Twitter / StephAntoinette

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not quite sure how to start off this blog...but theres something that has been bugging me lately. As you may or may not know I am a fashion major. And, as you may or may not know I need an internship to graduate. Lately I find myself thinking a lot about this. I've applied to several fashion houses in New York City, I've applied to Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue...etc. But I'm not 100% sure that this is what I want. Ever since high school I have kept myself up to date on issues occurring around the world. The genocide in Darfur, the war, the starving children, the AIDs virus...the poverty. I have had a passion for helping people ever since I was a little girl. I feel that I have been extremely fortunate, and it is my duty to help others who are not as fortunate. I feel that we should all give back to this world. We have been given life, now it is our turn to help our crumbling world. And yes, it is crumbling.
Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day
At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
25,000 children die each day due to poverty
An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS
Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities
1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity
Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished

So this is where I tend to get confused...

I am blessed...I am healthy...I have a roof over my head...I have food on my table..and I can make a difference. Do I want to go work for a fashion house? Or do I want to go help these people? I feel so selfish...moving to New York attempting to live a fabulous life while there are so many hurting around me. This is probably one of the biggest crossroads that I have approached so far. I am so confused I can not get myself together. As the days pass by I know I have applications to send out and living arrangements to prepare. But I want to make the right decision. I feel like this is such a huge decision. If I choose fashion...I have to stick with it and bust my ass. If I choose philanthropy, I have to love it, I know the pay will not be great, but the emotional pay will be priceless. But I have to love it and life for it. I think I need to take a couple of days and study both sides....and somewhere someway I'll know what I need to do.


Monday, December 14, 2009

It's almost midnight and once again I find myself unable to sleep.

I'm trying to put together exactly what I hoped to portray in this blog, but I can't quite get my thoughts together.

I currently watched several episodes of Sex and the City, and a certain instance in one of the shows caught me off guard.


I know I'm young and I have my whole life ahead of me, but right now I'm extremely confused as to what that entails. I feel as though my life has flashed before me. A mixture of school days and trips and nights with friends. But nothing significant. I have worked extremely hard to achieve what I have in school, but looking back now its simply a blur of restless nights, studying and wondering what I got on that exam.

My mom has warned me about this, days when I'm way too stressed for my age, caring way too much about a grade or a paper. But the truth of the matter is, it makes me feel like I mean something. At the end of the day, when I don't have any other accomplishments, at least I can look back and say I managed to keep a 4.0 throughout my college career. Does that sound pathetic?

I've been stressing out lately because I like to plan things...I like to know what to expect. These past four years I've been able to recognize what's coming my way. Accounting, marketing, psychology, qualitative research...they're all planned out. But come May I have no itinerary. I will walk across that stage and I will not have any sort of map or direction. And I admit I am terrified.

I'm extremely afraid of failing, of letting my family down, of letting myself down. I have these picture perfect plans in mind, but no way of knowing if its in the cards.

I do understand that I am a survivor, that whatever comes my way will work itself out. But I'm 21 years old, and the upcoming years are extremely significant to me. They will mold me. Show me a glimpse of what's coming up next.

I guess bottom line I'm feeling a little homesick already.

Not technically homesick for my home or for my family, but for this familiar ground. This comfortable schedule. Wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, go to work, sleep. I've grown accustomed to this plan, no curve balls, just classes and homework.

I have a chance to interview at Valentino in New York City. I've been keeping this quiet because I'm terrified. Sitting in a room interviewing with one of the top fashion houses in the world... it's bittersweet really. Its an amazing opportunity. Its a dream come true. But I'm terrified.

What if they completely rip me apart?

What if they hate me?

What if......

What if they love me?

What if I get the internship and move up to New York City and my life completely turns around?

What if its destiny. My calling. My new plan.

What if every part of this uneventful, stressful, 4.0 life of mine has led me to this?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Although a dreadful subject, for some reason or another I feel that its time for me to experience new heights in this blog and write about things like....death.

No one wants to talk about it, no one wants to think about it, no one wants to come to terms with it, but its part of life.

The other night I had a mother passed away. It was one of those nightmares that felt so real, that inside it all I could not come back to reality. It was so detailed, so painful, I awoke and felt tears in my eyes. I called my mother immediately to tell her what had happened while I slept, to tell her the pain I felt, to tell her I loved her of course.

Sadly, everyone dies. At one point or another we will all perish from this earth whether we like it or not. No matter how healthy you are, how many vitamins you take, how cautious you are, no matter how much you try to escape it, death will come. I know this sounds awful and terrible and why the hell am I writing about this?!

I've experienced several losses in my life, and this blog is simply here to notify everyone that there is no real way to deal with a loss. After that nightmare I thought about my parents and how both of them have lost their parents. I thought about how painful it was, and how I have no idea how people handle it. Death is so hard because of the uncertainty of it all. Often times I wonder if there is something more, after death. Its crazy to think about, of course we hear tales of heaven and hell and an afterlife. But death puts fear in all of us because there's no way of really knowing what's next. So with this we must realize one extremely important thing about life. Cherish it. Live it. Experience every detail of it. Take chances. Fall in love. LIVE.

So many of us walk around with the fear of death that we forget to live. Not only this, but so many of us are so into planning and figuring things out that we lose track of where we are in this moment. Life has no instruction booklet, there is no guide to tell us what to do or how to do it. There is no money-back guarantee. We've been handed this life, and everything that comes with it. Now we must simply go with it. So many people put things off for tomorrow, or stay in jobs that they absolutely can't stand. People stay in relationships due to fear. People don't take chances because they are afraid of failure. But what all of us need to realize is that these are all paths of life. Without the pain and fear, we wouldn't be able to feel the good things. Without a heartbreak we wouldn't be able to recognize love.

So go for it. Live your life. Take chances. Fail. Fall down. Get your heart broken.....from all these ventures you will learn so much. You will learn to cherish so much. And you will essentially realize that this life you have been given has been lived to the fullest. That you have taken chances, and you will be remembered long after you're gone. Remember "A life is worth nothing but the impact it has on other lives". So stop reading this blog....go experience the world out there.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today is Thanksgiving Day.

As with other days, the Holidays especially bring some sort of emotion. Of course everyone out there hopes you are happy and joyful but some of us have a different set of feelings. Sitting here, hours before our meal, I'm trying to get myself together. The reason I say this is because the holidays bring a sort of melancholy for me. A feeling of sadness, of memories that only exist in the back of my mind.

On days like this when families come together I think of my family. Of how we have lost so much. Of how wonderful my early days where. Now the dinner table lacks all of my Grandparents, and that to me is extremely painful.

The other day I called my mother and we got to talking about Christmas music, all of the sudden she began to cry. I was confused at first, but I quickly realized that her mother used to love Christmas music. How can one thing that brings smiles to so many, make someone else cry? My grandmother used to play her christmas records and dance around in her living room. We still have those records and that antique record player, but she is no longer here to dance with us.

