Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Special Update: Nick

Hola everyone! I know I haven’t been keeping up with this at all, but in light of the past few nights, I feel as though a mass explanation would be better than lots of little ones.

Nick started feeling bad very early yesterday morning. He woke up about 3am quite sick. He texted me to let me know that he was going to skip our first class to rest because he’d been up for a few hours that morning sick and hadn’t gotten much sleep. I had to go to the hospital after class, but as soon as I got out, I called him and brought him some Coke (the program director told me that people drink the Coke here rather than Sprite for an upset stomach) and some bread, hoping he’d be able to get and keep some of it down. He stayed in bed the rest of the day and around 8pm, he texted me asking me to contact someone to take him to the hospital. After calling around, our boss came and picked us up around 9:30 and took us to the ER. We waited for a very, very long time, but after a while they called us back. By then, our ISA director got there and our boss left. They took Nick’s temp (103.1! he was a very sick boy) and told us that if we had told them when we arrived that he had a temp that they would have let him back earlier. I guess I’ll file that away for next time…but anyway! They got an IV going and after about 30 minutes, he was already looking way way better. They did some tests and told us he could probably go home once they finished checking out the other patients in front of him. About 3am, they decided they needed to keep him for the night so that they could run a few more precautionary tests. I had to go back the next AM to get my test results, so I went and checked on him. He had gotten sick a few more times that morning right after the doctor had seen him. I had a midterm this afternoon, but after class, I went over and stayed 8ish hours with him.

Just in those 8 hours, he went from doing pretty well to not doing so great during. He’s had some sort of IV in him nonstop since we took him to the ER last night. I’m gathering up some things tonight to take over to him in the morning, so hopefully we will know soon what’s going on with him! Until then, I would ask for your continued thoughts and prayers to go towards him at this time. We know that God’s ways are not always our ways, and we have to trust that this is all God’s plan. Thank you all for your kind messages and support.  Vos amo!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

we're finally here!

Well, we made it to San Sebastian! Whoo! I’ve been so excited, that I haven’t gotten around to doing this. So here goes!

The bus ride was quite long. Almost as long as it took to fly from D.C. to Madrid! But it was good. I sat next to Nick while he edited pictures…I fell asleep. It was very cool driving through such a huge part of the country (about 330 miles). Not only did I not get car sick, I didn’t have to drug myself (it would have just been Dramamine, folks) to not get sick! Muy bueno. :)

As soon as we got off the interstate, I immediately got super, super excited. If you had told me last year that I was coming back to this amazing place, I would not have believed you. I was literally bouncing off my seat, probably embarrassing Nick to death. :) We dropped off the Homestay kids at the train stop and then we finally went to the Resedencia! More than anything, I was just so ready to unpack. So I did! It’s been so nice not living out of my suitcase. I kind of miss having a roommate, but it’s still nice to have my own place where I can put things and not worry about packing them up anytime soon. Yay!

Nick and I went over to the Chat Room to say hey, but they were just on their way out. We’ll be working on getting schedules together soon! After we went back up and a tour of the Resedencia, Nick and I led (only got lost a little) to La Vaca for dinner! We went there a bunch last year, so it was very cool being back. It’s basically a hamburger place, which isn’t very Basque…but it was good and cheap, which is always fun! After that, I headed back to the Resedencia for some shut eye. My hotel roomie and I had stayed up late talking, so I needed a good night’s rest.

The next morning, we got up to meet our ISA directors for a guided tour of the city…which would have been really exciting if it HADN’T been in the low 50s and pouring rain. Ha ha :) It wasn’t too bad…although I think I could’ve ruined my lovely Toms. But alas, we walked around downtown and learned a little bit more about the Basque country. We got bus passes and then promptly used them to get home so that we could dry off and warm up! That night we went pintxos hopping! Pintxos are essentially tapas, but in San Sebastian, they are very, very good and San Sebastian is basically known for them. A very common practice in Spain is to go “hopping” around from place to place to get one or two pintxos at a time as your dinner. Here, lunch is the biggest meal of the day, so dinner is very light. Nick, Presten, Marc, and I went to three different ones and then got some gelado! We all know which one was my favorite… :) We decided to make the long trek home, rather than take the bus, and took the long route to go see the wind combs. It was very, very beautiful!

