Well, as the title suggests, the drastic deed is done. (Like what I did there with the alliteration?! Haha) What deed is that might you ask? Oh nothing too big, I only just chopped off about 7 inches of my hair! That’s right, I am now dawning a pixie cut of sorts and soooo working it! It’s so much fun and much easier to deal with! My showers are shorter, (although I still tend to put the amount of shampoo and conditioner required for my longer hair, one of the many adjustments I’m having to make), it takes two seconds to dry, and requires minimal styling skills which makes my life ten times easier! All in all, I am in love with my new do!

Since last week, things have been looking up with regards to my move to Madrid, my trip to Spain, and my overall experience here. Last weekend, I accompanied Gloria and Rafa to a birthday party for one of their friends up in the mountains (ok so it was more like tagging along, but whatever). The house was really cool sitting on a hillside overlooking the valley, and the overall layout reminded me a bit of a ranch house with it’s wraparound porch, complete with a porch swing, outdoor family-size table, and huge open barbecue thingy that I couldn’t really describe even if I tried! The party was a lot of fun, all of their friends are super nice and act more like 20 somethings rather than the 40 something’s they are! As if to prove this, Gloria started a chocolate fight by dipping her fingers in the chocolate fountain and wiping them on people’s faces and bald heads! Haha she even got me, but I remained my practical self and just grabbed some fruit, wiped it on my smeared cheek and popped it right in my mouth! Why let good, melted, fountain chocolate go to waste?

One of the best parts of the party, however, was meeting Julia, a girl from Belgium studying translation here at the university. She studied in England last year for an entire year, so she speaks really good English, but we spent nearly the entire time talking to each other in Spanish! It’s a lot easier talking to her in Spanish, because there’s a lot less pressure to be correct and I feel less embarrassed when I can’t quite find the words to say. So, with exception of the 10 ten minutes we spoke in English (she wanted to practice and, quite frankly, I needed a pause from Spanish), we got to know a bit about each other through our second and third languages. She also speaks fluent French which is so Cool! It makes me want to learn a third language really bad lol

We kept in touch and met each other the next morning for churros con chocolate (I figure the more I tell people about their deliciousness, the more chances I’ll have of eating them!), then spent the next few hours visiting the Carmen de los Mártires. It’s a very large, very beautiful garden/park filled with a bunch of trees, ponds, fountains, statues, little castles with a moat, and peacocks, kittens, turtles, and swan-like birds! It was the epitome of beauty and I’m planning on going back by myself to take pics and just wander around and soak up the tranquility. There was one spot in particular that I felt I should sit down and read/write some poetry…it just tugged on my romantic heartstrings, it couldn’t be helped. As of right now, Carmen de los Mártires is my favorite site in Granada. This could easily change, though, once I visit La Alhambra on Friday…

After spending a few hours in the gardens, we met up with some other Erasmus friends of Julia’s to celebrate El Día de la Vírgen. Erasmus is a word that just means foreigners that are here to study. There was a girl from England, Megan, a girl from Austria, Ana, and a girl from Kenya, Tiffany! I have to say Tiffany is super cool and the easiest to connect with through our mutual love of sports and activities. The coolest part for me though, was even though we were all from different countries, we all talked to each other in Spanish quite naturally. I will admit, it wasn’t always correct, and there were some English words mixed in when we didn’t know how to explain or translate what we wanted, but it was very easy to talk to these girls! I’ve noticed that I’ve started thinking quicker in Spanish, even though I’m still translating from English first, it takes me a noticeably shorter amount of time for me to turn my thoughts into words.

As I said, we got together to celebrate the Spanish holiday for the Virgin Mary, and let me just say, Spaniards mean business with their Catholic holidays! We ate Torta de la Vírgen, a pastry type thing that is only made and sold during that specific weekend, and crowded in front of the church to watch the procession of the Vírgen. We spent hours standing, waiting for the procession to start (the Spaniards work on the same timeframe as Kruzner time, everything runs about a half hour late haha), but by about 5 o’clock, the streets were so crowded with devoted Catholics and curious tourists that nobody could move! Then, once everything got underway, there was so much excitement and enthusiasm that as the priest was reciting verses and as they  carried the statue of the Virgin herself, people were crying and clapping and chanting and rushing to the front of the crowd just to touch the platform of the statue! It was so crazy!

Now, I mentioned that the statue was carried, and I wasn’t exaggerating. This thing must have weighed a ton because it took literally half an hour to go about 20 meters! It took forrreverrrr! And the poor guys who had to carry it were sweating bullets before they even reached the street! The poor guys had to carry her for 2 hours! I don’t know if they exchanged men to share the load, but for some of the older men’s sakes, I sure hope they did! The entire experience itself was really cool to witness and I’m glad I got to be there in person, but after 3 hours of being on my feet and 2 hours of standing in the same spot, my legs, knees and feet hurt so bad that I wanted to cry! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m religious, but it was one of those things where I saw it once, and next time I’ll be just as happy to watch it on tv! Haha It was just too painful on my legs and, being that I’m not Catholic, didn’t really effect me like it did the people around me. So, basically, I’m good with sitting and watching from afar next time! Lol

After reading this, I think you can all agree with me that my week was significantly better than my last week, what with meeting new friends, talking more confidently in Spanish, successfully chopping off my hair, and visiting beautiful sites, but I have a feeling that next week is going to be the best of all. Why? I’ll tell you! Because next Tuesday I move out of Granada and up to Madrid. Then, on Wednesday, exactly one week from today, I fly to London to visit one of my best friends from college, Swick, for a week!!! I’m so excited to start this new chapter in my travels, and can’t wait to see London! Ciao for now! Love you all!