Nothing singularly huge happened this week, but I have a lot to say anyway, making this the hugest post ever. Umm sorry?
MONDAY: Sundays and Mondays are pretty much the only days that are always going to be the same. We always have class, we always have Institute, and we always have FHE. This whole week I was still sick, which can put a damper on the most normal occurrences. Emmaleigh wanted us to walk home from school but I refused, so she walked and I took the bus. Best decision I ever made. We spent some time reading the Spanish Inquisition, which is this HUGE book we were supposed to read in two weeks while we didn’t have class for Spanish History. I finished it on time, which was a miracle. We had Institute and then FHE in the church, where we played Sardines. I told everyone how we’d always play in our house and I even told them about the time when Brett texted Ethan’s phone “We see you” and everyone freaked out and Tagg wanted to hit them with a chair. Haha. After FHE Emmaleigh and I had some less than satisfactory pastries, and then we went home.
TUESDAY: I woke up at 10:20 somehow. The alarm clock I have here snoozes every four minutes and I’ve let it run for quite a while before. Since I’ve been sick and not running, I just wake up at 9 and read until I can shower. But apparently my snooze button stops functioning at some point because I can only remember hitting the snooze a few times and when I woke up, the alarm was still on, but two hours after it first went off. The bus I normally take comes at 10:30, so I jumped up in a hurry, started rushing around and throwing clothes on and brushing my teeth and washing my face and trying to pack my backpack and make my bed, and Irene came in and got mad at me for having the blinds down and the light on [I was getting dressed!], asked me if I had gone running and when I said no laughed, and then told me to take out the trash because she didn’t want it to smell. I don’t take the blame for that, the first few weeks we were here the woman who comes twice a week to clean the house changed it, how were we supposed to know that we were actually supposed to do it and the cleaning woman just hadn’t gotten lazy? Whatever, I eventually did everything she asked me and made it to the bus stop in time to take another bus that got me to school barely on time. After school we were supposed to go to a costume museum in Madrid, but after wandering around in the supposed area for a while we realized it was actually the address of a museum for the blind, which was another museum on our list, so we went. It was SO cool. The majority of it is famous monuments, first in the whole world and then in Spain, and everything is touchable of course, because it’s set up so blind people can actually experience them. I was really enjoying everything, taking my blindfold on and off, when Megan and I discovered this sweet one that had everything carved inside too. She slipped her hand in and started touching everything. There were multiple openings, so I stuck my hand in another one. Bad choice. I knew as soon as I had forced it in that it was going to be a problem to try to get it out. It was. There was somehow something on the back of my hand not letting me slip my hand out. It was stuck in there for a while as we considered our options: butter? No. Breaking the monument open? Probably a bad idea. Waiting there, kneeling by the monument, until I had starved myself sufficiently to make my hand skinnier? I knew the museum would close before that. Finally after lots of laughs and a picture, I forced it out and looked at my battle wounds. They were many.
WEDNESDAY: We decided the next day after school to go into Madrid again to try to go to the costume museum. We ran into another girl on the train who was going to Madrid to buy tickets to Carmen, starring the best flamenco dancer in Spain. We were going to run over and get the tickets with her and then all go to the museum but she was waiting for some other people and it just would have taken too long so they agreed to get tickets for us and we attempted to go to the costume museum again. Unfortunately, we were still unsuccessful. The people at the blind museum had given us the address of the costume museum and told us it was on Calle Juan Herrera, or something along those lines. Apparently there are two in Madrid, and we went to the wrong one first. By the time we got to the address and the museum was not there I was exhausted and realized I probably should have stayed home. But Megan and Emmaleigh assured me they knew for real where the museum was so we were going to go anyway. We had to ride what felt like a million metros and got off near the University of Madrid and started walking. We found another museum on our Madrid walk list, but it was closed. We saw a sweet sunset, and then I couldn’t go one more step so Tristan and I went back to the metro station to wait until Megan and Emmaleigh just found it so we could possibly go again. Another good decision on my part, to not go with them, because they were gone for a while. We went home, fully exhausted, having accomplished nothing.
