café con leche | semana 11

A week ago, the weather was so warm. Definitely in the 20s (Before you call me crazy, I’m talking Celsius here). The sun definitely made its presence known, demanding us to peel off our morning layers one-by-one. I was wishing I had worn shorts or a dress. It was toasty. I laid out in the sun, adding color to my already sun-kissed skin. One week later, and it’s cloudy and chilly. Yesterday, it even snowed a bit, which was a rare sight for Valladolid. This is the type of weather that makes you want to bundle up and stay inside all day, with churros or café con leche being the only reason to leave. The weather gave us a quick transition from summer dress weather to winter coat weather, and for some odd reason, I feel like I’m in Wisconsin all over again.

This week was a really good week. A simple week. A slightly busy week academically. But nonetheless, enjoyable. Saturday (I’ll start from a week ago), I spent my day in Burgos, a city about an hour away from Valladolid. My host mom had an event there, and she had invited Kate and I to ride along. The two of simply explored the city for the day. We toured the beautiful cathedral and spent a lot of time walking along the river and through the busier streets of the city. Burgos has more of a small-city feel to it, kind of like Salamanca in a way. It was so visually appealing. The pink and orange colors in contrast to the clear, blue sky. The little fabric decorations that hung from the buildings. The European streets. The beautiful blend of nature and city. All made it to be the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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We weaved our way in and out of various food places. We got treats in the morning (coffee and smoothies) and then later on, had our lunch. In between the two, we explored the city a lot. We stopped in the tourist center to ask for directions to the castle that was on the hill. It was a really quick walk from where we were. The walk up was a little intense (I’m so out of shape), but the part that truly took my breath away was the view from the top of the hill. The sky was a cotton-candy blue color, and it looked absolutely stunning in contrast with the pretty pink and orange colors of the city, with the cathedral nearby.

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For lunch, Kate and I found a cute little bar/café/restaurant to eat at. We ordered falafel burgers, which were absolutely delicious. The plate came with little nuggets, a few fries, two slices of tomato, hummus, and some guacamole. They also gave us flat pieces of bread. We weren’t quite sure how to correctly eat the food, but I simply dipped the nuggets in the guacamole and hummus, ate the tomatoes separately, and then used to bread to clean the rest of my plate. It was afterwards, that we realized that we were probably supposed to stuff the bread with the different food items. Oh well. Our way was fun as well.

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After lunch and after walking some more, we were tired. We ended up taking our siesta on a bench by the cathedral. The sun was really warm, and it was the perfect opportunity to tan while I was at it. Two other people were in that same area. A man who was reading a book, and a lady who was comfortable seated on the ground writing. Both were peregrinos (pilgrims) walking the Camino de Santiago. It was fascinating to see a bit of that culture in Burgos. Seeing people carrying literally nothing with them, just simply walking who knows what distance. I wish I could have read the words that the lady was writing, the little pieces of her soul that were coming from such an experience of self-discovery. I wish I could have sat down to talk with these people, to hear their stories. Maybe someday, I’ll find another peregrino, and I’ll be able to talk with them.

We ended our day with “cucuruchos” of ice cream. The word was a fun one, but a difficult one to learn for ordering. The lady simply smiled at us, and gave us our cones. We met up with our host mom in Plaza Mayor in the evening. She greeted us with hugs, and we got to share a little of our day. The car ride home was a quiet one. I think we were all exhausted.

We returned to Valladolid to some kind of running event. Several of the roads were being barricaded by police offers, and traffic was really backed up. We had to navigate our way around the city and return to the same spot, just so that we could turn where we needed to. We waited in traffic for a while and eventually got to our street. My roommate and I got out of the car to move the barricade that was in the way. We all just wanted to be home. All in all, our drive home was over two hours long, the majority of it consisting of our time in Valladolid.

Sunday, was a pretty lazy day I believe. I began the thrilling journey of studying for my various exams, but nothing too much happened. Monday was pretty much the same. With spring break less than two weeks away, it’s pretty much time for midterms. Having these seven classes is nothing until you have an exam in all of them. It’s starting to feel like the school I’m more used to. These days were enjoyable nonetheless. I got to dive into history and spend a lot of time relaxing outside of my studies.

On Wednesday, with one exam out of the way, I was able to relax a bit more. After lunch, I spontaneously asked my host mom to cut my hair. It was getting to an annoying length, and she had volunteered to cut it anytime I wanted. I finally took her up on her offer. I expected a simple haircut, but she went all out. “Soy tu peluquera hoy.” She told me, as she sat me down on a stool in front of the bathroom mirror. It was slightly terrifying at first, seeing the long pieces of hair that she cut off and laid out on the counter in front of me. It was a lot shorter than I originally had in mind, but I knew all would be good. She dried it for me and straightened it. Yolanda is definitely my favorite peluquera in Valladolid. Having short hair is such a new world. I’ve been having fun playing with it and styling it in new ways.

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That afternoon, I met up with friends at Sessenta, a nearby coffee shop. It was refreshing to just hang out with them and enjoy our time together. Some of us had intentions of studying, but it turned into socialization and trip planning, which was even better. My friend Amanda and I discussed our plans for Budapest and Prague, and the following morning, we bought our final bus tickets. Transportation is taken care of. Now we can bring everything else to life. I cannot wait.

Thursday was kind of the same ordeal. I knocked out my final week of the exam, and from there, I was able to relax even more. Thursday wasn’t even over, and I was able to treat it more like the weekend. My friends and I went to Toledo (another coffee shop) for coffee and then we did some miscellaneous shopping. We ended up back at Toledo for round two, churros con chocolate. We learned the amusing way that if you want churros for two (with two cups of chocolate), you need to order “dos chocolates con churros.” We accidentally ordered two churros, and had an amusing interaction with the lady. It was fun.

As for this weekend (and by weekend, I include Friday), it’s been rather lazy so far. Yesterday and today consisted a lot of staying in bed, working on various things such as homework and this blog post. I applied for a job and some scholarships as well. This afternoon, I went to Toledo again with Kate and another friend, Maiyer. Maiyer and I spent most of our time reviewing vocabulary lists for our oral expression exam this week. It was entertaining having casual coffee shop conversation in Spanish, or even better, looking at pictures of models and describing their bodies. Maiyer is such a bright, delightful spirit. I enjoy her company, and I’m definitely feeling a lot more confident in my ability to describe people and other things in Spanish.

I’m currently sitting in bed, planning some more details for spring break and listening to my “feelings” playlist. The oven is being preheated for a late dinner, and honestly, I am so pumped for the food. This week has been a good one, full of a lot of a lot of coffee and studies, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look forward to the upcoming weeks, to the travel and adventures that exist in the month of April.

Thanks for following. I promise to get better with my updates.

Mara

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