Posts Tagged ‘spanish’


My new philosophy

November 7, 2011

It’s pretty easy to please me, but I do have some things that make me extraordinarily happy. Among these are (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Sorry. Couldn’t resist): taking walks, speaking Spanish, singing, parks, and coffee shops. I’ll have you know that on Saturday, I got to enjoy going all of those. And I got some homework done too.

It was during one of my many walks wandering around the city on Saturday that I formulated my new philosophy for life in Barcelona: keep your eyes open and wear comfy walking shoes. Deciding on a new philosophy, however, made me think of a song from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (which you can watch here). It’s kind of like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”: If you give a Kristen some time walking around Barcelona by herself…

  • She’s probably going to start talking to herself. She may actually say some pretty profound things, but eventually, she will say something that reminds her of a song she knows, which means…
  • She will start singing to herself. And since she only knows the lyrics to songs in English (apart from “La Camisa Negra” by Juanes and “Waka Waka” by Shakira), she will start to feel guilty for using English when she’s in Spain to practice her Spanish, after all. (Even though she had been talking to herself in English earlier, but she notices it more when people start staring at her singing an obscure American song out loud while walking) So…
  • She will start talking to herself in Spanish. But seeing as it’s quite difficult to express her deepest thoughts in a foreign language, she will probably subconsciously switch over to English, which brings this scenario full-circle.

Yep. That’s my life here. That cycle actually happens pretty much every time I walk alone. Which happens several times a day.

P.S. I did a wordle of my blog! Not sure how it works exactly, since I just typed in my URL and it popped this out, but that’s faster than my copy-pasting every blog entry, so I took the lazy route. Wordle is pretty fun. ūüôā

Wordle: Barcelona


My Spain-Obsessed Lifestyle

July 2, 2011
Spanish Flag

I ‚̧ Spain!

Okay. I’ll admit it. I have a one-track mind this summer. I don’t think I’ve ever been so fired up about one single thing in my entire life. I’ve built my entire existence around it for this summer. Don’t believe me? Look at what I’ve been up to this summer:

  • Working my butt off. Tomorrow is the first day off that I will have had in 21 days straight. When I’m not working at my exhausting full-time job that, including breaks and drive-time, takes up 46 hours of my week, I am working at Hallmark, the radio station, or babysitting. This means 7-days-a-week of working, sometimes at two different jobs in one day. Why am I subjecting myself to such exhaustion? Simple: I need money to have a good experience in Spain, and my savings account was dwindling far too close to zero after last year of living off-campus in an apartment and commuting in a busy city¬†with $3-4 gas prices.
  • Watching Spanish movies. See my blog entry on Spanish movies. Here’s the run-down. I asked my brother to add me onto his Netflix account as his birthday present to me. Basically, every day, as soon as I get home from work and eat dinner, I pop in a spanish movie and watch it. My family thought my obsession with Spanish movies would die out after a couple weeks or so, but on the contrary! I’m watching them like a madman. If it’s not in Spanish, it’s by a Spanish director, filmed in Spain, or stars a famous Spanish actor/actress. Seriously. Every last one of them.
  • Researching Barcelona, CIEE¬†and Spain. I went to the library the other day and checked out a couple books on Spain and Barcelona. I haven’t had a chance to read them all yet, but sometimes in my rare free moments (when I’m not doing one of the two above), I pull them out and read a bit from them. I’ve also been religiously following the barcelona photo blog, checking into the 3+ years of archived photos¬†if he hasn’t¬†posted recently. I’ve also spent a lot of time exploring the CIEE website and looking into Spanish news websites so I can get an idea of what kind of current events are going on there. I found a brilliant and hilarious video about Spanish economics. I’ve been reading about everything from Spanish cucumbers (which have been cleared as NOT carrying e-coli, contrary to German belief), Spainish politicians’ views on the Libya revolts, and the Barcelona soccer team.
  • Randomly talking to myself/thinking/dreaming in Spanish. It’s true. When no one’s watching, I start talking to myself in Spanish. I’ve picked up some expressions from Spanish movies, and now I can’t stop saying them. And since no one in my family speaks Spanish, I have to resort to talking to myself. That, in addition to my exposure to multiple movies a week, has made me start to think in Spanish a lot (sometimes without even realizing it for a couple minutes!), which leads to dreaming in Spanish, an interesting phenomenon indeed.
  • Trying out Spanish cooking/food. If, by some obscure miracle, I have time¬†when I am not doing one of the above-mentioned tasks, ¬†I’ve been trying out some food items. See my blog entry on tapas to hear about that marvelous experience. In addition, I found a recipe online for Spanish magdalenas, which are sort of like a lemon-flavored cross between cupcakes and muffins which are DELICIOUS, especially¬†with cafe con leche (coffee with milk). I’m hoping to try out some more recipes when my full-time job ends in early August and I have a bit more time on my hands.
  • Reading Spanish books. I have not been reading nearly as many as I would have liked, but with all the above time-eaters, this one has been shoved aside. However, thanks to my awesome roommate Sarah, I have read two good (and easy to read) Spanish novels: La chica de los zapatos verdes and El hombre del bar. I got another one for my birthday, and I have a few others that I hope to get to someday. It’s kind of frustrating, since I’ve been reading in English nearly all my life and found it quite enjoyable, but reading in Spanish forces me back to an elementary level which is boring and tedious. I’m trying to work on it though. With my Spanish movie list growing longer and longer, I feel like one of those kids I was always glad not to be: the ones who would rather watch a movie than read a book.
  • Talking about it ALL THE TIME. I feel like I am talking my poor friends’ and family’s ears off, with all the factoids and exciting news bits I’ve been intaking through all of my movie-watching, research-reading, book-reading, and Spanish-thinking.¬†I think my parents think I’m a huge bum because all they see¬†me doing is¬†watching movies and clicking away on my computer. That is, when I’m not talking to them about how wonderful Barcelona will be.

