Sunday, September 26, 2010

As It Turns Out...

I am a bad blogger. Sorry 'bout that...

But I just haven't had the time or inspiration to post anything! However, I will say that this year has been flowing along smoothly. SRT is going well (tours are actually pretty fun!), and Howard College Ambassadors is getting off the ground. I talked to some great prospective students yesterday at the academic fair, one of whom was really excited about Samford and the JMC department (broadcast specifically! Yay!). Foundations Peer Mentoring is another great thing in my life. I know that working with freshmen and prospective students is what I'm supposed to be doing with my time here. It is so rewarding, and I love all my little freshmen.

I've also developed a love of writing random notes of encouragement to friends and popping them in the mail. I love getting mail, but I rarely get any, so I know how much it means to college students to get mail, especially mail you weren't expecting.

Mostly I write to people I don't get to see often, but I also try and write to people I know who are going through stressful times. I have no idea why I started to write these notes, but I love thinking about the smiles on their faces when they read them. If I can make just one girl's day with my notes, I'll be thrilled (yeah, I've only written to girls so far. Guys don't care so much...and they check their mail a lot less frequently).

God is working in silent but powerful ways this semester, and I hope that my work is a part of His brilliant plans.

Also, NOTE TO SELF: Buy more notecards : )

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Can't Think of An Entertaining Title For This Post Because My Brain Hurts

Really, I am just tired right now. Not physically, but mentally, I'm exhausted. Thursdays are killer for me this semester. My day isn't over until 5 o'clock, and then will come homework (thankfully I did mine in advance, so none for me today).

Just to let y'all in on my life now that I'm back at school, I'm taking three classes, one that includes a two-hour lab, and I'm Peer Mentoring a Foundations class, too. On top of that, I'm again working at the radio station, giving tours twice a week (and on some Saturdays), and hopefully writing for the Entre Nous (the yearbook).

[NOTE: All of those last three things involve me getting paid. Cha-ching!]

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are pretty static. Contemporary Math at 10:30, then JMC Writing and Editing at 11:45. I'll be in the radio station some on Wednesdays to record voicetracks, but nothing too stressful.

Tuesdays are fairly boring. 8:00 AM Fiction and Film class, then maybe Convo if it's Academic Lecture or Faith Development (the two categories I still need to fill up). After that is a tour at 11 (there won't always be a tour, but 11:00 is the popular time slot, so we'll probably have a tour 99% of the time). Then I'm done on Tuesdays (and some radio stuff will happen then, too, but again, not enough to stress about). Shiloh is that night, too, so I'm really happy it's on my easy day.

Thursdays are PACKED. It starts the same as Thursdays (minus any radio work), then I have until 1:45 to eat/change clothes (if I get really sweaty on the tour) before my Foundations class. As soon as that ends at 2:50, I head across campus to the JMC lab for my two hour lab at 3:00 (if you astute readers noticed, that means ten minutes to get across campus and get a snack from the food court if I forgot one from the room).

Wow. I don't even like talking about my Thursdays. At least I can sleep until 9:00 the next day.

So that's pretty much all the patience I have for blogging today. My head hurts.

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lazy Days...Though Not By Choice

I'm not a bad blogger, I promise. It's just that nothing is going on in my life right now. The World Cup was the most interesting thing occupying my thoughts when I got back from Spain, but now that's over (Spain won! Viva Espana! I did a major happy dance...) and I'm back to boredom.

It kicked in a lot faster than I thought it would. I'm looking for any excuse to not go back to ths house because I know once I get back to the couch, I'm pretty much not getting up until many, many hours around bedtime.

It's kind of nice to have a lot of flexibility, I guess, but I just want something to DO. My hope for a job at the radio station isn't going to pan out, and the people who want regular babysitters already have them. I'm working Praise Week right now, but that'll be over Friday (on a related note, I get to play a GPS named Carmen. All my mockery of my Garmin will finally be worth it!).


Anyway, some little things have happened lately. I got my final grades from Spain, and they're both A's! I still have my 4.0 GPA! Even though that's what I had all through high school, it's so much more satisfying to have that after a full year (plus a summer term) of college. Also, my church had a prelim meeting about our new college & career/singles group. It was a small, but good, group, and we had a lot of fun. I kind of hope we end up calling the group J-ello...I really like J-ello (both as a name and a food)

On that note, pudding is better than J-ello. I had the choice of which to make today, and I chose pudding. Of course, you can make pudding in five minutes. J-ello takes hours. I do not have that kind of patience.

