Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kicking off December with a bang...

I've only gone a little bit past my self-allotted one week between posts, and yet, so much has happened! It's been a whirlwind of working, trip-planning, moving and thinking. Here are the highlights:

1. I have moved!
After returning from Santander to an apartment where:

  • The internet was down, 
  • a particular 19 year-old Spanish roommate STILL hadn't cleaned up dishes that had already been in the sink one week before I left, 
  • the kitchen faucet was still dripping, and 
  • aside from him mentioned in #2, there is not a native Spanish speaker in sight, 
I decided it was time to look for something new. And I lucked out on the first try! As I write this, I'm sitting in my lovely (full!) bed in my new room on Saturnino Ulargui. The street name doesn't have quite the allure as Avenida de la Paz, and sadly, I no longer have my own balcony, but to be honest, I wasn't using it anyway-- too cold! 
Blue dot is my new home, red is the old. Click for better detail :)
Anyway, this place is CLEAN, there are no smokers, the kitchen is immaculate and my room is nice and bright. It's on the 5th (and top) floor, so no more street noise. I'm a lot closer to Casco Antiguo (old town) and yet, it will probably work out to be less expensive here. All in all, I'm very much looking forward to living here and my only regret is that I had to leave 2 lovely roommates behind, Emma and Martin. I will miss them, but I probably left just in the nick of time, as a fifth room was just let. That would've been 5 people sharing one bathroom and a tiny kitchen! Here, I live with two nice Spanish girls... one's a pharmacist, the other, a psychologist... with the potential of a third moving in in the next couple of weeks. The two don't speak any English so here's hoping my Spanish improves tenfold! But talking extensively with them will have to be put off for about a week because on Monday...

2. I'm going to Italy... and later, to Greece! This coming week we have a puente from Tuesday through the end of the week. And guess who doesn't work on Monday's :) So, with a solid week of free time, I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to go someplace a little farther away. In searching, I decided to google "european swing exchanges" and guess what?! There's a Lindy Hop exchange in Thessaloniki, Greece from December 9-11. And guess what?! Thessaloniki just happens to be one of the cities RyanAir flies to. 
The one downside: no flights there from Spain. Oh well... guess I'll just have to fly to MILAN first!!! :) 
The Duomo! [source]

So obviously, I am very pumped about this... and about the fact that two round trip flights cost me less than $150 (yes, dollars). Here's the general itinerary:
  • Monday 12/5: Bus from Logroño to Zaragoza; Fly from Zaragoza to Milan; find hostel (I'm splurging a bit with Ostello Bello).
  • Tuesday: 9:15-- my appointment to see Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" followed by wandering around the city.
  • Wednesday-Thursday: possible trip to some nearby Italian city. Verona? Turin? Como? Genoa? Anybody have any advice?
  • Friday morning: Fly to Thessaloniki!
  • Friday-Sunday: Spend the weekend at SwingALONICA, where I will be dancing every night, seeing the Harlem Hot Shots of Sweden, and meeting lots of dancers (aka awesome people) from around Europe! I'm going to be hosted by a girl from the area along with 2 other people. Saying I can't wait would be an understatement!
  • Monday 12/12: Fly back to Milan.
  • Tuesday 12/13: Fly back to Zaragoza. 

Look for the pictures and general updates on that adventure! :)

3. Part of the reason for the Puente next week is el Día de la Inmaculada Concepción... December 8th. Among other things, that also happens to be my birthday, and I will be turning 24(!!!). I'm very excited to be doing what I am doing for my birthday... how many people can say that they're going to Italy and Greece for any occasion, let alone their birthday? At the same time though, it is going to be a little strange to not be around friends or family at all this year. I won't even be with the friends that I've made here. Anyway, while it will be different and strange, it will still be wonderful :) I'll have to get myself a slice of tiramisu and some candles. Maybe I'll even have met some new Italian friends to celebrate with me!
All I'll need are this, some candles, and hungry people to help me eat it! [source]

I know one thing for sure: it is not a birthday that I will easily forget.

4. On the same subject of turning 24: It's such a weird number to see! And I know all of my older friends will tell me (have told me), "Oh! That's nothing! You've got plenty of time!" I know, I know. But what's been on my mind lately is that I am about to begin the year that will close out my first quarter of a century. On one hand, that terrifies me... on the other, it excites me. It's going to be quite a year, and while I don't know where I will be this time next year, much less what I'll be doing, at least I know the first half will be chock-full of memories... and I dare say the second half will likely follow suit. Anyway, I'll just take it one week at a time.

5. After returning from my grand birthday week, I will have one week of school, a day or two to pack and then I'll be on a plane again, this time America bound!!! I am loving Spain, and am so grateful to be here, but I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy that I get to spend the holiday with my friends and family.
Some Christmas fun from a couple of years ago. What a bunch :)
Even though it's only for a week, I think it will be just the recharge I need to take on my Spanish Adventure: Part II. :) I could go on and on about all the individual things that I am looking forward to, but it's a monstrous list, you'd get bored (if you aren't already ;) ). Besides, you can probably guess everything anyway. Just think about what you'd be excited about and then raise it to the 10th power. I think the exponent is because it's the first time that I'm going home for Christmas instead of just already being there... and something about that just increases the anticipation :) I think it may be the best Christmas yet.

6. After the best Christmas ever, I'm flying back to Europe, and will be picking up a boyfriend along the way :) Alex and I have been planning a wintry adventure for the last month or so and it's finally getting close! New Year's Eve in Manchester, a week touring the south of Ireland, followed by a week back in Spain. Two and a half weeks with my man!!! The traveling is just a bonus :)

And now, dear readers, I have written quite enough. Stay tuned for the next update! And Happy December, arguably the best month of the year!!! Of mine, anyway :)


  1. Madre mia, Cate. Madre mia. ¡Que páselo bien!

  2. Want some pictures of the new place! Have a great trip this week. I'm still a little uncomfortable telling people that my daughter is traveling to Greece to "swing," but most understand that I mean dancing. The others well......Very nice picture of that crazy family of yours. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of three weeks. Almost have your room reassembled! Love Padre

  3. Yup, STILL miss you! Right now you are probably dancing yr heart out. Just get home safely and SOON! Besos,