Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spanish Movies

TV programs here may be pretty wack, but the Spaniards are relatively well known for their awesome movies! I've watched three movies so far, and all three were really great in their own ways.

The first one I saw was Pa Negre, which actually is "Pan Negro" (black bread) in Catalan, the regional language of Cataluña where Barcelona is located. The movie is set in a small townright after Guerra Civil, the Spanish Civil War, when Franco came into power.

The movie is in Catalan, and therefore I couldn't understand a word of it, but that's what subtitles are for! :) It was artistically beautiful, but boy oh boy, is it dark! The content was disturbing and unsettling, and I don't know if I will watch it again, but it definitely did a good job of capturing the dark times Spaniards went through. Recommend it if you're looking for something thought provoking, but don't watch it if you want a pick me up, or are having a girls' night in.

The second movie I watched was Un Franco, 14 Pesetas. Very very good. Set in the 1960s of Spain under the rule of Franco. Granted Spain has serious financial difficulties today (who doesn't?), however, in the 60s, things were worse. To make ends meet, a lot of jobless Spaniards immigrated to surrounding European countries who were experiencing an economic boom after WWII, and mailed money home. And that is what this story is about. Two friends, Marcos and Martin move to Switzerland, and the story unfolds.

The movie is in, well, Spanish, but it's humorous, endearing, and maybe it's because I am 1.5 generation child (AKA moved to a foreign country at a young age), the movie hit a mooshy part in me. I recommend it!
And lastly, just watched it today after having it checked out of the library for a whole week, Las 13 Rosas. Yet another movie about the Guerra Civil Española, and el franquismo, but it was a beautiful, beautiful movie. Shed tears here and there, but it was really good.

The movie takes place after the franquists win the war in 1939, but a group of young women are fighting against the change. 13 women, most all of them around the age of 19 and 20, are "rojos" and therefore enemies to the state. The movie sheds a little bit of light into the lives of the girls, and I'll stop here because I don't know how to talk about the movie further without giving away the whole plot. It is based on an actual event in history, and I really, highly recommend it. From the actors, to the costumes, to the fact that it shows places in Madrid that I recognize, I enjoyed the movie thoroughly.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Little Bigger Cultural Difference

BOOBS ON TV. I completely sounded like a sixth grader just now, but no, in all seriousness, there are boobs on TV. And not just TV, but on the 9 o'clock news. The news blurb was about (or at least what I think it was about) how this one doctor is getting arrested for bad breast implants. Throughout this 5~7 minute news story, there were bare boobs all over the place. It was strange.

Speaking of TV, I think the TV here is much more liberal/less censored here than TV is in America. There was an ad for something during the middle of a game show, and it legitimately were two fantom-like couple having sex. VERY VERY awkward to watch with your host mom. Maybe less censorship is yay-freedom-of-speech, but at the same time, this is the time in which families are watching TV together. I mean, should 8 year olds be watching this? Am I just being super-conservative? Call me an old grandma, but sex scenes for commercials just doesn't seem right in my eyes (no pun intended).

TV shows in general here are weird. And not that interesting.

Cultural differences

So I thought I might extend the last part of a previous post on cultural differences, and dedicate a whole post (or a whole series of posts) on small cultural differences I've witnessed here in Spain.

The first one is a small one.

The sun rises REALLY late here. I leave the house at 8, and I feel like I'm leaving at 5 in the morning. What's the sun doing??!? It makes my morning commutes so much harder.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I'm certain my host mom talks about me. But I can't tell if she is talking bad about me or not. I get real suspicious when she lowers her voice. ONLY IF I COULD SPEAK SPANISH FLUENTLY.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fun ideas

A general philosophy I grew up with is that if you want to become smarter, read more. Currently, I'm pretty "stupid" when it comes to Spanish. Today, I had two out of three classes that I will be taking at the university, and wowerz, it's going to be a rough couple of weeks! So in order to help me chug along this process of learning a new language, I thought I might set a goal of reading a novel in Español while I am in Madrid. Maybe this is cheating, but I'm thinking of re-reading a book I have read in English in Spanish.

Some trending ideas are:
Harry Potter series
Twilight series

And...that's about all I've got. Haha. But in my defense, that is still 11 books!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hola, me llamo Ángela

Like promised, here is a proper update about my life 2.0 in España.