All right, I'm getting weird due to tiredness. Later.

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Viva Espana!

I have never been a fan of soccer. Never. To me, there's not much action, it's low-scoring, and there are no commercial breaks, so if you have to get food/go to the bathroom/etc., you might miss something. And with my luck, that would be when the only action happens.

(For example, I am currently waiting on the Spain vs. Germany game to start. I am also waiting on a phone call from a potential employer for the summer. I am 99.9% positive he will call during the game.)

However, seeing as I was in Spain when the World Cup started and Spain is still in the chase for the championship (!!!), I am way too into this tournament than I normally would be.

Now I am insistant that I watch all of Spain's games, I wear my jersey to watch said games, and I can actually hold a conversation about the World Cup with people I know who love soccer.

Go me! Go Spain! Viva Espana!

Only an hour until the game. Viva La Roja! Beat Germany!

(BTW, the above picture of of my favorite Spain player, David Villa (#7). He is Spain's star player, having scored 6 of Spain's 7 World Cup goals this year. Villa, Villa, Marvavilla!)

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust. (And La Roja!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Know I've Been Horrible About Updating...

...but this week has been SO crazy. I'll recap when I get back home (in less than 48 hours!), but I have zero time right now. We have to be on the bus in an hour, and I still have to get dressed and the rest of my stuff packed (which is not much at all) and eat breakfast.

It's hard to believe this is our last full day in Espana. It's been such an incredible journey, and I am so grateful that God put each and every one of the people on this trip in my life. I'm still not fluent in Spanish, but as long as they don't speak like they're running out of breath, I can understand, and if you give me a minute, I can respond. I've definitely gotten better, I know that for sure.

For the twelve of the group headed to Salamanca today (class again tomorrow...enjoy!), I am praying for you and I love you and I miss you. Post pictures all the time and Skype me when you can : ) It's going to be weird not having you around after we get back to Madrid.

We've got one more thing to look at in Granada before starting on our six hour drive back to Madrid, so hopefully I'll get some sleep.

And when I get home, I WANT SOME PEANUT BUTTER!

Hasta luego!
(Or until I get home!!!)

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

As I Am Very Tired, I Shall Only Post a Short List

(This list consists of the various and sundry thoughts I have accumulated during our two days of the Andalucian tour)

  • Windmills. They're awesome. And pretty.
  • I swear, Coca-Cola just tastes better over here. And Fanta Naranja (Orange, for those of you who need to brush up on your Spanish) is DEFINITELY better.
  • Did you know that buses have a certain amount of time they have to rest over here, as required by national law? It's pretty intense, but it's cut down tremendously on the amount of bus accidents.
  • I really do love fans. I'm going to be that quirky girl with the fan sitting at Samford football games, I really will. I love them.
  • I also have a really bad habit of collecting scarves. They're pretty, cheap, and light. Therefore, perfect items to pick up while traveling.
  • On that note, my suitcase WILL be under the weight limit. I can actually pick it up now.
  • I miss my big bed, I really do.
  • First thing I'm making when I get back home: PB&J with a glass of really cold milk.
  • I have now seen the Spanish Bradley Cooper, and he can flamenco dance. Life. Complete.
  • I had piping hot, fresh out of the oven bread for dinner tonight, and it was the best thing ever.
  • This morning, I ate the Jewish Quarter of town. Oh, the irony.
  • I'm still looking for a beach hat.
  • Even though I complain about it, at the end of the stairs/ramps, I am always glad I climb up really tall towers in historic places.
  • Horses smell.
  • Birds don't aim their poop very well. Or maybe they just target girls in white shirts. (Thankfully, it was our last stop before the hotel and the majority got on my arm and not my clothes)
  • Magnifying mirrors make you aware of how desperately you need an eyebrow wax.
  • On that note, I NEED A PEDICURE.
  • I'll sleep on the bus tomorow.
  • My, this list was longer than expected.
Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two Days of Relaxation and Random Sightings

So for the first time in this entire Spain experience, we had TWO complete days where we had nothing to do. I guess technically we had that during our free weekend, but seeing as how we had to explore a city in two and a half days, I don't count that.

See, Friday we finished our classes (hip hip hooray!), and Saturday we had our last excursion to El Escorial and El Castillo de Manzanares. They were both incredibly gorgeous, but I think we were all kind of over excursions by that point. We just wanted to get the Andalucia trip started!

