So yeah I think I’ve definitely caught the blogging buzz! I actually really like blogging. This surprises me because I really didn’t think I would like it. I enjoy reading other peoples’ blogs (notably the author Meg Cabot’s, http://www.megcabot.com if you like reading her books) and I actually like writing about my daily life abroad. Usually my life is pretty boring and not worth recording but being abroad is totally different. I don’t know if I’ll continue this blog when I go home because I’m not sure blogging about my life in Carlisle is interesting… but we’ll see, that’s awhile from now.
Also I’ve come to learn I have to be careful about what I blog about. While I want to write about all my stories in my blog, there are certain that aren’t blog-appropriate or maybe some that would hurt people’s feelings (or piss them off) if they were to happen upon my blog. So just so you know, there’s a whole lot I’m also not telling *insert evil laugh here*.

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather these past few days. I’m not sure what it is, probs some non-serious stomach virus I’ve caught. I think maybe it’s some kind of food I ate because yesterday I was feeling pretty queasy and nauseous during our trip. It could also be all the cigarette smoke I’m inhaling… Personal note to the Pres of Spain: you seriously need to outlaw smoking in bars, I don’t care if it starts WWIII over here. It is for the good of all mankind! Anyways I’ve been taking it easy today and eating lightly. My host mother has been wonderful and has been asking me how I feel/what I want to eat, basically acting like a mother would be acting if her own daughter was feeling unwell. I usually get sick when I go abroad for an extended period of time and usually it’s a reaction to stress or what not. Speaking Spanish all day (or well more like Spanglish at this point but nonetheless) and being in a foreign country have probably messed with my stress levels. I’m an anxious person anyways, so this wouldn’t be the first time my body has physically reacted to my anxiety. I know I’ll be ok, but it’s still hard feeling sick when you are so far away from home.

Despite all this, I will do my best to tell you all about Antequera and El Torcal, which was the trip I went on yesterday. Antequera is a town about 45 min-1 hr away from Malaga. We visited some museums which were basically preserved churches (yes, more churches we all know how excited I get when I see a church) and preserved religious artifacts and some Roman era… stuff? I wasn’t too sure what they were, carvings and statues? I’m sorry if I’m so vague but when it comes to identifying historical objects, I’m not the greatest. Also there were more remains of Arab fortifications. Antequera itself was kind of… well boring. We always get free time during siesta when all the stores are closed and end up sitting at a cafe talking. Not that that’s bad in itself, but it would be nice to observe the places we go to when they aren’t completely shut down.

There was a Middle Ages/Renaissance/some sort of time period fair going on that we got to check out. We took in all the different booths which were more or less selling the same kind of jewelry/food at slightly different places. A bunch of people attacked the candy booth and bought candy. I bought some tea instead for my parents (there was even chocolate tea I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before). There also some adorable miniature horses being used for pony rides. Some people thought it would be hilarious if we tried to ride them but I think the poor things would have collapsed underneath our weight! Also on display were some wild birds. I think they were all eagles… I don’t know, I’m not an ornithologist but they seemed impressive to me. There was an owl turning his head around to observe the people watching him and I’ve always thought how funny it is when they practically turn their head backwards to stare at you (in kind of an unfriendly way). I sort of felt bad for the birds because they were essentially tied down at their feet so they couldn’t fly away.

While Antequera was kind of meh, I really enjoyed the next things we did despite feeling incredibly sucky healthwise at this point. We were able to see (and enter) these dolmens… or maybe that’s what the rocks making up the building are called. We went to this place called Menga and watched this Sims like video which showed us how these caves/houses (again I don’t know what to call these places!) were made. Basically a cavernlike room that was man-made using all these huge dolmens. In the first one we went in, there was an incredibly deep well which reminded me of one of the final scenes in The Ring. The second we went in was much narrower and while I’m not claustrophobic, I didn’t really enjoy going inside that one.