Growing up in Venezuela around the holidays was completely different. I guess I took it for granted. I always knew my entire family would be at the dinner table, I always knew my Grandparents would be having us over for dinner and presents. I always knew I'd be able to play and make memories with all of my cousins.

Now we spend holidays alone. The four of us, reminiscing on the good times. We have a special bond due to all we have been through. This part of us strengthens me every single day. I feel that if we have survived all of this, we can survive so much more. Leaving our family and a country that we loved, to start all over in a foreign land. Not everyone can say they have gone through this. Losing loved ones and family moving away, this has bonded the four of us even more.

So today I am grateful for my family. They are truly amazing and I have no idea how I got this lucky. They have been there for me through the good and the bad, and I know they will be there for me for years to come. On these holidays we will remember our loved ones, who went through so much to get us where we are. No one will ever be able to break the bond that we all share, and these memories that I have will forever remain close to my heart. Every day I live for them, I hope I'm making them proud and becoming the woman they taught me to be.

Happy Holidays.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tonight I find myself in a familiar place...actually a place that reminds me of Spain. Its 2am in the morning and I can't seem to fall asleep. I feel as though every night in Spain was like this. I'm not quite sure why, but every night after a long and crazy day I would lay down and be completely awake. At the time I was sure it was the time change, but I now realize that it was all in my head. Literally. I can't sleep because something is either bothering me or I'm worried or overwhelmed about something. In Spain I couldn't sleep mostly because of the little girls I lived with. I never shared this on my blog then for fear of their mother or father somehow running into my blog. But now that my relationship with them has almost entirely ended, I can fully express how I feel about my host family.
Ever since I was a little girl I have been taught valuable lessons in life. I have been blessed with an amazing family who has supported me throughout every endeavor. My Spain sisters have not been as lucky. I know this blog will not do them justice, but its worth a try. I guess I can begin by saying that my experience with this family in Spain further proved how amazing my own parents are. These two beautiful girls were unfortunately dealt a different hand. All I heard the entire time in Spain was yelling. I was constantly surrounded by screams and scolding. They could never be good enough for their mother. These girls are angels, they do their chores, they get amazing grades, they are perfect...but they get nothing in return. They have no idea what love is. They are constantly reminded that whatever they do is not good enough, and I'm afraid that it will never be good enough. How does a little girl manage to grow up in a household like this one? I wanted so badly to interfere but I knew it was not my place. But every day I wondered what if. What if I just stood up to their parents and told them to wake up and realize that your children are not some commodity that you boss around; they are your flesh and blood. You should love them and cherish the moments you have with them. I can not begin to tell you how amazing these girls are. How incredibly happy they would get every time I treated them to ice-cream. ICE-CREAM! They are surrounded by so much negativity that I have yet to understand how they are able to hold so much love inside.
I couldn't sleep in Spain because I knew that these girls deserved better. They deserved to be loved. Sometimes at night when they couldn't sleep we would all sit together in a room and talk about things. They were so surprised with my stories. Of my childhood and my trips to Disney World...their parents have never even taken them to a theme park. I think I showed them more love in a month then they have seen in an entire lifetime. The night before I left Spain these girls cried harder than I've ever seen anyone cry. They cried until they couldn't breathe. I was completely torn because I knew I had to go. I was so happy to be able to see my family again, but so sad because I didn't want to leave these girls. For those of you wondering why I had so much trouble explaining my experience in Spain, well heres your answer. Spain was not a fun filled trip full of sightseeing and late night partying. It was sad. It hurts to think about. How I wish I could be more active in those little girls' lives. Its sad to think about because I know there are millions of other children out there who don't get the love they deserve. How did I get so lucky? To have such amazing parents and such a loving family?


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Death makes Angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws"
-Jim Morrison

Parents should never have to bury their children; brothers and sisters should never have to bury their siblings...
I heard news today that a dear friend of mine passed away late at night on October 27, 2009. She was 21 years old.

You never think something like this can happen to you, or even to someone close to you, but the truth of the matter is that it can and it does. Franki was a ray of sunshine. Her smile could change your entire day, her personality, her laugh...made her an amazing person. Unfortunately I fear that she may have kept a lot locked inside. We fear to be judged by others, so we keep the pain to ourselves. When I heard news about her death I was in shock. Its a feeling I can't explain and I would never wish upon anyone. Its confusing and nauseating, its a whirlwind. Everything around you becomes blurry, your stomach tightens, and all you can describe is this numb feeling, this empty and numb feeling. Life is so unexpected. We quote this, we write it in songs, in poems, but do we take this seriously? Do we realize that we could be gone tomorrow? Or someone close to us could be gone tomorrow? Do we tell everyone we love them every single day? Or do we just wait, we can always tell them tomorrow...
There was not a tomorrow for Franki, nor should we all expect to see one for others. Appreciate every day, every second of your life as it flashes before you. Tell your friends and family how much you love them, and cherish every single moment on this earth.

I attended a vigil for Franki this evening, and the pain was so hard to bare. It should not have been like this. Students crying all together for a beautiful girl who left us too soon.

We all grew up tonight, we all realized just how hard this life can be. We also realized that we need to stick together, that we all need each other. We will always remember Franki, we will hold her deep inside our hearts and carry her memories with us forever. She's in a better place now, but of course we all wish she would be here with us. Her memory will keep her alive among us, and I know we will always think of her.

R.I.P. Franki you will be missed


Sunday, August 30, 2009

I believe that everything happens for a reason.

That every situation we encounter has a purpose.

That every person we meet will mean something.

That every heartbreak will make sense.

It's those days when you feel down and lost and you really have no idea how to get up again that always seem to get me to this point... to the point where I realize that everything happens for a reason. Lately I've been feeling a little down, a little confused/misunderstood. Everything seems to be happening so fast that I haven't had any time to fully catch up to it all. I start school in a week and I already feel behind. I was having a rough day yesterday and decided to call it a night. I woke up this morning, another regular day. I worked at Tasty Yo until about 3 pm and returned home to hang with Cohen. I decided to walk Cohen all the way uptown so he would have his exercise for the day. We encountered three limo drivers hanging out by a hotel parking lot. They began to have small talk with me, very nice guys, and then a minute conversation turned into an hour. And here is where I realized that everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes you need perfect strangers to be placed in your life to remind you how lucky you are. Sometimes you need conversation, attention, laughter...We talked about everything, from politics, to the Caribbean, to the economy, to dogs. These men work three jobs, they struggle to give their family a better life. Their hearts are gigantic. Their smiles... even more so gigantic. They are those men who live for their family, those men who would work nonstop to be able to send their daughter to college. Those men who appreciate the beauty in this life, the beauty that so many of us have overlooked. It is our family, our love, thats the real beauty here. It is not the amount of money you have in your pocket, nor is it the car you drive. It is not the private school you attended nor the number of vacations you have taken... it is so much more. It's holding hands with your wife and watching your children grow in front of your eyes, it's being there for your family through the good and the bad. It's recognizing the fact that money could never buy this, it will never be able to buy this.