Sunday (yesterday), Karin and I woke up early (only out of necessity) to go to El Rastro once more for the last of our souvenir shopping. Yes, I am competely done. If I have forgotten you, I am sorry, but you can live with it (I'm only kind of kidding...if you were that important, I wouldn't have forgotten you).

After Rastro, we came back to the house and packed a bit while watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (we rented it on iTunes). I had to convince Karin it was worth watching, and I guess she finally came around. Haha. However, I've had the "Sabine Women" song stuck in my head ever since. That, and "Goin' Courtin'."

We wanted some chocolate and churros in the worst way, so instead of a "real" lunch, we took off for Sol and La Chocolateria San Gines. Of course, being as directionally challenged as Karin and I are, we got lost. No surprise, huh? However, we got to explore Sol a little bit (well, the streets around Sol. Sol itself was full of those darn protesters again. On a Sunday of all days!) and I found an even better souvenir for one of the people on my gift list, so it was good.

We finally made it to La Chocolateria, and while we were enjoying our delicious chocolate and churros, we saw the guys who sell the knock-off bags and pirated DVDs running/speed walking through the street we were on...with two police officers chasing/corralling them on their motorcycles. It was really weird/intersting to see. However, what's REALLY interesting is that we saw the SAME guys and the SAME police officers about ten minutes later doing the same little routine. That time it was just straight up funny. Karin and I cracked up about it for a good five minutes.

We then headed to Retiro to walk around a bit. We got some Fanta Naranja and sat down to watch the boaters in the lake. A woman with her friend and her three young kids sat behind us. The oldest boy started poking me in the back, so I turned around to talk to him. He was SO adorable. I spoke to him in Spanish (he understood me!), and his mom had him practice some of his English on me. Too cute. His name was Lucas and he was 5. His younger brother (who I also spoke with a bit), Matteo, was 3, and they had an infant sister whose name I can't remember. It was the sweetest thing to sit there and talk with them for a few minutes.

Our most random sighting in the park was this little girl just carrying around a little white bunny. It doesn't seem like it would be that random, but when was the last time YOU saw someone just carrying around a bunny in a giant park in Madrid?

After one last loop around the lake, we headed back to the house for a much-needed nap. When we woke up (well, I woke up and then made Karin wake up), we mostly finished our packing. After dinner with our madre, we chilled out at the house for a bit before headed to bed (a lot of the others in the group go out at night...Karin and I just can't get into that. After dinner, we just want to go to sleep!)

Today (Monday), we slept in. Those three words are heavenly, no lie. We haven't done that since I don't know when. When we woke up, we took our time eating and getting ready to go out and go shopping on Gran Via. I think we went shopping on jus tthe right day...almost all the stores had massive sales going on! I'm talking 50%+. Unfortch, the one thing I was shopping for was in the one store with no sales. However, I'm VERY happy with my cute rose-red romper (say that five times fast). I'm glad I am, too, as it's the only thing I bought today (did not find a beach hat that was too my liking anywhere today).

Right now we're just relaxing in Starbucks (our WiFi spot) for a bit before dinner with madre. Our last one! We bought her some flowers yesterday at Rastro as a thank you gift. When we brought them to her, she looked at us and said "No es mi cumpleanos!" (It's not my birthday!). She was really pleased and put them on the dinner table in a cute vase.

Not much packing left to do. I'm SO ready to go to Andalucia tomorrow. It's my only vacation this summer, after all...haha.

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Vacation...Somewhat

Since I'm not sure how my whole internet situation is going to be this next week (our tour of Andalucia), I'm going to give all of you a rundown of how the trip is going to pan out so that you have a bit of an idea if I can't blog to tell you all about it.

Tuesday: We leave. We see La Mancha (windmills!) and Cordoba (Mezquita, Jewish Quarter), then go to Sevilla to spend the first of two nights.

Wednesday: Day in Sevilla (maybe we'll see Tom Cruise...he's filming there right now). Roman ruins, cathedral, Alcazar, Maria Luisa Park, and Barrio do Santa Cruz. That night...FLAMENCO SHOW! Ole!

Thursday: Travel to Gibralter where we get to go to the Rock : ) Shopping during the afternoon, then head for Torremolinos for the amazing hotel (so we're told) for two nights.

Friday: Free Day. My guess is that we'll spend it all on the beach. But that's just a guess.

