domingo, 18 de junio de 2017

Una Semana Más

So I have been here and entire month already. This is the longest I have ever been out of the country as well as the farthest I’ve been from my family for an extended amount of time (beating Costa Rica, which was a week away from my family). I am officially on my last week here and this makes me very, very sad. I have absolutely loved my time here and I can’t imagine leaving. I have learned so much from living here. My Spanish has improved, my independence has strengthened (nothing helps that like being lost at a bus station and having to ask someone for help in a foreign language), and I have made some lifelong friends. The thought of leaving this place makes me so sad, but it also gives me the hope of one day being able to return. I cannot wait to go to Denmark and see Phil, but leaving Spain will be very difficult for me. I know leaving Denmark will be even harder because at that point I will be leaving Europe all together and I am just not ready for that. I don’t quite know what else I can say on this matter. I will miss my experiences here the most. I’ve gotten to go to the ocean every weekend here and experience things like parasailing, when I return home, I do not know when I will get to see the ocean again. I have made so many friends, all of the people in my SAIIE group have been amazing and I hope to not lose contact with them. On top of seeing my SAIIE group less, I will also be leaving the SAIIE staff, including all the wonderful professors, Regla, Sean, Stuart, and Elena. This also makes me sad, as they have been so wonderful to us all and are just all around great people. Even with the heat and the lack of air conditioning and wifi, I will miss this place the moment I leave. That’s all of my sad reminiscing for now. Besos.

Hasta luego!


I’ve officially given up on trying to make a schedule for this blog. You get a post when you get a post. There’s just too much going on here at all times for me to ever know exactly when I will have time to update you all on my adventures. For example, this weekend we visited the little peninsula of Cadiz. We woke up at 6:30am in order to walk two miles to the train station to meet up with our fellow classmates, where we enjoyed a hardy and authentic McDonald’s breakfast, before getting on the train to head to Cadiz. Overall, the train ride lasted about two hours, and was quite interesting as it allowed me to see areas of Spain that I have not had the pleasure to see before. Upon arriving in Cadiz, our wonderful friend and activities director, Elena, gave us a short tour of the historical parts of Cadiz and the local markets, which included a fish market and the ruins of an old amphitheater. This was quite interesting, and the town itself is beautiful. After our tour, we visited the beach! (Yes I have been to the ocean every weekend here. No I do not regret it, even with the sunburn.) This beach was one that was used in a James Bond movie, which is pretty cool. It was for some scene with Halle Barry where she pops out of the water looking successfully attractive. I cannot understand how this is possible after swimming in the ocean and emerging from the waves quite similarly to how  I would assume a shipwreck victim would emerge. Either way it was quite enjoyable as this part of the Atlantic was warmer and had big enough waves that allowed body surfing. After several hours of this, it was time to go home and treat my sunburns. (Sorry mom, I swear I put SPF 50 on like 4 different times!) I did not get to enjoy the scenery from the train on the return trip because I fell asleep on the train. I have no shame about this. I was exhausted and it was the first air conditioning I had experienced in two days.


After arriving home, we got ready and went out to celebrate some birthdays, as one guy had his birthday on Saturday and another girl had her birthday on Sunday. (Unfortunately, my birthday falls on this Tuesday so I will be celebrating with a phonetics quiz.)  This was a great time and the only comment I have on this is that Spanish clubs are my new favorite things. For those of you who know me beyond my first name, you know I have a deep love for Spanish music. Anywhere you go in the states, they do not play this music. However, in Spain this is 90% of the music genera at the clubs. I can out-sing some of the locals I have met, because I know more of the lyrics (Is this a skill worthy of my future resume mom?). Needless to say I have finally found where I belong. That’s all for now. Besos.

