Friday, March 30, 2007

Una experencia!

I feel like I've been somewhat out of touch with my hospital experience. I'd like to thank everyone for the kind words and prayers. I'm sure I'm out much quicker because of them.
To give a brief account, on Friday, I had started feeling sick and by Saturday, it had gotten much worse. Saturday nite the doctor made a house call and gave some instructions and we hoped for the best. By Sunday, I felt horrible with dizziness and the pains in my stomach were almost unbearable. They took me to the hospital that day and Susan, who works with student affairs at the school, took wonderful care of me. She kept me company and was the go between for many things. My Mom made me feel so much better also, as she communicated with the doctor, who spoke english thankfully. I don't know if I've ever had so much contact with my Mom and Dad since I've been here, and speaking with them helped make my hospital experience pass by much more quickly.
They started me on IVs, which are a bit different looking than those in the states. Also another thing I noticed was that the thermometer was always put under the armpit instead of in the mouth. It was somewhat humerous how long they'd leave the thermometer in. I suppose it wasn't like I was going anywhere! After the antibiotics started kicking in and a few days of not eating, I felt much better. They did some xrays and another test to find out that I had lesions on my intestine and thus the pain. They first thought it to be from Morroco, but by the end, they weren't completely sure what it was from.
Now that I'm out, I have a strict diet to follow for a bit and some medicines. I shall stay in Seville and miss my trip to Ireland, which is somewhat of a disappointment, but as my mom said, maybe I can get some credits for my hospital stay!
I'll be able to see the whole of Semana Santa which should be lovely and impresionante as everyone here says.
They're really getting ready for it here, with new paint going up everywhere and chairs and benches being set up.
I wish everyone a beautiful Easter. I'll have a good preparation here I believe and I will make the best of it know that my sufferings and mishaps can never compare to the majority of misfortunes that happen everyday to others.
God bless you all!

Monday, March 19, 2007


My Photos

Morocco is by far the farthest I have been away from the comfort of familiarity and the ability to relate to fellow human beings. For one, the language is completely different, and the majority know French as a second language as opposed to Spanish or English. Secondly, I stick out like a sore thumb amoung the darker skin, and being a non islamic woman, not wearing the traditional garb. Riding in the bus to and through cities and small towns of Morocco, I almost felt like a slide under the microscope. Pairs of Moroccan eyes, mostly male, followed us as we went along our way, in the same way, I supposed we looked at them. The reason I said mostly male eyes is that it is really hard to find woman on the streets and the "machoism" here is even stronger than in Spain. I´ve run out of time for now already, but I´ll finish in a short time.

I spent about a half hour writing an explanation of my trip. And for some reason it erased it.

Ok, I´ll try this again! Rough outline:
-left Seville at 5.30 in the morning by bus to Tarifa, the windy city of Spain, country side was beautiful as well as all the windmills
-Took a ferry for 35 minutes from Tarifa to Tanger, Morocco
-Continued by bus with Moroccan tour guide to Chefchaouen, a small town almost completely painted blue, said to keep away the mosquitos
-Had a local tour take us around Chefchaouen and we were also able to hear the loud prayer call while in the town
-Continued by bus to Fes, say many donkeys and roadside markets, policemen, sheep
-Arrived in Fes where we ate a delicious dinner at the hotel
-Slept very well!
-We left early to visit the medina, the old market filled part of the city
-tried our hands at bargaining
-visited a tannery (beautiful to see but the smell was almost unbearable), supposedly people from Amazing Race had a challenge in this tannery
-ate in a restaurant within a palace that served very flavorful dishes, with plenty of cous cous
-visited a wood shop, metal shop, fabric shop, and a "pharmacy" with all kinds herbs to cure
-went to a moroccan music show
-went to the city of Asilah, a very quiet town with a restaurant that served excellent cous cous and vegetables
-succeeded in bargaining!
-Continued back to Tanger by bus (where we took a hop up on a camel) and from there to Tarifa by Ferry

All in all, a scenic, flavorful, distinct, revealing, and impressive trip.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

London, England: Fish n Chips and Minding the Gap

My long England started on Thursday nite where we took a plane at 10 pm from Seville to Stanford, England. From there we took a bus to London, about a two hour ride. We slept at my roommate´s friend´s apartment and then in the morning went to check in at our hostal. Thankfully, our hostal offered free breakfast, which saved us some money in a country where our money is not worth all that much. The exchange rate right now is about 2 U.S. dollars for one pound.