Saturday: Travel to Granada. Visit Cathedral, Royal Chapel, tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, shopping in Alcaiceria. At night we have a nighttime tour of the Arab quarter for "views of the Alhambra illuminated by night." (Yes, that's quoted from the itinerary)

Sunday: Tour of Alhambra and Generalife palaces. Return to Madrid to spend the night.

Monday: Head to airport to head back HOME! I can't remember what time our flight leaves. I'll get back to you on that...

This week has been great, and I feel really good about my grades. I am so ready for a week of relaxation before home!

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Finito : )

I am posting this just to say:


And now I have 9 days left in Spain to enjoy that fact.

Plus, I'm pretty sure my grade is good.

All this makes for a happy Jackie.

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Short and Sweet

I’m keeping this short. There is work to be done.

Monday: We went to the Real Madrid stadium. I am not a futbol fan, but this excited me. We (Karin and I) went with Courtney, Caitlin, Emily, and our new German friend Mooritz. It was a lot of fun. I’d love to see a game there somday.

We got to see so many different parts of the stadium, including getting to walk the pitch, sit in the player's chairs (so comfy!), and go to the press room (I cannot tell you how excited that part made me. It was intoxicating.)

Tuesday: Directly after class, we went to the Royal Palace. It was unnecessarily elaborate, and the king and queen don’t live there (the location of their house is super-secret), so I wasn’t too interested. It was gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, and worth a visit, but I was tired and cold and hungry. Therefore, not much attention was able to be paid. It was pretty, though. Too bad we couldn't take pictures inside.

Funny Moment of the Day: Logan told the lady putting the "coatroom" tags on our backpacks that he had a meeting with the King...she told him that he was at a discotec and then put on of the tags on Logan's wrist. : )

However, afterwards, a group of us (Allison, Courtney, Emily, Karin, Carmen, J.T., and myself) went to El Espejo for their special cinnamon ice cream thing. It. Was. Amazing. We’re planning a return trip before we leave on Tuesday.

Oh, and then we walked to the metro and then home in the rain.

Wednesday: We all started to get very anxious about the finals (Friday) and the oral exams (Thursday or Friday, depending on when we signed up). Karin and I spent the afternoon at Starbucks doing homework. I think I’m good for exams, but I’m trying not to get cocky.

My oral exam is TODAY at 6:30 PM (that’s 12:30 PM for those of you in Georgia). Prayer is appreciated.

Off to study!

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.


Sunday: A Day of Heavy Backpacks

Showering on Sunday morning was painful. The backs of my hands were burned, so just washing my hair stung. Not a fan. But there was nothing I could do.

We packed up and checked out of the hotel, then made our way to the main street for breakfast in a café. I had a class of freezing cold milk and was in absolute heaven. I miss cold milk.

Oh yeah, so you know how I mentioned that our backpacks were heavy on Friday? Well, on Sunday, we had to carry them around ALL. DAY. LONG. Not cool.

However, we decided to make the most of it and take the bus tour of Barcelona so that we could just set our bags down most of the day. Yay for being smart!

We rode the red line all around the main part of Barcelona. We saw SO much: the Olympic stadium, the ports, the shopping center where we would later eat lunch (at the same spot the other girls at dinner Friday when we were looking for them), and so much more. I took about a thousand pictures of architectural details. I love European buildings!

And, of course, I put on sunscreen to prevent further sunburning on my arms.

At the end of the line, Karin and I made our way to our chosen restaurant for some paella con mariscos. I was excited to try this dish because I’ve heard so much about it and hadn’t had it yet. Plus, it had seafood (my favorite!). What’s not to love?

Well, it came, and Karin looked at me and said “What are you making me eat?”

I guess she had a point. The seafood did still have eyes, after all. However, it was all so delicious that I didn’t even care. And this is unusual for me, as I am normally very cautious about food.

We had a nice conversation with the Australian couple sitting next to us, Karin and I informing them about what we knew about Spain (they really didn’t know that much) and giving them advice on what do and what to see. I felt so legit in that moment.

We spent some time after lunch shopping in the mall. And, though I tried on a lot, I bought nothing. Nada. Zilch. In fact, all I bought period in Barcelona souvenier-wise were three postcards. Karin, however, bought a gorgeous bathing suit I am extremely jealous of. I tried on bathing suits, too, but I’m discovering that Spain fashion is not geared toward women bigger than a B. Disappointment, anyone?

