April Showers of work (work work work work work)

As soon as I came back from my Easter visit I had a tag-along; my sister. As a short break before her exams (and mine) she came to visit me for a long weekend. Of course, she’d already been in November, with the rest of my family, so there weren’t many more sites to show her, but it was lovely to have a bit of quality time with my little sister before we both got bogged down with essays and exams.

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Gal Pals in PortuGal

Hola a tod@s! (that’s a cool new morphological Spanish term I’ve learned, which is basically ‘todo/as’ but more gender non-specific than the more neutral ‘todos’. It’s only used in writing and I love it. I love how language changes and develops! And now I’m off-topic so I’ll get back to the update…) The last weekend of February (also my last weekend free from dissertation work until May) was our trip to Portugal!

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Her Name Was Lola…

Hola readers! This entry is yet another February update, focusing on the lovely Lola and her visit to the magical land of Madrid. Lola and I have been friends for over ten years now (I feel so old.) and she has been my rock for every single one of them. We went through the pains of GCSE science together, lamented over art GCSE coursework and even went on to study A-level Spanish together, and even though we’ve gone our separate ways for university, having her out in Spain was such a wonderful experience.

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Carnaval in Cadiz

Hola readers! The weekend after Alice left me all alone in Spain (such a hard life I lead, I know), Ella and I went on a day trip to Cadiz for Spain’s annual Carnaval. The problem? We didn’t really know what it was for. And neither did anyone else.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Madrid

Hola! Welcome to the first of many February updates; my long weekend with Alice.

First, a quick introduction; meet Alice. She’s a fantastic human being who I love very much; she’s a nurse; she loves cats more than humans; she’s the most scathing, sarcastic person I’ve ever met; she’s been my friend for three years and I am so incredibly close to her.

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5 Spanish Stereotypes

Stereotypes Which I’ve Found To Be Totally True

1. Siestas. For about three hours every day, most shops are closed to enjoy lunch and an afternoon chit-chat session. The exceptions are the bigger, international brands like Primark and Zara, which tend to remain open, but are usually pretty quiet. In terms of banks and public services, though, forget about it – once they’re closed for siesta, they rarely reopen.

2. Mañana culture is real. So real. Don’t expect anything to get done for deadline unless you ask for it three weeks in advance. On the other hand, if you don’t get things done by the deadline they’ve set, expect all hell to break loose.

3. Fiestas. Spain has tons of fiestas. If a city is celebrating a fiesta, all rules are broken. For example, drinking on the streets is illegal most of the year, but during fiesta days the botellon culture takes over. And I love it. Because even though people drink on the streets, they aren’t getting drunk the way us Brits do on holiday; Spain’s relationship with alcohol is, dare I say, healthy.

4. Spanish Speaking Speed. Spanish people speak so, so quickly. Especially if they think you can speak Spanish too. They’ll run with it and you’ll just have to smile and nod.

5. Iberian Passion. While the Spanish people I’ve met haven’t necessarily been short tempered, they’ve all had their moments of passion. Whether it’s over heating bills or The Lion King, when they’re particularly invested in something, they really fight for it. Honestly, it’s fantastic to see such conviction in one’s beliefs.

Semester One Adventures: Madrid Highlights

Madrid is an amazing city, and I feel so privileged to have been here for as long as I have. Throughout Semester One of Erasmus, I have explored the city and I’m sharing some of my Madrileñan highlights from Autumn/Winter:

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Welcome to Madrid: 5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Erasmus

Buenas días readers!

I’ve been in Madrid, Spain for five months now, and since going back home for the holidays, I think I’ve definitely garnered a new-found appreciation for the country and their way of life. Here are 5 things I wish I’d known during my Erasmus in Spain:

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