartmouth Foreign Study Program in Madrid,
(you can email her at email@example.com )
So...I know its been a while, but I did indeed make it home from Spain...but not until Dec 24th (after 35 hrs of travel)! Sooo it has been pretty crazy since then with Christmas and New Years...I hope you all has some great holidays....and I am sure most of you have seen me, and for those of you who haven't, I am sure I will see you soon!
I am already back at school....I started classes yesterday....shortest break EVER....oh well...yeah...
I hope you wont miss my little updates toooo much!!!!!
On Monday we went to the ZOO!!! It was sooo fun! And there were no people,
because it was so cold out! So, we went on our little private tour...and saw a
dolphin show, and a raptor show...it was pretty sweet. We say lions and tiger
and bears, oh my! Yeah, but they all looked like they were freezing as much as
we were...the panda was curled up in a little tiny ball...couldn't even tell it
was a panda...or that it had a head for that matter. Really....and the aquarium
was super cool because the tanks had real live coral and it looked like what the
bottom of the ocean might actually look like. Yeah, so that was pretty much all
we did allll day...we have been pretty lazy.
Okay so...yesterday Alex and I went to Toledo...it was fabulous. We walked around the city and went shopping a little, went to see the big cathedral...he liked it. I loveee Toledo so it was cool to just go and walk around the city again, even though it was freezing cold and cloudy, it was way better than being in Madrid, where it rained all day.
Okay...today we are going to the archeological museum and the Sorolla museum. yahhh
So, I made it back from Paris on Friday, and then I planned on staying in a
cheap hostel....buttttt....Carlos would not let me, ...psh...whatever....so it
turned into a whole big ordeal...and I ended up sleeping in his sisters
apartment...so it was fineeeee in the end...
Okay, so my brother got here on Saturday morning....and we are now chilling in Madrid. We were going to go to Morocco....but it didn't really work out. I am totally cool with that though, because I LOVE Madrid!!!! The first day we walked all over the city and I showed him the statue of the devil "El angel caido" in Parque Retiro and we went to walk around all the fun parts of the city. It was massively busy on a Sat afternoon this close to Christmas....one thing that I realllllly don't understand though, is that everyone was wearing crazy wigs...and in Plaza Mayor there was a whole market set up, and all it really sold was crazy colorful wigs (real hair too!) and nativity scene stuff....so wierd...what a combination!
Yesterday we went to the Reina Sofia, and then I was feeling sick, so pretty much we slept all afternoon...and today we are going to the ZOOOOOO I am soooooo excited!!! TOMORROW we are going to Toledo for the day...and I am PUMPED!! Okay....I might not have internet again for a while....sooooooo HAVE FUN!!!!
Okay, so today we went to Versailles...now, I will have to say, Spain's royal
palaces are massively better. They had paper cut outs to how where cool silver
furniture "used to be," now that is just plain retarded. At least in Spain, they
don't pretend, they show you the real deal, not stuff they stole from other
countries...so yeah, can some one please tell me what the big deal is about
Yeah, what as cool was Marie Antoinette's domain where she built her own cute little hamlet to play in...damn it, I want to be Marie Antoinette when I grow up...well, at least until they chopped off her head, I guess at that point it wouldn't really be so fun anymore! But my god, those buildings were soooooooo cute...like they were just what everyone thinks of as idealized French peasant life. It is ridiculous!! LOVE IT. Also, the gardens were fantabulous, well at least I imagine thy would be when it wasn't freezing cold in the middle of December...literally some of the ponds were freezing over...now that's what I call cold!! I was wearing long under wear and everything and I was still cold!!!! CRAZY!!!
Okay, so then we came home, took a little break and then walked out to find a place to eat. We had our heart set on real French food...specifically French onion soup...and we found it! We went to the cutest little café and spent, no joke, 3 hrs and 45 minutes in the place!!! There were these cute two guys playing guitar and singing mostly American music and it was sooooo fun!!! We even ordered dessert and a second bottle of wine just to listen to more of the good old stuff that they were playing. We were having a fine old time to say the least...It was a massive improvement over last night's dinner when the host tried to marry off Kat to a bus boy who didn't even speak English, and had never even spoken to her!
So...we finally get back to the hostel at 12:20 to discover that there is a rando staying in our room, and its one of those places where each room only has one key, and you leave it in the hotel, so we had to wake up this poor girl to let us into our room. Not only that, but we still had to get ready for bed!! Oh dear, well...we do outnumber her, so its okay if we are all still awake with the lights on when she is trying to sleep...she is only paying 13 euro a night too...and we have been here longer!!!
So yeah, I am very happy to be heading back to Madrid tomorrow where I speak the language, and people are cooler.
