New City, New Hairstyle

 

So I’ve decided to cut my hair…(English in fourth paragraph)

He decidido cortar mi pelo. Tengo tres razones principales para esto. La primera es debido al clima. Cada día tengo que caminar hasta la academia donde me enseñan español, y el camino es mas o menos 30 minutos. En Oviedo la clima no es tan caloroso (en realidad cambia mucho como en Chicago) pero cada día después de caminar estoy sudando. Entonces voy a cortar mi pelo para no sentir tanto calor. La segunda razón es que soy perezosa y no quiero cepillarlo cada día y la tercera razón es que creo que es la hora de cambiar mi imagen. Bueno, puedes ver fotos de mi pelo al final de la pagina pero ahora tengo que contarte un poquito sobre Oviedo.

Cuando llegue a Oviedo con Mary y mi papa, me recuerda un poco de Seattle porque el cielo estaba nublado y la ciudad esta rodeada de montañas. Después de caminar un tiempo, mi padre me dijo que Oviedo es muy similar a Irlanda. Yo solo he ido a Irlanda una vez pero estoy de acuerdo, los dos tienen el mismo sentido de un lugar cómodo y amistoso. Muchas de las calles son peatonales, y es muy difícil saber donde la acera termina y la calle empieza. La ciudad parece pequeña pero es mas grande lo que pensaba (ya me he perdido muchas veces). En el centro de la ciudad hay una plaza donde hay una escultura. Su nombre real es “L a Maternidad” pero todo el mundo la llama “La Gorda” y eso es donde nosotros (los de Rollins) siempre nos encontramos.

Bueno, hay mucho mas que contar sobre Oviedo, por ejemplo el hecho de que los niños pequeños siempre llevan ropa de moda, o la manera en que un camarero escancia la sidra (una bebida típica de Oviedo), pero sería demasiado largo para escribir ahora porque no tengo tiempo. Entonces, ojalá que te guste y te contaré mas en el próximo blog. Ciao!

I want shorter hair for three reasons. The first is that the weather here in Oviedo is very similar to that of Chicago, which is to say that it changes every ten minutes. Every day I have to walk 30 minutes to my language classes and throughout the walk I experience everything from freezing my butt off to overheating like a lobster in a pot. Having shorter hair will hopefully make this temperature change less dramatic and less of a hassle. The second reason is that I really don’t want to brush my hair every day. I shed like a sheep dog in the summer and my hair always ends up everywhere, so cutting it shorter will make it easier to control. Finally, I feel like it’s time for a change, new city, new hairstyle. But enough of my hair (there’s pictures at the end of the blog), I must tell you a little bit about Oviedo.

When we first arrived in Oviedo, it reminded me a bit of Seattle. The sky was overcast and gray and we were surrounded on all sides by beautiful, soaring mountains. After walking around the town to find our hotel, my dad told me that the city reminded him of Ireland. Turns out, there’s a very good reason for that. Apparently, because of the mountains, one of the places that actually had the most influence on Oviedo in the past was Ireland. Thus, the music here is full of bagpipes and the buildings have an old, comfortable feeling, like that of a small town. Most of the streets in the center of Oviedo are full of restaurants and cafes with beautiful outdoor seating. The streets themselves are all paved with stone, so it’s rather difficult  to tell where the streets end and the sidewalks begin. At first, the city seems small, with maybe one or two main plazas, but after exploring for a bit you realize it’s a lot bigger than it appears. It reminds me of a beautiful maze, every street is surrounded by tall, majestic buildings, but if you’re brave enough to explore all the little side streets and hidden pathways there’s always something to find. I went walking around the city the other day with my friends Camille and Mary, and we stumbled upon a tiny little cobble-stone square and had a little photo shoot. The next day we found out that the tiny square was actually where the existence of Oviedo began. Apparently two monks stood at that spot and decided to build a church, this attracted the attention of surrounding villages and even a king, who decided to move his kingdom here and thus Oviedo was born.

The main plaza of Oviedo is called “La Plaza de Escandalera”, and in the plaza is a statue of a women and her child. The actual name of the statue is “La Maternidad” but everyone here just calls it “La Gorda” (the fat woman). Around the edge of the plaza are rainbow colored benches that show support for the gay community and right across the street is a giant park called Campo de San Francisco. It’s like a tiny version of New York’s central park and it’s full of cool statues and busy vendors.

There is so much to tell about Oviedo, like for example, how stylish all the little kids are (seriously, I’ve seen a toddler in a full blown suit and tie), or how the waiters pour la sidra (a typical Oviedo drink made from apples) from above their  heads and into the glass without looking, but right now I’m afraid I don’t have time. I’m about to leave to see a silent Charlie Chaplin movie in the plaza. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this tiny glimpse of Oviedo, thanks for reading!