Let me start off by saying, my move to Spain was no easy transition. I cried I think almost every day for the first couple of days, and I couldn't exactly explain to you now what were the reasons for these sorrowful tears, but they were sorrow filled, indeed. I seriously contemplated for about a day of taking a semester off and going back to Nashville, or some how find a way to re-enroll myself into BU. I thought about dropping a level in my program, I thought about this, and I thought about that, and throughout the day I would be okay, and the moment I got back to my homestay, my mood plummeted, and I was in despair. I wanted to figure out a way to escape the pain and misery I was feeling, but through it all, God showed me mercy and grace. So much mercy. So much grace. And even more love.

I haven't figured everything out yet, and everything is NOT perfect. Quite far from it, actually. But I am no longer on the phone talking with my parents about me not liking it here, not wanting to be here. YES FOR IMPROVEMENT! :) I wish I could go more into detail about the process, and my current state, but I feel 1) I haven't really processed all of it for me to be able to write publicly about it yet 2) I'm not convinced people want to read paragraphs of my internal thoughts and emotions. At least, not all at once.

So here I am, second (and much improved) weekend in Madrid, having just finished my comida(lunch), sort of wanting to give in and take my siesta, but instead updating my blog. :)


I have had one week of class, which actually isn't apart of la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid(la UAM for short), and the first class was awful, the second class was better, and the third, much much better. I don't understand a lot of what the professor says, but rather than be discouraged, I decided to look at it this way: I came to Spain to learn Spanish, not because I already spoke Spanish. Therefore it is okay for me to not know what the HECK is going on.

Starting Monday, I'll be starting the rest of my classes at la UAM, and so long as I don't change my classes, I'll have class from Monday to Thursday, 9:00AM to 12:15 PM. Only downside is that my commute is about 40~50 minutes, and so that means I have to wake up around 7 every day for class. Let's just say that I'm not much of a morning person. Problem.

As for meals, breakfast is supeeerrrr light (which I'm not a fan of quite yet), lunch is very heavy, and dinner is about average. I live with a señora in a small apartment very close to la Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, where they have the bull fights in Madrid.


Some places I've been able to visit so far:
  • Museo de Sorolla
  • (just a little bit of) Parque del Buen Retiro
  • (outside of) Palacio Real
  • (small section of) Museo del Prado
  • Plaza Mayor
  • Plaza de España
  • Puerta del Sol
Technically I've been to a lot of plazas. They are everywhere. But those are some of the more famous places that I've been to and been able to walk around in. Need to do a lot more exploring, and a lot of eating. :)


Churros con chocolate at a very famous (apparently) and touristy chocolateria.
The famous Goya painting in El Prado.
Got in trouble by a Spanish lady for taking a picture of this...Didn't know I wasn't allowed to. >.<
The above, and the next two are pictures from Sorolla's museum, which is actually his house that was transformed into a museum. Went in on a whim with a friend to kill some time, and what a treat! They let us in for free! :)

I'll post more later, but that's all for now. :)


Small cultural things:

There is a bidet in the bathroom.

Some people here are realll friendly. Yesterday, I was sitting on a bench outside of the Prado waiting for friends, and these two Spanish girls come up to me and strike up a conversation, and we even almost exchanged phone numbers. The conversation with these two complete strangers lasted a good 15 minutes, and we talked about politics, language, and even religion. HAHA

The coffee here is really strong. Café is basically a shot of espresso. And therefore café con leche (coffee with milk) is what most people drink.

I don't know if it is only for this week or something, but at the cafeterias at UAM, they sell beer and wine. As do basically everywhere else that has anything remotely close to selling food.

There are many more, but I'll just leave it here. This post is already really long. I guess that's what I get for procrastinating. And plus I have to meet a friend at the Palacio Cristal at 4:30, no biggie.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Side note

Sorry I haven't updated yet, and I promise I will with pictures and all this weekend, but this week is a little hectic. :P

However, there was a small culture shock I wanted to share before I forgot it.

So Spaniards love to give besos (kisses). When you meet someone, when you say goodbye, when you say goodnight, when congratulating, you give two kisses, one on each cheek. Actually, I had someone just give me one kiss. Don't know how that works, or what that means. Anyways, see, this "kiss" isn't a kiss at all. It's more like putting your cheeks together and making a small kissy noise. Or "attempt" to kiss the other person's cheek, fully knowing your lips are probably not going to touch the other person's cheek.