Hasta luego!

domingo, 11 de junio de 2017

Cross that off the Bucket List

Two blogs posted in a day! Look at me go, you could really say I'm on top of things today. Or you could say I procrastinated and now had to post my two blogs for the week in one day. That would be the more accurate statement, but hey, who am I to stop you from thinking that I actually have my life together? So as an update, I went to Marbella, Spain this weekend. A group of us took a bus, and then another bus, to a rental house near the Alboran Sea near the Straight of Gibraltar. The water was definitely warmer than the Atlantic, but not by much. The beach was beautiful as expected. After arriving in Marbella and getting settled into the house, we spent the next couple hours at the beach before returning to the house to dress up and go out for Indian food. The interesting part is that we did not know that this is what we were going to do (again, you gave me the benefit of the doubt on having my life together). Essentially we dressed up to go out to dinner, then wandered around in the dark until we found the Indian restaurant at 11:30pm. Good food, great company.


The next morning we woke up and got breakfast at the first place we stumbled upon, then the 6 girls in our group found a taxi and headed to a marina. This is where the day gets interesting. We then hopped on a speed boat and proceeded to go parasailing. I was so nervous at first, but let me tell you, if you have the opportunity to ever go parasailing, DO IT! This was an awesome experience and once you're in the air its so smooth and the views are amazing!!! I cannot describe how cool this experience was. After our parasailing adventure, we wandered around until we found a flamenco fair going on in downtown Marbella. This was very interesting to see and I loved the opportunity to see all the cute flamenco dresses. It was a great end to our day in Marbella. Finally, at 4:30, we hopped back on the bus and headed back to Sevilla, where the temperature was sitting at a crisp 102 degrees. Dont worry, it'll warm up throughout the week... Sevilla was only featured on the news today for it's upcoming heat. This entire weekend was comprised of spontaneity, something I am not used to at all, but I wouldn't  change this experience for the world. Thus concludes my weekend Marbella adventure. Thanks to those of you who continue to read my blog, I would have stopped a long time ago; and remember, if you don't see a post in a while, either the heat killed me or I am yet again procrastinating.


Hasta Luego!

Yeah I've Been to Naboo, No Biggie

So it's been another week in Sevilla and I've successfully managed to continue to have no stable schedule of updating this blog in any way, shape, or form. For that I apologize, but it's all for good reason I swear. I have successfully completed my art monuments class and my first week of my phonetics class. I'll be sad to not be able to wander around the city all day and claim it's for "educational purposes." On our last day of monument visits, we went to the Plaza de España. Not only is this place beautiful with a ton of historical significance for the entirety of Spain, but it was also in a Star Wars movie, and let's be honest about which one of those facts we'd rather hear more about. For those of you who answered truthfully, it was in the second movie (chronologically) as the Grand palace of Theed on Naboo. For those of you who lied to yourselves and said you'd rather learn the history, I just took an exam on the Plaza and if you care enough to know about it feel free to reach out and ask me. I can play museum tour guide via messenger or FaceTime. Price depends on how much I like you (Various out of country rates may apply). 

On another note, I got to go with my fellow students into the SAIIE program to a local woman's home to learn how to make paella and sangria. We each got to help in some way with the preparation of the meal. As you can see in the photos below, I was a big help (No mother that is not up for debate). I would highly recommend this meal to anyone. It was quite the experience to get to help make a meal that's so prominent in Spain's culture. Another thing that is prominent in Spain is the heat. It climbs daily. The coolest day this week was 98 degrees and so far my forecast tells me that next week will be mostly in the triple digits. Luckily the mornings are a little cooler (usually 86 by 8 am). The way I see it is like the way there is the "free trial" version of hell and the way back is my unwanted subscription that can't be cancelled for the first two months. It's great. Note the sarcasm. Other than that I am still successfully loving Spain and Seville. This weekend I will be going to Marbella. Updates to come. Besos to you all. 


Hasta Luego. 

