Emotional Rollercoaster

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ELLEE

We woke up a little earlier this morning to finish packing & had breakfast. Then we lugged our stuff out onto the street and took a taxi over to the school with Emma.

This is also where I made my MAJOR mistake for the trip: I left my backpack in the taxi, complete with all of my makeup, my camera, my Kindle, and all my schoolwork, which I will need in order to actually get the college credit. Awesome, right?

We all frantically started calling all of the Santander taxi companies and praying that the taxi driver would magically turn around, meanwhile I’m pretty much sobbing on the sidewalk. Again, awesome. Finally, we couldn’t wait to leave any longer, and we loaded up onto the charter bus for Madrid.

THEN A MIRACLE HAPPENED. Emma ended up calling Profé about 45 minutes later (which means 45 minutes of Ellee sobbing in front of everyone; yay) because SHE TRACKED DOWN THE BACKPACK, all intact. Praise the Lord. Now we’ve worked it out for Valerie (the SPI director) to get my backpack from Emma and bring it back to Texas with her when she comes home in three weeks. I’m *unbelievably* lucky, and very happy. YAY.

Anyway, after that little miracle, we drove the 5 hour trip to Madrid, with a 40-minute bus stop along the way. In Madrid, we had 4 hours to visit the Prado/do whatever we needed to do for our last day in Spain (sad!!!!). The four of us girls (Drew, Megan, Sarah, and me) went shopping for a few hours, then visited El Prado. (El Prado = one of the most famous art museums in the world! Some of us liked it more than others, slash most of us were EXHAUSTED, so we only stayed about an hour and a half.) After the Prado, we stopped by a Starbucks for coffee/wifi, then climbed back in the bus to get to our hotel, which is right next to the Madrid airport. 

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^We realized we forgot to take any pics today, so we snapped this one really fast outside of the Prado.

We showered & had dinner at our hotel — which is HUGE and BEAUTIFUL, by the way. We didn’t especially eat a lot today, so we ate a ton at dinner (which was a fantastic and huge and delicious buffet. I’m not sure if it was so delicious because it was really that good or if we were just starving.)

Now, we’re lounging in our hotel room and pretty much about to pass out. We’re exhausted, and we’ve got a big day of fun travel ahead of us tomorrow YAY.

As this will be our last post on our blog, we just wanted to say thanks to all y’all who took the time to read it and stay caught up with us! Clearly, we absolutely LOVED the entire trip, and it is very difficult to have to leave. We have, of course, made great friends & great memories along the way, and I know I’ll be missing our Spanish adventures for a long time to come.

We love & miss you all, and will be seeing y’all very soon — we’ll land tomorrow night at 7pm, no doubt in total exhaustion. Thanks again for all the love! 

Besos, D&E

Adios Santander!

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DREW

Holy moly. Our last day in Santander… it went by so fast! We woke up this morning feeling quite anxious for our 2 tests today. We ate a quick breakfast (as per usual = toast and coffee) and headed off to school. We decided to take the bus to school so that we would have more time to study. Once we got there we studied for a wee bit, but not as long as we had planned. We had our grammar test first, which was a written test. It actually ended up not being as bad as expected, and I think we both did alright! After we finished that test, we had about 30 minutes until our next exam.. so obviously we went down to the school cafe (which is surprisingly very good) and got a tortilla de patata and a couple waters. The oral exam was quite intimidating. We each had to go in *individually* and talk to Pedro (the mean teacher). He asked us random questions that we had to respond to in spanish.. although that ended up being not that bad either!  

After our exams we went into this room at the school called the “planetario”, which is like an planetarium. Some guy talked about the stars and sun and stuff in spanish but most of our brains were kinda dead and it was dark… so we took a quick nap. 

After the planetarium, we went BACK into a classroom where the teachers handed out our “diplomas”.. which pretty much say that we completed the course, not necessarily meaning that we passed (But we are both hoping we did.. fingers crossed!). They will send out a transcript with our grades sometime soon.. however they said it may take monthes lol. 

