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12 posts from June 2010


I have never been a religious soccer fan. Okay, I've never been a huge fan of any particular sport. I truly enjoy playing and watching soccer, but I rarely take the time to consciously watch a match. Being in Spain during the World Cup has re-kindled my interest. I have been watching games and feeling the excitement all around me. 

Last night Spain and Portugal played each other and I was so glad to watch the game with enthusiastic españoles! Hugging after each goal, singing and cheering every five minutes, leaning on each other while providing seemingly-professional commentary...Their energy makes futbol so much more exciting. I am rooting for Spain, but I am also crossing my fingers for Brazil. Regardless of the results, I am sure I will remember The World Cup 2010 with a great deal of fondness.  

The World Cup is just an example of the sense of community and liveliness that I feel in Spain. I don't know if it was luck to end up with such an incredible family who have interesting friends, or if I can speak for all of Mallorca. I feel so relaxed and excited at the same time, all the time. Something exciting happens every day. It is sunny every day. I am exhausted at the end of every day. "Every day" in Spain is something that I wish I could have every day for the rest of my life. . .


Classes for Session I finished last week and we started our second session this week. I am now studying Marine Biology, and given my current location, I am really enjoying the course. We have a lot of exciting excursions/day-trips planned in the upcoming weeks. Lots of beaches, a fish farm, and the aquarium. I love swimming in the Mediterranean, and it is interesting to be taking Marine Bio while having nearly-daily encounters with the sea. 

Next week I am going to Barcelona. I am going to meet a German friend, who I haven't seen for five years. We are going to stay for the weekend and I am really looking forward to getting a feel for the Spanish mainland. Sometimes I forget that I am in Spain, because Mallorca is its own island; and its own world. So Barcelona should be exciting with its urban, artistic, alternative vibes.  

¡la vida es buena!


Sunday, June 19th, 2010

Sunday started early! I had to be up at nine and at Plaza Espana by ten. We went to Valledomosa (forgive the spelling). Hacia mal tiempo! It rained today harder that it ever has since we’ve been here. We went to a museum, only to find it closed, and then decided as a group to tour the coast inside the protective walls and roof of the bus. Bad decision for poor Sue… she became really car sick as the bus made the curvy turns that the road had to offer. I think this affected Jenni too, but Sue definitely got the worst of it. Conrad helped her out with some natural medicine and Jack offered a juice box. We stick together. And this is so true. We are always together, and that’s one of the advantages of having a small group of students. As a matter of fact in my newly created Facebook, (never liked the idea about it, but knew that if I wanted to stay in touch with these guys I’d need it) my status is currently, “I absolutely love our group”. Let’s just say I got a lot “like it” comments.

We ended up at a beach, like always, but hey I am not complaining. The sun decided to show, greeting us warmly. Frisbee, paddleball, and volleyball ensued. I actually had an accident on the beach; my bañador ripped at the seams as I lunged for a wild throw by Chandler. That put me out of commission. I went straight to the servicio and changed.

Once we came home I went to the teraza to catch some more rays and read some more of my book “The Spanish Bow”, a book that I definitely advise to any and everyone. Andromeda Romano-Lax is the author. I wore the speedo I had bought earlier that week, since I felt comfortable wearing it around no one. The birds squawked when I laid down, but I though nothing of it… It wasn’t until they began getting closer to me that I knew I had done “pissed ‘em” off and immediately covered myself and returned to my casa.

Later on Tia suggested the movie “Match Point” to me. I watched it, definitely started off slow, but the ending surely made up for it. Now I am not a man that usually makes the sales’ pitches, but again, I advise this movie for sure, especially if you like V for Vendetta. Oh wow, look at the time 2:00 in the morning and I still have homework to be done. Adios all.

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Yesterday I had overslept an excursion therefore forcing my plan of action to lounge around and talk with Tia. Not a bad way to spend a day in all honesty. Staying a day with your homestead, watching Spanish television and talking passes the time and you benefit immensely. Today, I went to the beach by myself. I texted a few people but everyone seemed to be busy, so solo I went. Besides, Antonia and Susan advised doing some things on your own. I haven’t yet, so I figured it was a sign. However, things never work out how you want sometime and sometimes it works out for the better. Turns out the beach I went to by myself, happened to be the beach that Chandler and Jena wanted to go to as well (I guess I didn’t call them to see if they wanted to hang). So, I went to Platja Illetes, and about two hours later Chandler and Jena randomly and coincidently arrived. We enjoyed the sol and had great talks about the universe and its myriad of mysteries, while being sandwiched in by two couples absolutely going at it.

