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Gap Year Abroad

5 posts categorized "Alex LaRosa"

03/29/2015

A Love Story

Holaa

With the change from winter to spring, the days are warmer, the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and most importantly, love is in the air. I was at Parque de Los Principes, the park near my house, and I fell in love, sorry Mom. It all started when I was laying in the grass, just minding my own business, and I saw this boy in front of me.  He was dressed quite handsomely, in a light blue sweater with a button up underneath, so sophisticated. He had just gotten off his bike and appeared to be picking flowers, I thought he looked pretty cute so I decided to take some pictures (not creepy). Then, he looked at me. It was love at first sight. We exchanged smiles and he began walking towards me with something in his hand. My heart was pounding. Without saying anything, he handed me a beautiful yellow flower that he had just picked and walked away with my heart, an eye for an eye I guess. He then picked me some blades of grass and again, walked to me, handed me the grass, and walked away. Next it was a few ants that he picked up (and accidentally killed in his strong grip), then it was a fallen leaf, and a couple more blades of grass. What a romantic. Then his dad came up to him and told him it was time to finish their walk around the park. We waved goodbye and I thought that was it. But then, after a few hours had passed, I saw him again. Now it was clear that he was actually leaving the park, he waved at me from a distance, walked towards me a few times, but then he got nervous and turned around each time. His dad came up to me and confirmed my suspicions, that his son had indeed fallen in love with me too but was too embarrassed to come over and say goodbye. His dad grabbed him by the hand, brought him over to me, and said give her a kiss goodbye (on the cheek, obviously). Sadly, for the third time, he got shy and ran away. And that was that. I may never see him again, but I know we'll never forget each other, a love like ours is forever.

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Before we met

 

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Initial eye-contact

 

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Ahhh coming towards me!

 

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The yellow flower <3
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My very own blade of grass
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Coming to say his final goodbyes
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Running away

Feria is coming up, which I will explain in a later blog when it is closer to the dates, but the point is that most women get to wear these unbelievable flamenco dresses during Feria. My host sister and I recently went shopping for our own Feria dresses and, wow these gowns are incredible. They're all very bright, many with designs of flowers, polka-dots, or just solid colors. They're also very heavy, but the beauty is worth the weight. To accompany the dresses, it's common for women to wear large flowers in their hair, shawls around their shoulders, jewelry, and of course heels. I bought a red flamenco skirt adorned with black and white polka-dots, and my sister has her eyes on a pink and white spotted gown. Some previews of what's to come during Feria:

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Lola guapaa

 

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Other dresses

Miscellaneous:

Last night was the birthday celebration for one of my friends, and also a fellow blogger, Bee MacBain!! We all went out to this Italian restaurant, La Piemontesa, for dinner. As for the food, I'll let the pictures do the talking..

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The pizza I ordered, I ate half :)
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Happy Birthday Queen Bee!!

Also, I went to get tapas with the fam yesterday <3    Update: They still rule

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Okayyy, that's it for now!! Hasta luegoo

Besitos

-Alex

03/15/2015

Came for the Paella, Stayed for the Kids

Holaaa

I have a lot to catch up on, so lets just dive right in

During the past few weeks I had another volunteering activity where I went to a language school for elementary students to teach them about America. Before signing up, I was told that the school would be making paella for us..so obviously I couldn't refuse. For those who do not know, paella is heaven on a plate. It is a rice dish with a mixture of vegetables and different meats, commonly seafood, and it rules. Upon arrival, there was indeed paella, and it was indeed amazing. As for the actual volunteer work, I, along with a few other amigos, had the pleasure of working with a class of adorable four-year-olds. We began with a very dangerous task...waking them up from their nap time. Most of the kids woke up semi-easily, of course all of them had immediate confusion when they saw four Americans standing over them, but they warmed up to us pretty quickly. For others it was a little more difficult, which I completely understand, I think that I could sleep through an earthquake. One of the last little boys to wake up had quite an interesting reaction.. his teacher gently said, "Wake up, our Americans friends are here,". The boy sat up, stretched, and looked at me from across the room. I smiled, waved, and said a warm hello, and within seconds of looking at me he burst into tears! But no worries, he was just a little caught off guard, or maybe I just looked really scary, either way, he got over it. After all of the zombies woke up, we gave them a presentation on the differences between America and Spain. Keep in mind that these kids are four-years-old, and even though they are learning English, I think that every word we said was a little over their heads. So we decided to move onto something a little simpler, coloring the American flag! At first the kids were a little nervous, but by the end, they were running up to us and showing off their colorful flags-most of which had colors other than red, white, and blue, but hey, I liked the creativity. Then we painted the American flag on one side of their faces and the Spanish flag on the other and also had reading time. The kids were ecstatic, climbing all over us, bringing us a new book every two minutes to read aloud to them, it was precious. Before I knew it, it was time to leave, so we hugged and said our goodbyes, one boy even said "Goodbye, chicken-face" to me, too sweet.

