Monthly Archives: December 2011

cumpleaños de las gemelas

Friday night I threw a party at my apartment for the twenty second birthdays of my two friends Kathryn and Lauren.  They were born one minute apart on the same day in the same year!!

We had a dinner of stuffed shells and spinach artichoke bread (you can find the recipe here for the dish, which I also made for Gabby’s birthday).  We also gave them their gifts, bracelets from a Spanish jewelry store, Uno de 50, which sells all sorts of interesting and unique bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc.  Check it out here!

After dinner, some more friends came over, including German and French friends from class that we were excited to see, Lauren & Gabby’s Spanish roommates, and Lauren’s host brother from when she came to Madrid during high school.  It was great to have such an international  party as Rina calls it, haha… but really, it was a lot of fun!!  We enjoyed an amazing cake (click here for the cake recipe, frosting recipe, and homemade buttermilk recipe… since that’s another thing we can add to the list of ingredients Spaniards don’t use) and tequila sangria (read: instant hangover) before heading to Cats, a discoteca near my house that was a ton of fun!

Hope you enjoyed your birthday, chicas!<3


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¡feliz navidad!


{2010: NYC; 2011: Madrid}

Seeing the Christmas lights, tree, and windows in New York City must be one of my favorite things in the world; it just always gets me in the Christmas spirit (as if I wasn’t already!)  But this year it has been a little harder to get into it, since I’m not at home or anything!  Instead of leaving it at that, a year without infinite Christmas joy, Dan and I treated ourselves to a night of Spanish Christmas lights and a few out of the ordinary treats at Mercado de San Miguel (think oysters, a bottle of good wine, and a fabulous dessert coffee) for our official one year anniversary last week.  I’m happy to say I am certainly in the Christmas spirit after that night, and absolutely CANNOT WAIT to see our families this week!!

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volver a la magia de sevilla

{View from La Giralda on a foggy morning in Sevilla}

With it being the second to last week of classes I’ve been super busy with group projects, classes, everything, and this is the first time I’ve really had a chance to sit down and write something of meaning for you, my apologies!

As many of you know, Jackie, Gabby, Lauren, Dan, and I took a road trip last Thursday, complete with pit stops, near death experiences and mix CDs, to Sevilla.  Now… I will explain.


In May and June 2010, we had the opportunity to stay with host families in Sevilla as part of our program through a Dialogue of Civilizations through Northeastern.  I had an immediate connection with my wonderful padres españoles and have since then, kept in contact with them.  After working very hard in Italy for twenty years, Rosa and Carlo now host students from around the world in their home.  They have such a simple, carefree life, and have to been two of the most genuine, lovely people I have ever met in my entire life.  Dan also has kept in contact with his host mother, Lola, and her sons Alberto (1o) and Pepe (8), who are so adorable.   (Besos a todos vosotros!!)  We had wanted to go back to visit them all in Sevilla the second we left, and took the opportunity of this long weekend to do so.

Since none of the girls know how to drive a manual car, Dan volunteered to drive all the way there and back.  We took a little bit longer route there through Andalucia (the southern community of Spain), but had the chance to stop in Córdoba to split the drive up a little bit.  It was such a great small city!  As soon as we started walking around I realized how much I had really missed Andalucia.  It’s such a different culture than the fast-paced lifestyle of Madrid.  The most noticeable differences to me are the great flavorful food and the Arabic, modern Spanish, Jewish, and traditional Spanish Catholic cultures that are present in nearly every city.  After a fabulous meal and a visit to the Córdoba Cathedral, which still has all of the elements of the Mosque that it used to be, we got back on the road through the beautiful Spanish countryside.



Overall, our weekend in Sevilla was uneventful, which was exactly the type of relaxation I needed before these last two weeks of classes.  We ate wonderful homemade meals while staying in Rosa and Carlo’s home, hung out and had fantastic conversations with them as could have been predicted, siesta-ed, had lunch with Lola and the boys, visited with my family friend, Carolyn, took in a few sights, including my favorite La Giralda, and laughed the entire time!

Trujillo, ghost town

The ride home was a little more eventful, however.  Gabby did a fantastic job of describing the “issues” we ran into on our way home, so I will let her explain…

It took us a little while to get out of the city, and once we were on the highway, we realized that we were in desperate need of gas. There were a few moments of pure terror because there was no sign of any gas station, but as we drove over a hill we could see a gas station on the horizon. I have never been happier to see a gas station.