Tonight we plan on going to Cultura Club, which I have a feeling will lead to Tito’s (a very popular club in Paseo Maritimo). Actually I know it will lead to Tito’s because I am writing Saturday’s blog today, which is Sunday. The clan split half and half. Jenni, Laura, Ann, Susan, and I decided to go home, considering it cost 18 Euro to get into Tito’s, while Jena, Chandler, Jack, Conrad, and Andrew decided to shell out the bucks, Euros, whatever. Aaron was busy camping with his homestead hermano and Rebecca had made other plans for the night.

I came home, had a late night bocadillo with pavo, mostaza, and queso. Delicious! My face met my pillow and magic happened. I fell asleep instantly, clothes still on and not because I was intoxicated (I had drank two beers the whole night), but because I was completely exhausted. There is so much fun to be had on Mallorca that eventually it will catch up to you. Even me, I pride myself in being a “night owl”, but this owl found its roost earlier than normal.


Two weeks in!

Two weeks in! 

I am taking two classes while I am in Spain: one during Session I, and the other during Session II. We have one week left of the first term, which means one week left in my Globalization, Human Migration, and Tourism course. There are only five of us girls in the class (all from the U.S., studying with CIEE). Our professor is very intelligent and personable. Our topic is interesting when considering our current setting: The Balearic Islands. The island of Mallorca has become a tourist hot-spot, particularly for the English and Germans during their summer holidays. We took a "field trip" to Magaluf: a city that becomes Little Britain during the summer months. It's interesting to be here as an alien, but not identify with tourist culture whatsoever. 

I'm going to school every day in the morning (9am-12:30pm), but the afternoon is always something different. If I make plans to go somewhere, it is too easy to get sidetracked and start wandering down an enchanting alley to find coffee shops, gelato and ridiculously low-price, discounted clothing. (So far, my Spanish vice is cafe con leche). If I don't get distracted, I make it to the beach, or the Cathedral, or a park. Mallorca is so high-energy and yet so laid back. There is so much to do, but it is just waiting there for you-- no pressure or obligations.  100_1940

The food! I hear mixed reactions from others traveling to Spain, but I can honestly say that this food is so different and so good. Spanish tortilla is my favorite. It is basically an omelet, but with potatoes and onions. And olive oil. Lots, and lots of olive oil. I swear we eat olive oil on everything. That is one habit I don't think I can bring back to home with me. 

The highlight of my time here thus far was a spontaneous camping trip with some of the friends I have made here in Palma. We spent the night in tents and watched an amazing sunrise. In the morning we climbed a little bit down the rocks near our campsite and I saw the most beautiful water and scenery I have ever seen. I am consistently overwhelmed by the beauty of the Mallorcan people and outdoors. I can't think of a better way to kick-off my two months here.


It has now been two weeks that I have been in Palma, and it feels like two months. I am fascinated by how relaxed I feel on this island. It is as if I found what I have been looking for.


Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Breakfast was light again for me, not because Tia is being skimpy, but because I usually skip breakfast in the States. Same old, same old at school. We have a test tomorrow. Chandler and I have to study parts of the cuerpo, imperative commands, vocabulary, past-tense verbs, and be prepared to write a composition to finish it all off. After class, Jenny invited us all to her family’s hotel resort to “beach it”. Her mother, whose name slips my mind, 14-year old brother, Dylan, and I believe 24-year old sister, Brenda (pardon the spellings) are all staying in Palma for a week. Ann, Laura, and I decided we’d make the trek to Cala Major, which is Catalan, not Spanish. After a few piña colodas, a dip in the Mediterranean, and a terrible downpour of rain we said our goodbyes and returned to Plaza Espana.

Everyday on my way home from the plaza I pass a Corte Ingles, which is essentially a huge mall. This time I went inside because I have wanted to pick up a few bottles of Eristoff’s Black Vodka (my drink of choice on the island) to take back home with me. I bought the bottles, I must say it’s weird not being carded, especially for liquor, and as I was about to leave a little florist shop caught my eye. I was unaware that is was customary to bring a gift from the States to give to your homestead. Instead, I came to Tia’s house empty-handed. I figured I might as well do something sweet for the woman who makes my bed, washes my clothes, and feeds me. I bought her pink and yellow lilies. I must admit, when put together it is one of my favorite color combinations. The bouquet was gorgeous and the florist did a nice job putting the extra greens in with it. I came home, opened the door, and she immediately lit up. Note to all the men out there: Flowers are an international language and every woman in the world is fluent.

