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Bienvenidos a España

¡Hola a todos! I'm studying in Spain all semester (Spring 2012) and will be Eurotripping for the rest of the summer. Should be a good time.

For those of you who'd like a little background on where I'm living currently; Granada is one of the oldest cities in Spain. It's in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula in the region of Andalucía. Granada is the spanish word for Pomegranate. This city is amazing for many reasons, especially its unbeatable history- it was the last Muslim stronghold during the reconquista of the Reyes Católicas (Ferdinand y Isabel). There are very distinct barrios in the city, from the modern bustling city center (Centro, where I'm living with a family) to the quieter and picturesque Albaicín, the old Muslim neighborhood with the steep and narrow streets. Granada is also home to the Alhambra, the red palace. Granada maintains an Arab influence in architecture, food, clothing, etc. It's amazing. The people, the history, the sights and sounds of Granada are beyond real.

At the point that I'm writing this, I have been in Spain a mere 2 weeks to the day. WOW. So far I've been in Granada and in classes even less. Spain is amazing. In true Minnesotan fashion, I have to comment on the weather. The weather is mostly great (better than Morris!!) so I've been wearing light jackets and bumping up against frozen Spaniards in full on FUR COATS. Not kidding folks. To the locals, it's a brutal 5 degrees Celsius, meaning a balmy 41 degrees F. The program directors and my host mom keep telling me to bundle up, I can't help but chuckle.

Granada is a fantastic place, describing it in words only does an injustice, but I've got to try it any way. From the terrace of my host family's piso (apartment) I can see the Alhambra in front of me and the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains to my right. Everything is tall, cobblestoned, old, colorful, loud, exciting, simple, complicated all at the same time. I'm not at a point where I can really tell you what I'm doing with my life, any future plans or such, but I can tell you that I'll report back the most exciting news.

For now, the most important things for you to know are thus:
1) You only lithp the c's and z's in the middle and ends of spanish words. not the s's.
2) Is it a horizontal surface? It's a road. Motos and cars and delivery trucks. You don't think that ice truck with fit in this alley along with all the pedestrians?
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
3) Buy a €2 beer, get free food. They're called tapas; don't die without eating some.
4) Spanish women are my idols. Not only are they often working wives and mothers of adorable children but they always look damn good and they get everywhere (from kid schlepping to grocery shopping) on foot . Not just on foot, anybody can do that, but in heels and on cobblestone. You're not human if you're not impressed.
5) Churros con chocolate y café con leche.
6) Granada Fútbol is not a joke. Even though their color is Pepto-Bismol Pink. These fans are crazier than Real Madrid's.
7) The hipsters in Granada are so cool. For hair styles they all have any possible combination of: shaved head, total or partial, dreadlocks, rat-tails, mohawks. Usually the two later are made of dreadlocks that reach to their midsection. Almost all are musicians.
8) Teterías- all are cozy and wonderful, some have free hookah if you buy enough delicious and cheap tea.
9) The cheek kisses are not actual kisses, but 'cheek brushes'. Don't caress the person's face if it's your first time meeting, or ever probably. I may or may not know from personal experience.
10) Olive oil and oranges. I woke up one Saturday morning to a bowl of olive oil with some beans in it. Not the best meal I've had. At least the orange was great!

Now that you've learned 10 (or more) new brilliant things, I'll leave you with an awesome song. You don't need to know Spanish to love it. It's called Todos los días sale el sol, by Bongo Botrako. follow the link! If you're a good enough detective you can download this and other albums for free.

More to come later! Once I've gathered my thoughts and such, more organization...

¡Hasta Luego!

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