Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mi vida en pocas palabras.

So, I'm going to take this time to procrastinate a litttttle see, I had a 2 page summary paper due on March 31 that I have not yet done. Do you know what the date is today? April 22. Ask me how I've really procrastinated that long, because I'm still not sure.

Lately, one of my key phrases has been "I've been thinking in my head that _____." Now, I am not sure how this phrase came about, seeing as how I've NEVER heard anyone say it before. However, I caught myself the last time I said it (about 3 minutes ago) and thought, "Duh, Kelly. Where else would my thoughts be?" So, I am going to try to not say that so much because all in all, it truly does not make sense.  You do not hear people say, "I've been thinking with one eye closed and my head rested on my hands, which are rested on the table in front of me," so how is this any different? I now announce the pre-retirement (pretirement?) of "I've been thinking in my head." May you rest in peace.

On another note, I wrote this ginormous  (yes, ginormous is a word. Ahem.) journal entry yesterday, during Spanish (not IN Spanish) about this next topic: Me. Now, before you stop reading because you may not be interested in this topic, please know that this is a very important issue, and something that I definitely need to take control of.

I've mentioned before that I have severe body issues. Namely, I hate my body. All of it. When people say "What is one thing you love about your body?" I sit there and think, for at least 10 minutes. Usually my answer is, "My teeth. I like my teeth." And then I think, "Well, I like my teeth because they are straight, but really they are kind of yellow because I haven't used my whitening toothpaste in too long, and now I want to go buy my Arm & Hammer whitening toothpaste. Crap! My teeth really aren't that great!" Or, "My legs. No, scratch that. I like my legs from my ankles to just above my knees. So can I say half my legs? I like half of my legs. But not the top half or the lower half. My thighs are disgusting, and my feet are soo gross, so. I like some parts of the mid-area of my legs." See what I mean? I am well aware that everyone struggles with some sort of body issues. But I am so exhausted from carrying around this burden. My whole life, I have been so self-conscious and have always felt like I am fatter and uglier than all the girls in the world. Then I do mean things, like I feel prettier because I am with a girl who is obviously uglier. Or I feel skinny because I eat less than someone I am eating dinner with. But this is the problem: I should feel pretty because I am pretty. I should feel skinny because I am skinny. I should love myself because I am beautiful. And don't go thinking that I am all conceited, because I am not even thinking about this in an "I'm better than you" kind of way. I simply am saying that what I see is not the way the world sees me. I need to start making myself feel better because no one else should be the judge on how I feel about myself.

Let me set the stage to how this enlightenment came about: Today, I am walking down the street on my way to Spanish class, and I am feeling pretty gross: pmsing, running on no sleep, my hair looks like crap, I have no makeup on, etc. You get the idea. (By the way, guys, with pmsing comes feeling bloated, tired, fat, gross, zits...the ladies know what I am talking about).  I felt so self-conscious on my walk because I was wearing sweatpants that dug in, so my love handles were out and about. If this isn't bad enough, I have a zip-up hoody over my tank top, but it's HOT. So I have to release the handles of love and take off my hoody. As I am walking, I can feel my stomach jiggling about, and this bothers me. I look around to see if anyone else notices. I assume that everyone is staring and talking about the fat girl in the white tank top with the jumbling stomach. But, here's the problem! No one else cares. No one else is looking at me, because guaranteed they are thinking the same thing about something that is wrong with them. So, when I got to my Spanish class, I was determined to feel better, any way I possibly could.  I wrote about 4 pages about how I am so tired of carrying around this burden...I am exhausted from always worrying about what others think when they see me, thinking about my next weight-loss strategy that is most likely to fail, feeling guilty about eating whatever I want, but not doing anything to stop it. I am just...tired. And you know what? Brace yourselves: The ONLY person that can make ME feel better about me. ME. I am the one that controls myself. I am the one that controls the food I put in my mouth, the clothes I wear that day, and how much sleep I get each night. Digging a little deeper (for the record, I just typed "dipper." Oops): I am the one that should feel good, regardless of how many pounds I've lost or gained. I shouldn't love myself only when I'm skinny, but then hate myself the rest of my life. And let me tell you, people, I have lived my life hating my body. I am just tired. That's all.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, for starters, I am in Spain for 8 more days. So obviously I am going to live it up. I am not going to care what I eat (or how much), what I look like (but I'm going to look good!), or how much exercise I am (or am not) getting. But when I get home, I am going to change my lifestyle. I'm not going to go on a diet, but I am going to change HOW I eat, which will, in return, change what I eat. I am going to be healthy. I am going to make a conscious effort to raise my self-esteem by complimenting myself. I will be "that girl" who looks in the mirror and says, "Man, your ass looks good!" Because you know what? I deserve it just as much as anyone else. I know that eating is not the way out. But I think it's a good start. I also think I am going to make my best effort to go on a regular sleep schedule.  Do you know how good you feel when you go to bed at a regular time? I feel like an entirely new person! And I'm not going to feel guilty when I do slip up, because that's something that is bound to happen, but I'm not going to let one mistake control my entire mood/feelings. That's basically everything that has been flooding my brain these past few days. For once in my life, I want to be confident in EVERYTHING. Not just my personality.