I wish so deeply to grow up and help others understand that there is more to this life than money. There are families who have a quarter of what I may have, but they are ten times happier. There are fathers who rarely see their children, who are stuck in meetings or phone conversations and miss out on their lives. I know that changing people is one of the hardest tasks out there. That those people who are big headed, whose money runs their lives, they will never be changed.

This economy has hindered a lot of us, but on the bright side it has woken us up. We live in abundance, but do we cherish what we have? I hope this recession has helped families realize that money means nothing, and family means everything. That money can not buy happiness, it can not buy love, and it can not buy health. It is superficial. Materialistic.

Back to my friends in the parking lot...I am truly grateful for whatever led me there, I am grateful because it truly lifted my spirits and I met some amazing people through it all.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Sometimes your flush and sometimes you're bust and when you're up its never as good as it seems and when you're down you never think you'll be up again but life goes on..."

Life. There are so many quotes so many ideas and representations of life. How it's hard or easy or worth it or not. Its truly a roller coaster ride if u ask me. Its keeps on going up and down and turning into the most odd directions. Making your stomach drop and making u nervous while feeling exhilarating all at the same time. But really...what is this life? No one one will know.

At times I confuse myself because I think so deeply of it. Because this world fascinates me and saddens me at the same time. Because at one point you're so incredibly happy and weight less and then it hits you and you're sad and heartbroken. I think one of the most important things in this life is love. The right kind of love. "That brings a fire to your heart and peace to your mind"...that makes you feel real and whole and alive. That's all I wish for. This roller coaster wouldn't be so hard in love. Love is the answer right? Materialistic people are not happy...they feel happy for a split second when they buy that car and then they're down again. But can make you feel like you're floating. Like you've found your purpose. Like dreams can come true and miracles are possible. So many people have quoted about it... "A life without love is no life at all" "live in love" "all you need is love"...all these people...they KNOW they get it. Love is the answer...its as simple as that.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Do you ever just go into this really deep thinking state? where your mind wanders all over the place...and the world around you just stands still...

I get in this mood all the time...most of the times I love it. I love the things I come up with, the crazy ideas and views of this world. Other times I wonder who else thinks this way. Who focuses so deeply on one moment and captures it in it's entirety. To only analyze it until there is nothing left.

All my life in Charlotte I've never found a sense of belonging...when we left Venezuela and moved to Charlotte I frequently asked my mother when we were returning home. She would say, "This is home" but that phrase has never fit. Home is not this...I may not know exactly what it feels like, but it sure as hell does not feel like this. I could leave Charlotte any minute now, i do not feel attached to this place whatsoever. I do find this a bit sad when you think of it, living in a place for over 14 years and never feeling home. People say "Home is where the heart is", but right now I have no idea where my heart is. I've been extremely confused these past couple of weeks. Like I've been knocked off balance, and I can't find my place again.

I've had a terrible day...a day that has taken me back to some of my hardest moments. I've realized that one of the reasons why I so deeply wish to leave this city is due to the racism and anti-semitism. Simply put...I've had enough. I'm done with hearing racial slurs, Jew jokes, gay jokes...I'm over it all and I wish to escape it. There is so much more to this world, but some less fortunate choose to bring others down in their daily lives. I feel sorry for these unfortunate souls who feel as though they must discriminate in order to fit in, in order to feel better about themselves. Because that's the only reason I can give put someone else down to feel better about yourself right? Because if you can make yourself feel better by making fun of a Black man or a Jewish girl, then you've increased your self-esteem for the day! Well congratulations! These impudent human beings...they make me sick.

Perhaps this is the sole reason as to why I don't feel home. How can one feel home with so much hate around? I have been exposed to this discriminatory behavior ever since I moved here. I hope someday I can find a better place...a place where there are more educated people, people who understand history. People who understand what we have all gone through and that we deserve to be here. Until then I will keep fighting back. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" right?


Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Compilation of My Favorite Qoutes

My whole life I have been collecting quotes...sad quotes, happy quotes, inspirational quotes, movie quotes, philosophical quotes, song lyrics...and I figured some of you bloggers may want to sit back and just read them...I have a big book at home where I write all of my favorite quotes that I come across...and when I'm in one of those moods I kick back and enjoy these words. It fascinates me how in just a few simple words you can put out such an inspiring it goes...

"Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one's own person is its ultimate reward."

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are”

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different" -Coco Chanel

“But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.”
-Sex and the City

"As we grow up, we learn that the one person who isn't supposed to let you down probably will, and the one person that you never thought would be there for you, is. You're going to have fights with your friends, you're going to lose some of your friends, you may even fall in love with one of your friends. You will eventually lose someone you love - and love someone you never thought you'd find. People are going to hate you, love you, love to hate you, and hate to love you, but the ones that mean the most to you will always be there."

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: 'It goes on.' -Robert Frost

The best kind of kiss is the unexpected, unplanned ones. The ones that just come naturally, like in the middle of a sentence.

Don't you hate that? Uncomfortable silence. Why do we feel it's necessary to talk about bull in order to feel comfortable? That's when you know you've found somebody really special. When you can just shut the hell up for a minute and comfortably share a silence -Pulp Fiction

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.

Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have retained of them -Marcel Proust

People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

You cannot protect yourself from sadness without shielding yourself from happiness.

Things fall apart so that other things can fall together.

I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you don't deserve me at my best.-Marilyn Monroe

Michelangelo said the best way to judge the essential elements of a sculpture is to throw it down a hill and the unimportant pieces will break away. Sometimes life is like that. It tosses us down a hill. But when we reach the bottom and only the important things are left, that's when our vision clears. That's when we hold on tight to what we know, while hope stirs inside us. It's all a matter of perspective -Everwood

I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if buy chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped -Fritz Perl

"And on the other hand, when nothing is certain .. everything is possible."

You know that place between sleep and awake, where you're still dreaming? that's where i'll always think of you. that's where i'll be waiting -Hook

The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please... ~The Replacements

You know, that moment when you kiss someone and everything around you becomes hazy. And the only thing in focus is you and that person. And you realize that that person is the only person that you're supposed to kiss for the rest of your life. And for one moment you get this gift. And you want to laugh and you want to cry because you feel so lucky that you found it and so scared that it will go away all at the same time. ~ Never Been Kissed

Do you ever just put your arms out and just spin and spin and spin? Well, that's what love is like; everything inside of you tells you to stop before you fall, but for some reason you just keep going -practical magic

Sometimes what you're searching for, is right where you left it --Sweet Home Alabama

Friday, August 21, 2009

For those of you who may not have heard...or those of you who live abroad...My sister and I have opened up a Frozen yogurt shop in Charlotte, NC. We have chosen an area called "NoDa"...North Davidson. It's very artsy and free, a place to be yourself and meet people from all walks of life. We felt that our store Tasty Yo would fit right in. An independent family owned yogurt shop! We sell Original Tart Frozen's plain yogurt frozen! And we offer over 20 toppings to choose pick 3!! It's really good for you...nonfat, low calories, live and active cultures, gluten free etc...

