little sarah Big World

Tag: oviedo

¡Hola de España! no.7‏

The epic conclusion!!!

New here? Catch up by reading these:

 ¡Hola de España!

¡Hola de España! #2

¡Hola de España! no.3

¡Hola de España! no.4

¡Hola de España! no.5

¡Hola de España! no.6

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This will be my last Hola de España. Que triste, ¿no? But I definitely have ganas to come home and be with my friendships and my family in Utah again. Being here has REALLY enforced my appreciation for how unique Utah and Salt Lake City are. No place like it in the world. Even if we do have ridiculous liquor laws.

So…I cheered up in Valencia. I started busquing again, making money, and that’s always nice. I played really well there, and maybe now I’m addicted to the thrill of performing in the streets. Hopefully there’s a patch for that, because no way is it going to be the same in Utah. I also went to the movies two nights in a row in Valencia, the highlight of which was seeing ‘Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay’ in Spanish. Except here it’s called ‘Dos Colgados Muy Fumados,’ which I think translates to ‘Two Very Stoned Stoners.’

Then, on the bus from Valencia to Barcelona, I sat next to this Italian kid named Francesco, and we got to talking (in Spanish, because his English isn’t too hot. And I don’t speak Italian…), and he said that they had an extra room in his flat where I could sleep. So, now I have my own room in an apartment in Barcelona for free for the week. Awesome, no? The other people there are a Chilean girl named Viviana and a boy from Brighton, England named Josh. So it’s all very international, which is a pretty good representation of Barcelona, as a whole. Since I’ve been here (since Sunday) I’ve hung out with kids from Peru, Argentina, Chile, England, Spain, the US, and then a ton of Italians.

Oh, and I’ve been hanging out with my amigo Brett from the U of U. Viviana took us dancing last night. And of course all of this has been very good for my Spanish. (Carol: De verdad, chica, podemos hablar muchisimo en Español cuando yo vuelva, porque ya hablo tanto mejor . Podemos hablar TODO EL TIEMPO.)

Tonight I’m gonna go check out La Sagrada Familia with Brett, and some other Gaudi building. We already went to Parque Güell, which was crazy and beautiful. I’ve also been to the beach here, and I’ll probably go again before I leave. Then I’ll be back in Madrid on Friday, and then home on Sunday in time for supper (which had damn well consist of spicy cheetos, is all I’m saying…)

Oh, and we went and got pinxos and this dark red champagne-like beverage in a bar here that was SO packed. Like, think of when you go to a concert at a really big venue, and when the main band comes on and everyone rushes the stage, and you’re all pressed in together. It was like that. For, like, 45 minutes while we ate and drank, standing. Apparently this is typical in Barcelona, and I actually had a really good time.

People keep asking me which part of Spain I’ve enjoyed the most. It’s really hard to say. I mean, I’ve only been i n most spots for a handful of days. And they’re all so distinct. Barcelona is very Metropolitan, with wide streets packed with people from all over the world. The Gaudi stuff is just icing on the cake. And I liked Valencia, because of the park in the dried-up river bed. I rented a bike there on Sunday morning and rode for an hour and just thought my thoughts and smiled. I liked Alicante, because the beach is right in the middle of the city, and so is the castle, and it’s filled with shady pocket parks, and it’s just got something special about it. I guess La Mata wasn’t that cool, but I had a good time there. Madrid was amazing, but incredibly hot. And I met so many people there, and Laura and I became good friends. I already have plans to return to her. And being there when Spain won the Euro Cup? How can you beat that?

And of course, of course, I loved Oviedo. She’s beautiful, and very sophisticated, and utterly unique. And the people there definitely appre ciate their classical music. Add to that no tourists and a million beaches that are just a bus-ride away, and what else can you say? Oviedo will always be in my heart.

But soon I’m coming home, and nothing is better than home. I miss you all dearly, and I can’t wait to see you. It’s been great. ¡Hasta ahora!

-love, Sarah

p.s. Plus I am so freakin’ tan, it’s going to blow you away. Ha!

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And that was that. Then I came home, broke up with my boyfriend, started hooking up with another, younger guy, lived in my parent’s friend’s basement and anxiously began my last year of college. It made for a great diet.

Things I didn’t say in the emails:

-Kevin (the quiet boy) became my boyfriend of right now, after much drama and hesitation on both our parts.