On that note, I think an important thing to remember is that no one else will truly love me until I can love myself. I know it's cheesy, and we've all grown up hearing it, but it's true. The longer I wait for that special guy to come around, the more I realize what changes I need to make in myself.

And that's all folks. Now, I am really cracking down because I am currently 23 days late on my 2  page chapter summary, on a book that actually has a summary at the end of the chapter. Ahem. Call me a slacker, I can handle it.

Hasta luego!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Live high. Live righteously.

So I am sitting here in my apartment all by myself. I can't remember the last time I was here completely alone...Maybe never? Anywho, I am taking advantage of this. Sometimes I just really need some "Me" time. So yesterday, after taking my sister and John to the airport (I'll get to that in a bit), I came back and slept for a good three hours. My apartment was a complete disaster, so I went on a complete cleaning rampage. Now, I am not usually one to clean and organize, but sometimes I just get in the mood. I started with the kitchen. I emptied/filled the dishwasher, scrubbed the counters, and even got rid of old food to make room in my pantry (for whatever reason, my two shelves are always the most full out of all of us. Oops). I then moved on to the family room and closet (weirdly, it's attached to the family room, not in my room). I did laundry and vacuumed. I even made my bed. What the heck, this is completely out of character. But, I think it makes sense because my personality is either way in control or way out of control. I either like everything really clean or really messy. I can either strictly diet or eat everything in sight. I am just this way, which can be really annoying. But anywho, I am proud of myself for cleaning so efficiently. I usually just wait for the cleaning lady to come around, but I think I scared her away last week because she didn't show! Oops.

As I was saying, I am completely taking advantage of being alone in my apartment. I am currently listening to my guilty pleasure, Taylor Swift, and singing at the top of my lungs. I cannot do this often, or at all, as my roommates do NOT like country, and probably do not appreciate my singing. My neighbors probably do not appreciate this either, but it's a holiday and I do what I want. :) This is the first time in 21 years that I have been alone on Easter. It's weird because I remember being little and going over to my grandparents house (Mom's side) and spending the day with them. First we'd wake up and get all snazzy for church (I always wore flowered dresses and stupid hats. Mom, what were you thinking?). After church, we would get our Easter baskets (the highlight of my life), and then go to my grandparents house for ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls...My mouth is watering. My grandma always hid those plastic eggs for us, filled with jelly beans and money. Although my mom's side of the family is small, we always made the best out of our holidays. I loved going to their house. 

Anywho, it's my first Easter not being with family, and although I knew it was coming, it's still such an odd feeling. I woke up at 1:30 in the afternoon. It was lovely, I promise. I watched a movie on my computer, ate (duh), and painted my nails. Now I am just sitting here, planning on writing in my journal and reading some Bible. I really miss my family today, though. I have explained many times that I love it here. I love living in Spain and traveling so much. I would absolutely move here and build a life here, but I could not be away from my parents and siblings. Really, they are my very best friends, and life would be perfect if they could all move here with me. That's really the only thing holding me back from just up and moving. All along I have told them that I miss home only for them, but I do not miss Ohio. I do not miss Capital. I do not miss my life at home. It's odd because I think a lot of people are homesick right now, and aside from my family, I am not. Ok, I lied. There are a few friends that I miss terribly, but that's obvious. If everyone I loved could move here, I would be the happiest girl alive.

On that note, I had the best Spring Break I have ever had. For starters, my good friend for half of my life came to Spain to visit. He is studying in Italy, and I went to see him in February. It was his turn to come to come see my home. I showed him around Barcelona, and I felt bad because I still had class and HAD to go. But he is very independent and had no problem walking around and seeing all the sights on his map. We decided to take a day trip to Alicante, as I always heard it was a beautiful beach town on the shore of the Mediterranean. We flew out at 7:15am that Friday, and spent over 12 hours exploring the city. It was really fun because the city was a complete mystery to us. We knew NOTHING about it, and just walked the entire city.

The first thing we did was grab a cafe con leche (He drank cappuccino. Not as good. Haha.) and pastry (Have I mentioned how good European pastries are?!). We then climbed a mountain. .