Okay...so I have certainly become rather incapacitated of late, not decapitated,
which is what I said first, that's something different....but yeah..that whole
part of my body between my thigh and calf is not functioning at alllll....BOOOO...today
I managed to almost die from tripping/ knee giving out 4 times (so far):
tripping down the stairs in the Notre Dame tower (600 stairs to the bottom),
tripping into oncoming traffic while walking around the city, tripping in the
Cluny and almost taking out priceless Medieval art, and finally tripping up the
metro stairs. Yeah, so I am pretty much an invalid. When I am riding on the
metro and all the old people take the seats, I just want to scream just because
I am young, doesn't mean I am sprite damnit!!! I need to sit down toooooo!!!!
Okay, so yesterday we went to the Orsay Museum and then walked around Montmartre to see Sacre Cor and Moulin Rouge (and no I cannot handle French spelling damn it). At this point Sam and I wanted to go see the aquarium because it is on our Museum pass, but Jess was lame and didn't want to because she wanted to do things that you can only do in Paris....psh... needed a change of pace!!!! So we didn't go. We also spent a good part of the afternoon waiting on a metro car for like 30 minutes while they spewed things at us in French over the loud speakers and we just did whatever everyone around us did, which included eventually getting off and waiting for another. At this point there were soooo many people waiting that we were smushed into this car soooo bad, and these cars are just not designed to hold massive amounts of standing people like the ones in Madrid, so clearly it was not at all enjoyable. So we wanted to finish up our visit to the Pompidou, but then we got there, but it was closed which was LAME....so we went back to the hostel and chilled the rest of the night. Willa had to leave early this morning so we ended up talking for hours like a slumber party...it was sooo silly!!
Today we got up and went to the Eiffel tower again, and this time we went alllll the way up to the top. There was hardly any wait so that was good, and we took lots of pictures, but it was soooooo cold!!! And yes, Jeremy, we danced on top of the Eiffel tower and took a video to prove it! Then, when we came down we spent an hour taking ridiculous pictures with the Eiffel tower inspired by a postcard shat we saw in the gift shop. Don't worry, pictures will be enclosed soon!!!!
So...after this we went to lunch with Kat and Crema (also staying here but on a different schedule) andddd we ate some YUMMY chicken salads. Its nice to be in a country that eats chicken like we do in the US again!
Okay....so then we went to Notre Dame and I thought it was ugly on the outside, but the inside was realllly pretty....and then we had to go back outside to wait in line to climb up the tower and it was FREEEEEEZING!! My god, yeah, so we had to wait for a good 20 minutes, and then we had to climb 600 steps up to the top, and we got to see cool gargoyles and the Quasimodo's giant bell and there were Spanish tourists there, and we eavesdropped and that was FUN!! Thennnnnn we went to Saint Chapelle where all the pretty stained glass is. It was pretty sweet...very cool indeed. Then we walked around that area and went to the cool Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, which had a cool feel, but was very English and did not feel Parisian to me. (Can you tell I am very picky?) So....we then continued walking to the Cluny Museum. On the way we picked up some fantabulous crepes (I got mine with banana and Nutella)...the guy must have really liked us because my three Euros bought me a crepe filled with a jar of Nutella, plus a giant banana...yeah....did I mention that it was fantabulous??? Well it was....anyway....the Cluny houses a whole bunch of medieval art and some cool unicorn tapestries...it is also in a really cool building, but most of the cool parts were under renovations....like everything else cool in the world. So, yeah.....then we came back to the hostel.
So yeah, these pictures are from yesterday and before. I am upset by this camera, after being spoiled by my other one, so I am just stealing them all from Sam, and I have flat out stopped taking any of my own...hehe...its okay, I earn it, because I have become their own little travel guide, and I always read all the info in the guidebook aloud in a very energetic voice so we can all learn about the stuff we are seeing. I am really getting good at reading aloud!!!
Okay, so...I will get the complaining out of the way first....
1. the metro is realllllllllllllllly stinky: like really...like seriously....I don't think you are understanding...IT SMELLS BAD
2. It is cold: it kind of snowed-ish today (when we were on top of Arc de Triomphe)
3. I am now allergic to night time...really...I have gotten hives 5 nights in a row when going to bed despite different sheets, clean clothes and showers...I am just allergic to night time, ad that's a fact....I bought some antihistamines for a small fortune today, so hopefully tonight I wont have to deal with that problem!
4. I am now limping because there is not enough ibuprofen in the world to fix my knees.
Okay...now that I got that out of the way!
I realllllly like Paris!!! This morning we went to the Louvre...which was huge....the must of stolen a lot of shit from third world countries and bought a lot of antiquities from the black market....anyway....we say the Mona Lisa (they dot even let you within 10 feet of it...you can see it better in a reproduction!!), Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and some other stuffff....I really liked the sculpture....but then all the paintings that I knew nothing about were kinda boring (again...am I going to get thrown out of Paris??) Anyway...we spent forever there, and at least walked through - the museum and looked at the stuff we had heard of. We also ate lunch in the museum, and the foood was realllllly good. Yeah, museum food in the US sucks ass compared to this meal!