THURSDAY: I woke up at the normal time and went into the bathroom only to notice that both of my eyes were completely bloodshot. They didn’t hurt at all, so I knew it wasn’t pinkeye [a frequent occurrence in my life], but I didn’t know what to do about it. I decided to walk to school because the weather was pretty nice. Emmaleigh had a Skype interview for a job this summer so we didn’t go to the temple with a bunch of other people in the group but went to the mall for a little bit and then did some homework before going over to the Browns. I just wanted to take a simple shower because we wouldn’t be able to shower before going to Segovia on Friday, but it didn’t really go as I planned. First three seconds in the shower, I got shampoo in my eye, maximizing the already-serious red-eyes problem I was having. Then I tried to shave my legs and took a sizeable chunk out of my left knee, and proceeded to watch the water run red the rest of my shower. I had to wash my face in freezing cold water because our shower is temperamental, and when I tried to put my contacts back in after washing them I dropped one in the sink and almost didn’t recover it. Rough. I tried to find an outfit that was semi-clean [didn’t really succeed], and we went to the Browns. Emmaleigh’s interview went really well, I uploaded a bunch of pictures, and then we had a Valentine’s Day cookie party. Tristan and Lauren requested my vast baking knowledge [haha] but then didn’t really appreciate it. It was fun though, we made a few cards and decorated cookies and made plans for weekends coming up. Then we went home to rest up for Segovia.
FRIDAY: We met at the train station at 9 to make our trek to Segovia. Professor Brown had said it was a really short trip, but it was actually almost two hours. The town is SUPER small, but there’s an old Roman aqueduct, a REALLY pretty cathedral, and the castle that the Disney castle is supposedly based on, so we saw those and then had some free time. Unfortunately our free time was from two to four, coincidentally the exact hours that everything in Spain is closed for siesta, so we didn’t get to go into a cool art museum they have there or really anything. We just hung out by the aqueduct and EVERYONE was on time to the bus. Then we went to a different part of Segovia [? I’m not really sure] to see a different view of the Alcázar, and then went home. The bus ride home was even longer, because we got stuck in traffic, but I just looked at all 700-something pictures Courtney has taken since being here and listened to my iPod. While walking home from the train station I was really hungry but it was still a couple hours until dinner, so I decided to stop in this little fruit shop and get an apple. I’ve done this many times, but this time when I walked in, grabbed an apple and gave it to the guy to weigh it, he started babbling in super fast Spanish something that I couldn’t understand. I thought he meant maybe I couldn’t just buy one apple, so I was going to put it back, but then this woman who was also standing there said to me in English “it’s free.” Then they both smiled, so I knew it was true. It was the bomb. A bunch of people in the group had decided to go to a discoteca that night, but they don’t really open until midnight, so we got some rest, ate dinner, and got ready to go out. I decided to wear my already-dirtiest clothes, because I knew they were going to be gross, and I decided to not bring my coat because I’d have to pay to check it. We met at Kim’s house, because she had gone before and knew where some were, and we started dancing. The first one we went to was pretty crowded and smelled nasty. It also didn’t have the best dancing music, though it did play music I really like, including M.I.A., The Strokes, and MGMT. Also, there were these super nasty older guys wearing weird wigs who tried to accost Lara and me while we were putting our sweaters on a table. Luckily all four boys [haha] were with us so we just yelled and ran back over to them. They were thwarted. After that we went to another one which was less crowded and had younger people, smelled better, and played better dance music. Probably everyone’s favorite moment was when they played Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira. It was even in English. So great. We left to go to another one but we got held up by Tim trying to give directions to someone and by then it was almost 2:30 so we decided to catch the bus home rather than stay out another hour. Good move. We got on the bus with two other people but they got off a few stops before us. Then Girls Just Wanna Have Fun started playing and since I was already in the dancing mood and no one was there to witness except Emmaleigh and the bus driver, I started dancing and falling all over the bus until our stop. We finally made it home and crashed into our beds.