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It’s like my head lost five pounds! (weight loss tip: cut your hair)

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Mary and me eating pastries before I cut my hair PC: Camille

shan y los reyes

PC: Mary

 

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The little cobblestone square where the Oviedo began PC: Camille

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It was hard trying to get my message across in Spanish. The hairdresser kept saying ‘segura?’ (are you sure?). PC: Catey

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One of the bigger streets, no cobblestone 😦 PC: Mary

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La Belleza de España

  • *English begins in fourth paragraph*

Estaba tan cansada después del vuelo y lo que sucedió con mi equipaje que, por un momento, me olvide mi español casi completamente. Cuando llegue al hostel donde me quedaría por dos días en Madrid, la recepcionista me pregunto para mi reserva. Yo, pensaba que ella estaba ofreciéndome una cerveza, dije ‘No gracias, a mi no me gusta alcohol.’ …Soy una genia.

Pero después mi suerte cambio drásticamente, porque en eso momento mi amiga Mary llego. Ella no había tenido un problema con el equipaje como yo, pero yo había tomado una taxi y ella había tomado el bus entonces yo había llegado antes que ella. Después de saludarnos, Mary, mi papa, y yo, fuimos a ver la ciudad y a almorzar.

Madrid me recuerda de una mezcla entre Nueva York y Grecia. Hay los anuncios cubriendo las ventanas de las cuadras mas grandes como NY, pero también tiene la arquitectura vieja y elegante como en Grecia. Es una mezcla perfecta entre lo viejo y lo nuevo. Solo era un jueves pero La Plaza del Sol ya estaba muy repleta. Vi todos los tipos de personas en la calle; turistas como yo, empresarios caminando con prisa, ancianas sonriendo, niños gritando con risas, pobres pidiendo dinero, todo.

The last couple of days have been a blur. I am currently sitting in my new bedroom in Oviedo, trying not to give in to the call of the bed behind me (I must finish blogging!). For those who couldn’t read the above paragraphs, I’ll give you the run down. I was pretty tired after the flight and mix-up with my baggage so my Spanish was not at its prime. When I got to the hostel where we would be staying for two days in Madrid, the receptionist asked me for my reservation. Unfortunately, the Spanish word for reservation is ‘reserva’ and the Spanish word for a beer is ‘cerveza’. In my befuddled state those two words sounded exactly the same, so when the kind lady asked  for my reservation, I responded with ‘No thank you, I don’t like alcohol.’ Yeah, I’m off to a great start…

Madrid itself is quite beautiful. It reminds me of a mix between New York and Athens, Greece. There are advertisements all over the biggest squares just like New York, but among the modern day structures there are many buildings with beautiful Greek-like architecture that invoke feelings of ancientness and solemnity. Walking among Madrid, you feel the bustle of modern-day city life but also the insignificance of all of it compared to the ancient structures and civilizations of the past. Madrid is the perfect mix of the old and the new.

Although it was only a Thursday, the Plaza del Sol (which happened to be right outside my hostel) was already quite crowded. I was quite surprised by the level of diversity I saw. There were people from all over the world and from every walk of life; tourists like myself, businessmen and women talking loudly on their phones, old ladies smiling at passersby, young kids shouting with laughter and homeless sitting in darkened doorways. During the day, there was a feeling of busyness and a little chaos but during the night, things slowed down and almost everyone outside was dressed up and smiling.

The food situation in Madrid is quite interesting. The first restaurant we ate in was right off of the Plaza del Sol. The food from this particular restaurant was, in all honesty, quite disappointing. The pile of the sandwiches on display were made with a white, wonder-like bread that had no crusts and looked so processed that the pile looked like a cake with different layers of frosting. Later in the day, however, we found a Greek restaurant that was quite delicious and fairly priced (we got free chicken too, although I claim it was because our waiter was hitting on Mary). For dinner, we found another restaurant and had the chef’s choice of turkey with cheese sauce, which was quite good. The first after-dinner ice-cream was so delicious that Dad decided to get more at another place, but the second was so disappointing that he threw it away after a couple of bites. Thus, the food situation in Madrid is a mixed bag. Here are some of my observations: most of the food near really touristy areas is very expensive and not that good (definitely explore!), coffee here is actually more of an espresso with milk, and water isn’t a given drink during the meal so you must ask for it.

So there you have it! I hope y’all enjoyed reading and found the tips helpful. I gotta go now and figure out how to walk from my host mom’s house to the University tomorrow so I’m not late for class. Also, I just wanted to let everyone know that my suitcase was found and returned to me so I finally have a change of clothes!

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That architecture though!

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The Greek restaurant where Mary’s admirer gave us free chicken. The city is surprisingly clean!

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The highway outside the train station