We have really started to pick up and have a wonderful following...people come here every single day extremely excited to get their Tasty Yo fix! Its an extremely rewarding feeling to walk into this place at 10am and realize that this is YOURS! Most of the handy work was done while I was in I have to give props to my sister and my parents for getting this place together. I am extremely proud of my whole family. I have learned a lot here...even if we have only been open for a couple of weeks. I've learned the true passion you must have to open up your own place, I've learned that hard work truly pays off, and that kindness and understanding will always keep you one step ahead of the game.

My family and I try to be extremely kind to all of our customers. We appreciate their business so much! Our customers are becoming fans of our shop in spite of this recession, and their weekly trips to the shop make us extremely grateful! Sometimes I walk in here and I can not believe it! We've done this...worked hard and succeeded! I am so proud!

We face challenges every single day just like any other business, but we also have to deal with family matters. I think this shop has made us closer. It's made us understand the importance of family, and how we can truly help each other. It's made us realize that we need to stick together through the thick and thin. So please send more customers our way!!! We are looking forward to seeing our baby grow!!! Come enjoy some fro yo!!!

check us out!!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yes, I know....its been a while.

But hopefully I can regain my blog writing skills...I have a pretty good blog planned out to break free from my hiatus. So here goes nothing...

Some people go their whole lives searching for a purpose...
they get so caught up in this soul searching process, that they let their lives simply pass them by. I am guilty of this very times I sit around wondering what I'm meant to do or be...where I'm supposed to long will I live?

Right at the point where I find myself worrying way too much I stop myself. Take a deep breath and realize that you simply must enjoy the ride and make the best of it all. That's it, that's all you can do.

Last Friday I attended a Coldplay concert, and last wednesday I saw Incubus. At the Incubus concert i realized so many things amidst that crowd. I felt a sense of belonging. Like I could stay there listening forever. I really can't explain the feeling but it felt right...comfortable, like home.

Look, I'm not saying that I'm meant to be a concert going groupie, no...but what I do know is that music is part of my life, it must always be in my life. When I was a little girl and would suffer from anxiety attacks, the best way for me to feel better was to simply listen to some music. My parents would put on a cd or the radio, and within a few minutes I would be fine.

I can not explain's as though music rushes through my blood and send a calming sensation all over my body. I do not wish to imagine my life without music...the creativity and artistic ability. It's all so beautiful to me. During the Incubus concert I felt so good, so alive. Like everything made sense, maybe music is like a drug to me...definitely an upper...It just makes me feel so home....So take me HOME.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

One beautiful thing about Madrid is that love is all around. You see it everywhere you go...couples kissing, holding hands without a care in the world. I feel that we may be more reserved in the US, but why? If you love someone, you show it. The couples here want to show off their love, they do not care who is looking. Today I saw a couple on the metro that could not keep their hands off each other. You feel weird looking, but at the same time it reminds you how wonderful love really is. I'm a fool for love. Those of you who know me are smiling right now. But I think its beautiful, I think that everyone should have love in their lives.

I've been here for a month now, and I haven't seen my host parents kiss, nor hug...they have not shown the tiniest display of affection. It saddens me. They do not kiss when they arrive home from work, they do not hold hands when we go out. Their only love is for their daughters, but its truly a shame. It's a shame that what bonds you are your children and your children alone. I would never wish this upon anyone. It seems so weird to me, almost as if they were just room mates. Not even a kiss on the cheek!

My parents kiss each other and hug each other when one leaves for work, or comes home from work. I know that my sister and I are not the only things keeping them together. They have been married for 25 years, and the spark is still there. My mom could not live without my dad and my dad could not live without my mom. Their love always gives me hope that someday I will find that kind of love. Ever since I was a little girl I've had this fascination with fairy tales and Prince Charming. I guess every girl does. But others are more grounded than me. When I fall for someone I fall really hard, and I often end up hurt. Its hard not to give yourself away when you are so incredibly happy. No one ever thinks that it could end wrong. But you know what, I'd rather love fully and completely than put up walls and never get hurt. That pain you feel reminds you that you're alive. That what you felt was real. So I'll keep believing in fairy tales, and I'll wait for my Prince.

"A life without love is no life at all"


Friday, July 10, 2009

So here I am...Friday night...6 days left in Madrid.

I have not thought of a theme for this blog, nor do I have any idea what I wish to write about, so I'll call this a free writing blog.

I keep having trouble sleeping here. I'm not quite sure what it is, I can honestly say my best night of sleep was in Barcelona. All other nights I have struggled to fall asleep, I end up falling asleep around 3am every morning. I hate having to depend on sleep aids, but at times I reach for my tylenol pm. I guess during the day I do so many things, and I'm always focusing on something, that at night when my head hits the pillow I begin to think. I love thinking, but once I start I can't stop. One subject leads to another and then another. Last night I thought about my dog Cohen. He's almost 2 years old, a wonderful yellow lab that has brought me more happiness than anyone could even imagine. I thought about Cohen, and dogs in general because my mother phoned me to tell me about something that had happened to one of our dogs at home. Jazzie is a 15 year old miniature poodle. She has been with us the longest, and we love her dearly. Jazzie suffered a stroke about a week and a half ago, but my mother refrained from telling me due to the fact that I am so far away from home. Jazzie was taken to the vet, and he told my mother what had occurred. The vet said that she would be sort of paralyzed for a couple of days or even weeks, but he told my mom to please not give up on her. Some dog owners think this is the end for their dog, and choose to put them to sleep. But my loving mother has cared for Jazzie day in and day out. Trying to get her to drink water, trying to comfort her, staying awake at night to ease her pain. Well thankfully Jazzie is now drinking alone, and after about a week she finally ate! This shows that with a lot of love and patience we can endure many things. I know my mother must be going through a lot, but this act of kindness only further proves what an angel she truly is.

When I thought about my mother and Jazzie, I immediately thought of Cohen. Dogs are wonderful animals, they give you all the love in this world. You get further and further attached, but unfortunately dogs do not have long lives. This saddens me. Cohen is only 2 years old and I can not wait to have him around longer and build more memories and make him part of my life, but like Jazzie...all dogs grow old. Dog lovers are courageous, they know the canine's life span, yet they still choose to have a dog, and make them part of the family. One thing I love about Cohen is taking him out on the street. Sometimes we go to Starbucks and sit outside. You can not even begin to imagine how he tends to bring a smile upon everyone's face. I love watching this! The frustrated executives, the stressed out students, the hard core YMCA goers... they all stop for a minute and just smile. Cohen has no idea how powerful his sad puppy face can truly be.