That Friday, we checked out the Science Museum, which was a good reminder of what I´ll be going back to in the Fall! Afterwards, we got some fish and chips for lunch, which were very tasty and wrapped in a newspaper like wrapping. Then we met up with my roommate´s friend to travel to Windsor Castle, which is about a half hour away from central London. We bought our tube passes and headed to the castle where the Queen was actually present, although we didn´t catch sight of her. The castle had the official guards and we toured the various rooms that are used by the royalty and special guests. The furniture was extravagant and the details of each room were different and very intricate. There were royal portraits, weapons, busts, and lots of history contained in those rooms.

That nite we ate quickly at a restaurant and then headed off for the nitetime Jack the Ripper tour. The guide was very knowledgable about the facts and myths surrounding this horrible case that has left it´s infamous mark on London´s dark streets.

Our hostel was a fairly good deal with a free breakfast consisting of cereal, toast, and coffee and a towal to use for showers. The springs on the bed were quite noticable when layed upon, but what can you expect.

On Saturday, we started our day out the Portabella market, which seems to stretch for infinity along both sides of the road. They sold all sorts of things such as clothes, stamps, touristy tshirts, necklaces, cricket balls, antiques, and you name it you could probably find it.

We walked around for a bit, crossing the Millenium Bridge and checking out the Shakespeare Globe Theater. We didn´t see a play there but Clara, my roommate, got the idea to see this one show in the Picadilly are called "The 39 Steps." She had heard that it was a great play and we only had a half hour to get there so we booked it and ran to the tube station and when we got there, we had missed the first ten minutes which was good because we were able to buy discounted tickets which were less than half the original price. Plus the usher filled us in on what we had missed and was a very good story teller.
Here´s a brief synopsis found online:
"Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of "Mr Memory"'s show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith who is running away from secret agents. He accepts to hide her in his flat, but in the night she is murdered. Fearing he could be accused on the girl's murder, Hannay goes on the run to break the spy ring."

This play is based on an Alfred Hitchcock original. It only consisted of four actors who played the roles of many characters, and sometimes the one actor on the stage would change characters right there. It was to say the least, humerous and well staged. I really enjoyed seeing it and I was glad I was able to get to a play as my other friends were going to see Caberet that same nite and I had decided not to go.

We also checked out Chinatown in London which was pretty authentic.
While the girls were at Caberet, I walked around the bustling streets of London and checked out the many, many shops that lined the streets (I could only afford to window shop however).

That next morning I went to the Brompton Oratory where they held a Tridentene Mass at nine in the morning. The church was spectacular in it´s size and beauty. The Mass was very reverent and as usual, reminded me of home :) Afterwards, I went to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace where they put on a very good show. There was a band, people on horses, and of course, the fuzzy hatted guards who aren´t supposed to smile. However, if you look at my pictures, you´ll see I caught one smiling! He must be a newbie of the pack. There were so many people there lining the streets and taking pictures. It was quite a production.

After that, I went to check out St. Thomas´ hospital and the Florence Nightingale Musuem. Learning about Florence, I found in her almost a kindred spirit. She helped many people in her development of nursing and wrote books on a variety of subjects.

Then I went by the riverside to take pictures, and I went a little snap happy there as you will see. The view was just perfect and the buildings all compliment eachother so well.
I also checked out the Natural History Musuem. The architecture was breath taking but the parts that I had time to see left a bit to be desired. A bit too much depth into the fact that I may be related to a monkey or chimp or whatnot. But I did read a very interesting display for about half an hour about the power of plants. I know, it doesn´t sound all that interesting but I enjoyed it!

