Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cena de Despedida y ¡Flamenco, Flamenco!

Last night was our Cena de Despedida or "Going Away Dinner." I realize the majority of us have just over a month left, but our classes at the Centro ended officially yesterday and many of us have already finished our Facultad course as well (myself included, but those two papers are still looming over my head).

Anywho, it was a lovely evening. The restaurant was built into a Carmen, which is a detailed but massive garden that are common of old houses in the neighborhood of the Albaizín neighborhood, set in the intricate and hidden hills of Granada. We had a beautiful view of the Alhambra all night.

The dinner consisted of gaspacho, a seafood salad with orange in it (will work on getting that name, Mom), jamón serrano con queso, Spanish tortilla, musakka, steak, and a plethora of desserts. It was wonderful. Just following dinner, one of the girls in our program, Hannah, presented a beautiful collage of pictures of all of us throughout the year for our director, María. Our overall program director, Dr. Martin was there as well.

Sao and I with the lovely María. She helped me out so much this year.

After we presented the collage, we all went a little crazy for taking photos. Again, we still have about a month left here, but a lot of us are traveling and wanted to get in as many last-minute snap shots as possible. Plus, we were all dressed up and it was a total excuse for vanity, I'm sure. So here's a look at all of the lovely faces of my program-mates whom I better see in various trips to Sonoma, Sacramento, Humboldt, Monterey, San Marcos, and wherever else I can crash on their couches. :]

Jade (Humboldt State), myself and Chris (Sonoma State).

Arisa (San Francisco State), Jason (San Francisco State), and I. Arisa was definitely my travel partner this year. Best part was that I knew both her and Jason before coming here. :]

Zach (Monterey Bay) and I. Or better known as Dragon Siblings.

Rachel (Sonoma State) and I. She's the sweetest!

Armando (Chico State) and I.

Sao (Sacramento State), Jessica (Monterey Bay State), and I.

Sarah (Sonoma State), Amity (Sacramento State) and I. We're professional side-line gossipers at all of the futbol games "¡Cotilleo, cotilleo!"

Chris (Sonoma State) and I. Chris' father and my father worked together in East LA for about ten years and we didn't figure this out until we got here. Chris is wonderful. We'll be seeing each other while we mob our friend Joakim's house in Sweden in June.

And of course, we took a family portrait. Or, "San Marcos + Laura." What am I gonna do with these spazzes living in my house next year?

It's so hard to believe that it's been exactly 9 months since we had our Welcome to Spain dinner back in Madrid. And we were already attached then. Hah. The Madrid days, August:

Aww. :]

Then, our directors surprised us with a beautiful flamenco show. The dancers were incredible, the singer took my breath away, and the guitar was so good, I almost got weepy. (Or. Could have been all the free wine.) Dr. Martin giving us a speech. (Which I also have on video for later).

And the show commenced! I'll try and upload a video or two of the show later. (I have to admit, I stole these from Sarah because she had a great seat and excellent view.)

After Flamenco, many of us walked the winding paths to the Mirador where we sat and stared the magnificent Alhambra and twinkling lights of the city. Nine sold months, and it still blows me away. It was nice to spend it with a bunch of wonderful folks who will go home feeling the same euphoria as I will from this life-changing experience.

"It's the time of your life that may last a lifetime."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


As of yesterday, I finished my last final exam at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas. And it. felt. good.

I am so ready to hop on a bus and head straight for the beach. Alas, I still have a few essays to write for my class at the Facultad. Historia del Pensamiento Literario Español: you will be the death of me. But once I get through these 20 or so pages of essay-writing, I am free to be a total lazy bum meets travel freak my last month in Spain.

Tonight is our "Cena de Despedida," or "Going Away Dinner." Well, "Going Home Dinner" might be more appropriate. But it definitely feels weird. I don't like that I have a matter of a few WEEKS left in this incredible country. It's all happening so fast. It all happened so fast.

Thanks for everything, Centro. It's been real.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

SOS 4.8

Asphalt coated in a layer of cigarette butts and sweat. Speakers blasting bass for 12 hours straight. An entire colony of filthy port-o-potties. More kebab and churro stands than you can count. Free (yes, FREE) bumper cars.

So yeah, SOS 4.8 music festival was pretty awesome. Joakim and I took a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Murcía (province in southeast Spain) in order to see The Kooks at 7:45 because the others in the car weren't leaving until later. And boy howdy, did those British boys put on a great show.

Shortly after we saw them, we watched the composer Yann Tiersen perform. He wrote the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning French film Amelie. He was wonderful!

Then, we were able to meet up with the group. Fernando, Alex, Chelsea, Brandon, Natasha, Charlotte, Majd, Manu, Georgie, Pauline, Alberto, Miguel and other friends. We all watched MGMT together which was just plain good. I've loved MGMT for a while. They never fail to raise your mood, you know?

After MGMT, we saw the house music group The Bloody Beetroots and Steve Aoki (from LA). It was time to DANCE. From 2:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. to be precise. And dance we did:

The next day we got up around 3 p.m. and snacked at the apartment/hotel we rented until we were back on the road, Subway sandwiches in hand (first in almost 9 months) and ready for Day 2 of the festival. First up, The Editors. A post-punk revival band, also from England. Their performance was surprisingly really good.

Then we took a pause and listened to Suede as we all had a bit of a pow-wow. Typical image from the festival:

Then we bolted it to the bumper cars once we found out they were "GRATIS," or in English, "FREE." We all harnessed our inner-12-year-olds and mobbed each other in the course. It was freaking awesome.

Overall, incredible trip. I'll leave you with this disgusting shot of a McDonald's parking lot 300 meters from the fairgrounds:


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wayfaring Map

And looks like I'll be adding Sweden and perhaps Portugal before long. :]