These days it seems as though its harder to make someone smile. I ride the Madrid subway almost everyday, and I could count the smiles I've seen with the fingers on my hands. I try to smile at people as often as possible, but they can't seem to smile back. I remember a couple of years ago walking around somewhere and an old man stopped me and told me to smile. He was right, and I still think about that day. No matter what is going on, no matter how late we are running to that meeting, or how stressed we are at work...just smile. I promise it helps.

I keep wondering what Charlotte will be like when I get home. I know I've only been gone a month but I have this feeling that things will change. Maybe not because things have actually changed, but because I've changed. My family and I have so many wonderful things ahead of us. My sister and I will be living together this year. It is sort of like a second chance to relive my childhood. This is my last year of college, that is truly one thing I can not believe. And it is one more thing that proves that time really does fly.

Another one of those thoughts that came to mind last night was about the future. I have no idea what's going to happen next. Its really truly amazing when you think about it. At times I get scared, who will I be? Where will I live? Will I be happy? But you must realize that these questions will not be answered. That you must enjoy the ride and everything that comes with it. That you can only plan to a certain extent, and at times you must let go and leave things to fate. So I'll leave you with this quote:

"Life is about the journey, not the destination"


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I’m not quite sure if everyone has this sort of intuition, but you know that feeling when you meet someone and you just know if you’re going to like them or not? I can’t explain it, nor can I even begin to understand how it all works, but these sorts of intuitions always seem to occur in my life.

This weekend I went to Barcelona. I rode the AVE train…Alta Velocidad. This new revolutionary train reaches speeds up to 300 km per hour…or roughly 180 mph. It was amazing. I was truly impressed by this train. A usual 9 hour ride was only two hours and forty five minutes. The AVE has impressed Obama as well, in recent articles, he has talked about trying to bring such a system to the United States. This would be incredible in my opinion. It is truly better than a plane…no need to arrive 2 hours early…you must be there at least 2 minutes before and you’re good to go. No need to pack your liquids in a small plastic bag… bring whatever you want. No identification needed, leave your passport at home. The seats are bigger and recline more, they play movies and have a cafeteria where you can buy bocadillos de jamon! It was wonderful!

I arrived in Barcelona on Saturday morning. For those of you who do not know, I was visiting Ana Reyes, one of my mother’s friends from her childhood. I had never met Ana, only through emails and short telephone calls had I gotten to know her…but none of this mattered. On the train I realized that this was sort of unusual. Arriving in a city and meeting up with someone you had never met. This had never crossed my mind…which is where the whole intuition thing comes into play. I can’t begin to express what I felt when I finally hugged Anita at the station. She has this warmth to her that would bring a smile to anyone’s face. When I was with her I felt as though anything could happen and I would be ok. Like the world could end but being with Anita would save me. She’s an angel on earth, and if you don’t believe me simply take the AVE to Barcelona and you can experience it all for yourself. I only spent two days in Barcelona with Anita, but when I left I felt like I had known her my entire life. I truly believe that people are brought into your life for a purpose…well Anita has become a second mother to me. I feel like she could keep my secrets and never judge a word I say. I feel extremely fortunate and lucky to have been able to spend time with her.

Not only is she an angel, but Anita is a wonderful tour guide! We visited the important touristy parts of Barcelona. Walking down Las Ramblas was a great experience! It was filled with tourists captivated by all Las Ramblas had to offer. Then we walked into the most amazing market. The fruits, the vegetables, the seafood…it was all so beautiful and so colorful that you could spend a day just eyeing every piece. Although the heat was miserable, we kept walking in order to gain our lunch. We walked to this harbor filled with sailboats, it was truly amazing. Finally we arrived to the restaurant which was right on the harbor. I’m glad to say Anita loves food just as much as I do. We ordered arroz negro… the most delicious meal I have ever had in my life. Arroz negro is like a type of paella, rice and seafood…expect for the negro part. The rice gets its black color from squid ink. It has the most amazing taste, that words could never describe. I do not remember exactly how long we were at lunch for, but if it had not been so hot I’m sure we could have talked until sundown. We left the restaurant with happy stomachs and walked a while more until we reached our dessert destination…GELATO! I had coconut of course, Anita had piña colada…both delicious. We walked through this mall and then sat on the dock to watch what Anita calls… “the rats of the sea”.

After almost melting into the dock we decided to head home for a shower and siesta so we could go out later at night. I arrived at my bed and breakfast and felt like I had just gotten home. This place is amazing. Amiga Barcelona is run by a very nice lady named Margarita. She purchased a couple of apartments and put them all together to have her beautiful bed and breakfast. This place is so cozy! Filled with books and balconies, paintings and old bottles of wine. ( ) I had a wonderful nap and took a shower to get refreshed and met up with Anita later that night.

We walked around Barcelona, which is beautiful at night. I saw Gaudi’s famous architecture, which really impressed me. Its amazing how buildings that long ago were built to such perfection. When they did not have the machinery and technology we have today. After the architecture we walked into a dangerous area of the city…yes dangerous. Louis Vuittion, Chanel, Cartier, Gucci, Prada…were all there waiting for us to drool on their window displays. We must have spent 30 minutes in front of Chanel. Anita and I have a lot in common…we love shoes, handbags, and watches…well and a lot more of course! We got a little hungry and had tapas for dinner…delicious!!!!! I’m going to miss the Spanish cuisine. Anita told me stories of her life and her travels, she is a wonderful story teller…something I must work on! Then we walked home (passed Chanel again) and right as I got to Amiga Barcelona I passed out!

The next morning I woke up to find the most amazing breakfast. Margarita prepares the breakfast area with such detail. All types of bread and cookies, 7 different types of honey, nuts, granola, jam, cereal, tea…she set the table with the cutest dinnerware. I had to try everything! I played around with the honey and loved every single one. I had a croissant with nutella and some home made granola which was delicious! After filling my face at breakfast I realized it was time to get ready to meet up with Anita.