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PAELLAAAA
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Zzzzzz
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Sooo sweeeeepy

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Big yawn

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Face painting!!!

One of the trips that CIEE organized for us this semester was to the beautiful city of Granada. My favorite site in Granada was the Alhambra, a massively complex palace. It was absolutely incredible, with its detailed architecture, elegant gardens and fountains, and the view atop the Alhambra is indescribable. We also had a lot of free time to explore the city on our own. There were a bunch of cool little shops and markets to roam around, and all the people were so nice and friendly. I even got to meet a few people from Sicily, which is where one side of my great-grandparents are from, so that was a wonderful experience in itself! Granada was without a doubt, one of my favorite cities that I have visited this semester.

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Alhambra

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Wall from the Alhambra

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That view!

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I promise, this view is real


Miscellaneous:
I saw a huge bug on the street one night and had to take a picture, then I got too close, got scared, and ran away. Here's the bug:

IMG_5943
Seriously what is this

Anddd on that note, I'm off! Hasta luego

Besitos

-Alex

 

Came for the Paella, Stayed for the Kids

Holaaa

I have a lot to catch up on, so lets just dive right in

During the past few weeks I had another volunteering activity where I went to a language school for elementary students to teach them about America. Before signing up, I was told that the school would be making paella for us..so obviously I couldn't refuse. For those who do not know, paella is heaven on a plate. It is a rice dish with a mixture of vegetables and different meats, commonly seafood, and it rules. Upon arrival, there was indeed paella, and it was indeed amazing. As for the actual volunteer work, I, along with a few other amigos, had the pleasure of working with a class of adorable four-year-olds. We began with a very dangerous task...waking them up from their nap time. Most of the kids woke up semi-easily, of course all of them had immediate confusion when they saw four Americans standing over them, but they warmed up to us pretty quickly. For others it was a little more difficult, which I completely understand, I think that I could sleep through an earthquake. One of the last little boys to wake up had quite an interesting reaction.. his teacher gently said, "Wake up, our Americans friends are here,". The boy sat up, stretched, and looked at me from across the room. I smiled, waved, and said a warm hello, and within seconds of looking at me he burst into tears! But no worries, he was just a little caught off guard, or maybe I just looked really scary, either way, he got over it. After all of the zombies woke up, we gave them a presentation on the differences between America and Spain. Keep in mind that these kids are four-years-old, and even though they are learning English, I think that every word we said was a little over their heads. So we decided to move onto something a little simpler, coloring the American flag! At first the kids were a little nervous, but by the end, they were running up to us and showing off their colorful flags-most of which had colors other than red, white, and blue, but hey, I liked the creativity. Then we painted the American flag on one side of their faces and the Spanish flag on the other and also had reading time. The kids were ecstatic, climbing all over us, bringing us a new book every two minutes to read aloud to them, it was precious. Before I knew it, it was time to leave, so we hugged and said our goodbyes, one boy even said "Goodbye, chicken-face" to me, too sweet.

IMG_6020
PAELLAAAA
IMG_6022
Zzzzzz
IMG_6023
Sooo sweeeeepy

IMG_6021

IMG_6024
Big yawn

FullSizeRender (9)

FullSizeRender (8)

Image6
Face painting!!!