domingo, 4 de junio de 2017


Hey y'all. So its been a hectic weekend, but I'm finally getting the time to update now that I'm back in Spain. I was lucky enough to get to spend the weekend in Lagos, Portugal! That's something that never ceases to amaze me here. In the U.S. you can drive 3 hours and you will still be in the exact same state. If you're lucky, you may end up in a new state, but that's usually only if you're near a border or in a smaller state. In Europe, if you drive for 3 hours you end up in a whole new country. This is fortunate for me because it means I got to just casually hop on a bus and go to Portugal for the weekend (No biggie). Now, let me just start by telling you this is by far one of the coolest places I have ever been. It is indescribably beautiful. We spent most of Friday and Saturday on the beach. Let me emphasize something to those of you reading this. This was no tiny lake beach like this land-locked Wisconsinite is used to. This was full on Atlantic Ocean coastline. I'm surprised the group I went with talked me into coming home because after being there I've decided that being a beach bum could have some perks. Other than the time we spent on the beach, we got to wander around the Lagos streets at night and get dinner wherever we wanted. Everything was super close to our cabanas we stayed in and was, just like Spain, connected by narrow, winding roads. There were a lot of tourists there, which wasn't surprising, but was good for us because almost everyone spoke English. For those of you now thinking: 'Ashley went to Spain to learn a new language and is actually only speaking English,' let me clarify. The people in Portugal speak Portuguese, which, when written out looks very similar to Spanish. However, if you speak any form of Spanish, and listened the Portuguese television like I did last night you would quickly realize that these languages sound very different. So no I cannot understand Portuguese, this is why I'm glad they spoke English. Also, I did experience Portugal fully for the amount of time I had there, I only watched the television because the Real Madrid vs. Juventus soccer Champions League Final was on last night. This is similar to the superbowl for soccer (Yes USA, there are sports more popular than football outside of our country. Try not to be too shocked.), and Cristiano Ronaldo, a very well known Portuguese player, plays for Real Madrid. Needless to say, the locals were very excited for this game and it was on in almost every bar and restaurant. For anyone curious, Real Madrid won the game. Sadly, we had to leave Portugal early this morning so thus ends my recap of the best place on Earth. 


Hasta luego!

lunes, 29 de mayo de 2017

Week One Complete!

Hello again to all 3 of you who are reading this (Thanks mom). So its officially been a week in Spain and I'm fairly certain I'm just not going to come home after this trip. I love it here so much! I think part of the reason I love it so much is because I'm constantly busy. Whether it be touring the city with my class, visiting new places like monuments and the beach, or walking around town with my roommates in a direction that I can only describe as "confused bumble bee," I always have something to do. The sightseeing is by far my favorite thing to do here. Everything has some form of historical value and you can't just see a building without there being some form of significance. I have quickly learned that this city has been built essentially "from the ground up." Rather than tear down old buildings for the new ones, they build on top of or around it, resulting in an amazing mix of old and new architecture styles. This is something I haven't really experienced back in the states and I love it. A prime example of this architecture is the cathedral and the Alcázar as pictured below.


Real Alcázar

Not only is the city amazing, but this weekend my roommates and I got to travel an hour south to Matalascañas, a beach right on the ocean. It has an amazing view and an an even more amazing way of tricking you into thinking it's not that hot there. Yes, I did get burned. Yes, it's that bad. Moving on. I have posted here three whole times and not yet talked about the food. For those of you who know me well, this is highly uncharacteristic. Yes, I know I mentioned that I was trying new foods, but that doesn't count if you love food as much as I do. So here it is officially: my food post. It is amazing, however it is super salty in yet another attempt on top of the heat to kill me via dehydration. I highly recommend it, because although I might keel over any day now, at least you will know I died happy. Pictures below:

Hasta Luego!

miércoles, 24 de mayo de 2017

Initial Thoughts

So it has been officially three days since I have arived in Spain and I don't believe I can describe this experience in words that would actually capture how I feel here. The city of Seville is amazing! It is so different form anything I have been able to experience before and everything I do feels like an adventure. The only thing I could possibly find to complain about is the overwhelming heat. I'm not talking about the Wisconsin 85 and humid heat; I'm talking about the Spanish 93 with no clouds or brease heat. Of all the new things here, I believe this is what I've had to adjust to the most. Apart from that, the city is beautiful and everyone has been especially welcoming and kind. I am finally starting to learn my way around, or at least from my home to school and back, and my Senora (host mom) is so nice and is a great cook. I love getting the opportunity to try new foods every day as well as getting to explore new parts of this city with Jamie. I find myself looking forward to each day more than the last, as each one brings a new challenge and a new experience. I absolutely love it! Thats all for now.

Hasta luego!