Sunday, March 1, 2009

I remember riding bikes across the island

This was one heck of a week. Normally I write part of my entry midweek so it’s not such a daunting task to write it all on Sunday but this week was TOO busy to work on it at all so here I am, Sunday afternoon, trying to recall all the moments worth retelling.
MONDAY: We had another midterm on Tuesday, Spanish History, so Monday was spent mostly studying. We went to school and Institute and then after a brief FHE lesson about giving gifts we went to the Browns for another study session. That day in class we had gotten our World History tests back and I didn’t do as well as I thought I should have, from studying so much, so I was stressed about the next test and just not happy. But I studied as much as I could and felt I knew the material fairly well.
TUESDAY: I woke up early, tried to cram even more into my brain [which didn’t really feel possible, considering how much I already had in there] and went to take the test. I think it went well; I guess I’ll find out on Tuesday. As a reward for completing midterms, Emmaleigh and I went to Carrefour after school and she bought treats for a package. She had a Spanish test the next day but I was DONE so I spent the afternoon reading [for World History and The Sun Also Rises], writing [a letter to Kevin and beginning a paper for History] and running [it was an absolutely beautiful afternoon]. After I came back from my run and showered Emmaleigh and I got our clothes that were drying outside and I felt so quaint, taking them off the line where they were hanging with clothespins. At this point in the week I could finally relax and just enjoy being in Spain once again.
WEDNESDAY: We went to class, I finished The Sun Also Rises [best book—so glad I’m in Spain right now], and I went on another warm afternoon run. Then I showered and we got ready to see Carmen. Emmaleigh bought a really cute dress at a store here and wanted to wear it, and we knew some of the other girls were wearing dresses too, so we got all dressed up and went to meet everyone at the train station at seven. When we were about halfway there I checked the pocket of my coat that I had put my ticket in and it wasn’t in there. I searched my coat frantically but it was gone. We spun around and started retracing our steps as quickly as possible, searching the ground desperately for my ticket. When we got to the roundabout closest to our house we saw it on the sidewalk and Emmaleigh picked it up and put it in her purse with her ticket, and I thanked heaven that it didn’t blow away, and that someone didn’t pick it up and go into the city with it, and that I checked my pocket before we were actually at the theater. We met everyone and got on the train. While we were on the train, I was standing next to Ali, Courtney, Jessie and Lara, who were sitting in a four-seat section of the train, and all of a sudden this woman who was behind me, sitting relatively far away, tapped my shoulder and started speaking in very rapid Spanish and looking at the bar near the ceiling. Apparently she said she wanted me to hold on so I wouldn’t fall on her and her groceries and her crossword puzzle. I was SO confused but understood that she was looking at the bar so I held on, even though I was in NO danger of falling over. After she got off the train I let go, mostly just to spite her and prove to myself that I wasn’t going to fall over. I didn’t. We got to the city and went to the theater that was probably about 85 degrees inside and watched Carmen, flamenco style, with Sara Baras, who is the best flamenco dancer in all of Spain I guess. It was INCREDIBLE. It followed the story pretty loosely, but it didn’t really matter because it was clearly just about the dancing. She was amazing, and so were the two main men. She could move her feet SO fast, it’s impossible to explain and impossible to understand. We were all thoroughly satisfied, but we had to leave during the encores because we were afraid of missing the last train home. On our way back, while we were walking to the Metro station, some old man came near Courtney and tried to scare her by yelling a bunch of crazy things. She literally started SPRINTING away from him and he left her alone. It was slightly scary, but also hilarious, and I started laughing so hard I couldn’t walk any farther for about a minute. We got on the Metro and made it to the train station, but as we were walking toward the train Emmaleigh saw that the train to Alcalá was ARRIVING, so we all started SPRINTING through the station, down an escalator, through the ticket machine, and down another escalator. I’m pretty sure I almost cut off an old man as we were all hurrying. When I got to the bottom of the escalator and was almost to the train I accidentally kicked off my shoe and it went sliding across the platform, until it stopped at the very edge. A piece of it was hanging off the edge, but THANK GOODNESS it stopped and I grabbed it before getting on the train. Everyone got on and we all settled down for the ride to Alcalá. Eventually our train stopped and we get off and see Sierra talking to a boy that wasn’t one of the four boys we know here. He’s saying something like “I’m so glad I saw you, we should definitely do that.” I am very curious. We get off the train and are on the platform and he’s like, “Okay, well can I have a hug?” She gives him a hug and then once again starts SPRINTING through the train station to the outside. She catches up to her roommate and they take off together, and Courtney and Ali join them. Emmaleigh and I take off after them, yelling for them to wait, which they do not do. Once again, all of us are tearing through the train station, trying to catch Sierra, but we fail, and she’s gone. We concede to hearing the story in the morning, and go home to sleep five hours before we wake up.
