Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Packages from home.  I got a package from my mom, with this giant Reese's heart in it.  Yes, I ate the whole thing in one day.  Yes, I enjoyed every bite.  

Skype calls with old friends.  The kind of calls that are filled with catching up, with serious discussions of US foreign policy, taxation, and crazy politicians  with talking about books and movies and music, and with remembering why you're still friends, all these years later :)

Exams.  Maybe this makes me weird, but I don't really care.  I love taking tests.  This week has been full of cram sessions at coffee shops and hands stained blue from handwritten essays.  I'm thankful that the exam period is over, but I also enjoyed the tests.  

Teaching. I never thought I would say this, but I am really enjoying my english classes.  I tutor four kids in english, and I feel like I learn just as much from them as they do from me.  They're great kids, and I'm going to miss them when I have to leave.

Opportunities to educate.  After spending a lot of time with my super-feminist friends, it's always a bit of a jolt when someone questions the necessity for feminism.  Lately I've engaged in a few mini-debated, where I've gotten to air out my feminist opinions.  It's interesting for me, because I feel like I'm usually on the learning side, instead of the lecturing side.  Now that I'm away from my super-liberal circle, I have to defend my positions, and try to explain my opinions without becoming defensive, or offensive.  A few of my friends here have just never really questioned their ideas about femininity and masculinity, and it's exciting to see new possibilities expand for them.  I'm not saying that I'm going to convert the whole program here into raging feminists.  That would be nice, but isn't realistic.  I'm just excited about being able to express my opinions, and that my friends are at least listening, even if they don't agree.  Yet. 

Indulgence.  Since we've been spending a lot of time in cafe's, I've been eating a lot of pastries.  Of course, I also have my chocolate stash in my closet that I've been picking away at, too.  I love sugar.

My brother.  I skyped with my brother this week, for the first time ever.  I don't know why we've never done that before.  I hadn't laughed so hard in ages.  My brother is the best.

This week.  I'M GOING TO SCOTLAND.  I've always wanted to go to Scotland.  Tonight I'm hopping on a plane and meeting a very good friend, and tomorrow we're setting off!  I couldn't be more excited about the coming week. I get to spend time with this awesome friend, meet my Grandma's cousins, and possibly my long lost penpal, all while exploring a gorgeous country and hopefully eating some delicious food!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekly Recap

I guess it's been a while since I did one of these; I completely forgot to post one last week, since we spent the whole weekend travelling with a class trip.  So, to catch up on two week's worth of travel blogging:

I went to Portugal!  And I absolutely adored it!  I took tons of pictures, and the best are all up.  They're grouped by time, instead of by location (which is almost the same thing, I guess).  There was our first night, the next morning, Porto's gorgeous main plaza, a write up of the hostel we stayed at, some pretty pictures of the ocean, pictures from when we went wine tasting, our second morning there, pictures of the Rio Duero, a little story of what Porto, Portugal has to do with Harry Potter, and our final day.  

I didn't write as much this week, as I was trying to catch up on the work that I put off to go to Portugal, as well as preparing for another weeklong trip.  I write a tiny post about Carnival in Segovia, then posted about our trip to Cordoba and Sevilla, and the coolest place that we saw in Andalucia.  

Then, getting off the topic of travel and talking a bit about daily life here, I wrote yesterday about the importance of house slippers. 

How good that you are here

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I left my hair rolled up over night, and when I shook it out last night, this is what I got.  Big curls, all going in the wrong direction.  I like it.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Today has been a roller coaster, and I've only been awake for 3 hours.  I've been extremely happy, as a result of emails from my Grammy, her cousin, and my long lost penpal; I've been terrified by a lost record of a hostel booking for next weekend; I've been anxious about taking online tests for classes that I honestly have not prepared for.  I'm trying to convince myself that all of these feelings warrant eating the chocolate that I have hidden away in my closet, even though I'm not actually hungry.  I should save it for after lunch.  Really, what this all boils down to is that I am a walking stereotype.  Ugh.  

This is my first completely free weekend in a while, and will probably be the last for another bit of time.  Since I knew I'd be staying home for most of the day, I've been planning on wearing this outfit all week.  I have to say that I'm quite pleased with it.  I've never been so comfortable in my life.  Also, I've been meaning to give this hair style a try for a while.  My friend Mariah showed it to me- basically, you put a stretchy headband over the top of your hair, and then wrap your hair around the headband.  I threw some bobby pins in for support, but I'm pretty certain that this is the easiest updo I've ever done.  It took barely any time to do.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Sewing dreams.  I think one of the hardest things about being away from home is that I can't sew, or really do a lot of crafty things.  Let me tell you, it's hard to blog about DIY things when you have no access to materials nor tools.  I've been spending a lot of time daydreaming about my sewing machine, and I have a nice long list of what I want to do when I get back.  So if anyone is here just for the crafty posts, come talk to me in may.  Until then, it's all dreams.  French seamed, interfaced dreams.....

