Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yet another food post. Ridic.

 I hope you're starting to get a good idea of where the extra weight comes from. This is the best dessert ever. It is fresh strawberries submerged in a combination of sweetened condensed milk and natural yogurt.  My Señora constantly makes new batches of it and after dinner looks at me with this ridiculous face saying: "¿Anna, mi hija, quieres un poquito más...postre?" I'm telling you, you can't say no to this lady. And with stuff like this, why would you WANT to?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Papas Fritas

More food. These things are awesome and accompany more meals than they should. Homemade french fries cooked in olive oil. A lot healthier than your McDonald's variety, but I'm not fooling myself into thinking they are actually good for me. Just less bad. Yum. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pannadora Radio ©

I've had my fair share of the classic Student Abroad Syndrome. SAS is a real condition, go look it up. I was going to explain it by saying it's like a roller coaster, but that analogy is much too cliché. But it really is like that, so you'll just have to hear it one more time: It's like a roller coaster. Being thrown into a new country with a different culture and language allows for swinging between extremes of "Oh crap what am I doing here?!" all the way to "My life is so awesome!" and back again. What do you do when this happens? You listen to music, thats what! For your enjoyment, I whipped together two playlists to indulge these highs and lows.

The first playlist is when you want to wallow in your own loneliness and homesickness. For when you feel like you don't have friends, possess the language capacity of a mid-level Dora the Explorer viewer, and get served a whole baby squid on your plate for dinner. This perfect mix of self-pity and melancholy won't let you down. Here's the pity party playlist:

1. Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie
2. All by Myself - Celine Dion (This is about as low as it gets. Only turn to Celine in extreme circumstances.)
3. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens (also "Sweet Home Chicago" by the Blues Brothers is optional for all my trin-munity's enjoyment.)
4. House That Built Me - Miranda Lambert
5. Father and Daughter - Paul Simon (Classic missing dad song.)
6. Carolina on my Mind - James Taylor
7. Breathe - Taylor Swift
8. Dark Blue - Jack's Mannequin
9. Homeward Bound - Simon and Garfunkel
10. Vanilla Twilight - Owl City
11. Rainy Days and Mondays - The Carpenters
12. I Miss You - Blink 182 (This selection is not complete without nasally yelling along to the first line when Tom DeLonge comes in.)

But then after sucking it up (perhaps after the pivotal song of "Big Girls Don't Cry" thanks to our friend Frankie Valli), you realize you are in Europe! And you aren't that bad at Spanish. And you made tons of friends and you get to do stuff like take pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower and sleep in the Barcelona airport. So this playlist is for when you are with your new friends from all over the place and you want to  sit around and soak up each other's awesomeness. Here is the "Spain Rules!" playlist:

1. The Adventure - Angels and Airwaves
2. Rocketeer - Far East Movement
3. Dog Days are Over - Florence and the Machine
4. Why Not - Hilary Duff (Yeah, that's right, I said it. Hilary Duff. Take a crazy chance.)
5. Wavin' Flag - K'naan (¡Campeones del mundo!)
6. Brand New Strings - Miranda Lambert
7. 21st Century Girl - Willow Smith (I really am a 21st century girl. I do what I like.)
8. Wide Open Spaces - Dixie Chicks
9. A Whole New World - Aladdin
10. Loca - Shakira (Yo soy loca. Pero te gusta eso.)
11. Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac (I know this was Bill Clinton's campaign theme in the past, but I'm a big believer in redeeming things for higher purposes. The whole Abraham Kuyper thing.)
12. Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall

**Update - Rudi Gesch, tied for first place for the best brother award, has created the playlist on Youtube. So ch-ch-ch-check it out.**


Just call me DJ Jazzy Gesch. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gesch where I went last week!

Renate and I in Landshut
Oh my Gesch! (That was for you, Steve Krygsheld) Last week I left Sevilla to visit the relatives in the Munich area. This little Gesch-together was a fabulous time to reconnect with the European family members. I went to various and sundry places in Bavaria such as Metten, Passau, Landshut, Tiefenbach, Chiemsee, and two trips to Salzburg. They spoiled me rotten. The food. Oh the food. I had a quality steak for the first time in forever. And a brat. A real brat. Beautiful. Jealous you can't have such a prestigious last name? Well, I Gesch you'll just have to look at the pictures and dream.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles

I am currently in the home of Hans-Dieter and Elke Gesch. I am looking at an impeccably clean and perfectly decorated kitchen and living room, reflecting on the awesomeness that is Germany and the people who live here. This is why:

They drive BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. They can all drive manual transmission cars. The autobahn is amazing and without speed limits, yet has a very low accident rate. They KNOW THE MEANING OF TIME; when you plan a meeting time it means the ACTUAL time. They are friendly on the streets and you are allowed to smile at strangers. Basically, they do things RIGHT.

