About Me

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Columbia, Missouri
My traveling closet began halfway across the country three years ago when I left Las Vegas and started my freshman year at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Then it went halfway across the world for a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Now it's back to Mizzou for a final year. I began this blog to detail my European adventures. Though I'm back in the states, the adventures continue.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Muchas Cosas!

It's been a while since I last posted! Lo siento mis amigos! 

After returning from Paris, El día de San Valentín was upon us. For all you Valentine's Day haters, you would have loved it here because the holiday is basically ignored. However, I was able to find a small section of Valentine's Day cards in Corte Inglés. (By the way, Corte Inglés is a GIANT department store found EVERYWHERE in Spain. They say that if you can't find what you're looking for there, it doesn't exist in Spain!)

I picked out a super cheesy card. It's funny because it's in Spanish! 

Even all the way out here in Barcelona, I wasn't forgotten about. :)

Last week marked the celebration of Carnival - the European version of Mardi Gras/Halloween. The main party was 45 minutes outside Barcelona in a city called Sitges on Tuesday. I travelled there with a group of 10 people from my program and hundreds of other costume-wearing Spaniards and tourists alike. Needless to say, the train ride was pretty entertaining and quite colorful. 

The streets of Sitges were filled with people. We made a pact with our group to stay together the whole night no matter what. Unfortunately, that pact didn't last long. The streets were crazy and there was just too much going on. 

 (Yes, that's an MIZ on Tommy's forehead. I finally met someone else from Mizzou! I'm not alone!)

As the night progressed, our group of 10 slowly dwindled. Eventually, it was just me and my roommate Sonja wandering the streets trying to find our way back to the train. We stumbled upon the train station and managed to get back to Barcelona around 4 am. Carnival was quite the experience! 

The weather is finally warming up in Barcelona! It's been beautiful lately. I visited the beach last Friday and dipped my toes in the Mediterranean for the first time. 

Today I went out on a limb and trusted a hairdresser who didn't speak a lick of English. I was so nervous! They don't teach salon slang in Spanish class so all I knew how to say was "¡Solo corta un poco por favor! Quiero tener pelo largo." (Please only cut a little! I want to have long hair.) The rest I was able to decipher with hand gestures. My hairdresser taught me a new word: Flequillos!  I sure am loving my flequillos (bangs) nuevos. I feel so Spanish!

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Paris Holds the Key to My Heartttttt"

...Quite literally, it does! 

Plus, Kayla and I galavanted across Paris singing the catchy Anastasia tune so the song-inspired title of this blog post was a must!

This weekend was filled with so much cousinly love. It was like patching up my homesickness with a little band-aide, which was exactly what the doctor ordered. I think I almost tackled her to ground when I finally hopped off the bus in Paris. After waking up at 4:30 am and traveling by taxi, plane, and bus, she was definitely a pleasant sight to see!

After lugging my baggage through the metro and huffing and puffing my way across the cobble-stoned streets of Paris to her apartment, I had one request: FEED ME!

With so many adorable french restaurants available, we obviously ended up at a pizzeria. Who needs a baguette, right? It was rather odd not being able to order my own food, converse with the locals, or navigate the streets. I kept accidentally saying "gracias" too...which was awkward. I was Kayla-dependent on everything this weekend. I would have been utterly lost without her. 

We gorged ourselves on pizza and then headed straight to the Eiffel Tower. 

...And then to the Arc de Triomphe.

Later that night, we met up with some of Kayla's friends for an incredibly delicious homemade mac n' cheese dinner and wine night. I was really embracing the French culture, right? However, I did learn how to be "Parisian." You can't look people in the eye when walking down the street because it is seen as suggestive and you must avoid talking to people on the metro unless you want to fear for your life. The last part was a bit tricky for me because I'm always talking to random people here in Spain. I just love meeting new friends and practicing my Spanish! There were quite a few instances when someone would talk to me in French, I'd turn to Kayla to translate, and she'd promptly reply, "Madi, NO."

After dinner, we went to a couple different bars. It was a fun first night in Paris!

A monumental event took place the following morning: we went to Breakfast in America. We endured waiting outside in the freezing cold in order to satisfy some of our American food cravings.

Let me tell you, it was worth it! The cheeseburger was glorious and the bottomless cup of Joe was a much-missed American amenity.

After brunch, Kayla and I visited the Notre Dame. What a beautiful cathedral!

We accidentally stumbled upon the Lock Bridge, which I obviously had to contribute to. The tradition consists of writing your name and someone you love on the lock and then throwing the key into the river so that you'll always be locked together.

Kayla and I then accomplished something extremely impressive. We toured the entire Louvre in less than 3 hours. It was quite a feat that my feet did not enjoy but a worthwhile experience nonetheless. However, I really don't get the allure of the Mona Lisa. How did it get so famous??

Our walk back to Kayla's apartment was beautiful. It was miserably cold, but how can you complain when you get to witness a Paris sunset?

For dinner, Kayla and I ate crepes. Finally something French! I had a French meal the following day too, baguettes and all!

Despite the beauty of Paris, I couldn't help but miss Barcelona. Being away made me realize how much I really do love the people, the food, the culture, and most of all the language. I found myself comparing every little thing to Barcelona. Kayla is so happy in Paris, but I definitely wouldn't fit in there. The coldness of the people alone would drive me crazy.

Once I got back to Barcelona, it was so refreshing to converse in Spanish with my cab driver the entire way back to my apartment. We discussed Las Vegas and he kept asking me all these questions about the Montecito. I thought he was mispronouncing the Monte Carlo until I realized he was referring to the Montecito Casino from the SHOW Las Vegas. I had to break his heart and let him know it wasn't a real casino. It was pretty funny.