Anita and I rode the metro a lot in Barcelona…yes it is a wonderful form of transportation BUT the most important part of the metro is the air conditioning. We even thought about spending the day just riding the metro up and down. We visited the gothic part of Barcelona, where they say Jews lived during a certain time. If Anita would not have told me this, I would have realized it by myself at the moment when we encountered Israeli tourists speaking in Hebrew and pointing out every detail of the place. We entered in every store with air conditioning…this makes everything so much better. I must have taken 200 pictures during this trip. We returned to Las Ramblas and had more tapas for lunch. This was truly a delicious trip overall…I can not complain about the meals! The best part of the meals however had to have been the company and conversation. I have learned so much about Anita, and she has learned so much about me. These meals are what bonded us even more. We grew tired and hot and decided to nap before it was time to return to the train station. I packed my things and took a little siesta and spoke with Margarita for a while. She is a wonderful lady, I did not feel like I was at some hotel, I really felt home. Anita and I met up and took the metro to the renfe station. It was sad to say goodbye, but I remembered one thing. My first day in Barcelona Anita made me drink out of this fountain in the street. I took a sip and then she told me that legend says (and it has been proven many times) that if you drink from this fountain you will return to Barcelona. So we said our goodbyes (for now) because we both know we will see each other again. It was truly an amazing trip, the highlight of my European adventure. So thank you Anita!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You know that saying..."You don't know what you have until it's gone" or "Distance makes the heart grow fonder"? Well as cliche and corny as they may sound I believe these to be very true analogies. Not that anything is "gone", but being away from home is making me miss things that I took for granted. Let's get something straight...I don't take a lot for granted...but there are little things here and there that you don't really pay attention to when you really should.

When I planned this trip I was looking forward to some revelation...some awakening. I had the typical idea that this trip will "change me" and "I will find myself". Well, I'm sorry to say that I haven't exactly "found myself" nor have I changed really...but looking back at these past two weeks or so, I have learned a lot. I am not upset at not finding myself, I realize this is something that takes time and well may also never fully happen. Very little of us are fully aware of ourselves, of our potential, of our strengths and our weaknesses. But being in Madrid has truly shown me how lucky I am to be who I am. Rebellious teenagers often dream of a trip like this, to leave their parents and be "free". But, I am the complete opposite. How I would love to have my family here with me. A day has not passed that I have not spoken to my mother. Call us crazy or whatever you'd like to call us, but our family's relationship is truly amazing to me. I sit here during my downtime and think of everything my family has gone through, and I realize that there is nothing that could ever break us. I am extremely proud and filled with happiness when I come to think of the family this world has given me. I truly do not know where I would be with out them. Don't get me wrong, I'm having a great time...Madrid is so beautiful, but on the other hand I'm counting the days until I see my parents and my sister again. This trip has illuminated even more how much they mean to me.

So to my family who is reading this...thank you for being you...and also to all our friends who have loved us through it all...thank you as well!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

The last time I wrote I had been pick-pocketed...well I've learned my lesson and now I clench my purse at all times! To try to get my mind off things, my two friends, both named Maria, took me out thursday night. We went to Goya which was really beautiful We had an amazing italian dinner...gnocchi mushroom cream sauce and white truffle oil! DELICIOUS! After dinner we went to an exhibition a new Japanese designer was holding. It was really amazing. They had hired acrobats to scale a building and preform on the side of this giant building. We sat there for a while admiring it all, and then we decided to walk around the city. The city is really beautiful at night, everything changes, but the best part is that its always filled with people. After passing several landmarks, including the Bernabeu Stadium where Real Madrid plays, we decided to get some gelato. I must admit that gelato has become my weakness here in Madrid. Every time I go out I must buy a gelato. My excursions would not be complete without a coconut gelato. I can not even begin to describe what I feel when I have this treat! The best has been in this hole in the wall type place near Plaza Mayor. This gelato genius chose to leave little pieces of coconut in his gelato. AMAZING.

After our 3 hour ice cream chat I returned home and went right to bed. On friday I was a major bum. I gave the girls their classes and then three little cousins showed up at the house. They would be staying for the know what this meant...2 bathrooms for 8 people!

The cousins were nice...glued to the tv the whole weekend. Friday night I decided to stay in my room and watch movies. I really can't handle the chaos that comes with a house full of children. I'm definitely going to need a nanny.

Saturday morning I decided to go out into the city. I have written a list of places I must go before I leave and one of those was Gay Chueca. Chueca is the first openly gay barrio in Madrid. Its really nice actually, there are a lot of really great stores. All have wonderful multicolored pride flags hanging from their windows. Its a very trendy area. I spent the day there, and of course had a coconut gelato for lunch! When I got tired I returned home to take a nap. After my nap I walked down to La Vaguada, the mall right down the street. I tried to shop but it was impossible! The markdown season is occurring right now, so the ladies are vicious. mercy. Its like a clothes war in there. I love the clothes but honestly I'd rather wait until I get home and shop in peace!

Today is Sunday...and the cousins are going home.
This morning I woke up with an extremely sore back...I miss my bed!!! I decided to visit El Templo de Debod. An Egyptian temple given to Spanish Archaeologists as a gift from Nasser. The temple was shipped in pieces and then put back together in Madrid. It was really interesting. Once arriving at this temple...which took a while by metro...I snapped some pictures and quickly got distracted by a far more interesting spectacle. Three dogs had jumped in a nearby fountain and were playing around. I really miss my dog. Lets just say I took more pictures of these dogs than I did of the temple!

Right now I am relaxing at home getting ready to plan out my week. Tonight we are going to a concert in a nearby park...we'll see how that goes.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I don't have a lot to write tonight, since my plans changed this evening...I would originally be writing about El Museo del Prado, however my wallet got stolen this afternoon. Due to this interruption in my day, I could not make it to the museum. I really do not wish to go through this again, I tore up my entire room in hopes of finding my wallet. As it turns out I have been a victim to a very common crime here in Madrid, and other big cities...yes I was pick-pocketed by a professional I suppose. I really hate myself for it, but at this point what's done is done. My host family took me to the police station, a very scary place, and I filed a report. They really do treat you better once you pull out that handy dandy American Passport. In some countries I would change my identity, but here in Madrid they want to be as American as possible. Everywhere I go there are little girls sporting t-shirts with American sayings, which I'm almost positive they do not even understand. People everywhere would die to learn english, and it has shown me how lucky I am to be bilingual. Everywhere I go I see American tourists struggling to ask a question, and I simply walk up to them and lend a helping hand. I am extremely fortunate that my parents made it their job to make sure I never stopped speaking spanish after our move to the United States.

Back in the States a friend told me that the Madrileños might not like my spanish accent since it differs from their Castellano...on the contrary they are in love with it! They wish they could speak my spanish instead of theirs! Actually its really funny, I'm beginning to feel as though my english is getting worse. When I write emails I've noticed the simple mistakes I've been making since my mind is getting a little confused with the languages. I'm also speaking english with a spanish accent to the little girls! Even now as I write this blog, the english in my head has an accent! I'm trying to read my english books that I brought with me every night!

This whole getting my wallet stolen thing has really ruined my day. But thankfully I keep my passport in my house, and I brought an extra credit card for this very reason. So tomorrow if I head out I have decided to duct tape my money to myself. And if anyone even takes a glance at me I will immediately walk away from wherever I am. You really never think its actually going to happen to you until it does. I wonder where that wallet is now? Sad. Well sorry this blog wasn't quite as thrilling as the past, but I'm sure I'll have a good story soon.


