I saw a real, live, Bull Fight

So the past week I haven't written on here, and honestly it's all due to my lack of time! We have been very busy lately with school, small excursions and hanging out with people. I have finally made some Spanish friends on top of my American friends, so I have been mingling in between the two groups. Regardless, a lot has happened since I bought those red pants.

First of all, I went to my first bull fight. Man, oh man! That was an experience. And just being honest, it's not really my cup of tea. What happened was our program director came into class and asked everyone if they wanted to go to the bullfight that was happening on Tuesday afternoon. She gave us a heads up about the violence and the fact that many Americans don't particularly enjoy watching bulls die. So, me being miss adventure, I decided to say yes and see the torreros. It was definitely an experience, to say the least.

The stadium was a really old, very small place with stone bench seating and close proximity to the main part of the city. This is cool, except for the fact that everyone in Spain chain-smokes and will do it right next to you. I usually don't mind people in the U.S. who smoke, but at least people there have some consideration when the do it. Not here. So, bullfight 1, Sarah 0.

We walked in as the fight was starting and took our seats. We had great seats (and they should be for 34 euro). There were three different bullfighters and six different bulls at this event. One of the bullfighters was on horse (and I felt bad for that horse) and the two others were on foot. And while I would like to say I was prepared for it, I wasn't. All six bulls died in front of a stadium of people cheering on its suffering and waiting for it to pass out from losing so much blood. It was sad. And to be honest, I don't think the fight is fair. The bullfighter doesn't even really do it himself! He has all these other people who come in and help wear the bull down so that when it's dripping blood and almost about to die anyway, the torrero comes in and "heroically" forces it to run through sheets of red before he stabs it to death.

I mean, I get it. There's a sense of tradition and culture that I might not completely understand (and there are rules and techniques to it), so that's why I try to keep an open mind. However, I would much rather go to a baseball game than go watch some innocent animal die from some guys that run around in pants that are too tight for them. You know, it's just not my thing.

At least they do eat the meat after the fight. And while my vegetarians all roll their eyes, if it's going to die, it might as well be used, right?

Next week we go to the north of Spain, which should be a very good time!



For those of you who have been to Spain, you know that these people dress to the 9's at all hours of the day. For those of you who have not been here, be warned: if you are not wearing a put-together outfit, you will immediately be marked as a tourist. Men here rock their button downs, jeans, and whatever else at all hours. Women tend to stick with dresses or skirts, or jeans and a nice top. The children here wear fancy clothing at all hours. Think your Sunday best, and then wear it all week long.

Well, for the past week my friend Meredith Wholley and I have been obsessing about the obvious fall trend; red pants. They're everywhere here. And the best part was that I saw them at Urban Outfitters and was about to buy them and didn't. Man, did I regret that decision! But the good thing is that we found a pair each today while perusing the shops. Plus, they were a lot cheaper than the ones that were at Urban. So hey, I got a Spanish version.

People here love their fashion. You can't walk down the street without someone carrying a Zara or H&M bag. While it's refreshing, it's also a lot of work. Unlike in the United States, one can't roll out of bed and roll to class. Clothes need to match (and be presentable) and hair needs to be fixed. Also, flip-flops are almost out of the question (although I admit to wearing a pair, but they're dressy).

On another front, I have begun to book a trip to Barcelona for the beginning of October. We even went so far as to book tickets for a huge music event that's happening there, which is supposedly comparable to Pretty Lights, but much much cooler. It's called Sensation Barcelona, or something like that. And it. looks. awesome.

That's all I've got here! Hasta luego!


Viva las fiestas!

The fiestas are here amigos! All of the casetas are up and rockin' in the downtown area. There are so many set up all around the town. And for those of you that don't speak spanish, a caseta is just a little stand that bars, restaurants, and groups of people put up and sell tapas, foods, and drinks. Usually the special at the stands is that you get a drink and one tapa for something like 1.8 Euro or around that price range. The drinks usually include beer, wine, water, or a soda. And the funny part is, the cheapest thing to get is usually wine. Oh Spain!

The plaza is constantly packed. There are concerts, dance shows, street performers, and other activities going on all around the city at any given moment. Today after lunch we are going to go out and explore for a little while. The bars are constantly packed and there are more people walking the streets than I know what to do with. And this is all before the students even have come back to Salamanca! Once they come at the end of September, I wonder what I am going to do with myself.

All of us are beginning to plan our trips to places all around. I am deciding where I would like to go see. While everyone else is dead-set on going out of the country, I am trying to stay within it and see most of Spain before I worry about the rest. I'm sure I will have some great posts to put up here once I get everything figured out.