Ok, maybe it was more like a really big hill. But I like to think it was a mountain. It had a huge ancient castle on top, and our goal was to make it to the very tippy top.

The climb actually didn't take as long as we thought, but we were SO exhausted by the time we reached the top.

The view was incredible, and it was still early, so the sun wasn't beating down on us quite yet.

Although there was not much to the "castle," it was the first one I've been to in Europe! So it was still pretty awesome.

After that, we had lunch and laid on the beach. I was not prepared for the weather to be as nice as it was (thanks to being wrong), so I did not pack a bathing suit. Good thing for me, I happened to wear a matching bra and underwear, so I did not hesitate to get down to them. I mean, my undies cover more than my bathing suit, and I think I lost any reason to be shy when I went topless for 10 minutes in Cadiz (see previous post). Anywho, we were not prepared for boredom, but we had already conquered the city in about a half day. We stumbled upon the bull-fighting museum, and although very cool, we saw the entire thing in approximately 19 minutes. 

The city was beautiful and I really did like it. We decided to end our day trip with Indian tea and a hookah.

The next morning, I went to the airport to pick up my sister and her boyfriend John! We have been planning a trip for them for about three months, and time FLEW. I was so excited to see them! The general plan was to spend the first day exploring Barcelona. I wanted to keep them awake so they could quickly get used to the six hour time difference. They saw my apartment and got ready. We walked around La Rambla (complete tourist trap) and the Gothic Quarters. 

The funny thing is that Jayme and I, of all people, were not allowed into the cathedral thanks to our dresses being "too short." Well, let me tell you, I had boots up to my knees and about an inch of leg showing, but apparently that is too much. It was embarrassing being turned away! But we laughed about it. We were starving, so we stopped at the first place we found, which was, funny enough, and Italian pizza place. I HAD to introduce them to European pizza, as it is like nothing else you've ever put in your mouth.

The irony was that this was their first meal in Spain...Italian...and our waitress was from the Phillipines. Also, the radio played cheesy [American] 80s songs all throughout lunch. Spain has yet to bore me.

That night, all four of us (Taso was still here) went to Font Magica, which is a really cool light/fountain show. 

It is at the base of Montjuic, and has a gorgeous view of the city. 

We had tapas and gelato that night. I had to introduce them to the gloriousness of gelato. Aka, get them addicted like me. The next morning, we were off to the airport. 
Taso's flight back to Italy was at 3pm, and ours was, I thought, at 2pm. However, when we got there, I realized our flight was NOT at 3, but was at 5pm. So we were 4 hours early for our flight. Oops? It was way early, but kind of nice because we could just take our time. And duh, get some airport shopping in. This is a must, and probably one of the biggest reasons my credit card bills are so high. We got into Madrid at around 7 and went straight to our hostel. (Sidenote: We did not go directly to our hostel, as Jayme left her new camera on a bench at the airport metro. So, after realizing this, we had to go all the way back to the airport, only to find that her camera is long gone. It was her 5th camera in about 4 years, which might just be a world record. Sorry, Jaym.) Our hostel was sort of in the ghetto, or so we assumed was the ghetto. Turns out all of Madrid is ghetto at night, but that's another topic. Luckily, Jayme brought a Madrid travel book, which we relied on the entire time. Our first meal was at a place called Do Salmon, and it turned out to be delicious.

We had seafood and house wine (sidenote: a bottle of house wine in Spain is about 5euro, on avaerage. So we did a LOT of wine-drinking). Although a cheap meal, it was one of our favorites all week.

The next morning, we woke up early and had some issues with our hostel. The breakfast was a long wait and...terrible. Who wants to wait an hour for half-toasted bread and plain cereal with warm milk? Anywho, we finally made it to the Palace. Which was...incredible.

It took about two hours to tour through the entire thing, and it was soo beautiful. It was definitely the highlight of Madrid. We also went to the cathedral attached to the palace.

We lucked out with beautiful weather and a nice, laid-back day. We made our way to this really cute park, that reminded us of Alice in Wonderland.

We were really frustrated because, as I have mentioned before, traditional Spaniards really take advantage of their siesta. A lot of restaurants and stores do not open up until 9 or 10pm, and when you tour and sight-see all day, you don't want to wait that long to eat. So, after a frustrating search for food, we finally found a decent, but overpriced, restaurant.

I got cod (right?) with two sauces, potatoes, and veggies. I think it was my first real seafood since I've been here, which is odd because I live on the coast. 

