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In the Spirit of Christmas

23 Dec

Even though working up until the 23rd of December doesn’t put me in the holiday spirit in the same way as starting Christmas break as soon as my last exam is over does (thanks a lot real world! or semi real world in my case), I have managed to fit in some festive things in the spirit of Christmas. Last weekend some friends and I spent an afternoon “baking” in a toaster oven. (Full-size ovens…and dryers…are rare over here.) Among our desserts were: sugar cookies, without baking soda or powder (also rare here) and with whatever else we decided to add after our mixture didn’t really look like cookie dough, and “brownie cookies”, aka brownies made on a cookie sheet because we didn’t have a baking pan.

Brownie "cookies"

 

Hand-made....literally!

I know it sounds like…and maybe looks like…everything turned out terrible BUT actually it was all delicious! Thanks to mostly our friend, Jayleen, who could probably bake in her sleep. (Did I mention we used frying flour instead of baking/all-purpose flour for the cookies? ha!)

In the midst of cooking and Christmas parties I also went to see some of the decorations around the city. Most of the main streets have lights in all kinds of Christmas shapes (ornaments, presents, snowflakes, ect.) hanging over them and all of the plazas are decorated. It was so pretty!

Tree at Puerta del Sol

Jeta and I post Christmas pastry stop.

Lights AND a Christmas village (aka market) in Plaza Mayor!

Merry Christmas! XO

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Esta Noche

24 Sep

Today was my second and final day of orientation. I learned a lot about different teaching methods and the expectations of our bilingual program. It was an informative and long session. Afterward, I ran around town with a couple of my new friends. We decided to meet some friends of a friend and have a glass of wine, and on the way we walked up Calle de la Montera, a wide, cobble-stone pedestrian street that leads to Puerta Del Sol. If you’ve been abroad and read Rick Steve’s Spain travel book, you know that Calle de la Montera serves as prime pick-up area for prostitutes and that prostitution is legal in Madrid. On my first visit to Puerta Del Sol (at four in the afternoon, btw), I only saw two prostitutes that were somewhat discrete…at least as discrete as a prostitute who wants potential patrons to know she is a prostitute can be. Tonight, though, there were so many more in such outrageous, skimpy and obvious outfits (even though some of them had on some great shoes). I even saw one grab a passer-by’s crotch. I wanted to take a picture to post but didn’t know if that was the best idea. Next time I definitely will so stay tuned!

Anyway. We went to a cute bar tucked away in the allies of Chueca, the gay neighborhood in Madrid. During the walk, we passed by the beautiful architecture, crowded plazas and wide sidewalks to graffiti-covered storefronts and narrow allies. It was a little sketch, but cool and not too scary. At the bar we met two REAL Spanish people, had a glass of wine with them and even had some real conversation (albeit slow and simple on my part). We even said hello and good-bye with a kiss on each cheek. I feel so legit, ha ha.

XO

Shot from the street leading to La Plaza de Chueca, which is lined with bars and filled with umbrella-covered outside seating.

Magnifico Madrid

22 Sep

Madrid is known in part for it’s beautiful architecture, so today I set out to find it. Not to say the city isn’t beautiful everywhere I’ve been so far, because it definitely is, but the buildings in El Centro are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! The entire walk to Puerta Del Sol was beautiful, really. The surrounding area is filled with pedestrian streets packed with people and tons of shopping. And there is so much shopping to be done! Of course, H&M and Zara are here, but there are so many other trendy, affordable stores like Friday Project and Simbolo to name a couple.

Here are some pictures from walking down San Bernardo and around Puerto Del Sol and Gran Via, hope you enjoy!

XO

I WISH I was living in these apartments on San Bernardo!

View of part of the city from the bottom of Gran Via

Church on Calle de Arenal off of Puerta Del Sol

El Banco

Another building on Calle de Arenal I found impressive, so much detail!