I've Changed Blogs!

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Selfies in Seattle

To think that just last week I was walking the streets of Seattle with the wonderful Samantha Lilly...

...caffeine from the 5 cups of coffee we had downed in the last two hours causing my hands to be a bit shaky as I took photos...

 ...the bouquet of flowers from Pike Place continuously wowing me with vibrant colors...

...the taste of clam chowder reminding me of days spent exploring the waters of the west coast as a child...

...the space needle, a terrifying yet beautiful reminder of how vast the world is and how minuscule we are (Okay. I'm getting too deep now. I know)...

 ...a light breeze grazing my cheeks as we looked out at the reflection of the waxing moon on the ripples of water...

... oh how I miss it. 

From the liberal propaganda on the TV to the coffee shops on every corner, Washington has become my favorite state. Not only can I actually take deep breaths there, but each inhale feels so... refreshing. Coming from the dry state of Utah, I would most likely perceive every breath as "fresh" as long as I was in a humid location, yet there's something special about that Washington breath. Maybe it's the fact that I'm breathing in oxygen from the towering evergreens that surround me wherever my eyes so choose to gaze. 

Or that I'm sharing said breath with the wonderful inhabitants of the state,
inhabitants whose scooter tricks I question

(you clearly had no way of landing that brah)

But beyond all of that, there's also the fact that Seattle itself is simply SUCH A WONDERFUL CITY, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT. 

So count on my return, Washington. I'll be back. 

Soon, hopefully. 


Huge GRACIAS to Samantha for introducing me to this wonderful state... oh, and to Evan Peters. He's a nice touch. 

Here are our selfies in Seattle

Drinking Mate in Spanish Class

One of the few things that I've always remembered about middle school has been my fifth and sixth grade Spanish/History teacher. She let us call her anything, as long as a "Ms" was present, and she is probably the most energetic person I'll ever meet in my entire life. But as the title suggests, I'm not planning on writing about this teacher, rather, about the traditional South American drink she introduced me to: Mate.

So why is it that five years after having this teacher, I'm finally writing about this drink? Well, recently, we learned about how to prepare it and drank an excessive amount in HL Spanish. It's a tea, but unlike most, it is not simply put into a steeping bag and stuck into a mug full of hot water. Rather, the tradition behind preparing it is quite extensive, and finally achieving the point of drinking the mate is much more enjoyable because of it.

What do you need?

  • Yerba Mate
  • Mate - the container in which the yerba mate is prepared; this can be made from hollowed calabaza, stainless steal, wood... the list goes on and on.
  • Bombilla - the straw used; the side which is inserted into the mate has little holes in it so to filter the actual herbs and prevent them from entering the straw
  • Hot Water
  • Extra things you may or may not choose to add: sugar, cinnamon, honey, milk, small orange slices...
How do you prepare it?
  1. Fill the mate two-thirds full of yerba mate.
  2. Place your hand on top of the mate and gently turn it upside down. Turn it back over and repeat this step several times. By doing this, you're getting rid of the fine pieces of the yerba mate so that later on, when you're drinking, nothing enters through the small holes in the bombilla. 
  3. After you're finished with step two, carefully flip the mate so that the yerba stays on a vertical half of the mate. Slowly pour some hot water until about the half way mark. 
  4. Cover the top of your bombilla with your thumb and insert it, making sure that it reaches the bottom. Now you can fill the mate almost full with water.
  5. Mix the yerba mate with the bombilla. 
  6. You're now ready to drink it! If you want, this is the point at which you can add the extra ingredients to sweeten the taste.

I initially tried the mate just plain;it has a strong bitter taste. So if you're a fan of such tastes, you may want to stick to the yerba mate without any additions. However, if you're like me and the rest of my friends, adding a little something sweet is never bad. I added some sugar as well as cinnamon, and the taste was absolutely divine. So much so that I kept adding hot water until the end of class. This meant that come chemistry (my next class), I was highly caffeinated and could barely sit still. 


Today is my last full day in Calahorra, meaning my last full day living with my host family and the last time I'll probably ever see many of the amazing people I met here over this past month. It's been 35 days since I came here, but really 65 days since the adventure began, because 65 days ago Cristina flew into Utah. It's pretty crazy thinking about it. I spent 65 straight days (1560 hours) with a girl that I really didn't know, just through some vague e-mails and direct messages on twitter. But here's to just that, to those 65 days of an amazing summer that I will never forget. And although I won't be going home for another week (I'm going to Madrid to visit friends I met two years ago when I was here), I'm not sure how good my access to wifi will be, so this is my goodbye post to Spain, specifically, Calahorra. It's a compilation of pictures marking every place I visited over the past couple of weeks.

 Os quiero todos.

Finally in Spain. This was a joyous moment. 

1st day: Dinosaur Park. This was a "make fun of Marcelina" picture

Logrono with Ines

First day in Galicia.

Porto, Portugal
Santiago de Compostela
Sanxenxo Centro during the night

Trying to get Ines to smile in Lugo

Castillo de Ponferrada
The cathedral in Leon
Post-dinner with la familia

Bodegas Vivanco with Cristina

Covadonga (Asturias)
Cangas de Onis

Pouring Sidra
Oviedo with Ines

More Oviedo

Monasterio de Valvanera
Pues nada. Adios Calahorra. Han sido unas vacaciones geniales.

Viva Asturias

So last weekend, as I had mentioned that we would be doing, we went to Asturias. Friday night, we visited Covadonga, which is a cave with a statue of the virgin. Also popular to visit are the lakes of Covadonga, but since we had forgotten the key to open the main door to the apartment we were staying at, we decided to go back another day so that we would catch the people at the main desk before they left. So we did end up going to the lakes, but we did so on Sunday night.

Ines and I. The virgin is located in the opening in the mountain wall...

Walking to the virgin with Cristina.

A church situated at a higher point than the cave itself 
The virgin is that little white triangle with two lights on either side. 

Candles lit at the opening of the cave

So then came Saturday, meaning the day of the Descenso del Sella. Essentially, it's a huge (and pretty insane) kayak race that is 13 kilometers long down the river "sella." At the beginning of the race, the water is only about 1-2 feet deep, so as you watch all the participants starting, many run through the shallow parts, while others try to push their way through the rocks (we saw one man who broke his oar). Also this day, as the descenso takes place when the pueblos have their fiestas, we went up to the train station and found a group of people that had been drinking for the past 12 hours, and they were still singing and dancing along with fake pitch forks and head arrangements. Regardless to say, it was quite the day.

At the train station... see all those people in yellow? Yeah. 12 straight hours. 

Whoo. Drunks. 

Down by the river waiting for the race to start. 

The next day, Sunday, we traveled to Oviedo. Oviedo is probably best known for the fact that it has pre-Romanesque churches and shrines. Also, as I mentioned before, we visited the Lakes of Covadonga.

On a park bench in Oviedo.

A pre-Romanesque shrine in Oviedo

With Ines, Susana, and Cristina at the lakes. 

One of two of the lakes of Covadonga.

So there were cows.

A lot of them.

 So yeah. That was Asturias. At this point, I only have one week left, and then back to the states! I will definitely be missing Spain... again. I will come back though, that's for sure. But for now...

Peace out Asturias.