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After this weird day of school, we went to the local market to grab some thank you flowers to give to Emma.. except we ended up seeing her outside the market right after we bought them haha so we gave them to her on the streets… LOL. 

We went home and had our last lunch with emma, which was a delicious seafood risotto, some melons, and some apricots. We also gave her a card that we made her (in spanish); she loved it. 

After lunch we went to the beach for the last time because it was the hottest day it has been! We laid out with Megan, Sarah, Anne Elizabeth, Fiona, and all the boys for a solid 4 hours; soakin in the sun and looking at all the spanish people. We also went in the water for the first time, because we made a pact that we’d get all the way in at least once!…. but it was VERY cold, and we didn’t stay in for long. 

We left the beach and got froyo for me/ ice cream for ellee… lol whats new. And headed home to get in our “fanciest outfits” (as we were told) for the evening. We ate at this restaurant where we ate a variety of tapas standing up (because that is how you are supposed to do it apparently). 

After we ate dinner, we had a 12 o clock curfew so we hung out with our gang until then.. walkin around the city and whatnot. We came home and finished packing our bag up to head out to Madrid, and then went to sleep because we were EX-HAUS-TED. Such a long day!

Tomorrow we are heading out to the Prado.. super exciting! I will let Ellee fill you in on that one.

Besos, D&E

ps. i thought i pressed send last night but i guess i didn’t…. woopsie.

ALSO- my camera reader is having issues.. so pictures (that aren’t off of phones) will have to wait until we go home!

Aside

ELLEE

WOWZA I forget to do the blog one day and everybody freaks on us! My bad, friends. Here’s the low-down on yesterday’s happenings…

At school, we had our culture test (which was actually pretty difficult, if anyone was wondering). Besides that, school was the usual. We came home and had lunch with Emma, then siesta-ed a little bit before we met up with some girls from our SPI group for a flamenco class!

The class was LOTS of fun, but we also found it to be very easy. Most of the other girls we were with had never taken a dance class before (versus obvs Drew & I have taken 100s), so they kind of struggled with a few things…but we did just fine & really enjoyed it! Flamenco dancing seems to be just tap dancing with a lot of wrist & arm movements. We learned a few different combos, and really enjoyed it!

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^^ Us with Anne Elizabeth & Fiona. (They had already changed out of their maxi skirts!)

After the class, we went out to get froyo with Anne Elizabeth & Fiona, then did a little bit of shopping. Then we came home for dinner & briefly studied for our tests today. I was pretty exhausted, so I passed out pretty early, as did Drew. (Hence why I forgot to do the blog whoops.)

As for today…….I’ll let Drew fill y’all in later tonight. See ya.

Besos, D&E

Flamenco Fun

Lots o’ shoppin

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DREW

Same morning as always. School was VERY long and boring today unfortunately. After school we went home for lunch with Emma and had steak and fries again. It was good as always! We took a siesta and studied for our test that we have tomorrow over the culture of all of Latin America… it should be pretty hard EEEP. 

Around 5 we met up with Megan and Sarah and went shopping around town for a solid 2 and a half hours! We were VERY successful.

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We forgot to take pictures today, so we stopped for quick selfie…

 

But then we ran into Emma and it was awkie, but she got in on the fun of course. 

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We also got to meet Emma’s daughter and her husband.. they were very nice. Once we got home we studied some more while Emma chatted with her guests. After they left Emma took us out for dinner AGAIN at her son’s restaurant (he is a chef). We finally ate some “tapas”! Although Ellee and I didn’t really know what we were putting in our mouths, they were very good! We also ran into Nievas again and she ate dinner with us.. (although both her and Emma didn’t actually eat.. they don’t really eat dinner). We snapped a few *very* awkward pictures. These spanish people obviously are thrilled to be in the picture with us LOL. 