One of the trips that CIEE organized for us this semester was to the beautiful city of Granada. My favorite site in Granada was the Alhambra, a massively complex palace. It was absolutely incredible, with its detailed architecture, elegant gardens and fountains, and the view atop the Alhambra is indescribable. We also had a lot of free time to explore the city on our own. There were a bunch of cool little shops and markets to roam around, and all the people were so nice and friendly. I even got to meet a few people from Sicily, which is where one side of my great-grandparents are from, so that was a wonderful experience in itself! Granada was without a doubt, one of my favorite cities that I have visited this semester.

Image2 (1)
Alhambra

IMG_6098

Image4
Wall from the Alhambra

IMG_6100

Image3
That view!

IMG_6104

Image1 (1)
I promise, this view is real


Miscellaneous:
I saw a huge bug on the street one night and had to take a picture, then I got too close, got scared, and ran away. Here's the bug:

IMG_5943
Seriously what is this

Anddd on that note, I'm off! Hasta luego

Besitos

-Alex

 

02/18/2015

To: Krammer; With love: Alex

Hola amigos!!

Happy belated Valentine's Day! This Valentine's Day marked my one month anniversary with Sevilla, and I think things are starting to get really serious between us <3 To celebrate, some friends and I took a bus to Catis to see the Carnival. During Carnival everyone wears some type of costume, similar to Halloween. I threw on a mask and called it good, kind of lame, I know, but believe me, the mask was cool. There were people ev-er-y-why. Seriously, I cannot stress how packed the streets were, which was a good thing for me and my 'gyrie' friends (gyrie basically means someone not from Spain) because we were given the opportunity to meat hundreds of new people! I saw lots of football players, which was surprising because American football is not big thing here, I saw people dressed as zoo animals that had literally built a cage around themselves, hippies, mimes, butterflies, ect. It really was a once in a lifetime experience. I'm sorry to say that I don't have any pictures of Catis, I didn't bring my phone or camera in fear of losing them :(

People always ask me if I am getting home sick and uncontrollably missing my family, and yes, at times it can be a difficult to be so far away, but honestly, I just really miss my dog, Krammer. It has been so hard not to see his charming little face everyday, not to play with him and watch his nub of a tail wag back and forth at hyper-speed, and not to have him cuddling next to me every night. So, when I found out my weekend volunteering activity was going to a dog shelter, I just about had a heart attack. The shelter houses hundreds of energetic pups who don't have a place to call home. So our job was to play with them and make them feel loved, my specialty. They dogs were so fired up when we got there and ready to play. For hours, we ran around with them and played fetch, or rather we threw their tennis balls to them and then chased them around until they gave it back. It was a well needed therapy session for both me and my new four-legged friends. Of course none of them could replace Krammer in my heart (don't worry Krammer, I still love you the most), but it was nice to know we could help those dogs, even if only in a small way.

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Julieta - one of my favorites

Another astonishing thing that my group and I did was go on a graffiti tour! We saw a bunch of really interesting murals that had been spray painted on some of the buildings in this amazing city. Some were very realistic, and others extremely abstract, but all were absolutely stunning. I never knew graffiti could be so detailed and elegant. Then at the end of the tour, our wonderful guides, Alejandro and Angel, let us leave our own marks on the city (legally of course)!! We each grabbed a can of spray paint and went to town! Most of painted our names, nicknames, or something that we felt represented ourselves! I have to say, spray painting is no simple art. It is actually quite challenging, so props to those who have mastered the art!

 

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Two of the most breathtaking pieces I saw; The more realistic on the left and the more abstract on the right

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Me next to my piece! Guess which one...

 

The last thing I wanted to share was a few of the beautiful things I get to see here, because it truly is unimaginable 

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Where did this peacock come from? I don't know
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Beautiful sunset with my beautiful model, Sarah
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Some of my favorite buildings here

Alright, that's it for now! Hasta luego!!!

Besitos,

Alex LaRosa

 

02/02/2015

Mucho Gusto, Sevilla

Holaa amigos!

