Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Love Ireland

  1. Volunteered at a race my friend was running and met the mayor of Dublin
    The mayor and my friend Domhall posing after their race

  2. Listened to a lot of amazing live bands at all the bars we went to. It is one of my favorite parts about Ireland-it's strong musical culture. I wish we had more live bands in the States / other parts of Europe. Pitbull shouldn't be allowed to play in California, Spain, or anywhere that there are living things with the ability to hear things. But seriously, Ireland is teeming with musical talent, it blows me away. Many groups I heard I really just wanted to download onto my ipod right then and there.

  3. Bought tacky green accessories and celebrated St. Patricks Day in Ireland
  4. Me and our Barcelona friend Loida (Domhall's apartment mate) getting ready to go all-out for our first true Irish Paddys Day
  5. Bar hopped in Temple Bar and local bars
    Temple Bar!
  6. Talked to a TON of locals, and on St. Patricks Day asked everyone I met if they were Irish and if so, kissed them on the cheek while saying "I must kiss you then because you're Irish!"
    Meet all the friends
  7. Went to the St. Patricks Day parade in the morning and actually was able to find a good viewing spot
    A small glimpse at the madness that was this parade
  8. Drank lots of Guiness and Irish Coffee
    I really want to start all my days with a cup of this stuff
  9. Spent the night of St. Patricks Day at an underground secret Irish society where all the members speak Gaelic and are concerned with preserving their Gaelic culture. Not sure how it can get even more Irish than that. This club house is even where the Irish Revolution was plotted in the early 1900s. What. At the Irish club, I even met a sweet girl named Dani who had spent a year living in Córdoba! Small world!
  10. Me with Dani (to my left) and other new friends
  11. Got down with a troupe of gay Brazilians  Never have two more beautiful words been put together to form Perfection. Gay + Brazilians = My Heaven
  12. Never have I had so much fun in my life
    Marry me?
  13. Had my life-long-desired rural Ireland experience on a day trip to Glendalough, which is absolutely breath-taking 
    Like I said, breath-taking
    Meet our new friend Justin who we adopted on our bus ride. We spent the entire day together!

     11. Went to the Guiness factory where I drank the greatest beer of my life. Once you Guiness you can never go back



Can't reiterate enough how many amazing friends I met every single night I was out. Irish people are my kind of people. I cannot help but feel that either I was Irish in my past life, or a part of me is made of the same stuff as them. But the entire time I was there I felt amongst kindred spirits. Ireland, I know in my heart that this is not the end for you and I.  I'll be back for you!

Winded Up

Although Irish people mainly speak english, it is more accurate to dub it Irish-english because of all the quirky phrase substitutions they have. It makes everything sound a lot more fun, in my opinion. For instance, a bow tie is called a dicky wicky. And the common phrase what the craic, refers to "what's up?" Craic in general means "fun," so if you are having a good time somewhere, you would say there's lots of craic here,  or lots of craic! 

The phrase I learned a little too well though, was winded up.

It happened on our first night in Dublin. Domhall decided to take us out to the local bars, away from Temple Bar (the district of bars that is infested with tourists). Here, we were surrounded by actual Irish people, and not fellow Study Abroad Looking To Get Wasted For Paddys Day Americans. At one of the bars, we noticed a guy wearing an Irish jersey. This caught my attention because I was looking to buy one for a costume party we planned on attending later. The plan was for me to dress as Jason Sherlock, a gaelic football player who is Asian. Anyways, I go up to the guy and ask him where he got his jersey. Before he can even respond, I feel a tap on my shoulder and turn face to face with an older woman. She was a beautiful, dark-haired Irish woman, probably in her late twenties.

"Why are you talking to my boyfriend?" she asks me. She did not look very happy.

Even in my "slightly" not sober mindset, it registered in my brain that I was in trouble. That this might officially become my International Incident Abroad. I was pretty [bleeping] scared.

"Nothing!" I started to bumble. "I don't like your boyfriend! I just wanted to know where he bought his jersey!" Words are spilling out of my mouth like an uncontrollable waterfall of drunken nervousness.

