Image Credit: Will Clayton
21
Today is my 21st birthday. This is one of the few birthdays where I’ve actually felt different. I feel like my whole life has culminated to this point. Everything I’ve done has seems somewhat meaningful, or at least meaningful to me. 
I feel like I have become a man. Although I am in college and not yet working full-time, I feel like I am self-sufficient. I am an independent human being who is trying to contribute to society as a whole.
Grown up is another feeling that I have. I am legally a real adult, capable of ownership, getting a credit card, learning from my mistakes the hard way, and due to this birthday drinking. I believe all this responsibility feels like a sort of achievement. I won. 
Well anyway, I just wanted to say that I made it this far, and I can keep going. My goal for this year is to be motivated in whatever I do. Twenty-one has inspired this to persist at this objective.

Image Credit: Will Clayton

21

Today is my 21st birthday. This is one of the few birthdays where I’ve actually felt different. I feel like my whole life has culminated to this point. Everything I’ve done has seems somewhat meaningful, or at least meaningful to me. 

I feel like I have become a man. Although I am in college and not yet working full-time, I feel like I am self-sufficient. I am an independent human being who is trying to contribute to society as a whole.

Grown up is another feeling that I have. I am legally a real adult, capable of ownership, getting a credit card, learning from my mistakes the hard way, and due to this birthday drinking. I believe all this responsibility feels like a sort of achievement. I won. 

Well anyway, I just wanted to say that I made it this far, and I can keep going. My goal for this year is to be motivated in whatever I do. Twenty-one has inspired this to persist at this objective.

Amazon had this app called camera fun pro the other day, and it has this sweet alphabet filter. It makes me happy.

Amazon had this app called camera fun pro the other day, and it has this sweet alphabet filter. It makes me happy.

The homework for this class is my life this evening/night.

The homework for this class is my life this evening/night.

Intercambio Final
Today, I have my last intercambio ever. This is a sad day because I will be leaving Valencia tomorrow, spending a few days in Barcelona, and then heading home. I’m really glad to be going home, but I’m sad to leave all the people and places I’ve come to know here.
The picture is of me and my intercambio, Eva. We have a really good time conversing, drinking horchata, and preparing for the possibility of never seeing one another again. Así es la vida.

Intercambio Final

Today, I have my last intercambio ever. This is a sad day because I will be leaving Valencia tomorrow, spending a few days in Barcelona, and then heading home. I’m really glad to be going home, but I’m sad to leave all the people and places I’ve come to know here.

The picture is of me and my intercambio, Eva. We have a really good time conversing, drinking horchata, and preparing for the possibility of never seeing one another again. Así es la vida.

Exams

Exams again tomorrow. Studying and sleeping until then. Wish me luck.

Breakfast for Lunch
Today, I am at home taking a nap and our host lady calls. She says that she is at the doctor’s office and will be late for luch. She tells us there is some food in the fridge prepared for us. 
Both Levi and I try to find the food in the fridge, but it has gone missing. I made myself scrambled eggs and home fries. It was delicious combination. I also had some bread with nutella and an horchata granizado - more like ice cream -. 
Other than that I study, sleep a ton, and go out with friends for dinner and crepes.

Breakfast for Lunch

Today, I am at home taking a nap and our host lady calls. She says that she is at the doctor’s office and will be late for luch. She tells us there is some food in the fridge prepared for us. 

Both Levi and I try to find the food in the fridge, but it has gone missing. I made myself scrambled eggs and home fries. It was delicious combination. I also had some bread with nutella and an horchata granizado - more like ice cream -. 

Other than that I study, sleep a ton, and go out with friends for dinner and crepes.

Today in 4 S words

School, Sleep, Sand, Salsa

That’s pretty much what I did today in order.

I go to school, sleep as much as I can afterward. I then eat some delicious stuffed peppers. I go to the beach for a couple hours, rest, and then go out salsa dancing. Overall a good day.

My adventure hat is still intact despite the fact that I took it swimming.

My adventure hat
I got this adventure hat at the aquarium the other day and it has brought me all sort of adventure. Today I go to the beach alone, wearing my adventure hat. I tan for a while, and then swim for a minute. I decide to get a coke at this restaurant. 
When I leave the restaurant and am walking toward the bus on the way home, my friends spot me because of my adventure hat. I take the metro home with them instead of taking the bus. The adventure is that they never would have spotted me without the hat.
In the evening I go out and meet a friend, Becky, to walk to a plaza where we are supposed to meet other friends to play cards. The adventure hat got us so lost. She has a really good sense of direction, but I keep saying the wrong thing, and we end up in the wrong direction. 
We decide to take a bus to a nearby plaza. Once we get on the bus, I ask the bus driver if it goes near the plaza we want to go to, and it does. As soon as the bus leaves, I receive a phone call that we had changed the meeting place to where we had been lost at. 
We get off at the next stop and the bus driver is confused. I tell him our plans have changed, and we walk all the way back to meet our friends. In the end it turns out to be a good time, but a lost adventure. Without the hat I think the day would have been a little less exciting.
Thanks adventure hat; I will wear you again tomorrow.