Library card!! It took four separate trips to the library, but I finally got a library card.  I am just so happy.  I checked out a couple books, and started them all that night, of course.  One is in english and two are in spanish, and I'm determined to finish them all before spring break.  I feel like everything is back to normal now.

Bonding with teenagers over music.  I've been tutoring a couple kids in english, and our main activity is listening to music and deciphering lyrics, then making sentences with new and unfamiliar words.  Really, it's just an excuse to mold young minds in to having good taste in music.  The result has been that often they don't like what I bring in, but sometimes they do, and sometimes they make recommendations, and it's just a lot of fun.  Music, man.

Chocolate.  I have a problem.

Being awake in class.  We got back from our fieldtrip on Sunday night, and Monday morning all of my classmates were dead tired, except for me.  I was wide awake.  Then, the same thing happened every day this week.  I've just been a ball of energy in the morning.  I'm not really sure why, but I don't mind. It's nice to not struggle to pay attention.

Running all the way.  The route that I've mapped out for my morning run is uphill for nearly the whole last half, and as I get closer to the end the incline gets steeper.  I made it all the way to the end of the route for the first time this week, and it felt fantastic.

Sore muscles.  I feel like I say this often, but I'm getting back in to working out again, and everything hurts and I love it.

Approaching spring break.  I officially have everything planned, and I'm super excited.

Debates on musicality.  Because it's important.

Emails.  My Grammy forwarded me an email from her cousin, and in that email was the email address for her granddaughter, who was my penpal ages ago.  We haven't talked in years, and I've been trying unsuccessfully to get ahold of her.  There's a chance that I might actually get to meet her in 2 weeks, so here's to hoping she checks her email sometime!

Understanding.  Every wednesday I go to a ceramics shop, where I'm supposed to practice my spanish in the real world.  I normally spend the whole time spacing out, because either everyone is working, or there are fifteen conversations going on at once and I can't concentrate.  Yesterday I spend most of the time that I was there spacing, but right as I was leaving I began to talk to a man on a pottery wheel.  We ended up having a good conversation about the difference between artists, artisans, and aficionados   I understood what he was saying, and got my points across, with a little effort.  It was just nice to not just follow a conversation, but to actually be part of one.

Friends.  I suppose it had to come sometime- after a whole week of being in an incredibly peppy mood, I spend this morning hiding under a dark cloud.  I pouted for a couple hours, then my friends dragged me back in to good humor.  I'm thankful for that!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Good morning

I received some very good news this morning, that I might share tomorrow.  Regardless, I spend this morning in a state of hyperactive happiness that I'm sure annoyed the heck out of my friends.  Some good things just can't be contained.  Also, I got called a hipster, I guess because I don't wear leggings and a northface every day of my life.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I wear what makes me happy, not what fits in to some ideal, whether that ideal comes from Indiana or from Urban Outfitters.  Person > label, at least in theory.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bom dia, boneca

I'm in an absurdly good mood right now.  I burnt my breakfast and the security guards at the library think I'm an idiot, but I have a skype date with a friend later, and I talked to two last night.  Most of my classmates were practically sleeping in their desks during class today, while I was struggling to contain my energy.  I suppose there are worse things that could happen.  

I made this dress with the intention of having something plain that could be dressed up or down, but I'm pretty sure that up to this point I've only ever worn it to formal chapter events.  The sparkly polka dotted tights make it better, no?

It rained this morning, but now the sun is out and all the wild cats look clean and healthy.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Someone once told me that you have to wait two weeks after you wear something to wear it again.  If I adhered to that, I would be in deep trouble now, living out of a suitcase.  Still, I've been thinking of this combination for a while; every time I wanted to wear it, I'd worn one of the pieces the day before.  

I bought these earrings from a ceramic shop in Portugal.  Half of the buildings in Porto are covered in blue tile.  They're blue because blue and white are the royal colors, and some monarch at some point made a law that any tile had to be in the royal colors.  Interesting, no?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Portugal.  I don't think I can rationalize nor explain just how much I loved Portugal.  No one ever talks about it, but it's a beautiful country with wonderful people, and a an interesting language.  We spent 3.5 days in the second largest city; I want to see Lisboa  and other places that aren't made for tourism.  Who wants to go with me?

How easy it was to communicate in Portugal.  I thought we would be completely lost in Portugal, since none of our group spoke Portuguese.  Instead, nearly everyone that we encountered spoke either English or Spanish, which meant that we were able to communicate just fine.  Also, how cool is this: anyone who's taken spanish classes can likely read portuguese.  Out loud is sounds completely different, but written it looks very, very similar.  Having never taken a Portuguese class in my life, I was able to follow news stories and subbed movies decently easily.  Awesome!

Accepting that sometimes plans don't work out.  While I was packing up to come study abroad, I got it in to my head that I was going to write a novel while here.  I figured that after doing Nano, writing something at half that pace would be a breeze.  It might have been, had I done more research or planning before I started, or had I less on my plate to begin with.  Right now, I'm a week behind on my word count and I have no motivation to catch up.  I've been feeling very anxious about it all week, and I've come to the conclusion that if I don't stay on track it is okay.  I can take some time away, regroup, and get back to it later.  I'm not letting myself be upset about it anymore.