Pictures will come after Sunday when I get back to Sevilla!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Down By the River

Last week my small group wanted to do something outside to enjoy the beautiful weather instead of always meeting at a café to talk. So for a change of pace we rented a paddle boat for an hour our on the river and enjoyed the beautiful views! The name of the little rental company is pretty clever - the river is the Guadalquivir and the shop is called "Pedalquivir." Such a good pun you might be fooled into thinking it was a Rudi Gesch original! It was about 85 degrees and perfectly sunny. I couldn't help but think back to my paddle boat days in Birchwood on Little Birch Lake - a little shoutout to all the VanDrunen cousins for that one. There were two seats in the front with pedals and two seats in the back just for riding along. And  I had to laugh because I just KNOW that each person who took a turn pedaling was secretly thinking that the other pedaler next to them was NOT pulling their weight in the foot-power effort.

Below are some pictures of the people and the views. My small group consists of Ashley (the blonde one) Angie (the little tan one in the black shirt) Sarah (with the sunglasses on) and Hannah (who couldn't make it to the paddling excursion). It is great to meet with them and talk about prayer requests and other stuff every Wednesday. Ashley helped me narrate the video above. As I am sure you can tell, this girl has a fair amount of energy. Thanks to this most of our group meetings are spent laughing half the time. And now I am going to take this moment to say my favorite river quote: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."- Mark Twain. Not related to anything, but I think it's funny, and it's my blog. So there you have it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

With My Own Eyes

My Grandma Gesch's favorite passage:

"Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;  I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"

Job 19: 23-27

After this next week, expect pictures of my trip to Germany. Tomorrow I fly out to Munich to visit the German Gesches for a week, which I think will be good for me to be with people who knew and loved my grandma. What a fantastic person and testament to the Lord - she is with her Redeemer right now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mis Amigos

Thought you might want a preview of, as my dad would say, "my peeps." These people are the reasons why I love this semester so much. When I leave Spain, I am not so sure I will miss the place quite as much as WHOM (correct usage? help me out here) I was in the place with. One of my biggest fears about this semester was that I came COMPLETAMENTE alone. I do not enjoy feeling friendless. But that fear proved to be stupid, and I am so thankful I took the risk. Our program of 50 students is made up of very different personalities and backgrounds, but somehow we generally all click and have a cool sense of friendship with everyone. I think it's the "same boat" mentality that brings you all together. Plus, traveling with people allows you to get to know them on a whole new level. My friend Ashley said the other day, "Anna, I feel like I know you so well because of traveling. I know exactly how you will respond to situations when you are tired, hungry, and annoyed." Yikes. Poor girl. So just in case you are wondering what hoodrats I spend my time around, here they are. For fun, I added in parenthesis where they are from. These aren't all of the people I see daily, but a nice little sample. If you bump into one of these fine individuals down the road somewhere, befriend them. They're fun. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Following the instructions of a children's song is harder than it sounds. The school paid for us to row the boats along the tiny river-thing in front of the Plaza de España, my favorite place here in Sevilla. We spent most of the time laughing due to our lack of rowboat competence - check out the video below for some evidence of this. In spite of minor difficulties with rowing technique, it was SO cool. The pictures above are mostly from Friday night's "Noche de Chicas" with all the girls in our program with the rowboats. Later that night I went with some friends to a tetería (basically a coffee shop, except with all tea) to talk and hang out. On Saturday morning, I went to a flea market with 5 other friends. I'll have you know that America does not have a monopoly on tackiness. It was held in a parking lot, really dusty, dirty, and cheap. For the smell, think of an outdoor country music festival on day 3 of everyone sans showers. On Saturday night, I went with Nicole and Bre to see a free Flamenca show (intense!). I rediscovered my hatred for "shushers," as this flamenca place is notorious for shushing the whole crowd before they start playing. Today is Sunday, it's a beautiful day, and I am about to go find the one beach volleyball court in the area to play. This was a fun weekend to take a break from the travel frenzy and just enjoy Sevilla again! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Anna vs. Shampoo

Quit playin' games with my hair.

(Yes, a Backstreet Boys throwback  I've been locked in psychological warfare with my Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship shampoo and conditioner, which have lasted me the entire semester thus far, for the past week or two. I have been asking the million dollar question: "Can I make you last until the end of the semester or not?" And they reply: "Try me, Gesch." For about three weeks in a row it seemed to be perpetually at the 1/3 full-mark and I was getting hopeful. Once on Seinfeld, Elaine said she used a bottle for a whole year! I was thinking maybe this could happen for me. But lately, unfortunately, I've nearly reached the point of no return. As any student abroad, I am pinching money everywhere I can, and spending extra on stupid things like shampoo is annoying. I figure that I have a few options:

1) Steal from my roommate's shampoo and conditioner. She's got this HUGE bottle and maybe I could swindle a few dollups here and there. The thing is, it's just not nice to steal. Plus, her shampoo is specifically formulated for blonde hair. I don't want my brunette strands having a case of identity crisis, do I?

