Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Je ne care pas


I've spent the past couple weeks being slightly depressed about my french skills or lack of. And so, I've decided that I really don't care if I say things wrong anymore or I say things in "Frenglish". I'm just going to go for it because I'm tired of being stressed that something will come out wrong. Honestly, everything I say comes out a little wrong.

One night last week my host mom had her friend over for dinner. They were having a nice little conversation about where they used to work together and I didn't really have much to add. Then we started talking about the weather so I could chime in. The friend then proceeded to ask Arlette questions about me and Arlette would answer for me. I would then turn to the women and ask her a question to keep the conversation going and again she would pose her question to Arlette has if I wasn't there. HELLO I UNDERSTAND YOU. Let's not skip over the American just because her French is slower than you'd like. Sorry for the inconvenience, let's have a little patience people.

Today the School of Political Science next to IAU was hosting a blood drive. I would have loved to donate but I don't exactly think I would be allowed me being American and all. Anyway, in the little waiting area outside in the square the school had set up a place for food and relaxing. So after you give blood you could sit down, have a snack and smoke with your friends. Yup that's right. Smoke after you give blood. I think there was even some hamburger grilling going on at one point. It made for an interesting scene.

It's my favorite time of day, dinner time! Alas, I must run.

Until next time,


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Barcelona Part Dos

Hola again,

My second weekend in Barcelona was jam packed with adventure. I can't decide what I liked best or what was the most interesting. High on my list would be the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the Barça soccer game. Just walking around in 60 degree sun was the best gift of all.

During my trip I learn a bit about the politics of Catalunya, the province where Barcelona is located. This area of Spain wishes to be its own country, they have their own language called Catalan (which is kind of a mix between Spanish, French and Italian). At the soccer game no Spain national anthem was played and all of the commentary was done in Catalan. There were political chants of independence sporadically through out the game as well. And apparently, the Barça team has its own soccer camp that trains players from the age of 13. They are practically bred to play soccer.

Here are some pictures of my trip (more are on facebook). The fountain show in front of the museum of art (below)

 My new favorite dream car. Ford Cobra
 Just chillin with a Ferrari

Stained glass windows of Sagrada Familia (above)

 Sadgrada Familia (above)

 The Olympic Stadium and the Barça Stadium

Adios amigos

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Barcelona Part Uno


Barcelona was an excellent place to be last weekend. It was so much warmer than I am used to in Aix. Tess and I actually sat on the beach with the palm trees for quite awhile. The city is very international so we didn't really interact with my locals and we didn't need French or Italian since the employes of any restaurant or store speak at least three languages.

Funny little story: I don't ever use a metro system since I don't live in a city that has one. Alas, navigating the system in Barcelona was pretty challenging at first and not speaking any Spanish didn't help. Barcelona's metro system is actually straight forward and logical compared to many other cities. Looking back now, it was a fun cultural experience to know what I was doing or how to ask for help.


The hotel we stayed at was very cute. The hanging plants and the view of the locals out our window  added to the Spanish charm of the place.

My grilled squid dinner that I had at a restaurant called La Poma on La Rambla
 Some really awesome fruits at the market. I think they are native to Spain. They taste a bit like kiwi mixed with strawberry. At the markets there were all sorts of dried hams, spices and of course lots of seafood. (see facebook for more pictures)

There is a lot of Gaudi architecture in Barcelona and I was lucky enough to see some of it in the Gueil Park. It's a mixture of gardens and buildings with mosaic elements on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona.



Florence was an incredible city. I'm glad that I chose to do two cities during winter break instead of three or four. There is a lot to see in Florence rain or shine.

Florence is truly a city of art and old old history. Older than I can really wrap my head around since the Roman history isn''t relevant to my life most of the time. Needless to say my favorite part of the trip was seeing The Birth of Venus by Botticelli and Michelangelo's David.  And yes, I know that's a little cliché but these works are the most famous for a reason. They were beautiful and perfect beyond belief. And SO BIG. When I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre a few years ago I was shocked by just how small it was. So I was surprised that these masterpieces were so grand.

The food was excellent. I have come to like goat cheese and olive oil. I'm not sure how I'm going to live without them when I return home. The gelato was even better than I ever thought ice cream could be. The best kind of pasta would have to be gnocchi, an egg shaped pasta that is made with a mix of pasta and potato.

The fake David outside of the Uffitizi (below)

 The view from the top of the Duomo
 The river Arno

 Inside the Duomo