Worst Day Ever

I realize that “Worst Day Ever” is fairly hyperbolic, but at this point I have lost perspective and this truly feels like the worst day anyone has ever had in the whole entire world (not really, but still).

Today I had my psychology final, which is one of the finals I was worried most about because I had to cover 2/3 of the material on my own. Luckily it was a tipo test (multiple choice), so I figured if I went over everything medium-well, I would be able to recognize the answers and do alright.

When I got to the office to take the exam, it turned out to be an oral test–surprise! The first questions was “What is Evaluacion Psicologica?”(that is the title of the class). What does that even mean? Where was I supposed to begin?? Being able to draw completely from memory rather than looking at the various answer options is extremely different, and I was in no way prepared for this test. Also, one thing you can not do on an oral test is see a question you know ABSOLUTELY nothing about, guess some completely random answer, turn in the test and hope for the best. On oral tests you can’t take a shot in the dark and have the comfort of leaving the test before the teacher reads your nonsensical answer. Instead I just literally had to say “I don’t know” and look at him blankly, which was equally awkward and embarrassing.

I realize that the teacher was trying to be easy on me, and I passed, but I can not begin to express the amount of stress and humiliation it caused along the way, and we had already agreed I was taking a tipo test!

After that test I had a tutoring session and class in Historia y Ficcion, which is my last final and I am taking it tomorrow. During class I felt horribly sick and nauseous, but I figured it was just a symptom from all the stress and exhaustion, so I tried to calm myself down. The class is 2 hours long and by the last thirty minutes I was struggling to not run out and try to find a place to throw up or pass out.

Once we were finally let out of class I ran to the bathroom and tried to see if I would throw up, but I wasn’t successful, so I headed back home. Right when I walked downstairs to the main floor of the building I was overcome with the need to throw up and I ran to the first exit I found and threw up everywhere (sorry for the grossness of this post).

I started to think the throwing up was just part of the stress so I just walked it off (although crying–I always cry when I throw up haha) and headed home.

I still was convinced I had just done this to myself by getting so worked up, until I came home and threw up approximately 238 more times. So now I am here in bed, unable to sleep but exhausted, wearing essentially all the clothes I haven’t packed, sitting on a heating pad, body aching and cramping from the strain of throwing up so many times and then losing all of my fluids, and tomorrow I have my last final.

I am really bummed to be having such rotten luck and to get sick literally just days before I am supposed to leave. Plus, I want to get this final over with, but it looks like I will have to try to move it back because no studying is happening tonight.

On the other hand, my woman has been super sweet and trying to do whatever she can to help take care of me, and my friend Sarah came by and doctored me up a little, which I really really appreciate!

Week 15

I am officially half-way done with finals, and I am somehow still alive. This week I turned in my final essay, had my final for the class I am taking with my program–History of Flamenco–and then this morning I took my Arte Prehispanico final.

It is weird thinking back to before my finals and remembering how I thought it would literally be impossible to study and take them, yet here I am with two down and two to go. My weariness and despair culminated on Monday when I just lied in bed and cried from a combination of the stress and receiving some bad news from my academic advisor (more on that later). I still don’t feel much better, but now I can actually see the end in sight.

Since I have the weekend ahead of me to study I decided to give myself the night off and I put some of that free time to good use and uploaded the pictures to the Munich and Prague posts! When I was updating the posts I also remembered one of the funniest stories from the whole trip that I had completely forgotten about!

Since no one in Spain really speaks English I have gotten accustomed to saying whatever is on my mind when I’m out with my friends from my program. I generally don’t go around saying absurd or obscene things, but here I feel comfortable telling my friends that the clothing in a store is overpriced, or talking openly about my personal problems while in public places, or commenting on how well dressed someone is even when they are right in front of me. I probably am overly concerned with not saying things that are of “bad taste” or too personal out loud, so it has actually been very liberating talking so freely.