Our last day there, Monday, some of us went to the National Gallery, which contained some of the greatest paintings in the world. I saw Picasso, Goya, Velasquez, Murillo, Monet, Davinci, Michalangelo, and so many beautiful paintings that would inspire anyone to pick up a brush right then and there.

Monday, March 5, 2007

La playa y sherry!


This weekend was probably one of the least expensive and one of the most fun weekends I´ve had here in Spain. We spent Friday in Seville and went by the river to do some paddleboating. Didn´t get to far in the boats but it was a beautiful day out and it was fun being passed up by all the people in kayacs and tourist ships. Then we went to a italian pizza place for dinner which was quite good and being there it almost felt as if we weren´t even in Spain. Then on Saturday we headed out on the train for the city of Cadiz, which is located on the Atlantic ocean. The ride took about two hours, which is not that bad at all.
Once there, Liz and Clara found our hostal. It´s always so nice to travel with those two as they always have a wonderful sense of direction and are quite good navigators. Casa Caracol was our hostal and it was unlike anything I´ve ever stayed in. The staff was very friendly and there was a community kitchen, which was exciting because we would be able to actually cook our own dinner! It also had internet access. The atmosphere was that of a family as people just came in and out of the lounge, dining room area and just made conversation. They even had a dog there.

After checking in, we gathered our stuff and headed to the beach. It turned out to be a perfect day. Warm with no clouds and great waves. Nicole, Clara, Amanda and I had lots of fun "fighting" the waves and trying to body surf on them while Liz took pics on the beach. The water was so salty though that by the time I was got out, I felt like I had eaten a whole big bag of potato chips. We had bought food to bring to the beach and ate our lunch there.

We left the beach at around 8 pm after watching the sunset and at the hostal we cooked a splendid dinner. All of us contributed to our dinner. We took frozen vegetables added some olive oil (a must here in spain) and then we added some eggs. Liz heated up some sweet potatoes, which were really tasty.

That night we went up to the roof of the hostal to watch the lunar eclipse. It was a slow process and fun to watch with all the other people staying in the hostal at that time. There was a girl with bright orange hair who played the accordian and sang what sounded like scottish or irish music. There was a man working at the hostal from Canada. Another was a student from Germany who was just traveling through and we also met a boy from London.

The next day we headed off to Jerez, minus one person. Amanda had hurt her foot on the rock by the ocean and had decided to take the train back to Seville.
Our destination was a Winery of Tio Pepe. We started on a train tour with took us past the holding places for the barrels of sherry and brandy. The smell was very strong in some places and varied depending on what type of wine was stored there. The guide was very informative. The range of sherries that they make are many ranging from dry to very sweet. While tasting wine, we met a couple from London who gave us advice about our upcoming trip.

We had to wait two hours for a train back to Sevilla and by that time we were quite exhausted. Walking back to the casa, I made a stop just on time for the eight thirty Mass nearby. Then I headed to the casa and had a portugues style meal that consisted of thinly sliced potatoes, bacala, and egg. Then we had some white cheese and as always after lunch and dinner, we had fruit which this time were strawberries.
Paqui never disappoints us!

Hasta luego for now!

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Photos from Gibraltar

Yesterday, because it was a holiday for Andulucia, there wasn´t any school and so a group of us went to Gibraltar. We went through a student travel group named Solchasers and headed out of Seville at about 10 am. It takes about 2.5 hours to get there, but the ride was very scenic. To enter into the city we had to walk across an airport strip. We got to walk around the small town for a little bit and walked to a cemetary of soldiers. Then we took a tour of the rock of Gibraltar. We could see the tip of Africa from where I was standing. We also checked out the caves of Saint Michael and a natural reserve where we took lots of pictures with the monkeys, which were everywhere! The scenery was beautiful and it was interesting going to a British coloney right in Spain.