I had bistec for dinner with some greens on the side, buttered bread, rice, and a few glasses of water. Tia promises me that my new pants I bought here will be hemmed by tomorrow. I told her no te preocupes, because I had no need to wear the suit pants until this weekend anyways. She’s really a sweet woman. The time passes and the days draw closer to that date on my flight-ticket. The more fun I have the faster the time goes. It’s a bitter-sweet situation. Por un lado, you have all this crazy, caught up in the moment fun, por otro the clock goes tic-tic-tic exponentially for every breath you take. I guess I might as well enjoy the fun while I can because I don’t know about you, but I cant hold my breath for but a minute.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The knocks came and my voice responded, but I don’t think my body got the message. Knock, knock, and knock again. I came to my senses finally and quickly lunged for my phone; 8:30! I stumbled around the room, opened the ventana to let the light and quickly dashed out of the house. Again a day without breakfast. My hastiness and willingness to sacrifice breakfast and a good tooth brushing allowed me to arrive to class on time, gracias al Dios. We went over the pluscuamperfecto, in English it is the pluperfect. Our way of saying it is much easier and I attempted to teach the teacher, but she wasn’t having it. Inez speaks absolutely no English. At times it’s great because I want to learn the language, but when I am struggling with a concept or word and a dictionary isn’t close by it is unfortunate. Después la clase, Chandler and I went to a pizzeria because he had a hankering for something he called “American food”. I didn’t say anything, but isn’t pizza, Italian? Oh well, we had a great bro-date regardless of the food.

After class, and of course my daily siesta, we all went to the movies. When I say ‘we all’, I mean the students, but also Esther, Antonia, Susan, Inez and her hija, Mara. We watched Que Mueran Los Feos. Antonia translated the title for me as: let the ugly people die. It was a very comical movie, or at least I inferred that because the CIEE staff was absolutely having a blast while the students and myself for most of the time sat there amused and smiled when we were cued by the loud laughter of Antonia. The gesticulations and emotions of the characters allowed us to understand but the rapid tongue of the native speakers is a bit overwhelming at times. The movie ended and I walked Laura home. On our way to her casita, we observed two police officers walking the park and putting, what I thought to be a radiation checker thingy on the dogs’ necks. We stood and waited for another dog to pass by and sure enough they did it again! We were very curious and debated whether or not to ask what it was. We only debated because we knew the response would be in Spanish and if it was worth the energy to translate. We’re in Spain, why not!? Turns out it was a device that detected whether or not a microchip (that is dictated by law to be in every owned dog in Palma) was in place or not and whether or not the dog was registered. Que interesante!

I took a run to finish the day. Same path as I described before, just a tad longer this time, quicker pace too, of course. I came home, ate my paella, and decided to call it a night. I texted Sue, telling her she missed a great run (which she did) but she didn’t respond. Obviously she was overwhelmed with jealousy that her fingers wouldn’t let her do it. I have decided I am going to buy a suit tomorrow, a nice one. There is a tienda de trajes right below my house in La Plaza. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

