Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feels like Home

Where: using the PC-laden computer lab at school (shudder)
Listening to: the CHIO OR DIEO playlist on fratmusic.com
Word of the day: "giri"

My family came and visited me this past week!! Unfortunately, traveling for them was more work than play--their flight was late and British Airways managed to lose two of their bags (are you sure it was just the cabin crew on strike...) so they stayed Friday night in Madrid. I had two very lonely hotel rooms to myself in the center of town...so Haley, Tricia, and Laura got to have a little vacation from Señora Vicki´s!! ¡Fiesta! But really though, it was an early night at Plaza Alfalfa.

My family arrived the next morning. We had breakfast together and then took on the town. I brought them to the Cathedral and Real Alcanzar, two of Sevilla´s most popular tourist attractions. We climbed the 33-level tower, the Giralda (left). Don´t worry, no one´s knees managed to give out. However, who knows what kind of super camping knee gear my dad might have had helping him on the journey that was hidden under those transforming shorts-to-pants he had on.

We had a snack at a restaurant right next to the Cathedral, then went back to the hotel to recover for a little and check for Karen´s luggage.

Unfortunately it still had not arrived, but British Airways offered to pay for whatever clothes she needed. I took Mom and Karen shopping and they found some really cute stuff that Karen got to sport for the rest of the trip, as well as for a few new profile pictures (right).

The Slovenian Golf Team really liked the clothes too.

That night we went to a fabulous flamenco show at Palacio Andaluz. They stayed for another day in Sevilla. My parents went on a walking tour of the city while Karen and I went to the river to lay out and study.

The Steffensen family sans oldest daughter traveled around the globe. They went to Morocco where Mom bought a rug that she immediately had buyer´s remorse for, but is really pretty. Karen complained, took profile pictures at Granada, and made eye contact with a Slovenian hottie.

Dad collected rocks (surprise!) at the Rock of Gibraltar. He was very angry with the British Airways strike because it prevented him from looking at some Paleolithic cave drawings or something geologic.

They also went to Ronda.

Dad also held hands with monkeys (watch out Mom, he´s getting awfully close to another woman) and documented a suicidal monkey.

They came back to Sevilla on Thursday. However, British Airways managed to ruin the day once again and stress everyone out. Make sure to fly them!!! NOT! Worst customer service ever, thank you Natalie in Brisbane.

Karen and I did manage to gather enough spirit to head out to everyone´s favorite discotec, Buddha, that night. We had a blast!! I can´t wait until we can go out together at home. Which will have to be in a few years because now I´m too old to go to Teen Night. Darn.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Where: Tricia's bed
Listening to: things to do in Sevilla by a former Chi O being read by Haley

Well, I broke my computer screen, so unfortunately my updates will be a little more rare (because I have been doing it sooooo much lately...). I am a terrible blogger (not as bad as Tricia though).

Today's big news: we have to give presentations about a country in the EU in my Business and Commerce class. Today Haley gave her presentations, or tried to at least. It "didn't save" so she was a little nervous about it. She couldn't start it, then it started messing up, so as a joke we started booing her. Then our teacher Carlos joined in. Haley got booed off the classroom stage by the whole class and the teacher.

Only in Spain.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Now that's a situation"

Houston, we have a problem: freshly ripped tights before a night out on the town.

What is a poor student to do?

Time to use that knowledge that's costing my parents $20,000 a year.

Luckily, I have my school supplies. A good student is always prepared.

Coloring time class!

Hole? What hole?

Crisis averted. Just as long as you don't have to wear shorts the next day...

Hurricane Hits Africa

Where: Bus from Madrid to Sevilla

Listening to: “Gypsy”

Word of the day: “waa-haa” (It makes “okay” in Arabic.)

At the end of February, we went to Morocco with Discover Sevilla. We left on Friday, February 26th, at 5 p.m. We took private buses from Sevilla to Tarifa, Spain, to get to the ferry, which would then take us across the ocean to Morocco. Tricia, Savio, Laura, Haley, and I all went together, along with 100 other people. We decided to do it on our own, separate from the school and what everyone else in our program was doing, though we did have some of our classmates on our trip. Some of the other people had flown in from Rome, England, or Barcelona. We were lucky we didn’t have to do that!