My adventure hat

I got this adventure hat at the aquarium the other day and it has brought me all sort of adventure. Today I go to the beach alone, wearing my adventure hat. I tan for a while, and then swim for a minute. I decide to get a coke at this restaurant. 

When I leave the restaurant and am walking toward the bus on the way home, my friends spot me because of my adventure hat. I take the metro home with them instead of taking the bus. The adventure is that they never would have spotted me without the hat.

In the evening I go out and meet a friend, Becky, to walk to a plaza where we are supposed to meet other friends to play cards. The adventure hat got us so lost. She has a really good sense of direction, but I keep saying the wrong thing, and we end up in the wrong direction. 

We decide to take a bus to a nearby plaza. Once we get on the bus, I ask the bus driver if it goes near the plaza we want to go to, and it does. As soon as the bus leaves, I receive a phone call that we had changed the meeting place to where we had been lost at. 

We get off at the next stop and the bus driver is confused. I tell him our plans have changed, and we walk all the way back to meet our friends. In the end it turns out to be a good time, but a lost adventure. Without the hat I think the day would have been a little less exciting.

Thanks adventure hat; I will wear you again tomorrow.

Weekend Catch-up 4 + Bonus

Thursday (Bonus Day)

Christina and me. She with her birthday crown, and me with a smile.

It is my best friend, Christina’s 21st birthday, so we have a sweet party. She has a list of 21 things that she has to do for her birthday. Some of the highlights are getting 5 numbers of 5 different guys from different nationalities, getting a kiss from a random guy, and busting a move in a crosswalk.

We first go to a bull fight. The bull fights take place in March and July in Valencia. I think that it will be gruesome and a blood fest, but it turns out to be not that bad.

There are 6 bulls and 3 bull fighters. Each one “fights” two bulls. Each fight is divided into 3 phases. The first phase is where the bull fighter brings out a pink and yellow cape and does a few tricks with the bull to see how he walks, how aggressive he is, etc. Then a horn is sounded.

The second phase brings the picaros – horsemen with spears –. The bull fighter attracts the bull outside a pre-marked circle to the picaros who stab it a couple times with their spears. After this come the bandarillos. They run at the bull with these barbed hook things which are festively decorated. They stab 6 of these into the bull. The horn sounds.

The last phase is the well-known phase. In this phase the bull fighter brings out his red cape and sword in order to kill the bull. He does tricks with the injured bull for a few minutes i.e. getting the bull to run by him, or kissing the bull’s horn. Finally comes the phase where he kills the bull. He takes a specially made curved sword and stabs the bull between the shoulder blades. If he does well, the bull’s knees will crumple and he will die soon after. If he doesn’t get the sword in all the way, they may have to kill the bull in other ways. If he misses and hits the lung, the bull coughs up blood.

Overall, the bull fight was an experience to be had, but I wouldn’t go again because it is way too drawn out. It gets a little tiresome after the first three bulls. I’m glad I went, but it’s not that exciting to me.

After the bull fight, we go out to an American pub, and I got a chicken Caesar salad that was really good. We go to an Irish pub for a while afterward and Christina completes the majority of her list. After this, we go to a club, but don’t stay too long because we are all exhausted.

We get home at 4am and have class the next day at 9am. For this reason I do not blog until now.

Friday day

Me trying and failing a soccer test

Today, I go to the Science museum with my friends Becky and Stephanie. There are many cool exhibits in there. We miss the electricity show, but it is ok. The human body section had all kinds of fun things like mindball.

There is also a section of Marvel superheroes that I quite enjoy. I take lots of photos until my camera dies, but have a good time regardless.

At 7pm, we go to see an Imax movie about the Nile. It is pretty interesting, but I am glad it is not longer than 45 minutes. Two of our other friends arrive late and have to be let in by the security guard.

Friday night

Found a maggot in the kitchen, a big one, too. I have to discuss the sanitary condition of our house in order for you to get a full picture of the sheer hellish terror it has been – a slight exaggeration, but only slight –.

When we arrive in Valencia, the house is not particularly clean, but it’s not awful, either, or so it appears to the untrained eye. I think that she hasn’t cleaned too much, but think she’ll clean soon.