"So, you don't like my boyfriend. You don't think my boyfriend is cute?" This girl seems to sound even angrier, which I didn't think was possible.

Amidst my mad scramble of apologies and pleads, the girl suddenly embraces me in a hug and starts cackling hysterically.

"I am kidding, child! I never even met this guy before in my life! Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!!!!"

I look down to see the original guy staring up at us both, probably wondering why he was being besieged by women he did not know.

In the end, the woman's laughter wasn't malicious, and we all had a good hoot about it together. Later I learned that I just faced a classic wind up situation. In more familiar terms, I was hella trolled.

Me with my new friend

Friday, April 5, 2013

Irish Reunions

Finding a place to stay in Ireland was originally difficult. Which isn't a surprise, because of St. Patricks Day. Still, I could never have expected that reaching out to a former friend/coworker from 2 years ago who I only met once would lead to us staying at his apartment. And that is how I found housing on the most touristy holiday in the world in the central destination of this holiday all for free.

Let me explain.

Domhall was working at HSPH the same time as me during my first summer there. We met in the cafeteria and had one lunch and lovely conversation together. I still remember it very clearly. What makes him so memorable is that Domhall was, and still is, one of the nicest people I will ever met. He was telling me all about Ireland and how I would like it because of my extroverted personality. According to him, the Irish are the friendliest in the world. Two years later and I can vouch for it.

I sent Domhall a random facebook message a week before my flight asking if he wanted to meet up for coffee at the .01% chance that maybe he wouldn't think I was a weird psychopath stalker who he has no recollection of. He responded literally 5 minutes later offering a place to stay and his entire weekend itinerary of events and parties we could attend with him if we like.

The friendliest in the world, so they say!

Needless to say, staying with him was awesome. He lives with a girl from Barcelona named Loida who also took us around. We all became very fast friends. All of us had so much fun and Julie and I got a really great local taste of Dublin. The experience was much more homey this way also, with home cooked meals and some amazing local pubs that we never would have been able to discover ourselves.

On another note, it makes me happy to think that sometimes good byes aren't forever, and life can mysteriously reunite the most unexpected relations. Considering all the phenomenal people I have already met/miss in Europe, I will happily cling to this belief.

We are really cute when we eat (L:R Julie, Me and Loida)

Them Hahvahd connections 

Travel Updates! Finally!

Sorry, fans, for not writing in such a long time. I have been travelling all over the place these past two weeks, especially since we just had our Semana Santa, or Easter Week, or just spring break. I haven't had time to even process all my journeys, let alone write about them. Talk about a hard life (Iamkiddingpleasedon'tkillme). Still, Beyonce would never be caught neglecting her supporters in this way and thus, neither should I. Raise your hand if you missed my sense of humor the most.

Actually though, I did not completely forget about my travel blog. I already prepared a list of all the stories I want to document here, and will begin doing so in the order of my travels. Where I've been:

Ireland (St. Patricks Day weekend): Dublin
Morocco: Tangier, Rabat, Chefchaoeun, Asilah
Belgium: Brussels, Antwerp, Brugges

Honestly, all the travelling has been exhausting. Not that I am complaining. My Life Experiences count has exponentially increased and I can't even begin to tell you how many incredible memories I've made. (Actually, I have to begin telling you. Because that's the whole point of this blog. Way to go, Jennifer). The main down-side is that if you add all the hours I've spent in subways/buses/airplanes/airports/stations it would probably amount to re-watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies 6 times consecutively. Approximately.

An unexpected take away I got from all this though, is a newfound appreciation for my youth. Because without it there is no way that I could have pulled off some of the crazy antics that I have pulled. Check this out:

  • Catch a flight out to Ireland at 7 am (this is another story in itself...) on Saturday morning, 3/16
  • Arrive back in Cordoba on Wednesday, 8:00 am. Go to class at 9:30 am
  • Thursday night, hang out with Will and view some Semana Santa processions until 3 am.
  • Leave for Morocco that Friday morning, 3/22 at 5:30 am

5:30 AM.