2) Stop washing my hair. I still have plenty of exfoliating body wash left, so I would still be clean in general, just not my hair. That wouldn't be so bad. Actually, in other European places, it's probably normal to nearly never wash your hair. I smelled proof of this in Paris. But the feeling of skeezy hair grosses me out. I wish I had it in me to carry out this option, but I just can't.

3) Go the classic Gesch household route. When a product (dish soap, hand soap, body wash, shampoo, you name it) is running on its last legs, what do you do? You add water, that's what you do. Adding water ups the overall volume and helps that product last a little longer, right? Wrong. In actuality, all this method does for me is to accidentally squirt out 8 times the amount I intend each morning. And also the fact that I am essentially washing my hair with water, and then rinsing it out with more water isn't really doing much. Not to mention that in my semi-conscious state at 7:30 a.m. the thinned out watery shampoo runs into my eyes and wakes me up with a pleasant little chemical burn. Not ideal.

4) Cave and buy new shampoo and conditioner for my last month here. After all, it IS a whole month. Lame.

Looks like the shampoo has won. Option 4 it is. For those of you who enter into the bottle battle every two months or so, I bid you luck. They're valiant opponents.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Come on, Vámonos...

Everybody let’s go! Dora the Explorer fans or not, you can come along with me on my walk to school. This daily trek usually takes 17 minutes walking at my normal pace (pretty brisk). Once, I made it in an impressive 14. I’m sorry for the choppiness of the video. No, I did not hire a crazed 6-year-old to hold the camera, but I took it while I was walking so it’s really bumpy. I do not recommend watching it fullscreen. You might get motion sickness.

A note on walking in the streets: It is very different here. Back at Trinity and in life, I like saying hello to people as I pass them on the sidewalk or street. It’s just generally good to acknowledge the presence of other human beings. As Wilfred Gesch (my grandpa) famously says, “It doesn’t cost anything to be friendly.” Unfortunately, Spain does not heed his words of wisdom. It was a rude awakening for me. Most people are listening to their iPod and walking in their own little world, and the people who don’t have headphones on act as though they do. There really isn’t any greeting, smiling, head nodding, or sorry-for-bumping-into-you-ing going on. The only communication that DOES happen on my walk to school or elsewhere are guys/old men saying “ayyyyy guappaaa” or making hissing noises at girls as they pass by in an effort to get a reaction. It’s not a huge deal at all and I guess mostly in good fun, but still, super annoying and skeezy. So let me take this moment to thank two groups: 1) Friendly people who are nice to strangers on the sidewalks. Keep it up. 2) American males. You guys have it tough sometimes, with having to pay for dates, putting up with Twilight fans, and us females getting preference for scholarships and all that, but I want to thank you for not making chirping noises at me when I walk by. And thank you for being nice just because you want to be NICE, not because you want to be a creeper. I affirm your personhood. (Yes, Uncle Kevin, I just affirmed everyone's personhood).

Friday, April 1, 2011

We Are Family

This post is dedicated to the fam fam. Earlier this week I got some devastating news: one of my co-counselors from Camp Calvin died unexpectedly. She was such a fun, firecracker of a person and being here when I got the news was terrible. When something like that happens, you think of your family and loved ones, so around this time I've feeling it with missing my family especially. Three days in a row are big landmarks for people who are very important to me. March 31 marks my beautiful cousin Liz VanDrunen's 21st birthday - so a shoutout to her out in Iowa to have a great day! If you go to Dordt, make it a good weekend for her. I am guessing that she and her friends will have a cute and fun get together involving fun outfits or activities. If you know Liz you can back me up on this prediction :) April 1st is one of the days that I am the most upset about missing this whole semester. It is the 21st birthday of my roommate, best friend, cousin, and basically sister, Karley Mae VanDyke. If you are at Trinity or even have the privilege of knowing this girl, please make her day the best! Give her presents! Fan her with palm branches or something! Kar, have an amazing day, you deserve it. And finally, the next day, April 2, is the wedding day of my cousin Taylor and his fiance Nicole. I love weddings and think it is really important to be there for people when they start their marriage, not to mention welcoming a new cousin into the family. So Taylor and Nicole, congratulations on your big day! I hope it is perfect. To all my friends and family, don't forget how much I miss you. I do. And might I add that I love all you guys a lot. :)
Bringing it back to freshman year of college. Miss you Karley Mae and happy birthday!