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Let’s play catch up!

I’m not even going to fake apologize for not posting,  I’ve been busy…

I’m trying to play catch up after a busy two week period.  Two weeks ago I finished midterm exams.  They were not fun, but that’s why I’m here right? maybe?  After exams we took a little excursion to the region in Spain called Extremadura.  It’s southwest of Madrid and is known for it’s continuos excavations of ancient buildings and such.  It was a lot of fun and more importantly prepaid through my program.

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After the weekend trip, I came back to one day of class and then Brad and Meghan showed up.  They spent a week in Madrid living it up and loving every minute.  At least they told me that so let me know if they say differently.  In there short time here they managed to do all of the following:

  • Visit smaller towns Ávila, Toledo, and Segovia
  • Go to a Real Madrid Fútbol game
  • Wander Madrid and visit the Parque del Oeste y Retiro (the kings park).  We even took naps in the wonderful weather.
  • Go to a Flamenco show
  • Visit El Rastro, the biggest outdoor market in Europe
  • Eat at the Oldest Restaurant in the World, Botin
  • Go to a Bull fight
  • Sample the many bars and establishments (including Tapas)
  • Go out for a night at Kapital

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Not to mention they had beautiful weather, like in the 70’s.  I kinda wish my visit to Spain was with such awesome weather and fun things!  I do think they had a blast and it was a lot of fun to show my big brother around for once.  They are safely back to their busy work lives!

Once they left on Tuesday I’ve returned to normal.  School and such, being late on writing my blogs oh and planning my Spring Break!  My itinerary includes:

  • Tour of Italy: Verona, Venice & Rome
  • Sevilla, Spain: For Semana Santa
  • Unknown destination for 4 days: Maybe Legoland or Istanbul or something else…

I’ll try to post to while I’m traveling, but I can’t make any promises. I hope everyone is doing well and I love and miss you and the States a little bit.  Brad and Meghan brought me 2 Dr. Peppers so that should tide me over for awhile.  Have a great week and weekend and week again and I hope school and work and such goes wonderfully!

 

Let’s Talk Politics or at least perspective.

Hi all.

My most recent blog for Exponent is here.  I turned it in on Sunday so I don’t know why it took this long to post but whatever. Here is the link. The contents of this blog are a little about the politics that I’ve experienced here in Spain.  Nothing major or life changing, just a little reflection on the greater world. Also a fun film from youtube that made me smile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edNTzUi_zek.

Las Tablas de Daimiel/ My first field trip in College

This past Wednesday I took my first steps to entering the real world: I took a field trip while in college! Okay maybe not so helpful for my future, but it was a lot of fun.  It was for my Zoology class and we went to visit Las Tablas de Daimiel.  Las Tablas are basically three connected aquifers that provide a wetland habitat for a large number of birds.  They are currently endangered due to the increase in farming and the water usage is damaging the Tablas to extinction.  That being said, it rained the day before we went and a little during so Las Tablas were filled to the brim with water.  My Professor said “This is the most full the Tablas have been in a number of year” and our bus driver said “This is most full I’ve ever seen them.”

Other than feeling like I was back in 5 grade learning about the ecosystem, our group was really unique.  I’m pretty sure the class is full, but our professor sends all his powerpoints through e-mail so none of the Spanish students come.  On a daily basis the classroom is filled with 5 of the 6 american students (me included of course),  3 Erasmus or European exchange students all from France in this case, older Spanish students (adult education thing), and 2-4 spaniards.  Our field trip included all but one of the Americans, the 3 French, 1 adult student and two spaniards.  We got to know every one really well and even went for drinks after we returned.

Our bus left at 8:30 in the morning and returned around 7 p.m.  Most of the day was actually spent driving, but it was okay because we had a smaller bus called Chaos that let everyone have two seats to themselves.  The most exciting part of the trip was when my professor proceeded to find a trail through a fenced off area that let us trespass onto the dam that controls water levels.  I knew it was going to be a good day!  The wetlands looked a lot like Lord of the Rings landscape and if I may be nerdy:  Specifically the scene in The Fellowship of the Ring when the hobbits and Aragon are walking through the marshes to get to Weathertop or again in The Two Towers with Frodo, Sam and Gollum wandering in the dead marshes.  I had a friend with me and we ‘nerded’ out for a little bit as we walked the wooden walkways.  See what you think!  Compare my pictures to these clips from the movies!