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And Emma said we HAD to take a picture with these statues…(?)

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Nievas was very happy.

 

Anywho, it was once again a very long day, and we ate dinner around 10 and got home around 11:30 and now we are going to bed and we aren’t  finished studying but OH WELL ITS SUMMER RIGHT. Just kidding mom I’m still studying I promise😉

PS. today was the first day Ellee and I haven’t had ice cream/ frozen yogurt.. AREN’T YOU PROUD?

Besos, D&E

school.surf.sand.sun.shopping.snacks.somo.santader.spain

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ELLEE

The usual morning routine: woke up, breakfast (the usual), walk to school, school, cafe, school, walk home, lunch (a shrimp-pasta type thing that was pretty darn good), siesta.

After a brief siesta, we met up with the whole group at the harbor (Puerto Chico) to take a boat over the the other side of the cove (this little town called Somo) for a little surfing, shopping, and sun-bathing.

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Our Five Guys (Landry, Ryan, Caleb, Connor, & Nairaya) all surfed in Somo, along with a few others from our SPI group. Meanwhile, we went out with girls for shopping (which we quickly discovered was not too great in Somo!), then smoothies & ice cream.

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Then we all went to the beach to watch everyone (attempt to) surf. We planned on sunbathing, but apparently Somo is just this *really* cold & windy beach. Some of the girls went all out and just dealt with it and laid all out in bikinis, but Drew & I were lame and couldn’t survive without jackets over our swimsuits. We’re wimps, I know. 

After the swim classes ended, we all took the ferry back to Santander. We went to the market with the girls to buy a few snacks & whatnot, then headed back to our apartments for dinner. Emma knows that Tortilla de Patata is hands down our favorite plate, and she figured we’d be exhausted after today, so she made us one for dinner. UGH SO GOOD!!

Frankly, we’re all pretty exhausted today (again — it’s def the sun that’s draining us all out!), and plan on going out tomorrow night so…we’re calling it a night.

Awful story for y’all: You know how we rented those bikes the other day? WELL, apparently the machine messed up and charged us 150 euros ($198!!) for our quick little 3-hour bike ride. After I freaked out to Valerie (our director), she’s got it all under control & is currently working on correcting it. (Luckily we kept our receipts!) Bless her heart; she’s a keeper. THANK YOU VALERIE.

Anyway. Don’t know exactly what we’re doing tomorrow, but we discussed with our amigos going out to the movies tomorrow night. Ha — should be fun! Until then…

Besos, D&E

 

Livin’ like the locals

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DREW

SO. To catch you up. Last night our entire group went to this HUGE fiesta called La Fiesta de San Juan. **Side note: on the way there Emma’s son’s girlfriend named Nievas came over again, and ended up walking us to meet her boyfriend (Emma’s son) and then to her itty bitty apartment. It was weird for Ellee and I though because we didn’t understand her when she told us where we were going, so it was all ONE BIG SURPRISE! lol. She also met all of our friends, and took us on a “shortcut” to the place we were meeting our group (although I think she got lost and it ended up taking us much longer). Besides all this though, we REALLY like her! She is in her mid twenties and she teases with us and is very fun and interesting. Except she talks really fast and we have to tell her to repeat almost everything she says but its not a big deal (I don’t think).

Anywho, this party is the biggest party of the year for Santander where they light a bunch of bonfires (one VERY large one) and celebrate the summer solstice. It was really cool to see the entire population of teenagers/college students all meet up in one place. There were quite alot of people there! We got home around 1:15 (which apparently is not that late for the majority of people here), and immediately went to bed.

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This morning we woke up, ate breakfast (the usual), went to school (it was pretty hard today unfortunately), came home, ate lunch with Emma (today we had chicken tenders lol), put our swimsuits on, and went to the beach. PHEW.