Anyway, one day in Prague Sarah and I were looking at the watercolor paintings on Charles bridge and I lingered really long at one stand and was pretty much set on getting a painting there, but in the end I couldn’t commit and decided I didn’t want anything. Rather than being honest and just saying I didn’t want anything, I decided to take the “easy way out” and say I needed to think more and ask if he would be there the following day, to which he said probably not. Feigning disappointment, but inside happy and relieved that I successfully had adverted the situation, I walked away.

The next day we took the same bridge to the other side of the city, and low and behold the artist DID decide to come the following day. Unable to face him and my lie I panicked, shot towards the people closest to me, and began walking awkwardly close, trying to hide myself behind them.

Sarah, confused about why I was being so weird (I was extreeeemely close to them), asked me what I was doing. I told her “The painter is here! I’m walking with this couple so he doesn’t see me.” Next thing I know the two ladies (not a couple) I am walking with stop and give me the strangest look, and I realize they understand English!

Caught off guard, I turned bright red and explained the whole not-being-used-to-people-understanding-English thing and tried to laugh it off, but they were not having it. The situation at this point was fairly awkward because I am still walking right with them, so I just mumbled something and veered sharply away.

Lessons learned: I should probably get my free speech under control before going back to the US or I could put myself in more awkward situations. I also probably don’t need to go through the whole elaborate story making process just to get out of buying a painting, “no thanks” is sufficient. (In fact I have decided I need to be more honest and say what I feel in general)

I am going to save the dramatic advising story for the Spanish academics post because it is late here and I don’t want to get myself all worked up again right before bed; also, I don’t want to keep being such a downer in all my posts, so I think it’s better I put it all my complaints into one all-inclusive post and then be done with them!

Since it is 1am here, I am officially under a week left in Sevilla. Just a week before I felt like the end was never coming, and now it is fast approaching and I can’t believe it. A lot of my friends from various other programs are getting home now, and it is so weird to think how one day I will leave Sevilla and the next day I will be back in Austin, back to normal life, and I imagine all of this will feel like a dream. It all changes so abruptly.

I am starting to think that the reason I am so ready to go is because it doesn’t seem like the end ever actually will come, but until Tuesday gets here and until I am done with my finals, I am ready for the week to hurry up and I am ready to go home.

BEST DAY EVER

Things have been looking down and I am blogging and complaining and studying, but then next thing I know, my week is completely turned around!

No, I am not talking about school. That is not turning around, unfortunately.

But what I am talking about is even BETTER!

I was talking to my woman the other day when she was looking at recipe books and I asked her if there is one she recommends or uses a lot.

She told me about a book–“1080 Recetas de Cocina”–that she says everyone uses and it has tons of editions, so I was super excited to order it when I get home and cook all the Spanish recipes.

I have been sitting at the kitchen table studying while my woman and the family went to the park, and when she came back she handed me “an early christmas present”: The recipe book!

She gave it to me about 30 minutes ago, but I still can’t stop smiling and I just keep looking at the book and admiring it. I am soooo excited to have these Spanish recipes to try out when I get home (and it will be a fun way to keep up with my Spanish), but I am most happy that she thought of me!

Words can not describe the contentment and happiness and excitement that I feel right now.

(Me and my new book!)
(And don’t worry, I didn’t dye my hair brown again…that is the light…and the dirtiness)

I suppose I should return to studying….after I read some recipes in my new book!

Be back soon…hopefully

Vacation has ended and now I am back to harsh reality in Sevilla. Coming back into Sevilla did give me a slight feeling of homecoming, but that quickly turned to dread and misery when I remembered all the work and pain ahead of me. Finals are turning out to be more horrible and difficult than I had imagined (I didn’t think that was possible), so I will have to take a brief hiatus from the blog.

I have all the notes written out for my trip, so the rest of my adventures will be posted soon, along with all the pictures I took…that is, if I survive this next week. I also will write about the school system here and explain why these finals are so terrible that I am incapable of updating y’all for the next few weeks. Included in this upcoming post will be all of my complaints–get excited! These I won’t need to write down because I am taking mental notes, and I won’t forget who/what is on my list!!

Actually, It is probably better I wait until after finals so that way my complaints will be fully comprehensive– I would hate to leave anything out!