Today was our first day at the university! We got a tour of the campus (very small, about 1,900 students, I believe) and received our schedules.  There are 3 class offerings, and I got a very good schedule that will hopefully leave me lots of time to get back across town afterwards and work at the Chat Room/go to the beach/do homework. I only had one class today, and it’s the smallest one (I think only 10ish of us). My teacher seems very cool…after about 10 minutes, she said she was considering letting us out early (it’s supposed to be an hour and 15 minute class, ha!) and then asked if we were tired. After someone told her we had spent yesterday walking around in the rain, she let us out early! It was great! :) After piddling around this afternoon, Nick and I ate Telepizza (once again, not very Basque, but super yummy) and then I headed back to the Resedencia. Most of the group went to the Kursaal for a concert, however I’m not feeling so great tonight, so I decided to stay in and take it easy.

It’s been a whirlwind of a few days! I’m looking forward to getting into these classes. They seem like they’ll be very interesting. I’m also really looking forward to getting my work schedule for the Chat Room!! :)

Vos amos!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Madrid (Parte Dos) y Toledo

Yesterday was quite adventurous. We got up pretty early, had a super yummy b’fast at the hotel, and did a walking tour of Madrid. After that, we went to the Reina Sofia, which is a big art gallery/museum. It’s huge and we were only there for a few hours, so we mainly focused on Picasso, Dali, and Miro. We got to see Picasso’s Guernica, which was very cool. After all that, Nick and I decided that we’d find somewhere new for lunch. We walked and walked…and walked some more. And ended up back at the hotel and eating at the McD’s next door. We have a good excuse for giving up though! I could only sleep from 12-2am and I think Nick didn’t get much more than that. So after all that walking, we were just beat! Although, right after lunch, we decided to walk our tour route all over again in search of the ever elusive Telepizza. We never did find it, but we did run into a bunch of ISAers who were going out to watch the Barcelona v. Manchester game. It was quite exciting…it was actually my first time to sit down and watch an entire soccer match. Whoo! The group decided to keep the party going (Barcelona won!) but I went back to my room to see how well I could repack AGAIN. Whoo!

On to Toledo! (Pronounced toLAYdo. Not toLEEdo. ToLEEdo is in Ohio.) We got up early, and worked on getting the entire San Sebastian group (40 of us) and the Sevilla group (about 200 people) onto buses to go to Toledo.  Very exciting.  After the 40ish minute drive, we picked up a tour guide who gave us a quick overview tour of the city. The bus then took us to the top of the hill that the city is on and we got off and took a 2.5 hour walking tour. Very pretty. SOMEONE (ahem, Sarah) told me Toledo was very cold. And since I couldn’t figure out how to get the TV on and the internet was pretty shaky, I decided to wear jeans. Not my finest choice. But it was good! We saw lots of cool things. A lot of cathedrals and castles and swords and famous paintings and such. After the tour, we grabbed some lunch and headed back to hotel which is super pretty. My roomie and I spent our three hour break just chatting in our room. We then had a meeting with the San Sebastian directors just to go over some random details about San Sebastian. We found out some interesting things! Like, my university ID will get me like 2 hour spa dates for like 6 euros, and lots of other interesting things. I also found out that San Sebastian is known as two things: the smiling city and the running city. I like both of those things! Maybe I’ll fit in better than I thought...

Tonight was lots of fun. I’m enjoying getting to know my classmates quite a lot! There was lots of laughs and lots of gelado tonight, which always make for a good night. I’m ready to be in San Sebastaian! So ready. Pray for our team as we make the 7 hour journey north! Vos amo! (That means I love you all! Or at least that what Nick says it is…)

Friday, May 27, 2011

exciting times!