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Videos:  Maybe this one without the dead things :)- Here

I digress.  The weather was really windy, cold and a little rainy, but nothing could dampen our moods as we hiked the paths across the wet lands and reveled in the variety of ducks found in the area.  That is until I realized I forgot to bring my lunch and that were no restaurants in sight.  I mutched off of people and we ate lunch in the bus out of the wind.  We then we to a duck sanctuary where the endangered ducks are housed in the Park.

We left from the park and went about driving though who knows where?  We arrived in a rundown park with observation spots onto a wonder very large retention pond.  I’m sure it was something important, but is looked more like a very large retention pond.  The highlight here: A FLOCK OF FLAMENCOS!!  It was pretty chilly and I look out on golden pond to see pink birdies flying, bathing, and freezing in the wind.  I was actually quite surprised as I hadn’t expected to see any Florida-like birds.  Spain gets 10 points for surprising Grant!

Long story short-ish.  My first field trip in college was a huge success!  Excitement was lacking, but hey we can’t win them all.   Have a great weekend USA and we’ll talk soon!

Las Fallas en Valencia Spain Part 2 of 2

I thought I had more things to show you, but alas I don’t for Las Fallas.  Here are some picture from our place and the beach.  It was an awesome weekend.  We did the beach on Saturday and Las Fallas at night and then Sunday we when to the Museum of Arts and Sciences.  I accidentally put those picture with the rest and don’t really want to rearrange them.  🙂

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Life has been super busy here.  I have exams coming up next week, Brad and Meghan come in 12 days and I have lots of things to catch up on.  This past Wednesday I went on my first field trip in college.  It was a blast and I’ll have pictures up in a day!  I hope every one is doing well and surviving without me. 🙂 I know life is a little boring without my entertainment, but we can all live through it I promise!

My parents are finishing their plans for their month long vacation here.  Now I just need to do my part and translate/ cover our butts if they do anything inappropriate or if they cross some cultural norm.  I just have this image of my dad driving in Europe getting into a crash and then I have to translate. See below:

Dad: What were you thinking? You hit me head on!

Me: Qué estaba pensando?, me golpeó!

Guy: Cursing and yelling in incoherent spanish.

Me: Dad, he says he’s angry.

Hopefully that doesn’t come to pass.  🙂

More to come tomorrow!

Las Fallas en Valencia Spain Part 1 of 2

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been some time since I’ve written here.  I do apologize, but nothing exciting was happening during the time and then a lot of things have been happening all at once.  So here’s my plan, I’m trying to post a lot of pictures and stuff over the next few days.  I’m not guaranteeing quality on all posts, but defiantly quantity! So here is the first one:

LAS FALLAS in VALENCIA, SPAIN

This was the weekend of March 18-20.  We spent the whole weekend there and it was amazing.  The main idea of the holiday is to build giant wooden structures, play with fire works, drink and then burn everything in the end.  I was there and the people of Valencia succeeded in every area!  It really was a blast and we stayed in an awesome place and had a very good time.  The pictures below and there are many are from walking the streets and such, the videos are from the finale of the week and the exponent post is about my time there. Enjoy!

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Videos: Here and Here (sorry I couldn’t get them to embed)

Exponent:  Valencia: Flames, Fireworks and Fun.

Last note: Today I saw a person wearing an Auburn University Sweatshirt and proudly said “War Eagle!”  I was already late so I had to keep walking, but I’m pretty sure she had just arrived to Madrid and was a little worried, but when she hear me say that she gave me the biggest smile.  I kinda felt like I was in that Auburn Airport commercial (Here), Go Tigers!

Yet another post for the Exponent

http://www.purdueexponent.org/blogs/mills_blog/article_29fd2e66-48d3-11e0-be60-00127992bc8b.html

 

Also I wanted to add these videos from the Parade this weekend. It was a lot of fun and some of these “Floats” were really cool.  Sorry if they get boring after awhile, it was kinda distracting videoing, watching, being pushed about and keeping tabs on my pockets.  Oh Madrid! 🙂

Okay so I couldn’t get the videos to upload so I will work on it and get back to this post! Hasta pronto!

Alright so I just decided to finally signup for a youtube account.  So I’m currently posting all my videos here. Enjoy and please let me know what you think! I need some encouragement from my followers! 🙂 You’re all the best!

Yep, I’m living in Spain

OH hey!, still alive.  Gosh, it’s been 8 days since my last post. I’m sure every one has been on edge waiting to hear what new adventures I’ve been up too. Well not that much.  The thing is with classes starting and actually having to study, my free time has become more like a naptime.  They sleep in Spain, you know, not as much as Americans, but they do.