Well, there you have it. That is what my life has been comprised of in recent weeks. The only non-Spain-related things I’ve been doing this summer is sleeping (that is, when I’m not dreaming in Spanish), hanging out with family and friends (that is, when we’re not watching Spanish movies together, eating Spanish food together, or talking about Spain), and reading a couple of good old American novels (which I mostly read only while I’m at work at the radio station, making money for Spain).

In sum, I think I’ve gone loca para Espana.


¬ŅEn serio?

April 17, 2011

¬ŅEn serio voy para Espa√Īa? A veces, pienso de esto, y todav√≠a estoy un poco sorprendida. Es un sue√Īo grande que ten√≠a hace muchos a√Īos. Y, aunque s√© que es real, que en serio voy para Espa√Īa en unos meses, a veces no puedo creerlo. Estaba pensando esta ma√Īana. Nada va a ser f√°cil, cuando estoy en Espa√Īa. Despu√©s de unas semanas, s√≠, va a hacerse m√°s f√°cil, pero ¬°que extra√Īo ser√°! solamente o√≠r dos lenguas que ya no sepa. S√≠, claro, mis amigos y compa√Īeros americanos van a hablar ingl√©s, y a veces los ciudadanos van a darse cuenta que soy americana y van a hablar en ingl√©s conmigo. Pero, en general, todo lo que hago, todo lo que leo, todo lo que oigo, va a ser en espa√Īol. Cuando regreso, creo que voy a simpaticar mucho con los inmigrantes extranjeros a America, los que no saben ingl√©s. No s√≥lo viven por unos meses aqu√≠; al contrario, viven aqu√≠ por siempre, y saben que si no aprendan la lengua, no tengan √©xito y no puedan ganar dinero. Ya puedo simpaticar con ellos, pero despu√©s de pasar tiempo en Espa√Īa, voy a entenderlos porque tengo mi experiencia similar. Y creo que este entendimiento es similar de lo que Jesucristo hac√≠a para nosotros. Podemos entender la dificultad de los pobres y afligidos cuando nosotros mismos¬†estamos pobres y afligidos.

Estos son simplementes un pedazo peque√Īo de los montones de pensamientos que tengo sobre mi viaje a Espa√Īa. Si yo tuviera el tiempo, puedo escribir millones de p√°ginas, pero tengo que hacer tarea. Entonces, ya est√°.

For the Anglophiles among you (if I even have any readers), below is an English translation.

I’m really going to Spain? ¬†Sometimes I think of that fact, and I still am a bit surprised. It’s a huge dream that I’ve had for many years. And, although I know that it’s real, that I really am going to Spain in a couple months, sometimes I can’t believe it. I was thinking this morning. Nothing is going to be easy, when I’m in Spain. After a few weeks, yes, it’ll become easier, but–how strange it will be!–only hearing 2 languages that I don’t know yet. Yes, of course, my friends and American classmates will speak English, and sometimes the locals will realize that I’m American and speak in English with me. But, in general, everything I do, everything I read, everything I hear, will be in Spanish. When I return, I think that I will sympathize a lot with the foreign immigrants to America, those who don’t know English. They don’t just live a couple months here; on the contrary, they live here forever, and they know that if they don’t learn the language, they won’t be successful and they won’t make money. I can already sympathize a bit with them, but after spending time in Spain, I will understand them because I will have my own similar experience. And I think that sort of understanding is similar to that which Jesus has for us. We can understand the¬†difficulty¬†of the poor and afflicted when we ourselves are poor and afflicted.

These are simply a small piece of the multitude of thoughts that I have about my trip to Spain. If I had the time, I could write millions of pages about it, but I have to do homework. So, that’s it.



April 10, 2011

This is my first blog post! I just found out last Friday that I have been accepted into the CIEE program to study abroad in Barcelona next fall. I am overflowing with excitement and can’t wait to begin preparations and training for this wonderful opportunity. Espero que yo aprienda mucho cuando estoy en Espa√Īa. (I hope I’ll learn a lot when I’m in Spain.) I plan to spend as much time as possible updating this blog while I am there and when the journey looms closer. Right now it’s still kind of far off.

For now, I’m just trying to immerse myself in Spanish as much as I physically can while I’m still in America surrounded by English-speakers. Thanks to my roommate Sarah and my Spanish Conversation class, I’m getting a fair amount of practice, but there’s always room for more. I still can’t even imagine what it’ll be like to be in a country where I have little alternative but to speak Spanish all the time. But I’m excited. Extremely excited. ūüėÄ

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