Two weeks into the trip the house is in a worse state than it’s been in since the beginning. The shower has a glass wall and is completely covered in white mildew. The counters do not look like they have been cleaned in the two weeks that we have been in the house. There are egg shells – salmonella anyone? – and bread crumbs everywhere. The worst of all is the sink which looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in a year. The molding around the sink is black with gunk, even though it is supposed to be white. The whole area around the faucet is covered in the same black food-based material. It is a mess.

I have a little OCD episode and clean the entire house from top to bottom. I cleaned the counters, sink, microwave, bathroom, and even the floors which are constantly covered in dirt. I accidentally used fabric softener instead of soap on the counters and sink, but they were clean and shiny nonetheless.

I continue to do this until our five day break. I clean all the time and feel safer in the house.

After our five day trip to Madrid, I try to go without cleaning as much as possible. I have been doing pretty well so far. Today, I was in the kitchen eating my dinner – she normally leaves us sandwiches for dinner and does stuff doing the night – and after my dinner I found a maggot on the table. I get a little freaked out. I only clean the table, but I have to leave the room.

Saturday

I have to admit that she has been better about cleaning this month. She cleaned this morning while I was gone. I might have overreacted a little, but I do prefer a clean house. I think she just doesn’t know how to clean well. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Dolphin Show

Today, I go to L’Oceanográfic which is an aquarium in Valencia. I have been before, but am excited to go again. I really love aquariums.

One of the best parts of the day is when I get my adventure hat. We are at the snack bar looking at the advertisements. I saw that if you bought two Coca-Colas you would receive an adventure hat. I ask my friends to buy a Coke with me and receive my adventure hat. I am so happy about all the adventures I am going to have in this hat. I talk about the awesomeness of the adventure hat for a long time.

Sunday

One of the prize winning floats - the orange spots are flowers people are throwing at it.

Today I read most of the day and finish my book for class. I also go to an event called Batalla de Las Flores – Battle of the Flowers – which is basically a parade where they throw flowers at the floats. It isn’t as interesting as it sounds due to the fact that it is very long.

Intercambio 5

Today, I go to another intercambio. Austin and I meet at the school, and go together. We follow a map I screen printed on my phone because I don’t have internet on my phone in Spain, and neither of us know how to get where we’re going. 

We end up meeting our intercambios, but mine is missing. She has dropped a drawer on her foot and is on her way to the hospital just to make sure everything is all right. 

Austin, Sergio, and I continue for a guys day out - or something like that -. We go to a museum that we had planned to go to. It is some sort of interactive show with the history of the world through a humanist perspective. 

We go out to a small restaurant to get drinks, and I get horchata granizado - basically horchata in a slushie -; it was a really good decision. We end up speaking mostly in English, and speak a lot about the US in general and the death penalty. Fun fact: Spain hasn’t had the death penalty since 1975.

This weekend is going to be crazy. I can’t wait!

Shopping with my BFF

My best friend Christina and I go shopping today and it is the most amazing day of my life. We meet up down town to go shopping. It takes us a few minutes to meet each other because there are two Corté Ingles’s and we each go to the wrong one.

We go to several stores and do the whole shopping thing. I try on several interesting things of which I take pictures.

Anchor Shirt – This one is really cool. I liked it and bought it for 10 E. I don’t really understand the significance of the anchor, but it’s a sweet shirt.

Pink tank top – I think this one was a normal shirt with an extra-large neck. I try it on and discover that it’s an ugly tank top. It was fun picture.

Cool chair – Best chair of my life, if only it didn’t cost 199E plus whatever shipping would be.

Denim Shirt – I decide to try this on so I could look like an 80’s superstar.

Patatas Bravas – This isn’t a clothing item, but it is the amazing shopping snack we have. It has potatoes, spices, and garlic butter stuff. Delicious!

I haven’t been shopping since November 2009, so this is an exciting day for me. I gain some great clothing items and only end up spending about $45. I really do love shopping, and it’s better when you’re with your best friend.

Today we have the long awaited, long talked about arroz al horno (oven rice). This oven rice is rice with pork, peppers, potatoes, a whole head of garlic, and blood sausage. It is mostly good; I’m not a fan of the blood sausage, though. 

After dinner, my Sra. pulls out some sort of liquor. I have already told her that I am not drinking for the rest of the trip. She then proceeds to tell me that it doesn’t have any alcohol and children drink this drink. After I take a shot and realize that she is lying to me, I was a little angry.

Today, another student comes over for lunch that our Sra. has had previously. His name is Scott. He is a really cool guy and happens to be from OK like I am. 

We end up watching this show when he arrives home from the beach that is really funny. There are two diving boards with moving walkways on them. The red and the blue person have a little dance off and whomever the host thinks is better is the winner, and the other one falls in the water. 

This weird cross-dressing guy won. He was actually the best dancer, and the most interesting. He won 1000 euros for looking a little dumb on TV. I respect him.