Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fun Times with Dana

OK so the other day (Thursday I think) Dana and I had to take the bus to the chapel to practice a song that we'll be singing on Sunday for a missionary homecoming. It was our first experience taking the bus and we were really proud of ourselves and wanted to take a picture to document the event. Here's what happened...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fuimos de compras! :) (That means we went shopping!)

Today was another wonderful day here in Spain!! I got to sleep in for the first time and it felt SOO good! No siesta for me today! A bunch of the students all planned on meeting at the train station this morning around 11:30 to go to Madrid together. Some of us girls were quite excited about the shopping there :) So we totally figured out the whole train thing and got a group of about 20 of us to Madrid. We were there for about 6 hours or so and I had a blast! But of course I did because I was shopping. Let me tell you, the shopping in Spain is definitely better than anything I've ever experienced before... But the exchange rate sucks! I hate knowing that I'm spending way more than it feels like here. It's terrible.

Anyway, here are the pictures from today plus a couple extras. Enjoy!

This is me and Dana and some of our new friends that we met going to Las Ferias (the huge festival going on in Alcala right now). The one in the striped shirt with the... MAN PURSE and MANPRIS (very common here in Spain) is our "brother" Daniel. I'll try to get a picture of the whole family on Sunday.

Our first stop on the shopping trip today.... You wouldn't believe how many shoe stores there are here!! I think I might be in heaven (minus Eric of course!)

This is me in one of the dressing rooms where we spent quite a bit of time today. Isn't it so cool?! I love everything about Spain!!

This is us taking a break at... McDonald's. Lame, I know, but we just wanted some potato wedges, OK? From left to right: Me, Alarie, Stella, Madison, Anna. I really, really like all these girls! They are very sweet and so much fun!

Us girls with all of our purchases for the day. I know, we look very happy right? Well it's because we are!

Some of the group waiting in the train station in Madrid. I am having so much fun with these people! From left to right (starting with the girl in pink): Stephanie, Madison, Alarie, Paige (LOVE her! She's hilarious!), Stella, Anna, Me, Lindsey (whose husband will be arriving shortly to join the group), Lucy and in front is Will (one of the 5 guys in the group... as opposed to 25 girls!)

I don't know if you can see it very well, but this is a picture of my pedometer. I'm so glad I brought this thing! I just barely took this picture and it says right here that it's at 49.680 miles. I've walked almost 50 miles in this past week!! And my feet are definitely feeling the pain...

Here's the view out my bedroom window... Isn't it pretty?

OK this picture is kinda funny... These are my many water bottles (but this picture actually doesn't include all of them). I honestly can't believe how much water I drink here! I'm always so thirsty since it's so gosh darn HOT! Today I took that huge one on the right to Madrid with me and I drank the whole thing. Twice. But the scary part is I rarely ever go to the bathroom... I pretty much just sweat it all off. :/ Gross I know.

Here it is folks... My closet! Yes, I promise you this is Courtney Bean's closet! Can you believe it?! I can't! It sure looks like I packed light... Where did my 120 pounds of luggage go??

My first clothing purchase in Spain: I bought these very European-looking sandals yesterday in Alcala and I absolutely LOVE them!! I feel so... European? haha I just really like them so I thought I'd share :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Segovia and La Granja

OK so yesterday we took a trip north up to Segovia and then we also visited El Palacio de la Granja. This trip was AMAZING! And so much fun!

First of all, we saw a castle in Segovia... I've never been inside a real castle before (unless you count Cinderella's castle in Disneyland, in which case I've been inside one probably about a hundred times). It was so cool! We got to climb up to the tallest part and look out over the city... Gorgeous view!!

At the palace of la granja, there was this massive garden. So big in fact that it has streets with names in it. It's over 1500 acres!!! There was a maze just like the ones you always see in the movies, but we didn't have time to go through it because we didn't want to get lost and miss the fountains, which were the whole reason we were there. There's probably about a dozen very large fountains spread throughout the garden and they only set all of them off twice a year. We were there to see the fountains, and what a show we saw!