Okay, so then it was raining a ton, and we went to Arc de Triomphe...sweet deal, we hiked up to the top, and froze our butts off in the wind and looked out onto the Eiffel tower and the rest of Paris...pretttty
Okay, then I got dragged like 8 blocks out of the way in the rain so that Sam and Jess could go to Deutch bank and get money out for cheap. When we finally get there, its not an actual bank with ATMs, its like their office building...sweet....so I limp back to Champs-Elysees and we walk down and search for ice cream. Okay, so Madrid is wayyy better at providing ice cream when we are craving it the most! Then we see Haggan-daz and are so desperate that we end up sitting in the gold room and paying 10,50 euro for an ice cream Sunday...hum...guess that will be my dinner. Don't worry,, we finished it alllll to make sure we got our money's worth! We were all made much happier by this break, and Sam was talking in her "funny voice" for what ended up being three hours to help keep out energy up. I have noooo idea how she can talk like that for that amount of time!!!
Alright, then we went outside and allll the lights were on for Christmas...and they are WAYYYY better than Madrid's...so Paris wins on that count....They were all blue and sparkly in the trees....it was amaziiiing! Okay... so then we went to L'Orangerie to see Monet's water lilies....soooo cooooool, OMG I could have sat in those rooms for hours staring at the walls!!! The reproductions are sooo lame because they never show the wholllle thing!!! And then downstairs were other cool impressionist stuff which was realllly cool too!! My favorite of the day was definitely this museum! It was super cool and pretty and small so we could do it quick! Yah!!
So story of the day:
We are waiting to go up the arc and this women is talking to a whole group around us in English...apparently because they are a group they had to go up together, and we were in the middle....thennnn the women tries to explain this to Jess in French....Jess stares blankly *blink* , *blink*..."I don't speak French"..."Oh..Sorry!"....yeah....
Other note: metro musicians are much more talented and classy here
Other other note: freaky people with no pants live in the metro and ride on it...and pee in it...gross, but then again, this is pretty much true everywhere that there is a metro.
Also...we do not know if the shower has been fixed yet, and none of us want to try it out, so we are going French and not showering for now...
Also forgot to mention that we are now speaking in Spanish a lot when in public, so that people don't know that we are Americans...or whenever people stare at us like we are locos...we talk in Spanish...way better that way.
Other weird thing: no one talks on the metro...like it is dead silent....so NOT true in Madrid.
Okay, I think that's all the random thoughts I have for now!
So....our first day in Paris went reallly well, and we were really good about our energy level and stayed out and about allll day until 9pm....pretty good right? Especially for me!!!
We got up and went to go see the Eiffel tower to proof that indeed we ARE in Paris....sweet. Okay, I am going to be honest....I was not really all that thrilled with the Eiffel tower...I think its kind of ugly (are hey going to kick me out of France now??) Maybe I will like it better when we actually go up to the top....but maybe not...there are so many people and I hate it!!
Okay, then we walked to the Rodin Museum which was SWEEEEEET, I really like his sculptures. and his mansion is soooo cool, totally what I am going to have as my French mansion....psh.
Okay....so then we were HUNGRY and we went to get some yummy lunch and got some SALAD! I have not had real salad like that in FOREVER...I mean I really like Spanish food, but come on now...Spain is different....psh...yeah so taking a break from the fried food is NICE
So.....then we went to the Picasso museum to see even more sweet Picasso stuff, and I just like him more and more!! Even the cubist stuff is really cool once seen in person.
Thennnnn we went to the Pompidou center....on the way we went SHOPPING (I finally got those black heels I have been craving!)...and then we got CREPES! They were so fresh and warm and delicious.....*sigh of enjoyment!!*
Okay, so the Pompidou center is INTENSE...even the building is like massively intimidating because the architecture is soooooo modern and colorful. Anyway....we were inside for over two hours and only saw one floor...damn. I actually really liked this contemporary art, I thought it was interesting, and it wasn't any of that lame as boring empty campus stuff. That stuff is retarded...this was more...weird....including an installation of a room with uber insulated walls with wool blankets that was to create a warm, cozy, quiet affect...okay then....and then a freaky video of a puppet play (not really on the same lines as Team America...but almost as disturbing). Oh...and then there was a whole room dedicated to inflatable furniture and other blow-up stuff...sweet.
Then we grabbed a quick dinner and headed back the the hostel.
Okay....so like Sam went in to take a shower...and um we hear the water running, and then Sam runs out practically naked with her towel kind of covering her....and we learn the shower is a little dysfunctional and sprays all over the bathroom and it starts flooding the whole floor....its pretty sweet.....it was really exciting.