After shopping, we stopped at the waffle stand again for more deliciousness before getting back on the bus and headed out toward the green line. This line stopped near the biggest mall in Catlonia, right across from our hotel, and we were excited to shop in it.

Problem. It was Sunday. And the stores were closed. *boo* I was very unhappy.

So, Karin and I rode the bus a bit more, then headed to the airport. We were sad to leave Barcelona, but happy to return to Madrid. I had really missed it.

We felt quite legit navigating the train and metro systems to the airport. And by that point, we were so giddy with exhaustion that we kind of floated through the whole experience.

Oh, and you know how we were disappointed that we’d have no more shopping? We were wrong. Barcelona’s airport pretty much has a mall inside it. There’s a Zara and everything. I got Karin a little model of the benches (funny story behind that purchase…but I won’t go into that here) as an apology for being so blech-y on Saturday. She was very excited.

We made sure to keep checking the gate so we wouldn’t get caught be surprise like we did in Madrid, but thankfully, Barcelona is much more consistent. We got on our plane with no problems, and I stared out the window the whole way back.

All in all, a very good trip. I was thoroughly satisfied with the whole experience. And next time, I’m putting on sunscreen every ten minutes.

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.


Saturday: In Which Karin Becomes Very Excited About Benches

After an…eventful Friday in Barcelona, Karin and I were excited to get on with the rest of our weekend, which was, thankfully, much less accident-filled than the first day.

I can now honestly say I have toured Barcelona in three ways, all of which begin with the letter ‘B’: bicycle, boat, and bus (in that order, in fact). Bicycle and boat tours were on Saturday, and then the bus was Sunday.

So, to recap, Saturday started when Karin and I woke up in the the most comfortable beds we’ve slept in a long time. We did not want to get up in the least. However, we had to, and by 10:45 we were waiting at the metro stop for the others so we could get to our bike tour.

This tour was going to last three hours, and I was nervous as mess. I hadn’t been on a bike in at least three years, and now I was going to ride around a city on one for three hours? What was I getting myself into?

Our tour guide showed up, and we were all a bit shocked. I wish I had a picture. He had the LONGEST dreads ever, tied back in a ponytail. He spoke English, but with a very thick Catalonian accent. After our initial shock, however, we discovered he was very cool (he came from Barcelona, so how could he not be cool? *sideways peace sign*…yeah, don’t worry about that. It’s an inside joke…haha). We also found out that he travels whenever and wherever he wants, and when he works, he’s a tour guide by day and a DJ by night (like Batman, only much more Marley-esque).

Turns out I shouldn’t have been worried about the tour. It was the best thing about the trip. The weather was perfect for cruising on bikes around Barcelona, and it was definitely better than walking. We saw so many awesome things, and I wish I had gotten even more pictures than the 200 I did take, but I was not as coordinated as Allison at taking pictures while riding. I waited until I stopped moving before trying that.

My one attempt at a moving shot...yeah, not so good

After the tour, we walked down to the old port to look at the times and prices for the Catamaran tours. Caitlin, Karin, and I knew we wanted to go, but the others took a bit of convincing. Thankfully, Karin is a very skilled saleswoman and all seven of us got on the boat together.

This is where both my camera died and I got sunburned. I will say no more on the topics (except that I got a Silly Band line from the burn…and it’s quite comical to look at).

After the boat, we all took the metro to Karin’s and my hotel so that Karin, Morgan, and I could get into our bathing suits because we were headed for the beach! (Yes, I just got sunburned and was headed straight for the beach. Don’t judge. I stopped and paid 17 bucks for sunscreen before going…yes, no lie, 17 bucks. They price gouge for sunscreen in Spain).

The others went to find the beach while we changed, and once we did (and found notes from the hotel wanting the passport and credit card info of Karin’s dad. We then called her dad and had him call the hotel to tell them to stop harassing us. Go Karin’s Dad!), we started out toward the beach.

This is where we got lost again. Karin and I got lost a lot, apparently. They had been on the beach almost an hour before we got there.

Side note: Yes, this is Europe. Yes, women were sunbathing topless. Yes, one of the girls in the group went topless for ten seconds because it was on her bucket list. No, I will not put her name in my blog. Yes, we did sit beside three obnoxiously drunk German guys, and yes, I did decide that I dislike the German language because it is not pretty. Oh, and yes, the water was cold…or freezing, whichever you please.

After the beach, we threw on our coverups and headed toward the Park Guell, where a lot of Gaudi’s architecture and his house is. This involved a lengthy metro ride.