  • Come back to Cordoba by 10 pm on the 25th.
  • Flew out to Belgium the next day.
  • Spent next 4 days exploring Brussels/Brugges/Antwerp. 
  • Come back to Cordoba on Sunday, 3/31, by 6 pm.
  • Resume classes next day. 

Kids, don't try this at home unless you are either >30 years old, or especially energetic and youthful, or maybe on crack. Which for the record, I don't do.

Hands down though, everything was well worth it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

When in Córdoba...Snails

Caracoles, or snails,  are a specialty unique to Córdoba. They are a seasonal snack that just started showing up in stands a week or so ago. I've never liked bugs or crawly things, but all my life what I've detested the most are snails. Blech. Snails are just so slimy and disgusting.

Then today, I ate one. And another one. And then another.

They didn't taste too bad, in fact they kind of reminded me of similar chinese dishes. It's just how they looked that are hard to get past. You can see their teeny little antenna things and everything. But if you just ignore how they look and poke them with your tooth pick, they are quite alright. Afterwards, we were also instructed by the vendors to drink all the juice too. I don't see myself ever having caracoles again. Once was enough, just for the experience.

Volunteering (follow-up)

Remember that day when I was insanely terrified to teach immigrants english?

I wish my Present Self could go back to my Past Self and give Myself a big slap on the face. And then say YO, CHILL OUT. IT IS GOING TO BE FINE.

Because it was! I love volunteering! Yay!

My class isn't very large, about 8 students, but the students are all extremely friendly. Their ages range between 23 and 50s. Actually, most are older, I just have one 23 year old student from Senegal. His name is Makhtar and he is awesome.

I came into my first day prepared with a detailed lesson plan, along with a plan B, C, D, E and F. My biggest fear was having awkward silence and not being able to fill my 1.5 block of time. I've never taught any kind of class for that long before.

Luckily for me though, the format was much more informal. The small class size helped a lot with that. We all just gathered and I taught useful phrases and answered lots of questions. The time completely flew by without me even noticing. At times my spanish was definitely inaccurate, but a few of my students have some prior experience with english so they were able to understand what I was trying to say and help translate to the other students who know absolutely no english.

Despite the varying language levels, all my students exude enthusiasm. They are all taking these english classes because they want to learn it so much. It's a kind of enthusiasm I've never come to show while learning spanish, even though spanish was never a requirement for me. Interesting to think about, no? My classmates and I love complaining about spanish. There's too much homework...the tests are too long...why do the teachers speak in spanish and so fast? What the heck did she say just now?

My students actually asked if I could speak more english, to help them practice listening. I started out speaking only spanish because I didn't want them to feel intimidated, so I was surprised when they spoke up about wanting me to speak more of it. They remind me of little baby birds hopping around, eagerly waiting for the day when they can finally take flight. It's very (excuse my cheese) heart warming and makes me love spending my time with them. I just don't want to let them down.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Por qué no te callas?" (capitulos de español dos)

Anoche, el presidente de Venezuela se llama Hugo Chavez, se muerte. Estaba un gente muy controversial y lugares diferentes tienen opiniones diferentes sobre el. En Estados Unidos mucho gentes no le gusta Chavez porque Chavez es famoso para el criticas de Estados Unidos, y para el policias políticas sociales radicales. Chavez hacia policias muy izquierda radicale y es muy socialista también. Pero muchos gentes de Venezuela les encanta Chavez.

 Este mañana, mi hermana Marta habló conmigo sobre Chavez. Es interesante porque en España, todo gentes no le gusta Chavez. Es porque en 2007, fue una conferencia con los países que hablar en Español. Pues, por ejemplo países como España, Mexico y Americano Sur. Durante la conferencia, Chavez fue muy grosero a los representadores de España. En un momento, el rey de España (el no tiene power politica, entonces no puedes hablar durante la conferencia, pero...) fue muy enojada y dijó: "POR QUE NO TE CALLAS??" a Hugo Chavez. Ya este es un momento muy famosa en todo de España.

Summary of what happened written in an actual readable language