Well! It has been a very interesting time thus far. Here’s a (fairly) quick recap. Nick and I had a 1 hour 50 minute layover in Dulles. However, our flight in K-Town was delayed 1 hour 30 minutes, thus presenting a few problems. By the time we got to Dulles we had exactly 20 minutes to make our connecting flight to Madrid. But, we ended up sitting on the runway for about 10 of those minutes. After exiting the plane and waiting for our checked carry-ons we had about 5-7 minutes to book it from gate C1 to D21…yeah. So, Nick took our rolling checked items, I took our bags and his laptop and we just started sprinting. I will never, ever laugh at people doing that ever again…ever. I was a bit ahead of Nick (I wasn’t carrying like 75 lbs. of luggage…) and when I got about to D1 (halfway point) I noticed the Arrival/Departure board and next to Madrid it said Closed. Well, we kept all out running, and when our gate came into sight, there was no one there except the lady who takes your tickets. She asked me if I was supposed to be on the Madrid flight and after I wheezed out a yes, she went running. She told them “they’re here” and asked them to open the doors back for us! For real. So, we made it. Right about that time, we realized that if we had hardly made it, our luggage definitely hadn’t. No good, but we were just so thankful to be on the plane, we didn’t care much.

All of that running was probably in vain because we sat out on the tarmac for about an hour. For all of that excitement, the flight was very uneventful. We played Who Wants to be a Millionaire and watched some movies, nothing too exciting. When it finally landed and we had made it through the Madrid airport maze, we got to the luggage conveyor belt. We were kind of dreading the whole experience because we could only imagine that trying to explain lost luggage in a foreign country would be no fun. However, our luggage was literally the first two pieces that came out (LIFO? ha, accounting joke). We kind of freaked out. Y’all must have been praying hard because…that’s just awesome! After we excitedly grabbed our luggage, we headed over to the pay phone to see if we could figure out how to call our hotel and get the shuttle to come pick us up. Right then, this sweet airline worker came up, showed us how to use the pay phone (don’t judge, it was confusing), called the hotel for us, AND told us where it would be picking us up. It was fabulous.

Once we got to the hotel, we had to wait around till check-in time. Nick dominated me in Phase 10 and UNO ( I was obviously tired and not on my a-game…and I did beat him in Life and Scrabble on the plane). We got checked in, cleaned up, and decided to head out to waste some time before going to bed. Our goal was to stay awake till 7pm to see if we could start getting our bodies adjusted…but we only made it till 5pm. I then slept til 3am (~10 hrs) and then again from 4am-10am, so I was in pretty good shape. We ended up calling a taxi to take us from our hotel by the airport to the one ISA had booked for us and immediately checked in. That’s when all of the ISAers started flooding in. We not only started meeting people from our group but also from the Salamanca and Sevilla groups. Super fun! The San Sebastian team took a bus tour of the city and then had a quick meeting. After that, Nick and I and our two friends grabbed some dinner (lomo con queso, yum!) and headed to bed.

Sorry for the long’s just been so exciting thus far! Tomorrow is another day in Madrid and then the next day we head to Toledo for one night. From there, we will take a 7 hour bus ride to San Sebastian. I love Madrid, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy Toledo, but I am so ready to be back in San Sebastian!! :) Please continue lifting Nick and I and the other students up. I love you all! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

and so it begins...

So, I decided that a blog would be the best way to go about chronicling and sharing all about my study abroad trip. That way, if you want to know what's going on, you can come look, and if you don't, well, then, you're not reading this. And that way, I don't bug those people with too many e-mails. :) And, just for your information, 'aventuras' means 'adventures' in Basque, the native language of San Sebastian.

I am so beyond excited! I haven't packed per se, however, I have some very neat and orderly piles of stuff on my floor. It didn't really even hit me until today that I'm leaving for Spain in two days. I actually had a little mini panic attack in Target after explaining to the pharmacist that I needed enough Zyrtec-D to last me until I got back (generally not a great plan...they're a little stingy with their pseudoephedrine), but Mom made me breathe (in and out), and I was on my way.

So...that's where I am spending the next 5 weeks of my life. Probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. For those of you that don't know, I will be taking 6 hours of Economics classes at a local university and interning at a local business that teaches the Basque people conversational English. Please keep Nick and I and the other study abroad students in your thoughts and prayers as we travel!