The bus ride wasn’t too bad. The guides with Discover Sevilla always have a great collection of DVD’s to watch, including The Office, so time flies. Then we got to Tarifa and were ready to board the ferry, but we had to wait for ours, setting us further back in our schedule. We finally boarded the newly built ferry and found a set of seats. We played cards and I read for the hour or so ride. Once we arrived in Tangers, the night was covered in a hazy fog. It was pretty creepy. We had to walk off the ferry onto just a big, open port to wait for them to check our passports and board the bus. The ocean was to our left and to our right was a tall, thick wall about 10 meters up with guards stationed on it every 300 feet. We were definitely not in America anymore.

We had to wait for them to search the bus then we drove to M’diq (Mdeek) where we stayed at Hotel Kabila. We arrived very late, around 2 a.m., then we went to eat dinner. All of our meals were included on the trip. However, we had to buy our drinks, so naturally our water bottles became our best friends. Haley and I went back to our room and went to bed to gear up for the next day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Posting at a Bus Stop

Where: Bus from Sevilla to Madrid

Listening to: “Gypsy” by Shakira, my new favorite song

Phrase of the day: “Walking gets too boring/When you learn how to fly”

Ladies and gentlemen, you are reading the words from the happiest barely 21-year-old ever. This week we celebrated my last positive monumental birthday! It’s all down hill from here. Currently I’m traveling to Madrid for the night then Amsterdam in the morning for the grand finale of my birthday extravaganza.

We started off the week on Monday, March 1, at Phoenix, which has karaoke on Mondays! However, it did not have it this Monday sadly due to Monday being a holiday, “La Dia de Andalucia” (Andalucia is the region that Sevilla is in). Just my luck. I had actually warmed up in the shower and perused through my “Songs to Sing” playlist. Typical. The representatives of the Mizzou Crew (Haley, Tricia, Savio, and the Trav) were all there to ring in my day of birth in true Midwestern style. We played a few games of cards and “Never have I ever.” It was a pretty relaxed night with a few tequila and honey rum shots thrown in. It was exactly what I wanted, nothing too extreme or crazy. I was just really happy that my friends were willing to make my birthday special for me. It’s never easy to have a special day away from your family. I’ve gotten used to being alone at Mizzou—freshman year I opened my presents alone in my room which a forlorn “Happy birthday to me”—but it’s a little more complicated when you are on a different continent.

On Tuesday I woke up and went to school wearing lovely plastic jewelry brought for me by my roommates. Nothing says sisterhood and birthday like a small silver scepter and translucent beaded bracelets. School was normal, just with more people wishing me a happy birthday in the halls. I was still tired from the night before and the weekend, so afterwards I came home, took a siesta (nap), and talked to my mom on Skype.

That night after a hearty dinner of French fries, a strange meat that could have been liver, and bread (Jealous?), my beautiful roommates brought out a cake that they had bought and gifts! The desserts were four little round chocolate cake-like things that were surrounded in chocolate, a bigger version with crème on it, and a Spanish raspberry cheesecake! They were so delicious. Tricia had gone after school to try to find this bakery called La Campana. I had read about this in my Sevilla guidebook and passed it on multiple occasions. It was founded in 1885 and is Sevilla’s oldest bakery. Just looking into the windows is an experience in itself. It’s filled with all sorts of treats in every single window facing the street. It even has a nice little patio in front that people always sit in when the weather is nice.

Speaking of nice weather, everyone in Sevilla is really annoyed because recently Sevilla has been a little more like Seattle than a Mediterranean palm tree paradise. There has been a lot of flooding problems in the small towns surrounding Sevilla. I’m actually surprised Sevilla hasn’t had any issues because the streets were obviously not designed with drainage systems planned. The cobblestone streets are so small. Sometimes there’s not even enough room for a person to stand next to a car, much less have any sewage planned like they do in the States. On the days when it has been nice, we book it to the river and sit out on the blanket I bought and play Farkel or cards. It’s definitely one of our favorite things to do. We plan on renting a paddleboat soon too.

Anyways, after we sang happy birthday, they gave me a lovely Hannah Montana bag with some Red Bull (they know me so well), wine juice boxes, and sangria. Happy 21st!! It’s probably a lot more fun to turn 21 in the US. Oh well!

We got ready and I wore my special blue birthday dress that I bought specifically for the event. We went to Fundicion where on Tuesdays they play beer pong, the great American past time. Everyone came and joined us, even the Spanish boys! I was really happy that they came. They definitely felt out of place though in an American bar.