Monday, June 22, 2009

I find myself unable to sleep here at night. I'm not sure if it's the heat or the noise outside, or perhaps the fact that the time is so different here than Charlotte. I have had several restless nights that lead to very long siestas during the day. Thankfully I found my stash of Tylenol PM and intend to use it wisely during my stay...I don't think they sell any Tylenol products here.

Well the night of the pueblo party with the big Jamon, we got home late and had made plans to get up early on sunday. Sunday mornings there is a giant open market called El Rastro. You can find anything and everything there. From clothes to jewelry to antiques, even old random trinkets. So we woke up early to beat the crowds and headed for El Rastro. (we did not beat the crowds!) it was packed! Hundreds of people crowded in the streets trying to find their treasure. I purchased a big silver ring with a turquoise rock... 2 euros! We walked around for almost an hour and a half and we began to get tired from the sun. We decided we had had enough of El Rastro and went over to Gran Via for Tapas. We ended up in this famous tapas place, a hole in the wall, but a place that has been around since the 1800's. We ate a little snack and then headed on home.

After a much needed siesta we had lunch, a mixed rice salad. Its a good idea, rice with a ton of vegetables and tuna...and don't forget the olive oil!!!! I'm glad I did not eat a lot for lunch, because my evening plans would have been ruined if I would have gone with a full stomach...

Well, according to my Father, you can not leave Madrid with out going to a bull fight...Una corrida de toros. My mother begged me not to go, but I figured what the hell I'll give it a shot. My host father is obsessed with bullfights so we both went on Sunday night.

A bullfight consists of 3 toreros (bullfighters) and 6 bulls. Each torero gets to fight 2 bulls. We arrived at this massive plaza that holds 22,000 people. It was beautiful, an old structure where I could only imagine the people that had sat there before me many years ago. It was all very beautiful until the blood. First everyone comes out in their beautiful attire and you get to see everyone who will be involved in the bullfight of the evening. Then the toro comes out...pobre bestia (poor beast). I know a lot of people do not feel what I feel towards animals, but this bullfight was very strong for me. The first time the man on the horse stabbed the toro and the blood came rushing out I had tears in my eyes. I just imagined how innocent that animal was, no idea what lied ahead of him. He's paraded around this giant sand circle, stabbed numerous times, forced to run around nervously, and then killed...for money and entertainment?? I understand it is tradition, I understand that it is an art, that these bullfighters have studied this for many years and perfected every move, but it is not for me. I watched 6 bulls die on sunday, but I can at least say that I have seen a bullfight, and no I will never see one again. Pobre toritos. After the bullfight we walked over to a couple of bars were people always go to talk about the fight. It was not a good fight at all. The bulls were very slow, not how they should be. There have been many strikes in Madrid, the Madrileños say that the Plaza de los Toros was cheap this year and did not buy any good bulls. By the looks of last nights bulls, I have to agree.

We arrived home and had dinner...some vegetable I don't remember the name of, but it was very good. Then trying to avoid a restless night I relied on my tylenol pm to help me sleep.

This morning I woke up around 10am and headed to El Retiro with Maria. El Retiro is a giant park in the city center. Lined with trees and various grassy areas. We found the perfect spot in the shade and read some english books. Later we ate bocadillos with tortilla and jamon. They were very good! After El Retiro I fought with Lufthansa to change my plane ticket...I still have not solved this problem!

Today was a lazy day, just spending time with the girls and taking them to British school in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to what tomorrow may bring.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

I could get used to this…

Last I wrote I had visited the shops at Serrano. At that moment I had no idea what my Madrid experience would really be like. On Friday I woke up around 1pm (remember I had late night tapas the night before). I was really excited because my friend Maria, who had studied abroad at my high school about 5 years ago, invited me over for her birthday. I gathered all my things and Maria came to pick me up. It was so amazing to see her here in Madrid…five years ago we would have never imagined this. We arrived at her beautiful flat and began preparing food for her birthday dinner… oh yea, Maria has air conditioning!!!!! It was wonderful! We prepared sandwiches and salad, pâté and an array of cheeses, chips, cheesecake…sangria! Then we got dressed before her friends arrived. The reason why I have added this detail is because I would like to say that I actually put on a pair of jeans! Yes, believe it or not I wore jeans in this heat! Her friends arrived one by one and in all there were twelve of them; we had an amazing time. The people here are so warm and inviting, I felt like we had been friends forever. These are people I wish I could bring back to the States with me, because I have yet to find such an amazing group of friends. We had dinner, sangria, dessert, and then we just sat around and laughed. Around 1am we started cleaning up to get ready to go out on the town.

WOW…is all I can say about Madrid night life. You drive around the city at 2am and there are crowds of people everywhere. Its amazing! We drove to a place called El Hipodromo. During the day it is a place where they hold horse races, it is huge. At night it becomes an open air nightclub. I have yet to know the capacity at this place, but when I walked in there must have been around 4000 people. It was amazing, I could not believe it. It was a sea of people dancing and having an amazing time. They played house music all night and had really cool lighting. I loved that it was out in the open. It gave it a completely different feel. It was all grass with wooden dance floors and couches to lounge on all around. The people were so beautiful, every single one with their own style. The bar areas were crowded, they do not serve drinks like they do in the US. For example I had a rum and coke and they hand you a glass with as much rum as you wish and then give you a small coke bottle so you can put as much or as little coke as you want. After dancing the night away, Hipodromo closed around 4am. We stood outside with the giant crowd and met people and just had an amazing time. We got back to Maria’s around 6am and went right to sleep. 6AM!!! I could not believe it, her mother was waking up when we were getting home!

Maria and I slept until 2pm the next day, we were exhausted. After having a light lunch Maria brought me back to my side of town. I arrived and did some English homework with the girls. Then I got dressed and we left around 8pm to go to El Ecorial. It was about a 30 minute ride that almost made me car sick. We went up a mountain and arrived in this beautiful little town. The Ecorial is an old palace. No one lives in it now, but it is truly amazing. The gardens, the architecture, the windows, the cobblestone roads!!! I loved it. We walked around the town and had some wine and then we headed to Antonia’s brother’s village for a party.