This is my first blog entry...ever... so bare with my as I figure out what I'm doing!

It is the beginning of my third week in Sevilla, España and wow it is more amazing than I could have even imagined. Ahh I have so much that I want to share about these last few weeks! It's weird, on one hand I feel like I've been here for months because I already feel so comfortable, but on the other hand, I know I still have so much to do and see. My host family could not be more perfect. I live with a fifteen-year-old girl named Lola, and her aunt, Sylvia, who we call Tita (girl power!!). I'm kind of obsessed with them... I think my friends are all tired of me going on and on about them, but whatever, they're awesome. 

One thing that I have come to appreciate about this city is that we walk everywhere. Plus, I think I'm finally passed the "getting lost every time I leave the house" stage, which is a HUGE step for me considering I have zero sense of direction. Fingers crossed I didn't just jinx my streak of not getting lost. Lost or not, the walks are always scenic. Everyday on my way to school, I cross this bridge over the Guadalquivir River and the view is breathtaking. In the mornings, the rising sun flawlessly bounces off the buildings, and at night the moon creates this beautiful glowing reflection of the building in the river. Not only are the walks good for sight-seeing, but they're a great source of exercise, which creates a nice balance to my new favorite recreational activity: eating Spanish cuisine. So far I have tried bull's tail - amazing, Spanish tortilla - delicious, real Spanish churros with chocolate - unreal (my mouth just watered thinking about them), and plenty of other things that I can't remember the names of but what I'm trying to tell you is that this food is heavenly. The only thing that I was scared to try were these little fish that Tita made for me (I think they were sardines but I don't really know). But once I got over the fact that I thought they were watching me, they were so so good!

A really cool thing about this program is the free time they give us on the weekends to travel or do anything else our hearts desire. So, two weekends ago, some friends and I traveled by bus to Córdoba! It's a small, touristy city just north of Sevilla, and it is incredible! We stayed in a really cute hostel in the city and during the day toured the sights. First we saw La Mezquita, which is the Mosque-cathedral of Córdoba. I took around a thousand pictures of it but none could do this marvelous cathedral justice. Then, we saw yet another stunning sight, the Puente Romano aka the Roman Bridge. Next on the itinerary was the Alcázar de los Reyes, which was a giant castle with a jaw-dropping view of the entire city and a massively lush garden with fountains, beautiful flowers, palm trees, and of course fish, because what is a royal garden without fish? Back in Sevilla, we found other ways to spend our free time, including taking a Flamenco class! The instructor was this elegant woman who made the dance look beautiful, then of course when my classmates and I tried to re-enact it we butchered the whole thing. But after an hour or so, we could manage a few of the steps. Speaking for myself, I looked like Carlton Banks trying dancing to Tom Jones, but hey, I tried! Maybe after my four months here I'll be able to flamenco a little more gracefully!

As much as I am loving immersing myself in the Spanish culture, nothing could have felt more american than watching last nights Super Bowl XLIX. Being a Michigan girl, the Detroit Lions are my team, but considering they didn't quite make it to the Super Bowl this year..I decided to root for the Patriots (based on Tom Brady's good looks hehe). But none the less, I was a committed Pats fan for the night! The sports bar my friends and I went to watch the game was beyond packed, most of us couldn't even find a seat! Everyone was screaming, cheering, cursing the opponent and chanting for their favored team, and scarfing down nachos, chicken wings, onion rings, and french fries, it felt just like home <3  Katy Perry killed it at the half-time show, she rode a lion then flew through the stadium, she might have magical powers, I don't know, it was loco. As I'm sure you know, the Patriots won!!! Gooooo Patssssssssss! (Thank goodness I chose the winning team, total shot in the dark).

                             

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Sevilla at night

 

 

                

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The Not-So-Scary Fish

 

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La Mezquita

 

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Roman Bridge

 

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Alcazar De Los Reyes



 

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Super Bowl!!!

*Exhale* I think that's just about everything I wanted to catch up on! Hasta luego!!

Besitos

Alex LaRosa

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