AND other things...um the whole internet thing: it says its only for 30 minutes, and then it disconnects you, and then you can just join it right back up again...its great. But poor Sam's puter is too weak to pick up the signal.....OKAY
miss you kiddies....see you DEC 23 (well some of you!)
Last night I finished up my paper, which was fantabulous....and I am FREEE
now!!! My term is OVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
So when I left my host family this morning it was soooo awkward...I only said goodbye to my host mom....hum....yeha...awk....but she was cute and after I had left she like called me and left a message on my phone to say that she enjoyed having me, and she hopes that I have a good itm in Paris...soooooo cute!
Okay, so I made it to Paris. EasyJet was really easy to use...yah....
So we got the airport in Paris, okay not actually in Paris, its like 45 minutes away...but we were totally freaked out because there was like no customs, border checksness....we were like, no stamp??/ LAME! Then....some man came up and was like, taxi taxi...hum....I guess so......so we go to this sketchy looking van with two men driving, why 2 are necessary, who knows, we start driving, and we are likeum....I feel like I am getting kidnapped....interesting....then we finally ask how much it is going to cost, since we see no meter, and we learn it is prix fix 70 euro....o, that's interesting....and then with traffic and all it took over an hour to get to our hostel. By the way, our 13 euro a night hostel is pretty nice...and clean....I mean there is only one light in the room, and it is right over the door so it is nice and dark and sketchy....LOVE IT.
So....we got here, and took a napsy...and then went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant....and the host dude was really energetic, and nice to us, despite the fact that we kept answering his questions in Spanish....whoops. I mean come on...aren't all foreign languages Spanish?? Apparently not!! So we get salad and pizza and pasta...and it was goooood. My pizza was shaped like a heart, and he said he hoped that my fiancée didn't mind....haha....yeah.....so now I am nice and full and ready to curl up into bed.
So there is random internet for free in the hostel, but it says I only get 30 min free....so that is interesting....very interesting indeed.....so just figured that I would let you all know that I made it here safe and sound!!!
Hey everyone!!!! So this is my last email from this house in Madrid....tomorrow
I am flying to Paris tomorrow at 2pm.
So concern has been expressed about me being out late and staying out till dawn. But seriously...streets are like filled with people at all times of night. Everyone stays out all night too...I am perfectly SAFE okay...don't worry about me!!! Its not sketchy at allllll.
Oh...sooo today we went to the BUTT exhibit...yeah, that's right...it was this exhibit dedicated purely to butts...photos of butts on different people, in different positions and everything....it was hilarious....very amusing, very amusing. Yeah, I am pretty sure I really enjoyed that!
Okay......I'm tiredddd so I gunna sleeeeep now!!!
Miss you all
Yahhhhhh....my computer got fixed!!!! It was more complicated than imagined, and
I had to walk to and from that store like 10 times until everything was all
hunky dory. But....now I have a new hard drive (160 GB)....and LEOPARD (the new
OSX system)....butttt I did have to pay almost 200 Euros...so that stunk. And I
don't have iLife....so I don't have iPhoto, which is pretty much the only part I
use. I did get all my info saved too, which is good, but I don't have the
applications that were on my computer before, so I had to borrow Word from
someone else so that I can write my final paper (and yes, I am writing this
right now to procrastinate). Oh, but was was reallllly cool was that I got the
nice computer geek again this time and he chatted with me, and even invited me
down into the geek lair in the basement where they listen to rock and fix
computers, so I could wait with my computer and see him put it back together!!
It was coooool....(side note, to add to his geekyness he had a USB cord draped
around his neck...for no apparent reason)
So.....I finished finals, thank god....all the exams were exactly as I wanted/expected them to be. There was a 50/50 chance that I was going to not do so well on the lit exam because she was going to only put one book of the to we read the second half of the term as the whole exam....and I have only read one. So I lucked out big time, and I got the one I did read, and did my presentation on, so...I had that one down pat!!!! It was sweeeeet.
So, last night the whole group when to see a play together...it was a comedy...and I actually got most of the humor, so that was cool. So....now the FSP is pretty much over...all we have to do is hand in our papers.....yeah....I should probably get on that. She did tell me I could have an extension because of my computer problems...but I am going to Paris, and I would really rather have it done before hand.....
So....we went out last night, well, Sam, Carlos, Juan, and two other friends of the boys....that was interesting. They had really classy Botellon with cups, and ice...way classier than anything else we have done before! Then we went to cats....and stayed out until 5ish...it was a good time. But....my hearing is massively sensitive right now.
I started packing this morning which was reallllllly exciting...but weird at the same time...especially since I still have 17 days and 4 hours until I get home.
Okay...... time to get back to my paper...............
Nov. 8th to Nov. 28th
Oct. 16th to Nov. 2nd
Oct. 7th to Oct. 15th
Sept. 21st to Oct. 5th