We discovered the young adult aged Spaniards are CRAZY! Dana and I were standing there waiting for the first fountain to go off and there were tons of people dressed up in crazy costumes all over the place. Then a guy dressed up in a cow costume jumped in the fountain. It was as if he sent off a signal because then EVERYONE started jumping in and pushing everyone else in. We were laughing so hard and taking tons of pictures because we thought it was so hilarious. Well apparently we made ourselves a target....

This crazy Spanish guy came over to Dana and I and started pulling us towards the water. We were screaming, "no! No! No!" over and over again because we had our cameras but he did not give up. So finally Dana through me her camera and her sunglasses and she got picked up and thrown into the water! I definitely documented the whole thing and it was absolutely HILARIOUS! We still cannot believe that happened to us!

OK so anyway... here are all the pictures for today. I am absolutely LOVING all these amazing pictures I've been able to take so far. I'm going to have quite the collection when I return to the states. Good thing I bought that extra hard drive!!

Dana getting thrown into the fountain!

Me in front of "La carrera de los caballos:" one of the fountains in the gardens. This was actually one of the more boring ones, but still way awesome.

This is me with the statue of Juan Bravo... I had to give a report about him on the bus on the way to Segovia so of course I needed a picture!! We also ran into some missionaries here!
Me at the Palace of La Granja (not sure exactly what that means) but isn't it beautiful?

OK so here's a picture of all the cRaZy Spaniards jumping into the fountain! A bunch of them had swim caps and shorts on and had written Michael Phelps and USA on their bodies. Not quite sure what that was all about, but it was still hilarious.

Oh my heck! Cutest little girl of LIFE! I told Eric that I want to have little Spanish babies... He says he's OK with that! Too bad neither one of us is actually a Spaniard...

Me in front of El Aqueducto. It went on FOREVER!! I couldn't even see the end of it!

I really liked the look of this building next to the aqueduct. So many picturesque scenes here in Spain!

Check out this quaint little street in Segovia...

On one of the lower towers of the castle.

Me on the tallest part of the castle... We climbed up 152 steps to get here. Not that impressive, I know, but it was way cool!

I'm LOVING all the doors here in Spain!! They are so awesome and great for pictures! This was on one of the little, tiny, side streets that we took to get to the castle in Segovia.
Me in front of the castle in Segovia!!

Oi! Mi amor! Es mi "knight in shining armor" que se llama Eric :)

The cute little town known as Segovia. This was the main square.
El Catedral... So cool looking!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Viva Espana!

Well, I'm here in Spain!! I've only been here for a couple days, but so far it's been amazing! My host family is AWESOME! They are so nice and luckily for me, they're members of the Church. The dad's name is Javier, and my roommate Dana's dad actually baptized him while he was here in Madrid serving a mission. His wife Helen is super nice and she's British so everyone in the family speaks fluent English. It's nice to have people with whom we can actually communicate. We always speak Spanish in the home, but it's great to be able to ask them what certain things mean.

So far I've had some delicious food! I'm loving the Spanish culture and I'm trying to completely immerse myself in it. We usually eat a small breakfast of a bowl of cereal and some fruit and then we have a large meal around 2 or 3 during the mediodia. Taking a nap after that is completely normal and actually encouraged. I think I was actually supposed to be a Spaniard :) Anyway, then we eat dinner later around 9 or 10. It's a little strange trying to adjust but I think I'm doing ok.

Here are some pictures from my recent adventures into Alcala and Madrid...

My first purchase in Spain! Frozen lemonade! It was delicious and refreshing on a HOT day in Spain... I think it was in the upper 90's when I arrived that day.
This is la Universidad de Alcala... Where I will be attending school this semester!
The whole group in front of what's-his-face's house... I can't remember his name... The guy who wrote Don Quixote.
Me and my AMAZING roommate Dana on one of the cute little streets in Alcala.

The whole BYU group together in Madrid... I can already tell the I'm going to make some really good friends here!

Spanish flag!
We got stopped by some reporters to talk about how the US was going to kick Spain's trash in the Olympic basketball finals! Which we totally did :)
Eating lunch in the park: from left to right: Colton, Minta, Kimber, Me, Dana
Me in front of the headquarters of communication in Madrid.
Eating a Kepab... SO GOOD!! I'm going to be addicted to these!