Monday, September 7, 2009

Across the Atlantic

Greetings from Spain, or should I say Hola? This trip has already been a whirlwind and I am having a really great time... as expected. Something I did not expect however, was how cliquey some people would be. As it turns out, USD has 43 students on this voyage who happen to all be fraternity brothers and their groupies. Despite the large mass of USD kids, there are people from all over the world and I am solely representing Nebraska. Many people are from Colorado, Montana? and Maryland which is refreshing.

Ship life is totally my style. I have two classes each day and they last 1 hour and 15 minutes and they are super interesting. It is really cool living and attending class in the same place as your professors because you see them everywhere. Actually two of my professors live on my deck but towards the middle of the ship and not near the engine like myself... but this is an upgrade considering I was originally supposed to be placed on deck 2. So two flights up and a little noise? I'll take it!

Luckily I have lucked out in the roommate department again. Her name is Cristina and she is from San Francisco. She attends UCSD and is a senior. We both are courteous of each others space and she is so damn clean... but hey I'm not complaining. I found one of my favorite places on the ship- deck 6 outside at the stern. I just read and do most of my homework out there between classes and after them. It's nice to get a tan and socialize... with a book by my side. Judging by my study habits I'd say the book is more of an accessory than a necessity. Don't get me wrong, I am trying to use this semester as a GPA boosting one but when you put me in front of one of my favorite things like the ocean I'm going to get distracted. So I have to give myself time limits of enjoying the outside, that or actually read my books? I am finding my Organizational Behavior class to be very interesting and the fact that my professor is down to get a cup of coffee whenever is really neat.

Crossing the Atlantic has made me appreciate the fact that my ancestors did it and not me, there is nothing here! I saw a sailboat the other day and jumped up to take a picture. I find myself searching for birds, planes, bugs... anything but nope just the vast, wide, blue ocean!

The International waters allow everyone aboard to drink, so we have had pub nights every other night and they have a limit of three beers or glasses of wine for the whole night. People line up as though they were getting rations for the 12 oz, $3.50 drink. The line swoops around the pool and all across the deck. The security around the railings of the ship mirrors that of a airport security checkpoint. The Captain told us it takes about a half an hour to turn the boat around and then another 30 to locate the person in the water. The water temperature reported by the Bridge lately during the noon report is the same as the air... around 71 degrees. Unfortunately, a dip in the ocean gets you a one-way trip home... at your own expense.

Most of the many conversations I have had with people this first week seem like interviews with the what's your name?, what year in school are you?, where are you from? trifecta. I can't wait to truly develop my 'group' who I can dive into deeper conversation with. I am hoping to find this possible in Spain as I am going on a trip to Sevilla and Cordoba through Semester at Sea. The trips through Semester at Sea (SAS) tend to be more expensive than independent travel but the SAS trips cover everything from transportation, hotels, food and admission.

We had a panel of Spanish people talk about stereotypes of Americans from a Spanish perspective doing our cultural lecture the other night and they were pretty funny. Basically according to these seven spokespeople, Americans are socks with sandals, baseball cap wearing, hamburger eating football and beer lovers... who also speak fast. The funny thing it was so difficult to understand many of these people as they spoke fast. i think it's just because of the disconnect between languages. They told us all a brief history about Spain and the main things to eat. They raved about Paella with rabbit or the seafood (I will opt for the rabbit if given the chance) and how that should be paired with a white wine. They also say that the ham is to die for even for a vegetarian. SO, that being said I will in fact try the ham when given the opportunity! shocking I know, (For those of you that don't know I think ham is the most disgusting thing on the planet, it's my kryptonite). I will also go to a tapas bar which are raved about it Spain. Speaking of raves, the nightlife in Spain is supposed to be wonderful. They tend to go out around midnight and party til 6 in the morning, so like 50, you can find me 'in da club'! we also learned that shaking hands can be viewed as a wall so it is customary to give one kiss on each cheek.

That above was written the day before we arrived Spain after experiencing it, it has blown my mind and I still have a full day left. Cadiz, although it's a port is beautiful: palm trees everywhere, narrow cobble stone streets and vespas, vespas, vespas! The first day in port 9/5/09 I walked ALL around with my roommate and a girl from AImee. It was so damn hot, 45 degrees centigrade, so obviously a glass of Sangria was a necessity at a beach cafe. We walked all around the plazas, walked to the tops of lookout tours and went to every free attraction Cadiz has to offer. The Spanish culture is so neat and very different from the states. There is a sense of security walking through the streets of Cadiz.

There was not one point where I felt unsafe...- okay maybe when the stinky bum of a woman (michaela, you would have hated it! p.s i miss you!) asked me for money and then proceed to make fun of my roommate when she didn't reply. The Spainards don't awake until around 930 and the shops open around 10 because they party so hard the night before! They lesuirely walk through the town and are incredibly social. At one point I saw a woman almost get run over by a vespa, turns out the driver was her friend so they proceeded to talk for five minutes in the middle of the street. Oh yeah, I ate the ham.. not really a fan. I'll have to give you guys more information about it later when I have a chance, I'm about to go explore more of Cadiz, eat some Paella and try to spend the rest of these Euros I have.

I want you all to know that I am having a great time and I think about many of you all the time. This has been wonderful to stay connected through e-mail and to update many of you through this blog. Please feel free to e-mail me at

I tried uploading pictures but the wifi is not strong enough, next time though for sure!

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