We were at the beach from around 3 to 7, just layin’ around, siesta-ing, and soaking up the much needed sun. We have all concluded that this weather is *perfect* tanning weather; it is around 67 degrees outside with a slight wind, however the sun is very strong and when you are laying out you are obviously getting sun, and are very warm, but you are not sweating due to the heat (which is totally opposite of Texas). Pretty much the weather is perfect. Also, we have picked up a few odd things in Spain that are different than the United States:

1. There are topless women (lots of old ones) walking around on the beaches. its weird.

2. There are SO many babies here. Just today, Ellee and I have seen 26 babies/infants just around town. There are lots of pregnant women, people pushing strollers around, and just a TON of babies. I mean obviously we have no problem with it, they are all VERY cute. But it is odd.

3. It doesn’t get dark until around 10:30

4. People go out at all hours of the night

5. Waving at the cars as you cross the street is considered rude

6. We get stared at a lot 

7. People wear very short shorts and tank tops even when its rainy and freezing

8. The belles for the church are VERY VERY loud

9. Smiling at people as you walk by them is pretty much a one sided gesture

10. Everyone knows we are American even before speaking to us 

Also today we ran into a group of UT college students who are studying abroad, and one of them happened to be in the same sorority with a girl we were on drill team with. Such a small world! It was nice being able to talk to other people in english.

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It was obviously a good day to go to the beach because there was ALOT of people.Image

Our friends Landry, Caleb, and Neriya and their new short spanish swimtrunks 

After the beach we went and got fro-yo (lol whats new), and then went home to shower and meet Emma for dinner. Funny story: Emma once again brought guests over (this time is was her 17 year old nephew) and Ellee happened to walk out of the shower in her towel as they were walking in the door. So thats awkward. 

Anywho, I’d say our day was a success! Today definitely has been the best weather yet, and we believe it should be like this all week. YAY! We decided to stay in tonight to rest up from last nights fiesta.. we are once again, very tired. Thats all for now!

Besos, D&E

 

 

 

#sundayfunday

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ELLEE

We ended up sleeping in until 10:45 — crazy late, but we’re crazy tired! Then we had an hour to get ready for church, eat breakfast, and do some laundry.

We planned on meeting up with Caleb (a true Catholic) for church, but we couldn’t contact him (he doesn’t have a cool Spanish phone like us, lawlz). Instead, just Drew & I went to church — La Catedral de la Asención de Nuestra Señora (what a mouthful), which is literally right next door to our apartment.

As an Episcopal myself, I had *no* idea how similar the Catholic & Episcopal church services were. We did 2 readings, the Gospel, the Sermon, the Nicene Creed, Prayers of the People, the Peace, the Offering, and Communion — which is literally *exactly* what my family does at our Episcopal Church. I followed along for the most part because it was all so familiar. Except, of course, it was all in SPANISH, and on top of that there was a very loud echo. So…difficult to know what was being said. Whoops. 

I also lit a candle for my Nana, which I’m sure she would be very happy about!

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After church, we met up with Caleb — who ended up going to another nearby service — and had café con leche at a cafe right at the steps of our cathedral. It was a gorgeous day, so very fun to be outside!

After coffee, Drew & I came home, cleaned our room, did some more laundry, and had lunch with Emma.

Next, we found ourselves renting some bikes — only about 4 euros for the whole day! — and biking all around Santander. There is this bike path that takes you through all of the city — through tons of cute little parks, along the main streets, and across a few beaches (on *very* bumpy boardwalks!).

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We biked for about 3 hours total, and took a little ice cream break in the middle. The rest of our group went to the beach today, but they were a little too cold to tan anyway!

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Now we’re resting up at the apartment, because in 2 hours we’re meeting up with our entire SPI group to go to this huge fiesta on the beach — La Fiesta de San Juan. It’s apparently crazy fun, with huge bonfires and loads of people. We’re just pretty pumped cause our curfew is extended till 1:30! (But yes, we still have 9am school tomorrow. Yikes.) We’ll have to let you know how it goes…!

Besos, D&E