Finally, as it is now 1am here in Sevilla, it is officially 10 days until I head back into the United States. Currently I feel like that day couldn’t get here soon enough, and I am not sure if my feelings will change before I leave–and after my finals, obviously–or if it will have to wait until the finals are further back into my past before I can look back onto Sevilla with fondness (ok, I am being a little extreme here, but only slightly!).

*You know what is even more frustrating? Here I am trying to gripe and as I write I keep thinking of the words I want to say in Spanish, and then I am unable to remember how to say them in English. (Yes I am complaining about complaining now. Low point)

I am sorry for being such a grump and for letting out my frustration out on this post. Part of the fun of reading things is when you read something happy/exciting and then you take on that emotion and feel happy or excited, so I am extremely sorry if you have read this story and thus taken on my scroogeness.

In case this has happened, I will end this post with a lighter, happier story. My dad had a Texas jersey rounded up and sent to me here so that I could give it to my woman’s baby. Look at how cute this little Spanish Longhorn is (also, don’t let the apparent peacefulness fool you: he is snoring like a full grown man when this picture is being taken)!

Munich

We woke up bright and early to head to the train station and catch our train to Munich. The walk to the train station wasn’t extremely far, but the whole thing was uphill and we had all of our luggage with us, so by the time we made it we were dripping in sweat and exhausted.

(Old Town Hall and the Christmas market)

The hostel where we were staying in Prague didn’t have a printer, so we were counting on getting to the train station and printing out or ticket there. When we got to the station we looked for those computer things they have in airports to print our tickets, but they were no where to be found, so we headed to the ticket desk and asked if they could print them for us. Apparently the ticket people do not have Internet or any access to our ticket information, so the only option the lady offered us was to buy another ticket. The ticket lady also told us there was Wifi on the other floor, but she said there wasn’t a single printer in the entire train station, so basically we were in trouble.

(The Christmas tree in the market and the moon!)

Sarah and I ran upstairs and, planning to take a picture of our tickets, found a Burger King with Wifi. Obviously their Wifi didn’t work, so I went wandering through the station looking for Internet. Luckily I found an Exchange place with an Internet station and printers (looks like the ticket lady was wrong!), so we downloaded the tickets, printed them, and made it onto the train just in time.

(decoration stand)

As I said in my earlier post, our train to Munich was the Hogwarts Express! The train wasn’t literally the Hogwarts Express, unfortunately, but it was made of cabins just like the ones on the Hogwarts train, and Sarah and I ended up with an entire cabin to ourselves. The train from Prague to Munich is 6 hours long, so Sarah and I closed our curtains, stretched out on each row of seats, and napped for about half the trip!

Once we made it to Munich and checked into our hotels, we headed straight for the Christmas markets. I thought Prague was full of Christmas markets, but Munich seems to have even more! From our hostel it was about a ten-minute-walk to the first plaza with markets, and from there markets stretched out in all directions.

(ornament stand)

We walked around looking at all the pretty decorations and Christmas ornaments, but once again I put my money towards food. First, I stopped and bought a few cherries, which were so good, and then I got a bag of “kettle corn” (it wasn’t warm and coming fresh out of the pot like the kettle corn at the trail of lights, but it was sugar coated popcorn, so I guess that’s the same!) which I had been craving ever since we got to the markets.

(ornaments!)

After walking around for what felt like hours, it was only 7 and we were exhausted, so we decided to be super American and have an early dinner. We picked a random restaurant on the same road as the markets (I don’t have Rick for recommendations because I sent my Germany book home with my dad) because the inside was decorated and it looked really cozy.

I had Spinach dumplings, which probably significantly raised my cholesterol, but they were pretty good! From dinner we headed straight back to the hostel and went to sleep.

Our second day in Munich we woke up early and decided to cancel our third night and head to Salzburg early since besides the markets there isn’t much to do in Munich that I haven’t done, and neither Sarah nor I have been to Austria.

(another cookie stand!)