This was truly an experience to say the least. Her brother lives in a small town on the outskirts of Madrid. It is your typical town where everyone knows each other and is in every one else’s business. The town had a barbecue with a band and typical dances. The whole family got together and we walked to the party and had an amazing time. The best part was that they were selling raffle tickets to win a leg of pig, and Antonia’s brother won! This was the highlight of everyone’s evening. My how they love their ham. They were running around celebrating and carrying this giant leg around…I wish I had a video camera. Then they passed it around to see the quality of the ham. I think Madrileños could survive with just ham their entire lives. They are in love with it! Ham and olive oil. Olive oil is used in everything, at Maria’s house they even had olive oil soap!! Its really late here, around 2am, and tomorrow we are going to El Rastro. Its an open air market in the city center that only opens on Sundays. I must go now.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm extremely tired, but figured a short blog couldn't hurt. It's 1:30Am and I got in around 30 minutes ago. Today was a little slow, I woke up and was so hot I took around 3 showers. Thats really the best advice I've been given...SHOWER. Then I lounged around and walked to La Vaguada, the mall thats about 3 blocks from home. I almost died walking 3 blocks!!! I went to the post office and the grocery store...not anything exciting. I got home and decided to follow my Lonely Planet guide book and go to Calle de Serrano. Serrano is like 5th Ave. It has all the amazing stores like Gucci, Prada, Versace, Chanel etc. I was really only looking for Manolo Blahnik...I've never been in one so I was pretty excited when I saw it in my guide book. Well, to make a long story short, my guidebook led me on a wild goose chase. I probably walked about 30 or so blocks up and down the same street and never found Manolo Blahnik! I was really disappointed!

Serrano was really nice but there's a lot of construction...and well yes in case you were wondering, the construction workers in Madrid are the same as the Charlotte ones. Every time I walked by, "Hola guapa! Mi reina adonde vas tan rapido?" its called calls I guess. My host family got a kick out of it when I told them. I loved walking down Serrano because of the people I saw. All of them were dressed perfectly...immaculate!

Speaking of in the hell do Madrileños wear jeans in this heat? I swear I was the only girl in a dress today. Everyone wears jeans and sweaters!!!! I can't even leave my room without sweating in a light dress! Maybe they are cold blooded...its crazy!

Another incident I had this morning is rather funny....well first of all I don't think Madrid has been introduced to window know like the kinds we have back home? I have seen some crazy bugs flying around this house. As a matter of fact theres a spider hanging out above my head right now. Today I jumped out of the shower because there was a bug...! I can only imagine how my sister would react!

Tonight was definitely a fun and exciting evening. I got home from Serrano and Sara and Maria got home from the British School. We had dinner and then about 20 minutes later we met some of their parents friends for drinks and tapas. AMAZING! People crowd the streets in rows of tiny little cafe tables. I drank the drink of the summer tinto wine with sort of like a sprite kind of cola. Very refreshing, but it really gets to your head. My host mom took the girls to bed around 11:30pm and my host dad and I sat there drinking and eating incredible tapas with these two other friends. We left at 1am and the place was still full! The chef came out because he knows my family since they are regulars from el Barrio...he was very nice.

My host dad is really nice but seems a little shy. We've had our fair share of awkward moments. You know when its totally silent and you're trying sooo freaking hard to find a topic of conversation to end the silence?! Its really awkward but hes super nice. Well I'm off to bed. Tomorrow I am going out with some friends...they said I needed a good nights sleep because we probably will not get home until 6AM!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Well here I am again...its funny actually when you post a blog you find yourself living your life in blog...if that makes sense. Everywhere I went today I imagined what it would look like written in my blog. Weird huh? Last night I went on a bus ride with my host Mother, she showed me where the girls will be taking english classes. The city is really beautiful, so much architecture. Everyone here always seems so lovely and happy. The old ladies walk around in groups all over town, always dressed to impress; and have enormous smiles on their faces. They meet for coffee or lunch, then board the metro or bus and kiss each other good bye, until tomorrow. I'm sure they have known each other for years, and feel like sisters. I don't see this as much in the States. I think we worry too much and we work too hard, we waste precious moments with friends in order to just make that extra dollar. For what? I wish more people would simply slow down and stop caring about their financial situations all the time. People live longer in Europe, there are statistics to prove it, my guess is that they have less worries. They learn to live life to the fullest, with the bare minimum.

This morning I woke up and set out to explore Madrid. I walked down to the Metro (Barrio del Pilar) and rode until I got to Sol. It was like a whole different world. My Barrio is so calm, Sol was crazy and beautiful. The Plaza Mayor is the top destination in this area, where I was headed. It took me a while to get there, I got completely lost. The thing with Madrid is that the streets run into smaller side streets, so you don't know where to turn. So I must have walked up and down the same street 10 times looking for the Plaza. I was sure I would see it, I thought it would be right there in front of me somewhere. But I ventured into these side streets and finally realized this was the way to my destination. Plaza Mayor is something you can not miss. IT IS HUGE!!! A big giant cobblestone open air square. Where they used to hold bullfights and other festivals. Now it is filled with people and cafés. It was amazing. I walked around 3 times reading every menu trying to find the best place for a light lunch. I found a cute little place and bought a bocadillo (small baguette with cheese inside) and a Coke. I never ever drink soda, but for some reason I've already consumed three cans since I got here. Its really refreshing in this heat!

After my light lunch I walked for a while. I love all the little shops, I ran into TopShop, a boutique owned by Kate Moss. It was really neat, the clothes were great and pretty cheap. Today was extremely hot. Everyone was sweating...well everyone sweats period. I don't think I would like to have a boyfriend here, its too hot to hold hands! Everyone walks around fanning themselves with whatever they have...paper, subway tickets, money...anything that works as a fan! I decided to head home around 3:30 pm, but I ran into some trouble at the Metro. They had closed my line home due to an accident, we still have not heard what happened. There were fire fighters and medics everywhere. I had to take several different metros in order to finally reach mine. Linea nueve, Barrio del Pilar. I got home safe and took a short nap before taking the girls to British School.

Public transportation is incredible here. Extremely clean. I'm thinking of moving into the Metro because its nice and air conditioned (haha). We took the bus to the British School, it must have been rush hour or perhaps people were returning to work after was packed! I dropped the girls off and went to Museo Sorolla. Sorolla was a painter, and they turned his house into a museum. It was incredible. When you first walk through the gates there is this incredible garden. You would not even know that the busy Madrid streets are right outside. I toured the house which was so amazing, its crazy to stand inside a home built in the 1800's. The walls were all marble, and his paintings were beautiful. Giant canvases painted with oils. He loved painting his family, especially at the beach. He was a painter of light, and love. After touring the house I sat in the garden and read a little, it was only 7pm and the girls get out of school at 8:30. After reading and almost falling asleep I walked out to the street and found a perfectly located bench and just people watched for a long time. Its one of my favorite things to do here. One thing I have noticed are the shoes. Madrid has amazing shoes. No one wears flip flops, always nice leather sandals or high heels. I now always look down at peoples' shoes!

This blog is getting really long, so I just have one more thing to cover. People keep staring at me!!!!! In the metro I would sit for a while and then look up and everyone would quickly look away. So I got home and asked my host family why I was such an attraction. Well apparently everyone has brown eyes here. They say my eyes are incredible, and they even can't seem to stop looking! So I guess thats it? My eyes! The men here are very polite, I thought I would run into trouble. They are nice and call me Guapa...but they don't whistle or act like some men I have seen in other places. Well I just had dinner...they seem to have seafood with everything!! Spinach with shrimp, rice with tuna, potatoes with fish...!!!