My last adventure was to El Escorial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Escorial).  It was a lot of fun.  It was simply a day trip, but it was a group of really fun people and we had an awesome time.  It cost me like 35 Euros including travel, entry fee and lunch too, which is always a plus.  Check out these photos, I must admit that toward the end it became a photo shoot of awesomeness, check out my Facebook tags for more of our craziness (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1170180277).  Please ignore any drinking ones.

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On the classes’ front, I’m still not sure if I’m in them or not but here they are:

  1. Geografía y Género: a gender issues class, not my favorite, but it could be worse.
  2. Zoogeografía: Zoology more or less, a survey of the wildlife of Spain, fantastic professor with field trips into the country side to see animals. Today we talked about ostriches, emus and penguins.  Thanks to Mrs. Schneider in high school science class for making this class not as difficult.  If the classification of animals could be any more difficult they found a way: by turning Latin terms into Spanish!
  3. Culturas de Espana: This class is pretty much a survey of Spain including geography, politics, economy, etc.  The professor is really nice, but the class can be a little dull at 8:30 a.m.
  4. Arte de Siglo XX: A wonderful art class that I hated, until we actually started talking about art.  The professor is hilarious.  Half the class we talk about art and the other part is spent explaining Spanish words and their significance.  He can’t pronounce my friends name so he just calls her Pepita.
  5. Literatura Espanola II: Boring literature class, but the professor is okay.  She is really disorganized and makes me think of Prof. Trelawney (Count that as another Harry Potter reference Megan!).

As for what I’ve been up to in between classes and such here it’s kinda like home.  My roommates and I watched Slumdog Millionaire last night on Spanish T.V.  I’d never seen it and enjoyed it.  A few of my friends and I have started a “Winesday” group where we sample different wines and cheese from Spain and such.  It happens that we actually are doing it on Tuesday nights, but that’s beside the point.  I continue to explore the city and surrounding sites.  On Saturday I went to Casa de Campo, a huge park like the size of Happy Hollow times 100.  It was really fun to watch people and there is a lake too, fun fun.

As for the Spanish it’s way improving.  My dad asked me on Saturday via Skype if I was improving and I said yeah of course.  After signing off I thought back to the stories I told them and I told them in English, but any interaction or story involving something here usually takes place in Spanish, for the most part.

My most recent interactions have been at the super market.  They have all kinds of stores here, but I just found the one where you can really pick out your fruits and veggies and chose your meats right from the vendors.  I’ve had a lot of fun learning some of the words for stuff and I’m thinking of starting a fish-cooking project.  Madrid has some of the best seafood in the country and I’m going to start learning how to cook it and start sampling, yum!  Below is a photo of my first real meal here in Spain it was wonderful.

I know that was a long post, but I hope you’re satisfied for now and I’m glad you made it until the end.  I hope to post again in a much more timely manner.  Until then let me know your thoughts and such, either through the comments on this blog or thru my e-mails grant@gcmills.com or gcmills@purdue.edu.

 

Mucho amor!

 

Something sticky…

Here’s another of my Exponent Posts.

I really liked this one.

It has humorous overtones:

Click Here.

My new home!

So I’ve finally moved into my apartment.  I’ve settled down and am starting to feel at home.  If not this week then I have like 4 more months to feel at home right?  I also started taking all my classes this week.  The classes in the university are gonna be harder of course, but I think they’ll be fun.  I’ll let you know what I’m taking when I get approval from the Gupmister! (M.H. Gupta) my study abroad advisor.  I’m a little worried about one of my classes allowing me to graduate, but like I said I’ll do a post when I have information.

The weather has been kinda crapy here so that hasn’t helped any of our modes as we struggle through finding our rooms and classes. Without going on and on about how their system is set up let me give you one example.  There is a hall in our main building that has the following rooms B18A, B18B, B18C, B18D, B2, B19A, B19B, B19C, B19D all in a row.  I was looking for B1, guess who was a little late to class, this guy!!  In the end, we all survived and will continue to survive in this crazy place called Madrid.

My parents move forward with their crazy awesome plans to travel for a month in Spain and my brother, Brad and his girlfriend MegHan ;)’s trip to Spain is ever nearing.  I’m so very excited to show my family around for once.  I still have lots to see, but I’ll make sure to save the best things for you guys.  Oh and I checked on my arrival home and graduation. Yeah I’ll be hopefully getting home during the first week of August.  Just in time to graduate on the 6th.  I’ll keep you posted!

Until next post take a look at my new apartment!

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