It is at this time that my blood sugar decided it no longer liked me and dropped like a 15 ton bowling ball. That, combined with the horrid jerky movements of the Barcelona metro, resulted in me almost fainting in the metro system.

Cross that off the list of things to do before I die.

I was all better once I got some food and water in me (we had been so busy all day, I hadn’t eaten properly and the sun had just drained me), but I still wasn’t the happiest camper when I saw the giant hill we had to climb to get to the park. However, Karin was insistent that we see Gaudi’s benches (this is where the title comes into play), so I went.

So glad I did. Otherwise, I’d never have seen as many Jamaican-wannabes all in one place as I did that day. Yes, we walked straight through the International European Reggae Festival.

Courtney Connell: “I think I just smoked marijuana for the first time without realizing it.”

After passing through the Caribbean and searching for our tour guide (we concluded that he was the DJ for the shindig), we finally made it to the benches.

Imagine a three-year-old boy hyped up on seven packs of Pixi Stix, a Mountain Dew, and a dozen donuts. Can you picture it? Now multiply it by five. Add two. Then twenty.

Karin was more excited than that. I literally though she was going to kiss them, no lie. I was very sad my camera was dead and I could not get a picture of her face. So you’ll just have to make do with your imagination.

After seeing the park and taking a million pictures (well, everyone else taking a million pictures, anyway), Karin and I headed back toward our hotel. We were intending to freshen up then meet everyone for dinner, but I was feeling pretty awful by this time with my sunburn and all, and Karin was tired, so we grabbed something quick, took it to our hotel room, and went to bed.

Be Jealous of My Silly Band Line

Have I mentioned that I loved-loved-loved those beds? Because I did. I want them back.

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friday 6/11: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Friday was a very, very long day.

It started normally enough. We went to class, learned some stuff, and then we grabbed our (very, very heavy) bookbags and headed for the metro.

We were on our way to the airport to board the plane for Barcelona. Can you say "excited?" Because we sure could.

We checked in with the automatich check-in machines, found the board that told us our gate, and sat and waited. Our plane was supposed to take off at 2:40. We had to board at 2.

At 2:45, we were still sitting there. But, the plane was starting to load. We get in line, wait a bit more, then get to the front, only to be told by the lady working the desk that we had the wrong gate.

Unfortunate Event #1

"Go to D62," she said. So we did. At a flat-out run.

There is no one at gate D62. NO ONE. We just knew we had missed our plane.

There was a lady at the desk. Scared out of our minds, we asked her if the plane had already taken off. For an agonizing minute, she checks the flight number in the system.

"No," she says, "Go to D60."

I look down two gates, and I see a long line of people. We hadn't missed it after all. THANK GOODNESS. I ceased hyperventilation immediately.

See, we figured out later that the Madrid airport does not announce things over the PA system, and they are notorious for changing gates at the last minute. I am not cool with this, but I guess it's normal here.

So we get on the plane, and after a turbulent hour and a half, we land in Barcelona. We're so excited, and we're sure nothing else can go wrong. Karin and I navigate the train and metro systems to the closest stop to our hotel (Hilton Diagonal Mar. Look at the website and be envious. Can you blame us for being giddy?)

We got lost.

Not horribly, and when we called the hotel, they knew where we were and directed us there. But still, Unfortunate Event #2.

We arrive at the hotel, in awe at the amazingness that we see. Then we get told that, since we're using Karin's dad's gift cards/points things, they need to see his passport and credit card.

Unfortunate Event #3.

More freaking out. We are positive they are going to kick us out. We unpack and freshen up for dinner with the other girls in Barcelona in utter fear that they will come knocking and throw us to the curb. Karin's dad, who we called immediately, says not worry, but we just can't help ourselves. However, we breath deeply and start out toward the center of town. Dinner, we are sure, will help us keep calm.

We got lost finding the metro stop. Unfortunate Event #4. But we asked a nice French girl how to find it, and she got us there very easily. Thank you, mysterious French girl.

Of course, getting off at the right metro stop does not assure that we will soon arrive at our destination. Oh no. In keeping with the theme of the day, we got very, very lost trying to find the restaurant.

Unfortunate Event #5. (A lot of these have to do with getting lost, if you haven't noticed.)

The other girls told us to look where the tall statue was pointing (we did) and take the bridge. The restaurant was at the end of the bridge and we'd be there very soon.