SATURDAY: We woke up at 10:30 and showered, almost passed out from the smell of the clothes we wore to the discoteca, and got dressed for a nice day in Madrid. The weather was SO warm, it was perfect. We met a bunch of people at the train station at noon and went to El Parque del Buen Retiro, which I’ve already mentioned, which is the greatest. We hung out on the grass for a while and ate the bocadillos our madres had given us, and then we decided to check out the old book market near the park. I didn’t buy anything but there were tons of cool books. Too bad they were all in Spanish—if there was something like that in the US it would be probably my favorite thing. We went in search of ice cream but I’m pretty sure we were looking in the wrong place because we were unsuccessful but normally there are heladerías on every corner. Then we went back to the park to row boats on the lake. It’s only €4.55 for a boat that fits 4 people, and you can row for 45 minutes. Sweet deal. There was one creepy instance with the guys that help you into and out of the boats where they said they would take a picture of us and then one of the guys said to me “Can I go out with you?” in English but luckily we just rowed away. That was SO fun and relaxing and honestly the weather was perfect. After the lake we were exhausted so we started the process of going home. Emmaleigh and I wanted to borrow a movie to watch so we went home with Jessie, who lives with the sister of our host mom. We got While You Were Sleeping and as we were about to leave we saw Irene, our mom, at their house. That was funny. We didn’t know exactly how to get home but we knew there should have been a bus stop for the 10 [our bus] nearby so we started walking around. I recognized where we were from a run I had taken a few weeks earlier and it didn’t seem that far, but it turns out a short run can really be a kind of long walk. We stopped at the grocery store and got some Dulce de Leche ice cream, grabbed spoons from the kitchen, and retired to our room with enough sugar to last the rest of the year. Unfortunately, we ate basically everything… It was a good night.
SUNDAY: Today was Stake Conference at the stake center right next to the temple. On the metro on the way there we saw some missionaries so we started talking to them, and one of them mentioned that Elder Caussé, the French 70 who spoke in October’s General Conference, was going to be here. We arrived at the stake center, found some of our friends, and settled in for two hours of not understanding much. It wasn’t actually that bad though. There was a variety of speakers from different parts of the world, with different accents. The mission president, who is American and served his mission in Argentina spoke, and it was SO easy to understand him. He sounded like me speaking Spanish, with better pronunciation. There was one guy from Portugal we think who was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to understand. Everything was z sounds and sh sounds. That was entertaining though. And then, all of a sudden, Elder Caussé came up and started speaking English! The first thing he said was, “I wish I could speak this beautiful language, but I will speak in English and a little French and hope you can feel the Spirit.” He had a translator from the Spaniards, but it was such a nice feeling to completely understand what he was saying. At the end he bore his testimony in French and the translator also translated that into Spanish, which was impressive. After hearing French, we realized that we really do know a lot of Spanish. Also, I remember at General Conference thinking it was hard to understand what he was saying with that French accent, but hearing him today, it wasn’t hard AT ALL to understand his English! The whole conference was really cool and really uplifting. We went back to the metro and encountered the same missionaries again. They started talking to us about where we were from, and going to BYU, and being in Spain, and our classes, and stake conference… they were probably a little too eager to talk to us. When we were leaving the metro and going to the train Kim’s ticket wouldn’t work [which happens all the time], so the missionaries went through and actually considered waiting for us. They decided against it and kept walking, but we knew we’d see them again on the train because they live just two stops away from Alcalá. Luckily we sat away from them and they only waved goodbye. Awkward. The other best thing about today was that we had paella again for lunch. We haven’t had it at the house since our first night here and out of all the ones we’ve sampled, Irene’s paella is still the best. She brought it out in the hugest dish ever, which is how they always make it, and it was heavenly.
Basically it was a good Spanish week. I think this was the first week when I started thinking about how much I’m really going to miss being here when we leave. Luckily we still have just over a month and a half. :)