Anywho, we were not huge fans of Madrid. It turned out to be kind of dirty and too...big-city for us. I mean, I love big cities, but there was just something, that I cannot place, that I did not like about it. We were in agreement that since it is the capital of Spain, you cannot miss it. However, it really is a one-time visit kind of place.

Next morning, we were off to Valencia. Now this was our kind of city. It is the third largest city in Spain, but you would never know it. It felt small-town and comfortable. It was chock full of history and our hostel was in the middle of the historical part of town. 

All the buildings were old and beautiful, and it was an easy city to get around. Our favorite part of the entire trip was going to the Catedral de Valencia.

which is centuries old and houses the alleged Holy Chalice...The Holy Grail that Jesus used at the Last Supper.

It was such an amazing experience, and I cannot even describe how I felt. I sat and looked at it for a good 15 minutes, and I really was just in awe. First of all, growing up in Ohio of all places, I am not used to seeing such history. Our history dates back to what, 1774? Ok, 1492 with a huge missing chunk in between. Seeing all these historical things in Europe makes me realize that what we've learned and the stories we have heard are not JUST stories. It's just a really bizarre feeling. Anyway, I know the Bible is factual and not just stories, but I still have always thought of them as stories. Seeing the [alleged] cup that Jesus actually used was just...indescribable. It solidified all these feelings that Jesus was real and the Bible is true. It's just something everyone should experience. Really.

The cathedral might have been the coolest thing I've been to yet. Actually, I can pretty much guarantee it is the coolest thing I've seen. As I said before, we loved Valencia, but the weather was AWFUL. It was pouring rain and thunderstorming (yep, that's a word) for the majority of the day. We were exhausted and although loved the city, we had a hard time truckin. So we had a "snap," as Taso would call it, and got some energy for dinner.

Valencia is the home of paella, so we were so pumped about trying it in the homeland!

We got chicken & rabbit paella, and it was pretty fantastic.

And I took them to their first Flamenco show. I was really excited to show them Flamenco. We went to this cute bar and it was really laid-back and casual.

The guys were so talented and the music was awesome.

We woke up super early to go back to the airport in the morning, but unfortunately I, once again, was wrong about your flight time. I thought it was at 7:10...but it wasn't until 10:40. Oops? So, for the second time in three days, we were hanging out at the airport. Luckily Jaym and I are really good airport shoppers, and we are now proud owners of awesome perfume (I got Versace), and really good lip gloss.

We got to Barcelona around 11:30 and the weather was awful. It was Jayme's 25th birthday (old hag), and we really needed a day to chill out (a day of rest, if you will). So, while John slept, Jayme and I did some birthday shopping. Is it bad that I bought more than she did, for HER birthday? Oops. So, got all dressed up and went out that night to a great Mexican place called Mex&Cal.

We had strawberry margaritas! Which were wonderful. However, we are convinced that our service was awful since we're Americans. This was just the first of many examples. It took us about 2 and a half hours to get dinner and pay. Luckily, the waiter won us back by giving us free shots (taking one with us) and kissing Jaym on the cheek for her birthday.

I HAD to introduce them to a bar called Chupitos (it means "Shots" in Spanish). They have hundreds of fun shots to choose from, and we tried about six different ones that night.

First, we tried the Willy Wonka, which suited us because we had been watching that movie that day. It was made with Baileys and you had to drink the shot and then eat the chocolate. Oh my gosh. You don't even know how delicious this was.

My favorite was the Harry Potter. It was some sort of alcohol mixture with sugar and oranges. They set it on fire and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on it to make it glitter, like magic powder. The fact that I am Harry Potter-obsessed really enforced how much I enjoyed this shot. We tried a few others, including some really bad ones. Overall, we had a really good time and Jayme had a great birthday!

Earlier that day, John and I had set out to find Jaym flowers. We couldn't find a flower shop (weird right?), but we DID find an amazing bakery and chocolate store. We found her this awesome cake that was like...whipped cream-ish, with raspberries and cake layers. It was incredible.

She finished it for breakfast the next morning. There is nothing like cake for breakfast. :)

The next day, we walked around the city and actually got into the Cathedral de Barcelona this time. We were blessed with a beautiful and sunny day. There was this cool craft and antique fair outside the church (since it was the day before Good Friday), so we dawdled around and bought presents for people. We also had pizza for lunch. I am telling you, I could eat it every single day. It is AWESOME.

We had plans to make a picnic for lunch the next day, so I showed them La Bouqeria, which is something you cannot miss.

It was soo crowded, but we got fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, olives, and bread for our picnic! Us Doyle sisters LOVE food.