But needless to say, growing up in a Korean household in America, kissing each other on the cheek as a greeting gesture rarely ever happened. I'm now a little more accustomed to kissing my host mom on the cheek as I leave for school in the morning, when I go to sleep, and such, but today I had a slightly different experience from the normal. My host mom's grown son (near my parents' age) came to visit, and when we greeted each other, we naturally gave each other a kiss on each cheek. But I was slightly startled because he's cheeks weren't as soft as my host moms. Rather, it was prickly! I should have expected as much since an European man's face would be prickly should he had decided not to shave all that well that morning. Nevertheless, internally, I was making this face and saying, O.O woah!! Haha

And that's all. (Haha, I know someone out there is thinking, "cool story bro.") That's a snip bit of my life in España.

PS am I a fifth grader or what?! Writing words like "kiss" and "man's face" and "cheek" and "lips" makes me think I'm writing about something that shouldn't be shared. It makes me want to giggle. -_- I am mature.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Even though I am sitting here at JFK waiting for my flight to Madrid, I sort of don't believe that I'm going. Is this me in denial? Perhaps.

Oddly enough, I was pretty calm this whole winter break, but I had a mild freak out last night while I was packing. I know I shouldn't have waited, but legitimately I didn't finish packing until 3 last night. But then at the same time, I fell asleep around 11 PM, and woke up at 2 still in my jeans a little panicked. One of my good friends texted me last night telling me how packing was the most stressful, and hardest part is packing, and I now I wholeheartedly agree. Maybe it was my lack of preparation, maybe it was my sleepiness, but as I was packing, I had a tidal wave of fear and cold feet, I'm not going to lie, I got a little emotional. :P But you know what, whatever may come, God's got my back. I had this verse spoken over me by two people, and I wanted to share:
"fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." [Isaiah 41:10]

So encouraging. That's not to say that I'm not nervous, and scared, but I have the Lord's promise! What is greater than that?

I hope to be continually reminded of one goal: to be loved, and to love back. Let myself by showered with the Father's love, and reciprocate that love, and share that love.

That's all for now. The next time I update, I will be in España. Hasta luego.


This is too cute to keep for myself. :D

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

T minus 2 days

Things are getting pretty serious. I have laid out and neatly folded (most) all of the clothes I want to bring with me, I got the luggage case out, and got four months worth of contacts. What's more, I've made two significant purchases today.

My new guide to Spain, apparently. Blame my
indecisiveness, my frugality, my practicality, or whatever, but it was very hard choosing a travel guide! So many options, all having their own pros and cons. One is too heavy, the other too many pictures, one with great hotel recommendations but horrible taste in restaurants, the other with great practical tips, but outdated information...etc. And then, to make matters more difficult, the books are divided by country, region, city, the whole continent! Ay Dios mio. If I had an unlimited budget, and an unlimited weight restriction for my bags, then I would have bought at least 5 of them.

Despite the dilemma (what a luxurious dilemma, eh?), I just went with the Frommer's guide. Seemed pretty organized, and people around me seem to recommend it so, there you go.

I sure hope I'll get my money's worth out of this book.

My second purchase of the day is the notorious money belt. While I was at Barnes and Noble thumbing through the travel guide books, Rick Steve's guide to Europe was going on and on about how to avoid theft, getting pick-pocketed, mugged, ripped off, falling for a scam, losing essentials, etc., and he mentioned how he ALWAYS travels with a money belt and feels really uncomfortable traveling without it. And naturally I was convinced that I needed one as well. I hear how common petty theft is in Europe (Spain), and I thought, well, although slightly uncomfortable and unfashionable, it's better to be safe than sorry. Right? Right, so I drove over to Target, and bought myself a nice, ugly, plastic-y money belth. But now that I am home, thinking about it, I'm not 100% sure I'll be using this contraption. Should I return it??!

Am I being super paranoid? I mean, once I can pull off "I know what I am doing, and where I am going" look perfectly in Madrid, I probably won't use it, but during my weekend trips, doesn't a money belt sound like an insurance of sorts?

But it really is happening. Really is happening. Really. Is. Happening.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

T minus 7 days.

This time next week, I will be patiently(?) waiting for my flight to Madrid.

HOLY SHMOLY. This is actually happening. Currazzy.