Before we went inside the first man-made cavern, there was a group of people right in front of the entrance playing music and castagnettes, I’m not too sure what they were doing there. However, as usual, our guide Manolo who comes with us on all our trips, knew one of the people (he basically knows everybody in Andalusia) and even played a song with them using a tambourine. I taped one part of one of the songs and will try to upload it to youtube it so you can watch it for yourself.

After admiring the dolmens, we went on to El Torcal to admire bigger and even more impressive rocks. El Torcal is this really… I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s weird, but really cool to see. It’s basically a couple of acres of just these rock formations and it’s confined to this one land mass. I’m sure we were told at some point in the day how the heck it formed but with all the sights we are seeing, I’m retaining very little of the information. I called it the Grand Canyon of Spain, even though it’s much smaller and actually looks nothing like the Grand Canyon (from pictures I’ve seen, have yet to actually go there as well). We hiked one of the green trails through the rocks and even though I’m not a huge fan of hiking, I really enjoyed it. The trail actually wasn’t too hard, which brings to mind several family trips I have gone hiking on in which I was told the trail would be “easy” when it actually wasn’t easy at all. (Papa and his friend Mr. Carey, this would include the both of you.) I was feeling pretty sick by this point and I’m thinking being in the bus didn’t help. However the hike somewhat revived me and I was able to enjoy the landscape.

While the rock formations were a sight to see, I think what shocked me the most was Manolo. I don’t think I’ve talked about Manolo. He’s a professor who has been doing the Dickinson Program in Malaga for many years now (I think he said it might have been around 15-20 years, however long the program has been running) and he’s a very nice and cool guy. While he’s up there in age, you wouldn’t know it by the fact that he probably walks faster than I do (I’ve been told I’m a fast walker). He was the one leading the hike in El Torcal and I just couldn’t get over the fact that here was this man who was at least in his late 60s/early 70s climbing over/down a bunch of rocks. In fact he was going so fast, I had a hard time keeping up because I kept stopping to take pictures. I wanted to ask him “Manolo, donde esta el fuego?” He’s also incredibly smart and knowledgeable about every site we go to. He knows a lot of the history in Andalusia and like I said, he seems to know at least one person wherever we go. It’s always “Oh Manolo!” as he’s hugged or has his arm shaken by whatever friend he’s run into.

I’m going to be changing rooms again for the third and final time today. I will finally be moving into a room upstairs which is not as big as the first room I lived in, but bigger in the room than I am in now. Also my host mother laughingly pointed out that the mattress wasn’t as squeaky and wouldn’t groan every time I moved around. Not that I really minded, but it will be nice to sleep on a quiet mattress. Also in a week or two, I will have the bathroom upstairs to myself. I finally saw it a few days ago and I was amazed at how big it is. You could probably have put another bedroom in there. The bathroom downstairs seems miniscule in comparison!

Oh and I feel the need to let people know I am half Irish-American. I was wearing my green tshirt that says “Everybody loves an Irish girl” yesterday on the trip and whenever people read it, they got confused because they were all “But you are French! Your name is French!” My answer to this is: well yeah I am French but only half! I think my name is what confuses people a lot. Maybe my parents should have joined their two last names together so it would simplify explaining things. In case you forgot or didn’t know: mi madre is Irish-American, she always gets forgotten when it comes to people figuring out my family tree. I mean I thought it was obvious with my pale non-tannable skin and dark hair but I guess not? And in case none of you understand why I get all excited when I see someone wearing clothing from the clothing brand Hurley, it is because that is my mom’s maiden name and yes it is very Irish! Now that I’ve clarified my family background, I hope things are less confusing for people!

Next up for trips are Sevilla, which I think will be a few days. So expect a Tolstoy blog entry covering that! I think I also get to visit the Picasso Museum this week.

And my cousin arrives in one week, it just so coincidentally happened that he decided to defer his admission to college for a year and study in Malaga for the year. I have no idea where he’s going to live, I was told he’d figure it out once he got there. I’m not sure if this lack of planning is a French thing or my dad’s family, or a guy thing… Oh well, I’ll probs never know.

Aaaaah it feels sooo good to blog! OK signing off.

Your residential blogging addict,
Amelie