-I came as close to getting sexually assaulted as I will hopefully ever come by the Italian guy in Barcelona. Just so you don’t think that traveling like this is without risk.

-I fooled around with Michael in La Mata, even though he was a dick to me. I normally don’t date jerks, but apparently in Spain I do, because Jorge was a dick to me, as well, though at least he was very upfront about having “la polla pequeña” (his exact words). Honesty can only get you so far, though, and it certainly won’t get you off.

-Also I don’t know if it comes across just how lonely and confused and cranky I was. I hated traveling alone. I hated being by myself, with only the guilt of my impulsive decisions for company. But now I love traveling alone, more than most anything. I guess it’s just…back then I didn’t know myself very well, or love myself, and now I do. Now I’m my favorite person to spend time with. And I guess we can call that growing older. I used to constantly wish to be able to go back in time, try again, start over. But I almost never wish that now. I’m happy to be where I am.

Which is to say: home.

¡Hola de España! no.6‏

In which we continue the epic saga begun in Hola de Españas 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

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Hola, todo el mundo…

Wow, can’t believe we’re up to number six already. I feel like I’ve been here forever. Although…I guess the travelling bit is going by fast enough. I already miss being in school in Oviedo oh-so much.

 I’m now in Valencia. I’ve been here since yesterday. And I am so very, very lonely and bored. Everybody who says that travelling solo is fun is wrong. It sucks. Wait, here’s a list of things that are fun to do alone while travelling: going to the beach. Seriously, that’s about it, and even that would be much more fun with others. I’ve nearly lost my will to go look at historical crap. Like, ‘Oh, there’s another old archway, maybe I should go look at it. Wait, I’m alone and nothing is fun when you’re alone. Nevermind.’ That’s me.

So basically I’ve been going to the beach just about every day. Night time is the worst, because that’s when all of Spain conspires to remind me of the joys of companionship by going out to the bars and cafes together and walking around the street in groups. And so many people have been like ‘Don’t worry,  you’ll meet people,’ but no. Michael said to try hanging out in the common area of my hostel, but neither of my hostels since Michael has had a common area. I’ll hear people speaking English in the hall, but what am I supposed to do? Run out and demand that they let me join their already established group of friends? I think not. And meeting spaniards is all but out of the question, as the only spaniards who want to talk to me are guys (or, usually, men) who want more than just friendship. Damnit!

My point is: travelling alone sucks. So there.

I did hang out with this older guy who owns a little tienda in Alicante, and he took me to a chiringuita on the beach, and also I chatted up the kid who worked in the hostel there, and all of that was in Spanish, and even I was surprised at my level of conversation. But other than that, any conversation I’ve had has been in Engliss. With myself. In my journal, which is acting like my Wilson to keep me from totally losing it.

So hopefully I can force Brett to hang out with me four nights in a row in Barcelona, and then I go back to Laura, and then I’ll be home.

Which reminds me: I want to see as many of my family members and friendships as possible upon the night of my return. Chi has tried to squash this plan, because he doesn’t want to share, but I don’t think he quite understands that all I want is to be squeezed to death in the biggest group hug of my life. I get in at 7pm on the 20th. Plan accordingly.

I really miss my sisters. I miss reading Harry Potter to mancub. I miss telling Wachira that I’m not asleep yet. I miss shelving books. I DON’T miss the homeless people, but if I did, there are plenty of them in Spain. I miss doing that fake laugh that Adam thinks is funny. I miss talking in different accents with the friendships. Goodness, I miss TALKING. Anyways. See you soon, todo el mundo.

-love, Sarah

The Origins of littlesarahBigWorld

~OR~

¡Hola de España!‏

So here I am. In Buenos Aires. On my own. And I kind of dig it. It’s been a while since I’ve had an adventure of this magnetude–travelling alone in a country that I know almost nothing about, with only the vaguest of plans and intentions. It reminds me of the first time I did this, in Spain. Allow me to set the scene:

Summer 2008. I am 23 years old. I have been out of the country only once before, to visit whitney for 10 days in Paris. I arrive in Madrid, catch a taxi fromt he airport to the bus station, buy a ticket headed north, and am on my way to Oviedo. All within the space of about an hour. I feel good about this trip, because of course I speak Spanish, and of course I will make friends with whom I can travel for 3 weeks, after the 5 week intensive Spanish language course ends. Right?

