Monday, December 20, 2010

Granada Mágica

I don't know if I am making clear how deeply I am in love with Granada. This magical city blows my mind regularly. By now, most of us just walk the streets like it's nothing. Alex made the point that we look down often, and with good reason--so as to not trip over a jagged cobblestone or short pylon. But once in a while, you have to risk tripping and twisting your ankle, or worse, stepping in dog poop, to look UP. This place is literally ancient. Islamic and Catholic kingdoms have lived and died here over and over again.

Natasha's brother and parents are here visiting and it's really refreshing for all of us. It gives us a chance to look at Granada again with new eyes. They visited the famous Granada Catedral:

We gave them a tour of "El Mirador" (the "looker", or "place to look") up in the Albaicín and walked them down through the narrow, windy Arab neighborhood of the Albaicín (where they kindly bought us a round of tapas). The view is incredible. It boasts the back of the Alhambra and much of the more urban and suburban parts of Granada:

The family, minus Brandon who's currently traveling with his dad. Myself, Chelsea, Alex, Natasha and her brother, Dane:

And I suddenly realized that I didn't have a photo of myself in front of the most famous part of Granada-The Alhambra. So this is for the family. Yep, I love you guys.

With those lovely views of my city, I now am doing the final packing for my epic Paris/Brussels/London trip. Here's hoping I don't have a delayed flight from here to Paris. But, I'd be moderately okay with a delay from London back to Spain (excuse to stay longer!). Keep your fingers crossed for smooth traveling! I will upload a million photos once I return on January 2 in the new year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I am getting INCREDIBLY excited for my trip to Paris, Brussels and London! I recently bought some boots, a new coat, earmuffs and leggings (to slide under my jeans) in preparation for the trip. Here I am testing out my "Paris look." I am getting so excited, that I'm trying on stuff like it's the night before the first day of high school.

This is about a million layers of clothing--weather proof boots, two pairs of socks, leggings, jeans, shirt, sweater, hoodie, scarf, huge coat, beanie, earmuffs and gloves:

And let me tell you! Before I came to Spain, I was proud of my boot find in the States. If you recall, I snagged a pair of Ralph Lauren leather riding boots for $100 when they were originally $300. I am a fashion, but more importantly, a sale FIEND. However, I have outdone myself this time. Those black riding boots you see above are a French brand known as Aigle. They are faux leather, but their company prides themselves in making them look dang authentic. The point is: they're water proof, insulated and have soles with grip. They are amazingly comfortable, in my annoyingly huge size, and fitted. They were MADE for traveling through freezing Europe.

I was willing to throw down like 200 euro on a good pair of boots. I picked up these bad boys for 65 euro. Yes. Sixty-five euro. That's about $86. Yes. I win. Also, I picked up that adorable Zara coat for 60 euro. God, I love the clothes in Europe.


Christmas Spirit

It's a little hard to get all Christmas-ed out when my family isn't around. I'm so used to seeing three trees regularly: ours, Grandma and Papa's, and Ladda's. Also, there is a lack of homes with the crazy lights and what not. But the streets are pretty lit up here. There are poinsettia's on the street lamps and nativity scenes galore. Everywhere you go, you'll see signs saying "Belén," or "Bethlehem."

But I did just have my finals, so Christmas has been in the very back of my brain for a couple weeks. But I am ready now! I have put all five finals behind me with confidence that I did pretty dang well. Booyah.

Grandma and Papa sent me a super sweet Christmas package this week though. It was filled with goodies and decorations, a treat from Sephora, homemade cookies and SOCKS!

I opened and consumed about four cookies before I could even take the picture. Thank you Grandma and Papa! :)

And to all of my loved ones, I swear I am acquiring Christmas gifts and souvenir goodies for you, but you might have to wait until I come home for all of your little presents. Postage is AWFUL. But you're on my mind! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010


Thanksgiving and my birthday have slipped away all too fast and Christmas is approaching rapidly. Every year flies by faster. I'm done growing up now, Father Time. Thanks for the 21 years, but I'm solid now. I don't really feel like getting older now.

When I was a freshman at San Francisco, it was weird enough being 500 miles away from home for the majority of December, but I always went home for the actual day. Not so this year. This year, I am spending the holidays with my new family of friends whom I adore and care for so incredibly much. But I sure do miss my family and friends in California, the feasts I am missing out on, the atmosphere. It's strange not having that. I feel like it's not even happening. I feel like my American life is on pause and I am over here in Europe living a life I was destined to, that just happens to occur simultaneously.

That being said, I have booked/bought/reserved quite a lot of activities to distract myself from missing home too much. I am 100% booked for my Christmas trip and as Chelsea and I like to say, "We are pot-committed to this trip." Meaning, in poker terms, we've forked over too much dough to NOT have an amazing time.

On December 22, I will be flying into Paris, France with Alex, Chelsea and Arisa. We are staying 4 nights and spending Christmas at Paris Disney Land!

On December 26, we are taking a train from Paris to Brussels, Belgium to spend 3 nights and generally explore the city. I actually had to look up a website for things to do there "besides drink beer." Haha.

On December 28, we're taking an overnight bus in the Chunnel to London, England where we will spend 4 nights, New Years Eve included. Chelsea and Alex are flying home on the first, but Arisa and I are staying an extra day to explore and hit up a museum or two if we didn't have time earlier in the trip.

Should be one hell of a whirlwind, but not quite as epic as our Amsterdam/Dusseldorf trip. In any case, that is my Christmas. Send good thoughts/mojo/prayer/vibes my way that our flights don't get cancelled due to snow. If the London-Málaga flight gets cancelled, I won't be too bummed as it will be another excuse to spend an extra day in London. However, that darn Málaga-Paris better be right on time! Hah. Seriously, though, BE ON TIME.

I miss you, family and friends of the great state of California!