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I'm spending all of 2012 learning and experiencing new things. This blog is my way of documenting it all, while keeping my family and friends back in the states in the loop. Here's to 2012. Check out my website- Kat Carney Photography

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Semana Santa

I'm can't believe I haven't written in a week! I kept meaning to do it and just never got around to it. Last weekend we had play-offs and we won all our games making us the best team in the second division in the Region of Murica. There are pictures somewhere. I'll try and hunt them down. I have my first Spanish medal!

Other than that I hung out with some new friends and this week has been full of Spanish class, volleyball practice, and teaching English. Next week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) and there are huge fiestas and processions everyday of the week in the city. There is no school for two weeks, and not very many people have to work for the next two weeks as well. The second week off is for Festivals de Primavera (Spring Festivals) and there are also giant parties in the street for that. It should be a good time.

Today, all of Spain was on strike. If you ask me they just wanted to start their vacation a few days early. Oh, the life of a Spaniard.

Giant oranges in Spain

The roof of a church

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time flies

Yesterday around noon I saw a man riding his bike around Plaza Circular, which is just a giant circle where a lot of main streets intersect and the sidewalks are big. Naturally, there is a fountain in the middle. But he wasn't just riding his bike, he was only riding on the back tire. "Impressive," I thought, and I watched him for about five minutes because I was early to where I was going anyway and no one is ever early in Spain.

Later, that night I was walking home from volleyball practice at 11 p.m. and I saw him again, still riding around Plaza Circular on his back tire. This time I didn't watch him for more than a minute because I was tired and it was late, but I wondered if he had been doing that for 11 hours or if it was just coincidence that I happened to see him there again. Strange.

I have playoff's this weekend for volleyball. It's going well and I am finally able to have conversations, albeit broken ones, with the girls on the team. I'm having a blast.

Time is flying by. I've been here for two and a half months already. I can't believe it's almost April.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just Passing Through

I've always been a firm believer of getting to know places instead of just visiting. I used to dislike just passing through a place because there is so much you miss out on. You don't get to experience late night talks on the front porch, the back roads, the secret treasures, the best hikes, sunsets and sunrises, and you miss out on so many amazing people. Those things are really the best part of any place. I don't want to settle for just seeing the awesome beaches or taking a well worn hiking path, but sometimes those things are really exciting too. When I was hitchhiking in the fall of 2009 I didn't get to really see very much of any place, but I had some of the ultimate experiences in random weirdness I could ever hope for. I would still prefer to get to know every place I go, but I've come to realize that I could spend my whole life trying to get to know people and places and never even leave the Midwest. So sometimes I have to take what I can get and get to know parts of places and make the most of my time spent in each one.

My purpose for learning a new language was simply that it radically increased the number of people I can effectively communicate with in this lifetime. I chose Spanish because is super useful in the United States and Mexico/Central/South America are likely my next travel destinations after Europe. Plus it's easier for me than learning Mandarin, for example. But I want to go everywhere eventually, and there is just not enough time in a lifetime to fully experience every place. Maybe one day after I have experienced much more this thought will change, but I don't think I have ever regretted a day that I have traveled. I've never wished I would have just stayed at home. And no matter how tired I get, how frustrating it can sometimes be, and how much I get rained on, I'm always happy I walked out of my door (or tent) in the morning and experienced something new in my day.

The Mediterranean. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Paddy's Day

I've been slacking on the blog. I was supposed to do it everyday, but I'd rather write something with purpose rather than repeat the same stuff over and over, like what new word I learned in Spanish.

That being said, this blog post really has very little purpose. I'm going to the beach tomorrow for the rest of the weekend. And it's a long weekend because Lunes es el dia de San Jose. Happy St. Paddy's Day to all you Irish folk, and all you folks who are Irish just for the day.