First we cancelled our hostel reservation and then headed to the train station to get our Salzburg tickets. Buying the Salzburg tickets was quick and painless—and cheap!—so we were feeling pretty good about our choice and then we headed to Radius Tours (the company my dad and I used while in Munich) to see what was going on for the day.

(ornaments…so many ornaments!)

Our good luck continued, and when we checked out the schedule we found out there was a “third reich” tour in 30 minutes, so we bought tickets and went to get some breakfast in the station before the tour.

The third reich tour was a guided walking tour that told the history of the rise of Nazism while taking us through Munich to see some of the significant sites. First we stopped at Hoffbrauhaus, which is the most famous beer garden in the world, but many don’t realize it also is the symbolical birthplace of Nazism. Hitler joined the German Workers Party, which later became the National Socialist Workers Party and held their meetings in this very beer hall. The dark history is still evident in the swastikas that are painted (although now more discretely) on the ceiling.

On the tour we walked around to a few other sites while the guide talked to us about the information and the history, but there wasn’t really much to see since Munich was almost completely destroyed World War II, so now most of the city is reconstructed; also, Eisenhower directed a “de-nazification” program, in which all remnants of Nazi ideology were destroyed.

(capital. Destroyed in WWII and rebuilt with glass to show “transparency of the government”)

Although the information the guide was telling us was really interesting, the tour was really long and entirely outside, so by the second hour I was miserably cold, so cold that I thought I would have to leave the tour early and run somewhere to get inside.

Luckily I was able to stick it out until the end of the tour where we went inside one of the last remaining Nazi buildings—the Nazi headquarters—where our guide described the events leading up to Hitler’s suicide, and then she read aloud his last will and testament.

When I heard Hitler’s will, I really understood Hitler’s persuasiveness and his talent as a speaker and writer. Obviously I detest Hitler for the terror he caused and the horrible crimes he committed, and I was disappointed when I heard about the numerous assassination attempts against him that failed, but when I heard his will spoken I actually started to sympathize with Hitler and imagine him as a nice man who was willing to sacrifice everything for his country and his people.

(English Garden)

Five seconds later that sympathy disappeared and the abhorrence returned, but I was completely shocked by how well spoken he was and how convincing he was, to the extent that it made me better understand how history occurred the way it did.

After the tour ended we stayed in the building a little bit longer so my toes and legs and fingers and nose could thaw out, and then I insisted on first stopping to buy more clothes to put on before doing anything else (I don’t know what is wrong with me but it seems like my body refuses to produce its own heat).

With a new turtleneck, wool sweater, my wool coat, and scarf, I was finally able to head back out into the Christmas markets. Sarah and I shopped around for gifts and snacked on some chocolate covered strawberries for a while before deciding to head into the hostel and rest until dinner.

(one of the entrances to the Munich market)

Once we made it into the hostel Sarah and I were overcome with laziness and we lied in bed showing each other pictures of our friends and family and dogs from home. All day it was horribly cold, and then while we were lying in our room it started raining, so we had a perfect excuse to continue our sloth-like behavior.

As we were pretending to consider heading out into the markets again and being good tourists, the rain turned into snow. With the weather change we were completely rejuvenated, so we jumped out of bed and headed out to experience the Christmas markets in the snow.

(Me and Sarah in the market while it is snowing)

We wandered around for a little while enjoying the falling snow until it got to the point that we were pretty soaked and our toes were going numb. Then we headed to one of the little food booths and got frankfurters for dinner, which were delicious, and for dessert I had my very first crepe! I had been intending to get a crepe since we got here, but it hadn’t worked out logistically until our last night, and I have to say, I saved the best dessert for last!

(Market in the snow)

For my very first crepe I got nutella and bananas, and by the time Sarah ordered her crepe and made it to our table I had already almost finished mine! I can’t even begin to describe the deliciousness that was this crepe; nutella makes anything amazing, and with the combination of bananas and it being all melted, it was heaven.

Anyways, with the dessert crepe I would say that Munich ended on a high note, and that night we went to bed early and then woke up the following morning and headed to Austria!