At Mizzou, for everyone’s 21st birthday we make them shotbooks which are scrapbooks in which twenty one people make a page for whoever’s birthday it is. Since I can’t have a shotbook in Spain (that would be a very expensive book), Haley made a makeshift one. They bought a spiral and markers from Corazon, the Chinese market, so that each person would decorate a page throughout the night. It ended up being a really fun idea. I actually think this should become a trend! Toba, Benni (two guys who work for Discover Sevilla travel company), Bart, Savio, Trav, Lauren, Hannah, Melanie, Mindy, Tricia, Laura, and the Spanish boys all made me pages. As fun as it was during the night, it was even more fun the next morning.

Overall I had a great birthday. Much better than my one freshman year that I spent in the hospital for having chest pains. Looking back now, that was not a fun birthday. Surprisingly I didn’t notice at the time. I’m so thankful that my friends made it special for me and for the money my parents gave me. Thank you again guys!!

Un Ensayo de los Jovenes

Los jóvenes de España tienen interés en muchas áreas de la vida—algunos igual que los americanos. La tecnología es importante. Muchos de los jóvenes tienen un teléfono celular, un móvil. Hay muchas compañías con los planes economicos para la juventud—Vodafone, Movistar, o Orange. Ellos llaman a sus amigos o envían mesajes de textos. El teléfono con Internet es popular, pero no tanto como en los EE UU. Facebook es popular, mas o menos. Usan la red mundial y el correo electrónico también.

La juventud está enamorada del amor. Los novios son muy populares. La juventud no tiene miedo a mostrar su amor en publico—cerca del rio, en las calles, o en los coches. Ellos besan a menudo y por todas partes. Sin embargo, ellos no se casan hasta más tarde (30 años). Pero a veces la juventud tiene hijos. La juventud vive en la casa de sus padres. No tiene un apartamento o casa individual. Es muy caro.

El fútbol es el otro amor de la juventud. Sevilla es el equipo mas popular. Real Madrid y Cristiano Ronaldo son populares también. Juegan en las calles o los parques con sus amigos. Asisten las juegues de fútbol y llevan los colores de su equipo favorito. Es lo mismo que el fútbol americano en este punto. Les gusta bailar, beber, y “rollerblades.” Caminan mucho. Assisten los discos durante el fin de semana.

La ropa de la juventud es muy diferente. Todos llevan los vaqueros, como el resto del mundo. Los morenos son mas común. Los chicos llevan bufandas y chaquetas de piel. Llevan collares y pulseras, como las chicas. Ellos utilizan “gel” en el pelo y les gusta el “fauxhawk” o la cresta. Las chicas llevan pantalones y playeras. Quieren llevar pantis de colores con los pantalones cortos o las faldas.

La educación es importante, pero no es su razon para vivir. La juventud asiste colegio y a veces a la universidad. Por ejemplo, mi hermana Vicki no asistió escuela ayer porque su madre fue enferma. Hoy Vicki va a Madrid y va a ver Sevilla F.C. con su hermano Alfonso. Es muy diferente de los EE UU. El trabajo es al mismo—trabajar para vivir y no vivir para trabajar.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pijo Pizza

Where: bottom bunk
Listening to: "Gypsy" by Shakira
Word of the day: "ligue"

Last Tuesday we were invited over to the Spanish boys' house for dinner! It was the same group of boys that we met in Plaza del Salvador. Kelly had one of their phone numbers and they wanted to have us over to their apartment and make us dinner. Very exciting, minus the whole possible set up for the movie Taken.

Anyways, we clearly are alive and well still. We went to their apartment in Triana, which reminded me exactly of a frat house. I felt so at home! It's sad how much I enjoyed just being in an apartment with an array of electronics, empty bottles used as decoration, and things that didn't really match or flow together. We went out on to their balcony and played cards for a bit until it was deemed time for dinner.

The boys had made some chicken for us beforehand. It was DELICIOUS. After our fabulous first course, the boys brought out materials to make pizza! Apparently people in Spain enjoy tuna on their pizza. They also brought out "sausage" which we kept trying to tell them that it was really hot dogs. Spaniards really love hot dogs and feel it is an appropriate meat for any dish. For example, Vicki put hot dogs on our pasta the other night.

They also didn't have anything to cut the pizza with, so in typical boy fashion we used scissors.

After dinner and a quick session of screaming song lyrics and dancing, we went out on Calle Betis to some of the bars there. All in all, it ended up being a really fun and casual night. This is what it should be about. It felt like we were back at Mizzou, just hanging out with our friends who happen to speak Spanish.

This is Enrique. He likes to say to me "Katrina de Triana! Ole!!" I have no clue why. He explained it to me, but I didn't understand.

Kelly got to ride on Miguel's Vespa!! So jealous.
It's very Passport to Paris of her.