We got a few snacks and then had to move the car up so that the people behind us could fill up. They thought we about to drive away and steal a tank of gas. Issue #1.

Issue #2: While Dan was waiting inside to pay for the gas, the guy from the car behind us came next to the car (the driver door was open) and asked us if we could move the car up. If you remember, none of us girls can drive stick. We told him we couldn’t drive and he told us to just take off the emergency brake. Colette did it, and the guy literally started to push the car forward with all of us in it, totally confused. Dan was watching us from inside, just as confused. Needless to say getting a tank full of gas was a bit of a process.

The girls skimmed through the Discover Spain book some more to see if there was a place we could stop on the way home for lunch, and we decided to try this quaint little town called Trujillo. There was a nice paragraph about it saying that it was a nice, small, medieval looking town so we figured, why not?

Why is more like it. It’s Sunday. Everything in Spain shuts down on Sunday. It was 4:15. Prime siesta time when everything really shuts down in Spain, and we had no idea where we were going.

We started to drive around and find the city center and we probably saw a total of 3 people walking the streets. We were a little sketched out – it was like the scene from a horror movie. You know, the movie where the group of kids gets lost and stops in the next town to ask for help but then gets killed one by one. Awesome.

I might be exaggerating a wee-bit, but there were numerous jokes flying around in the genre. We finally find a restaurant that wasn’t closed so we pretty much had no choice but to eat there. Jackie was first one to walk in immediately she was welcomed by a man that was screaming in Spanish like he was so happy to see her again. Her response, “Is the kitchen open?”

After the guy yells a little more, 100% confused, we all sit down and start deciding what we want to eat. Our waiter informs us that they have hamburgers, but not the kind you would find at Mickey D’s. Thanks. Another guy (different from the one who was thrilled to see Jackie again) came over to our table and asked if one of our friends lost their purse, their phone, pretty much all the essentials. The confusion worsened because we had never even heard of this town 30 minutes beforehand, and we knew there was no way in h*** that we had been in this restaurant/bar the night before. We told him we were just driving through from Sevilla to Madrid, and he felt the need to ask us if we were sure three times. Si, señor, WE HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE! ¡Dios!

After a few bocadillos, we got back on the road and made it back to Madrid without causing anymore problems.

I don’t think I can explain how great it was to get out of Madrid, to a city I know and love for the weekend.  It was the exact same feeling as going home to Connecticut when I’m in Boston, and I will definitely be keeping that in mind.  Thank you so much, Rosa and Carlo, for having all of us at your home.  We can’t wait to see you both again!

Y un buen finde a vosotros, amores:)

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el puente de navidad

Spaniards love celebrating random holidays just as much as they love doing so in the middle of the week, I only had two days of class last week.  It was nice to have some extra time before I left for Sevilla on Thursday (more about that to come), since I knew I wouldn’t be getting anything done while we were there.  However, that meant the short week I did have was filled with homework, group meetings, Christmas shopping, and a few other activities.  I guess I should be thankful for the celebrations of the Constitution Day, which allowed me to get some homework done, and the Immaculate Conception, which let us leave a day early for Sevilla though!

During the craziness of the holiday season, I usually get overwhelmed, but the speed at which it is flying by this year is absolutely insane!  The countdown makes me a little anxious: Dan’s parents – 9 days; my parents – 10 days; Dan’s birthday – 11 days, Prague – 11 days, Christmas – 13 days; and New Years Eve – 19 days.  For now, here are a few of the things I filled my “Puente de Navidad” with, while still in Madrid.

{taking a study break on tuesday for american grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup using this recipe}

{planning an itinerary for christmas in prague, which you can read here}

{making zillions of christmas cookies to enjoy myself and bring to my padres españoles in sevilla using this great recipe & tutorial}

And if you haven’t already noticed, I’ve been filling my spare time (read: procrastinating) by catching up on all sorts of new blogs.  I’ll be adding them to a blog roll soon, but for now the rest of the posts on the two blogs I’ve linked to today are really great.  Enjoy!

Hope you’re having just as much fun during the chaotic holiday season as I am here in Madrid.  Ciao, amores:)

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