We took the wrong bridge, apparently. And the bridge we took was probably a mile long. We walked around for a good 45 minutes before figured out we had the wrong bridge. And then we still went to another wrong one before getting to the right one.

All in all, an hour or so spent lost. Conclusion: There are a lot of bridges in Barcelona.

And, of course, when we got the group, they were done eating, but we got some crepes/waffles from a stand at the end of the bridge and my stomach was happy again : )

We walked around a bit more, then decided to go back to the hotel to sleep. I slept like a baby in the marshmallow bed in the hotel. I haven't slept like that since I got to Spain.

Like I said, Friday was a very, very long day. But it just made the next two days that much better.

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Brief Update on Barcelona

I wish I had a lot more time right now to update you on my free weekend in Barcelona. I have the day-by-day posts coming, but right now I do not have the time to get them up. So, I'll leave you with a few brief memories and some pics.

Friday: A Series of Unfortunate Events
Saturday: With Benches Comes Salvation
Sunday: I Can't Eat That! It's Looking At Me!

~almost fainting in the metro
~french boys with no concept of deoderant
~paella con mariscos
~our friend, the waffle/crepe guy
~wrong bridge
~being a tourist
~the European Reggae Festival
~our dreadhead tour guide
~It's like learning to ride a bike
~Karin becoming very excited about benches
~scared we would get kicked out of the hotel
~price gouging for sunscreen
~topless beaches
~sunburn...nuff said
~and much, much more

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

People You Meet on the Madrid Metro

-old lady with a fan

-old man with a newspaper

-loud, obnoxious high schoolers

-loud, obnoxious American tourists (not us, ones that spend the entire ride talking about how many DUI’s they’ve gotten)

-creepy stalker man

- girl who forgot to put on pants that morning

-girl who was vacuumed sealed into her jeans

-woman with heels as tall as a small child

-thief with coat over his/her arm

-middle school boy who has not become acquainted with deoderant

-ultra-fashionable Spanish woman

-metrosexual man

-gay/lesbian couple

-couple stuck together at mouth

-disturbing couple that looks like they could be dad/daughter

-NOT our madre because she hates the Metro

-scary old lady we met previously at the bus stop

-normal people (possibly)

-adorable babies

-Johnny Depp lookalike who I wanted to stare at for a very, very long time

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

"When in Madrid, Make Out on the Metro"- Courtney Connell

(this quote actually happened, and it seems to be accurate. I think ever metro ride I've ever taken has had the token couple whose faces were stuck together.)

So I got to go to a bullfight last night. Well, actually, it was more like six bullfights. Yes, that's right. SIX. Surprisingly, after the first fight, it was pretty interesting to watch. There's a lot of rules and things that go into it, and I asked Dra. Crider so many questions that I'm sure she was sick of me by the end of it.

I'll share one tidbit of bullfight info with you: If a bull comes into the ring to fight and after a while they decide he is not responding as fiercely as they would like, they'll send the bull back out (they herd him using other bulls to make him feel comfortable). However, the bull still has to die. Once a bull has faced a man, he is considered too dangerous to keep alive because he'll charge any other man he sees. So they shoot him later.

Yeah. Fun stuff. However, culturally fascinating.

Also, I got a fan. I love this thing.

After the bullfight, the entire group went out to eat at a place whose name I never learned. We had this AMAZING roasted chicken that I just devoured, and then some of us made our way to good ole' Micky D's for a McFlurry.

Now don't go calling me a tourist: these McFlurries are SO much better than in the States. They have KitKat, Crunch, and Peanut M&M flavors, and also Chocolate, White Chocolate, and Caramel syrups to go with them. KitKat+Caramel=LOVE. Though the Crunch and Caramel isn't bad either.

Today we went to Toledo, which was pretty amazing, even if it was scorching hot. I got the majority of my present shopping done there (liquidation sale at a jewelry store! 50% off!) and got a few good photos. It wasn't as picturesque as Segovia, but it was so historical. Lots of hills though. No fun.

Tomorrow we're heading to El Rastro, the big "flea market" here, and then we're going to Lago to help a missionary (he's a Samford grad). We're going to be talking to (or attemping to talk to) Equadorian refugees and passing out tracts. There's going to be an American band there, too. Which one? I'm not sure.

Well, I can't write much more. I'm almost out of juice on my computer and there isn't a free outlet at Starbucks (side note: there's one two minutes from our apartment, and we went two weeks not knowing it was here. We're horrible people).

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.