Spanish.  I'm not sure why, but since we returned from Portugal I've felt so much more on top of speaking Spanish.  I don't know if it's just that things are finally starting to click, or if I'm more confidant after having several successful spanish interactions there, but either way I've just been a lot more talkative and confident in myself this week.  No complaints!

Cheap chocolate and treats.  All over Segovia, and probably Spain, are Chuperías, or candy stores.  I've been buying one bar of chocolate at a time and storing it in my closet, to work on throughout the week. Yesterday I wandered in to a supermarket for the first time, and bought 5 different pastries as well as a bar of chocolate for about what I normally spend on one bar of chocolate.  I'll have to see if the chocolate tastes like cheap chocolate; if not, I may have found a new favorite place to shop.

Letters! I got a letter yesterday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Proud Parent

Homework's a drag, so I've been biding my time by redesigning my travel blog.  I think it looks a lot better now!  It's still a little busy for my taste, but it's getting there.  Every time I change the design on a blog I get better at it.  Maybe someday I'll be able to arrange my layout so that it looks like an actual professional blog, instead of a teenager's hobby.  At least, that's the hope.  

Traveling light

This weekend I went to Porto, Portugal with my friends.  I had a blast.  Really, I cannot wait to go back to Portugal.  I'm resisting the urge to post all of my pictures up here; I took around 400, and am planning on putting around 90 up on my travel blog.  If you want to take a peak, I should have them all up in the next few days.  

Of everyone in our group, I think I brought the smallest bag.  Once I bought a few trinkets to bring back, I regretted that, but overall I was pleased with what I packed.  I wore most of what I brought twice.  This outfit was my favorite.  I'm a little unsure about this dress, since it's pretty short, but once I wash it I have some more ideas of ways to wear it.  The whole point of fashion blogging right now is remixing things, so hopefully you'll see more of this soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weekly Recap

Since I was in Portugal for this weekend I took a technology break, and therefore things have been slightly more quiet on the other blog.  This week I wrote about fans, a typical meal, and shared some pretty pictures that I took of the aqueduct.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wake up

Despedida, by Marcelo Camelo.  I'm in love with this music.  I promise, I'll probably be posting more of this once I have a chance to listen to even more.  The hostel desk staff were listening to this over the weekend, and I liked it and asked what it was.  Unfortunately, I haven't found the song they were listening to quite yet, but I'm working on it.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Ok, so it isn't exactly Thursday yet, but I'm in a pretty good mood, and I have some exciting news: I'm going to Portugal tomorrow!  I'm leaving right after class and I'm not bringing my computer, so this is really the last time I'll be on the internet until Sunday night.  How's that for a scary thought!  Here's a few things that have been making me happy lately.

Chocolate.  I've been keeping chocolate bars stashed in my closet, and have been eating them slowly in secret.  For the first time since I began doing this, I managed to not eat most of the bar as soon as I opened it.  As a result of this, I still had a sizable chunk of chocolate left in my closet this morning when I realized that I was going away for 4 days.  I can't leave chocolate unattended for 4 whole days, can I?  So I ate it all.  Logically.

Beacon.  I've been falling in love with Two Door Cinema Club all over again this week.  If you haven't listened to this album yet, do it.  

Permission to relax.  Despite the whole being in a foreign country, should be enjoying myself thing, I've been holding myself to a pretty rigorous schedule.  I decided last night to forget about my plans, and let myself relax.  I watched Pitch Perfect again, and didn't feel guilty.  That's the life.  I'll get back on track next week, once I've had a few days away from productivity.

My new favorite hairstyle.  Low double-buns.  It's a little hard to see in this picture, but it's pretty awesome, I promise   

Travel with friends.  I can't wait for tomorrow.  My friends are pretty great, new places are pretty fun, etc.  We'll see how this goes.

Being warm.  It's cold outside, but my desk is in front of the radiator, I'm wearing a sweater and slippers.  This is happiness.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

My host mom says I need to stop wearing summer clothes in the winter.  I just love my skirts too much to give them up until May.  Anyway, weather appropriate is objective.  

Speaking of objective  this weekend the guys in the program sent out a call for help; they wanted some of the girls to go shopping with them and tell them what to wear.  Someone made a comment about feeling bad for dragging us through guys' stores, where there was nothing to interest us; I had been contemplating buying a sweater there as he said it.  I have a not-so-secret love for guys' clothes.  I think gender roles for clothing are even more fluid than for humans.  Or at least they ought to be.  (Also, I might still go back and get that sweater.)

What do you think?  Would you ever wear "guys' clothes"?


I re-fell in love with this band last night.  This whole cd is really just golden.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Weekly Recap

This week on my other blog I wrote about travelling to Toledo, posted a lot of pictures of the cathedral there, saw a famous statue, wished my sister a happy birthday, snapped up some political graffiti, took a walk to a new place, and visited the largest building in spain and the most controversial site in the country