My home life here is still going strong. My madre is very chill and pretty much lets me do my thing. She is also working in a Andalucia themed caseta, so she's pretty busy and leaves the house in these huge flamenco costumes all the time. It's pretty cool, actually. I am more connected to the world now that I have internet and am enjoying every moment that I am able to blog. The only thing I don't like (besides the food) is that in the house you have to wear shoes all the time. This custom was also in Mexico, but I could at least get away with wearing socks there. Here, they want shoes. It supposedly goes back to the times where they didn't have heat in the homes and had cold floors but I probably still wouldn't want to wear shoes even back then!

...Ohhhhh Spain!


always say no.

So I have learned something new that I found intriguing and decided to share.

Here in Spain, if someone offers you something (food, gum, drink, etc.), it is expected that you say "no", even if you really do want the item. If you accept the item initially it's considered to be rude. Thus, you must say no to the initial ask and then wait for them to ask you again (which they will do). This time if you really want to accept the item, you can.

...you know. In case any of you are traveling to Spain anytime soon.


I am here!

So, I have finally made it here to Spain and I am enjoying (mostly) everything already! I bought an internet USB so that I could facebook chat and write on here to let you all know what's happening.

Lets see...

We arrived at the main airport in Madrid, Spain on Thursday and have been in a whirlwind ever since. After having some help from Steve with one of my large suitcases, we found our way through customs and into where our program directors picked us up. After waiting a half hour, the bus finally arrived and we were off to Salamanca. I don't know if it was the food on the airplane, the day of traveling, or nerves, but I was super sick on the bus ride and thought for sure I was going to vom. I didn't, but I definitely came close. We stopped about half way through the two and a half hour drive to eat at a gas station type thing. I couldn't eat my sandwich because I was so sick.

Finally we arrived in Salamanca, and upon pulling up we saw our madres waiting for us. My madre is a nice woman named Juana who is in her 50's/60's. She was standing with her two grandchildren, Jimena (who is 5 years old) and Jaime (who is 2). We struggled at first to fit everything in the car, but eventually got it to fit and headed off to the house. And I'm telling you, I lucked out. I am the only one who lives right in the city, literally a block from the Plaza Mayor. I can see it from my balcony of my house! There is a garage that is directly under our apartment complex, which uses an elevator to take cars to park. That was weird! But the house is nice. I get my own room, which has a twin sized bed and a desk. Nothing crazy, but it's all good. My room is right next to the balcony in the middle of the house so lucky for me, I get to hear everyone in the apartment buildings conversations. Don't worry, my sleep hasn't been interrupted. I can literally sleep through anything!

A few of us out at night

The first night we decided to go out for a while. And pretty much every night besides Sunday we have done the same. The night life here is pretty crazy. There are a lot of bars, obviously, because it's a very University centered town. But here is different than Guanajuato, Mexico, just because there are also a lot more clubs and places I would consider to be very fresa. I have, however, found one rock bar called Rock Roice that is a Spanish bar and have made friends with all the bartenders. Come on, would you expect anything less?

Snow Cohn and Stevie Rimz

We have had some citas with our tutores who teach us where things are in the city and take us on cultural excursions. While it's nice, it's also frustrating because we tend to do them during prime "nap time". Oh well. We went to a museum of contemporary art, much of which I didn't understand and it's only because I don't "speak art". We have also gone to the mall, walked the city, and seen some of the "important sites of Salamanca".

Our classes right now are just kind of those "introductory, learn something about Spain and work on your Spanish classes" which I guess are kind of helpful but annoying at times. The nice part is, however, that they don't start until 10am. Sleep time!!! The teacher is very nice and enthusiastic, so that makes me not want to totally kill myself! The internet at school is free and much stronger than the USB internet I bought at the phone store, so I will probably be doing most picture uploads and maybe some blogging there instead of here. My USB internet has a limit on how much data one can use -- 2GB. As I am not a tech person, I am trying to conserve the little time (well, I think little time) that I have.

The food here is ok. I don't particularly like it, but whatever. I miss my hot sauce and I miss flavors other than fish, sardines and blandness. Oh, but the salads are pretty alright. I don't mind salads with vinegar and oil instead of dressing. But when you go out to a restaurant, they always eff them up and put tuna on them. It's not that my madre is a bad cook, it's just that I prefer more variety and less seafood. Most of my friends and family know that I am not a huge seafood person. Maybe it'll just be more reason to get really skinny. Ha. Probably not.

We have already made some Spanish friends and are looking forward to going out with Brandon and Rylan when they arrive here in Salamanca.

And other than that, there's not too much that's new.