What a weekend! Friday was a very, very anticipated day. It was the beginning of our first full weekend in Palma. Every one of us decided we had to kick off the weekend right and go to las discos. We went to Paseo Maritimo, the strip where all the dance clubs are at. After a long time of indecisiveness by the whole party, we decided to go to “B Side”. It is a brand new club that just opened a week prior and you could easily tell. There was absolutely nobody inside. I would have left then and there had I not just paid a ten Euro cover. We all got situated, grabbed a drink, and chilled. Not much time later we were all dancing together and having a great time. Things got crazy!
Aside from the clubs this weekend, we also went to the small, hidden pueblo of Soller. We had to go by train because it’s the only entrance into the city. The train was made of fine madera, I am not sure from what trees, however. The tracks rumbled as the train pushed off from the port, a heavy sound, but it gave off an antique vibe. I felt like I was travelling back in time. As the train progressed, the city digressed. You could see animals and farms, little wells to draw water and fields of grain. As we moved along the track, mountains, lemon trees, and beautiful flowers surrounded us. The smell filled the cabin of the train. We entered the town of Soller, hopped off the train, and hopped on a local train to get to the beach. Much like the other beaches we have seen here, the water was an almost clear blue. The skies were cloudless, and didn’t tease with a chance of rain. I had forgot to buy a bathing suit, so I went to a tienda de banadores and purchased one. Andrew and I played “paddle-ball” on the beach as the girls tanned, Conrad swam with the dolphin (figuratively), and Aaron was doing God knows what. As more days pass, I learn that Aaron isn’t as introverted as I thought he was in those first days in Palma. We played Frisbee, forming a circle in the water. The girls impressed me, especially Ann.
After the splashing in the water and a serene walk through the quaint little town, we returned home. I was met at the door as Tia was about to leave. She reminded me about Luisa’s birthday, and my book-bag reminded me of all the homework I had to do…I chose to go to the party. It was an interesting experience in itself. There were Cubanos, Madrileños, Chileans, and of course la gente de Palma. Having a good time is an international language; I certainly didn’t need a dictionary to understand this lesson. They ate like kings and queens, plate after plate. There was all kinds of seafood: congrejos, mariscos, camarones, y pescado. The food had an Italian zest to it. Luisa owns an Italian shop and thinks she’s Italian. I see right through it though. I think she even curses in Italian, no lo sé. I said my goodbyes to my new friends only to return home to start the homework I had pushed aside and took a much delayed (and if I say so myself, very much needed) shower.

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Today started out like any other day. Yesterday was our first day sin sol. The overcast set the mood for me. I am a Libra and they say we are affected by the weather or our mood affects the weather, no me importa. I guess I speak for myself because taking on the voice of all Libras across the world is too much of a task for me.

My day, to say the least, was very uneventful. I did absolutely nothing. I was supposed to study for our first test tomorrow, but I thought a siesta to be more important. After waking up, I walked to the door of my room and hunger met me there. I decided to go to the mercado to buy some soap for the shower and a chocolate treat for my hunger. I was at the counter, checking out, and the lady behind the register made small talk with me. After my items were scanned and ready to be put in a bag she asked me, “Quieres una bolsa?” Now I am not completely fluent, but in all the Spanish classes I have had in my life (let me say it is many) I was always taught that bolsa is a woman’s purse. I immediately responded, “No…” It took me a few hours and a conversation with Tia to find out that a bolsa is also a bag. A bag for groceries, duh! My anger towards the lady was relieved considering I had to carry both of my purchased objects by hand… since it was in fact my fault, and that I denied her perfectly good offer to give me a bag to put them in. Que lastima.

With the exception of that, the highlight of my day came much later. Laura and I decided to get some ice cream. Yes, this was my second ice cream experience. The waffle cones are so fresh here. Cold Stone and Marble Slab just don’t compare. We had an outstanding talk just about everything: her boyfriend, my ex-girlfriend, cats & dogs, college life, Palma, ice cream, perfumes, and life in general. She had hinted that she felt uncomfortable walking the streets of Palma alone at night, so I decided to walk her back. As we started the 20-minute walk to be, we talked more about the city and what comes along with city life whether that was her experiences with Philadelphia or my endeavors in NYC. As we turned the corner to get on her street, a familiar smell struck me, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. I bid my adieu and left her casa, only to return to that smell again. I had time to investigate. Honey suckles. Honey suckles. Honey suckles. Sub-consciously I knew it was them all along. A honey suckle is a tree that has stringy flowers that are very pungent in scent. You can pick one off and pinch the bottom of it to draw down the piston, through the flower’s tube and out comes a drop, and I mean only a drop, of sweet nectar. As a child I would beg mother to take me to the park, a park that I only associate with honey suckles. I believe I called it “Honey Suckle Park”. It was there my love for the plant began and surprisingly has still stuck with me to this day.

It’s amazing how this experience in Palma pulls on both ends of the string of life. I feel like such an adult, living in Palma without my parents, meeting people I have never known, and doing things impulsively. Yet, a simple plant reminds me of another time when innocence was all I knew, school only meant playtime with friends, and honey suckles were the highlight of my month. Que interesante.