That night, we were exhausted and didn't feel like getting all dressed up for dinner. After a major shopping spree (H&M and TopShop anyone? John gets an H&M discount, so we could not resist.), we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. It's kind of a running joke and tradition for our family to eat there. Although a very cheesy setting, it is also very fun and something you HAVE to do. 

We ate so much food, and basically wanted to die afterward. I was honestly considering taking a cab the half-mile back to my apartment. Haha. Although American food is good and it was nice to eat it again, I now understand why the "trend" has not caught on in Spain. Americans eat WAY too much, and WAY too poorly. I mean, the portions were so much bigger than anywhere else I've eaten in Spain. It's actually really sad.

So, the next day was Good Friday and most things in Spain were closed. Basically, the touristy places were the only things open. I didn't even think of this until halfway through the week, so we saved the things that we knew were free and would be open. We woke up a little late, as I forgot to set my alarm (Sorry Jaym!), and we headed out to Gaudi's Park Guell. Originally, the plan was to walk the hour and half to the park, but it was cold and rainy (Ugh), so we decided to metro it. We packed our picnic and it was delicious. We walked around the park for about two hours and it was really cool.

It looks like something straight out of a Christmas movie about gingerbread men.

We even got to take a tour inside the house Gaudi lived in.

After the park (it pretty much stopped raining by then), we went to Sagrada Familia. Jaym was kind of indifferent at first, but I told her that you cannot come to Barcelona and NOT see it.

After seeing it, she was very glad I convinced her to see it. It's beautiful and both sides are so well-done, but different. It's crazy to think that the same person designed both sides.

We went back to my apartment and they had to pack. The week seemed so long, but yet went by so fast. Too fast. Before she left, she needed to cut my hair, but she forgot her scissors. All I had were those scissors from elementary school with the plastic handle. It still said "Kelly Doyle" in my mom's handwriting. :)

She cut my hair, my first in over three months (it was MUCH needed), on my little balcony. I'm pretty sure it is the best cut she's ever given me. How weird is that?

We got all dressed up and ready to go out for our last night. We took a cab down to the port and had dinner at a small seafood restaurant. Here, we had our last pitcher(s) of Sangria.

And we decided to have paella again. This time, we got seafood paella.

And it was actually better than in Valencia. Which is so odd, considering Valencia is where it comes from. We also went out for shots, once more, at Chupitos. Who can resist the fun 2euro shots?

First, we got the Boy Scout.

You roast a marshmallow and dip it into the alcohol. Then, you drink the shot and eat the marshmallow. Ok, it's delicious.

I have no idea what this one is called, but they set it on fire. Then, you drink the shot in the middle and they hold the smoke in the cup. After drinking, you inhale the smoke with a straw. It was gross and made me cough a lot.

Next, we did a shot called "Fantasma," which was kind of fruity but mint.

So, you swish it around in your mouth for 10 seconds, swallow, then breathe in deeply. Let me tell you, I about spit it out. It was like mouthwash, but worse.

Lastly, we did a Pop Rocks shot. You put the Pop Rocks in your mouth and then take the shot. You swish it around in your mouth and close your ears (I look like a monkey). It was fun to feel it poppin' around in my mouth, but did NOT taste good. I was done after this.

The next morning, I went to Jayme and John to the airport. It was really hard saying goodbye, and I didn't want them to leave me.

It's weird because I always thought we would not travel well together, but we actually (and surprisingly) had an awesome week. The only times we "fought" were pretty much in the mornings, when I am at my worst. Also, we were both really good about apologizing and being understanding. Honestly, we got along better than we ever have before, and it is safe to say that this trip definitely brought us a lot closer. At first, I was worried about being the third wheel with her and John, but we never had that problem at all. They were really good about not leaving me out, and I was really happy to show them around "my" city. Also, I was trying really hard to be a good tour guide. It was frustrating when things did not go the way I had planned because I wanted them to have the best trip. I think it's both a flaw and a positive quality in me. I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that everyone is having a good time, and I get really upset when something doesn't go right. I definitely get that from my mom. And although I know it is a good quality, it can also stop me from having a good time. Needless to say, being a tour guide is much more difficult than I thought, but Jayme and John claim that I was a good one. So, I'm glad they had a good trip!

Well, my fingers and brain are in pain from all this story-telling. I think I am going to have more "me" time tonight. Since it is Easter, afterall, I am going to read some Bible stories about that big guy upstairs, and possibly journal. However, it is hard to motivate myself to journal when I blog, as well. Oh well, it's a nice way to talk about the things I hide from you guys. :)

Happy Easter and I can't wait to see you all. Just think, in just over three weeks (wow, SO soon. TOO soon.), you Ohioans will once again be graced with my presence. :)