WRONG. My Spanish was not EVEN what I thought it was. And I wound up travelling alone, making hostel reservations for only one city ahead. Kissing strange boys. Busking. And I kept in touch with mass emails to my family and friends, and then I came home and made a zine about it. So, if you put those two things together, it’s kind of like littlesarahBigWorld. The beta version. Now, for your viewing and reading pleasure, I present you with those original emails and pages scanned from the first ever READ ME zine (of which there are…two. Whatevs). Enjoy!

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Hi family and friends! Wow, already it´s a bit dificult to write in English. I am in Spain!!!!! I arrived in Madrid yesterday morning at nine (one am in Utah time). There was almost no wait to get my bags and change my money and whatnot (the exchange rate! ¡Ay! 50 US dollars is, like, 30 Euros). By ten I had already caught a taxi to the bus station, purchased a ticket, and I was on the bus to Oviedo. I wanted so badly to stay awake on the bus, because the scenery was gorgeous, but I literally could not force my eyes open. I arrived in Oviedo at 3:30 and had 4 hours to kill. Oh, Moms (or Dad): I will contact Mountain America, but if you guys could also call and tell them that I´m in Spàin and that I´m not a theif and to un-freeze me account, because right now I have NO MONEY!

Mi familia is a single woman named Beatriz. She lives alone, but she has a boyfriend that comes over to eat dinner and chat with us. His name is Eusepio. They both talk very fast (faster than the other moms, like Katrina´s), and I´ve already dug myself into a rut by pretending to understand what they´re saying and now I guess I´ll just have to go with that. I understand about half. Sorry, I feel like there´s so much to say, and I´m having a hard time expressing myself in an orderly fashion. Today was the first day of classes, and from now on we will have classes from 9:30 to 2, with a short break from 11 to 11:30. Today we took a test and they divided us into four levels. I am in the fourth level!!! Estoy en el nivel mas avansada. The Cutrubi are in the third level, but I don´t know why, because I think they speak as well as I do. Their friend, Daschel (who is now my friend, as well) is in level four, along with about 8 others, including a boy who already did this exact program two years ago and is so cocky that´s it´s difficult to even be in the same room as him. Tomorrow is the first REAL day of classes, and I´m a little nervous but mostly excited.

What else…? Well, so far the only totally crazy thing about life in Oviedo is that my house (and other´s, like Krystal´s) only has ONE GARBAGE, and it´s in the kitchen. So, you know, what if I have lady problems? Or what about my used q-tips and floss? Am I supposed to just tote those things into the kitchen? I guess so.

I really like Beatriz. She´s never been married and has no children. She´s 54, but seems much younger and is very metropolitan. Oviedo is absolutely gorgeous, and very clean for a city (not as clean as Salt Lake, but much cleaner than New York–sorry Judy). The weather pattern here (so far) is sunny and clear in the morning, and then cloudy skies and moderate rain from 3 to 8. Then it´s clear and a bit chilly at night. But it´s fairly warm during the days, even when it´s raining.

I get really tired in the afternoons, because that´s when it´s night in Utah. Today I had my first Spanish hot chocolate, and it was very thick (like a syrup), but not as sweet as you´d think.

It´s strange to be here–strange because it´s NOT strange, because it feels only a bit different, like starting a new job. My firs wow-I´m-in-Spain moment was today when Krystal, Katrina, Daschel and I went to a restaurant and ordered in Spanish lke it was nothing. Oh, and I keep getting lost, because–although the streets all have names–there are few street signs. So people will tell you to turn right on Calle Uria, but then you don´t know which is Calle Uria.

Mom and Beth, I need your cell number. For some reason, my cell phone won´t turn on (somebody spilled water on it…Cody…). Once you give me your number, I can tell you how to call me here. And don´t forget to yell at MOuntain America. Oh, and does anybody have e-mail for Natalie or Eric? I don´t.

Okay, I´m going to go now. It´s about 11:30, and I need to be at the school at 9:30. I miss you all so much (especially Sebastian and Rosie and, of course, Chi). Sorry for the mass e-mail, but if you send me (short) personal responses and questions, I will send you a (short) personal e-mail. Thank you to everyone who helped to get me here! My Spanish is already so much better, and I can´t even imagine how it will be in 8 weeks. I love you all dearly! ¡Adios!

 -Love, Sarah

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Stay tuned for more dispatches from the littlesarah of FOUR YEARS AGO. What?! Time’s a cookie, Friends.