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Not every day can be the perfect day. I was scheduled to have class at nine this morning, but I accidently (I say that honestly) slept in. I forgot to bring a despertador, and all I have is this cheap phone that obviously didn’t do its job at waking me up. Tia is going to wake me up from now on. After arriving to school late, embarrassed and out of breath, Channelor and I went to the mall to get him a memory stick for his camera. Upon returning home, I ate the breakfast that I had missed out on earlier due to the rush. It wasn’t much: a piece of tough bread and kiwi, followed by some water. I felt useless and a tad depressed that I had missed the second day of school so I curled up under my covers, and took a siesta. I woke up refreshed and quickly answered Aaron’s call. He wanted to go to the Catedral. Laura, Conrad, Rebecca, Aaron and I all thought it a great idea to get out and see Palma. The cathedral is absolutely stunning. You enter into a museum that has all its treasures of time on display, but then you walk into the actual cathedral that has tons of history and paintings by many a famous artist. I was so taken in by its magnificence that I cannot recall the names of any of the painters. Que lastima.

I returned home, showed the others my casa and then decided to go on a very delayed run. The cathedral was amazing but the run was surely the highlight of my day. I walked to the coast, which is about a fifteen-minute walk, and then crossed the street and met the sea. It is absolutely beautiful at sunset. The people are just coming out to run in the cool air and the sound of the sea is as memorable as the day you met your best friend. I ran at a steady pace, my wrestling coaches would be dismayed had I not. On one side I could hear the cars sweeping by on the highway. This hurried noise resonated in my left ear. The other side was different. I could hear the, cooing, ocean water brushing up against the rocks mixed with the sounds of panting runners trying to catch their breath. The two sounds fused into a mixture that reminded me of the first time I put a seashell to my ear, my grandmother assuring me it was the sound of the ocean. I was at ease. The sidewalk ended and the beach sand began to pepper the sidewalk I had been running. I knew it was time to return.

This evening, Chanellor, Aaron, Sue, Rebecca, Jena, and I decided to grab a beer or two, two glasses of wine in Jena’s case. We went to the punto de encuentro, which has become our non-official place of hangout for a chilled beer and good conversation. I left early only to return home, finish some homework, write this blog, and make sure I go to bed early enough to wake up for tomorrow’s adventure. The hours of the night blend together so well that I lose track of time and at this exact moment it is about one in the morning. I can already hear the banging on the door from Tia. Goodnight.

Monday, June 7th, 2010

I can’t help but smile. Walking through the aged streets of Palma, I cannot help but do it. There is an empowering aura that takes hold of me, it won’t let go and I don’t want it to. It is easy to get lost in all the faces you see. There are many people that walk the streets during the day to shop, explore, and be social. This day was no different. Today we had an excursion to the playa. The water was absolutely beautiful. It was a mixture of a green and blue that formed a clear turquoise that reminded me of a stone my Father bought my Mother when I was very young. It sparkled like a diamond, yet gleamed with a smooth turquoise tint. This is the water that I never knew existed. After a half hour splashing in the water, my amigo Jack and I decided to swim out to an island we saw about 400 meters away from the shore. He is from Iowa. We reached about the halfway mark and questioned whether or not to proceed. I convinced myself we had to continue. We did and gracias al Dios. The island was incredible. The others decided to follow us in our endeavor; Laura and Jenny were behind us followed by Andrew and Jena. The rocks were jagged and certainly had the potential to cut the bottoms of our feet had we not been careful. You could hear the intense water slopping against the coast of the island, yet the noise was soothing. I could hear the children screaming from the beach as their bodies collided with the cool Mediterranean water. I tried to act like the water didn’t phase me, but inside I felt the same screams knocking at my lips.

We went to another beach and immediately two chicas caught my eye. I was talking with my Guardian Angel, Alberto, and he gave me one or two sentences to say to them. I went over and attempted the pickup lines but the words stuck like cotton in my mouth and I stumbled to pronounce them successfully. The girls were patient with me, however, and the conversation began to catch fire. They were very beautiful indeed. As I sat down I noticed one of them wasn’t wearing a top at all (a custom that is very popular for women at any beach in Palma). I, of course, played it cool and only stole a few natural glances. My day ended walking home from the bus stop, my camera and toalla in hand. I ran into my Tia, Lola, and we exchanged few words. She was going to the movies with a few friends, but she told me there was dinner at home and that she would be back around diez a la noche. Laura, Ann and I plan on getting ice cream tonight and after we may celebrate Andrew’s birthday. He is now turning 21. ¡Feliz Cumpleaños Andrew!