THURSDAY: We meet at the train station at seven again, for the second time in twelve hours. We get to the airport and with a little bit of hassle [some of the girls forgot they weren’t members of the EU and had to pay for airport check-in] we got on the plane to Mallorca. I slept through the flight, which was short, and soon we were on an ISLAND in the MEDITERRANEAN SEA. We said that a lot, by the way. We took a bus to the city center, on which we almost died, by the way [someone cut off the driver while we were getting on the freeway and he had to slam on his brakes] and spent most of the day wandering around Palma de Mallorca. It’s a super pretty city and the weather was good, so we ate lunch in a park, looked at ONE cathedral from the outside [luckily we didn’t go in—that was my goal for the trip, no cathedrals] and then just spent a lot of time looking at the ocean and hanging out in the sun. We eventually got on the bus to Port de Pollenca, which was a little port in the north of the island where we were staying both nights. The town was adorable, RIGHT on the beach, and it was almost completely abandoned, which was really cool. We spent the first night just getting settled into our hostel, eating dinner, checking out the beach by night, and dyeing Lara’s hair. We were all so tired from the excessive activities of the last few days that we reached a crazy level of hilarity pretty early and went to bed soon after. Unfortunately, the rooms were FREEZING and it was a little hard to sleep. Emmaleigh and I were sleeping the same bed, plus we had an extra blanket and a little heater [don’t be fooled, it practically did nothing], so we weren’t quite as cold as everyone else, but it was still a little rough.
FRIDAY: We slept in, ate the “full English breakfast” that was provided, since the hostel was owned by a cute British couple, and then went down to the beach. The weather was nice and the town was SO beachy and adorable. Eventually we found a little shop that rented bikes, so we each got one with a basket, mine with a bell, and took off riding down the coast. We stopped a lot to take pictures: on a jetty, by some flowers, at random beautiful beach spots, etc. We made it to a town on the other side of the little cove our town was in, and bought lunch at a supermarket, then biked a little bit back to the beach and ate. It was really sunny and I got a little burned, but it was entirely pleasant. We made it back to our town and rested a little in the sun, and then went the other way. We could see a lighthouse on the coast a little further down and our plan was to find it, but it was 18 km away and it was a lot uphill, so we ditched that plan and watched the sunset, then took our bikes back. We found some delicious Kit-Kats [did you know they are better in Europe? I promise, the chocolate is SO much smoother and more flavorful] and dyed Lara’s hair again before going to bed while listening to “the best band on the north of the island” playing downstairs.
SATURDAY: I wanted to wake everyone up to watch the sunrise, but there were a couple blocks of buildings between our hostel window and the beach, where the sun was going to rise, so it was a little hard to tell, but I knocked at everyone’s doors at seven and we dressed to go out. The sky was getting lighter and lighter as we waited, so we began running toward the beach, once again sprinting through Spain. We got there and the sky was lovely but the sun hadn’t started rising, which was lucky. I LOVE the ocean and I LOVE the beach and I LOVE the sun and the sky and it was absolutely incredible. We went back to the hostel to pack up, eat our English breakfast, and say goodbye to our lovely little port. As we were walking toward the bus to go back to Palma I saw a very cute boy waiting by it. He had a very large instrument case and appeared to be looking for someone, so he didn’t get on the bus ahead of us. I was the last one on and as I was about to step up he said, in an adorable British accent, “Pardon me, how much Spanish do you know?” I turned around, probably started smiling idiotically, and said, “Umm, kind of a lot.” He checked his watch and said, “This bus isn’t due to leave for another five minutes and I’m waiting for a friend, do you mind asking the bus driver if he’ll wait?” I said I would and stuttered my way through a conversation with the bus driver, then turned back around and said it would be fine. His friend eventually showed up and they got on the bus, sitting across from Lara and me, and the friend asked how he bought the time. He gestured toward me and said, “We got some help from our American friends who know some Spanish.” I was pretty much in love but couldn’t think of a way to strike up conversation for the rest of the bus ride so I didn’t end up talking to them. But they certainly were adorable. The bus let us off in a cloudy, slightly cold Palma, where we remained the rest of the day. We were planning to go to some caves on the east side of the island but it was a lot more expensive than we thought and the times of the busses just didn’t work out, so we just hung out in the city and looked for things to do. We went in stores, drank hot chocolate, and located a free contemporary art museum that we spent quite a bit of time in… There were benches, and we were tired. Eventually we bought lunch from another supermarket, went back to the delicious gelato place that we found on Thursday, and wiled away our time by a fountain near the beach. It got a little colder, so we decided to go to the airport to wait for our flight. At long last we made it home with a little more color, and a little disappointed to no longer be on an ISLAND in the MEDITERRANEAN SEA.
SUNDAY: The busses on Sundays come less often and are less reliable than the weekdays, but I thought we had it figured out after seven Sundays and suggested we take a bus that would let us sleep a little bit later but still get us to church on time. Unfortunately the second bus we were supposed to get on came a lot later than it was supposed to and we ended up being late for church, but only by about three minutes, so it wasn’t a huge loss. Those dang busses certainly frustrate me, though. Our first meeting was a combined lesson about the threefold mission of the church, which was interesting in Spanish. After that meeting everyone wanted to talk about our trips, but we made it to Sunday School luckily, which was about the Restoration of the Priesthood. We talked a bit more after Sunday School, before Sacrament Meeting, but we were all in our seats before it started. Mark and I made it through 45 more hymns [he probably did better than I did today] and we heard some really good testimonies. We got on the bus, talked more about our trips, and arrived home with a little bit of time before eating delicious fish/soup for lunch and telling the family about our trip to Mallorca.
Overall it was an intensely satisfying week, and currently I have no desire for this semester to end. It’s really weird that we only have a month left, but it should certainly be a good month. “Love to all the chaps.”

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