Real Madrid Stadium

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The Spanish do fountains well, and there is a fountain for every important time, place, event, and person in Spanish history. If there is a monument, rest assure, there is a fountain around it to make it prettier. Madrid is no different than the rest of Spain in that respect. There is a fountain or water feature about every 10 feet or so because that is how much history lies within the city boundaries of Madrid. I like fountains as much as the next person. In fact, I would say I like them more than the average person. When I was 10 I checked out no less than 7 books from the library on water gardens and fountains. But I think the whole country of Spain has me beat on love of water features. I didn't think it was possible. I was wrong. All joking aside, Madrid has sooooooo much history. It was incredible, beautiful, and I am continuously blown away by how much history the cities and towns have here. The architecture is unreal and impressive.

Needless to say, Madrid was awesome. I was there for two and a half days but, thanks to my wonderful friend Simon, I was able to see a lot of things in the course of one really fun afternoon.

I met Simon two years ago when he was riding his bike from Fairbanks, Alaska to the tip of Argentina. He couchsurfed at my house in Chanute, KS where I lived at the time. It was so cool to see him again in Madrid. From small town Kansas to Madrid...who would have thought?! He was the best tour guide I could have asked for. Not only is he a fountain (haha...a figurative fountain, not literal) of historical knowledge, he has an impeccable sense of direction (most of the time), and he is really good at monopoly.  Admirable traits, although apparently not sufficient enough to impress flight attendants.

I honestly can't remember the name of everything he showed me, nor can I remember even close to everything he told me about what we saw. I can remember that he pointed out a bank and said that it is unique because if someone tries to rob it and manages to make it past the laser sensors, when they attempt to leave it floods within 10 seconds and the thief drowns.  He also showed me a 3,000 year old gift of temples (naturally surrounded with water and a few fountains) from the Egyptians to Spain. I would tell you more about it but I was mesmerized watching a man blow smoke into giant bubbles while kids popped them. But everything we saw was beautiful and I had a great time. I also went to the Prado and the futbol stadium of  Real Madrid.
Me with a fountain and a palace.

Simon navigating the streets of Madrid.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gypsy market

I went to the gypsy market today, and it was awesome to the max! I really enjoy the company of gypsies. They are such characters, and Spanish speaking ones are no exception. I bought a pair of sunglasses (only 4 Euros) and I'm going back next week with a friend from England so she can experience it too! Think Canal Street in NYC, but replace the chinese people with Spanish gypsies. And it's all outside in the beautiful sunshine.

I have started dreaming in Spanish. Well not entirely in Spanish, but people speak Spanish to me in my dreams. It's awesome. Learning a new language gives new meaning to the term "you learn something new everyday." I'm learning a lot of new things everyday and it's been such a roller coster. Today is the two month mark. Two whole months here in Spain, and I only have five left. Time goes always seems to go faster than I think it will and it's getting better everyday.

Hanging out with a gypsy named Jose. Here he was shouting to his friend across the street that he was talking to an American. Then he started shouting about deals on shoes.

Fruit, tomatoes, and italian candy.

Monday, March 5, 2012


"I haven't slept for 10 days, because that would be too much." -Mitch Hedberg.

Well, I think I'm getting to the rough part of learning a language. The part where I know most of what people are saying, and if they ask me a question I know what I would like to say back to them, but actually piecing together my response is often a slow and painful process. I just want to say what I want to say at this point, sabes (ya know)?

Spring is here in Murcia and it is lovely. I'm going to Madrid this weekend. I think at some point I need to take a week off, rent a car, and road trip everywhere I want to go. Would anyone like to come with me?

"You know, I'm sick of following my dreams, man. I'm just going to ask where they're going and hook up with 'em later." -Mitch Hedberg

Old ship in Cartagena.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stop Motion

This was shot over two months ago and it really didn't take me that long to edit, but I just got around to finishing it up. Craig needed to lose some hair and I had my camera on hand so we did a little stop motion video. His faces are priceless. What a nerd.

Anyway, sorry the quality is terrible on here. The higher quality video was taking forever to upload.

Higher quality video can be found if you click here.