Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day Trippin'

      One perk of Syracuse University abroad is that they organize small group excursions to nearby Spanish cities! All you have to do is give a 10 Euro deposit (which you get back...wooot!) and show up on time to get the bus.  So far I've been to...

the Royal Palace

Cercedilla on a hike:


El Escorial:

and a trip to Salamanca that my friend Erin and I did ourselves!

Well that's all for trip is to Aranjuez and the next day a walking tour of the Gay district of Madrid! lol (pictures to come!!!)


Monday, March 18, 2013

Following the Customs

     Going abroad means becoming accustomed to new customs, new social norms, and just general newness.  I learned in Paris many European norms so the "culture shock" that many abroad students experience hit me less this time around.  However, there still are many cultural differences here in Spain that definitely needed some getting used to. 
     For one thing there are different meal times.  Lunch is generally eaten at 2 pm at the earliest and normally much later.  Dinner is rarely eaten before 9 pm and is customarily taken around 10:30 or even later! If you locate my twitter feed on the side of my blog you will see tweets daily on how hungry I am.  If you follow me, I apologize but it has been quite difficult waiting until the end of the night to eat.  However, the best way to immerse oneself into a culture is to strive to keep to the customs!  Every night I eat around 9:45 or later (depending on when my host mother finishes preparing the meal) and I make sure to eat lunch later also. 
      Let's see about other customs, the metro...talking is allowed, no eating, be careful of pickpockets by guarding your bags and valuables...and that's it. 
      As for other customs, I honestly can't remember anything that's very distinctive and different.  For dress, try and look nice all the time and no sweats unless you're going to the gym.  A big thing here is army green colored coats! Luckily I just happened to bring my own and I blend in incredibly well! I can't even stress how many people, men and women, wear this color coat, it's crazy.  Fur coats and leather coats are also very big (especially fur if you're an old lady).  Also, dressing as if you're freezing cold even if it isn't that cold out is very important if you don't want to seem like a tourist.  Even a slight breeze is reason enough for a scarf, gloves and hat. 
      Some other general things include being conscious of water usage...for instance 10 minute showers at the most and being respectful about talking about the world economy.  Here in Spain the unemployment level is about 26%.  So, when we arrived in Madrid our program made sure to warn us not to talk about the US economy, because although it seems bad to us, it is definitely worse here.   
      Well, that's all I can think of for now and here are some random pictures to show you what I've been up to!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meet Olive

This weekend I had fun with Olive

No not my dog Olive

Yes that's her name and she's a dachshund

I'm talking about olives....eating them straight from trees.  On Friday we were in Granada and went on a tour of an olive grove and learned about the olive oil making process from the past and today.  Might sound boring, but I really liked the excursion and we even got to pick some olives from the trees and try them. 

This is a picture of an olive tree, as you can see:

 This is me trying my first fresh olive:

 Now I am tasting the olive juice and flavor:

 It was pretty horrible and left an even worse aftertaste:

Then I went back for more! HAH! just kidding