I have gone way too long without blogging, but now that finals are over I can start to catch up! No worries–I'm not going to be one of those people who just stop blogging. Now that I'm on Christmas break, I'll be giving tons of updates on travel and everything else!

The last six weeks have gone by so fast. We all knew that once we got back from Fall break we would just have to buckle down and get ready for the end of the trimester. These last two weeks have been the most crazy with tests, Christmas parties, vacation planning, shopping trips, and more Christmas parties. 

Last week we had two days off for festivals which was a great opportunity to finish some end-of-the-trimester papers and homework. I had written three papers and read three books, all of which I finished up on Thursday. On Friday Justin, Jon, Hannah and I went up to Castellon to go to the mall to shop for our "Secret Amigos" (more later). I'm not a big mall person, I don't usually love shopping especially in Christmas crowds, but the mall reminded me so much of the States and we had a good time shopping and getting Kebabs. 

One fun activity was a Navidad party our Folklore class put on. We combined the top Spanish Holidays into one event one morning before lunch. We each had to draw a name for an "amigo secreto" (AKA Secret Santa . . . we tried explaining this to them but here that means "secret saint") and had to leave them little notes on a board every day and then get them a Christmas present. We also celebrated the Lottery Day which is December 22 and the start of the Christmas celebration here in Spain. Then we gave out our Amigo Secreto gifts and moved on to New Years. For New Years Eve here in Spain, everyone must eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, each to the rhythm of the clock striking 12. It turns out this was easier said than done. Our Folklore teacher told us that at her house, she peels and seeds all the grapes so that they are easy to swallow. We had no such luck and no one could eat them all in time without laughing. The party ended with sparkling apple juice and an impromptu flamenco dance performed by two of our teachers.

This week was finals and I was surprised by activities even the nights before finals. At Union we pretty much just study and pack during finals week, but here we had yet another Christmas dinner hosted by the dorms as well as a tradition some PUC kids brought over... boxer (yes, and bikini) caroling for those so inclined. Needless to say, I didn't get very much sleep this week with all the happenings. Finals finished on Friday at noon and then Seth and I went up to Castellon to visit the mall one more time. Last night was a little crazy because everyone in the dorms were either packing or leaving, and I woke up early this morning to hearing suitcases rolling down the hall for so many early-morning flights. 

I am all packed and ready to head off for Christmas break! We are meeting up with Austin, my other cousin who is Justin's brother, and we are so excited to see him! Our flight leaves tonight but we'll probably head out to Valencia sooner just to make sure we make it on time. I'll keep you all updated on everything for the next three weeks of break! 
12/15/2012 07:15:14 am

It all sounds so exciting, Shelby. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas vacation. We'll keep up with you through your blogs as you travel. Be safe---and don't forget, I love you really good! G'ma

Sheri Seibold
12/15/2012 09:42:08 am

Shel, can't wait to hear and see everything you post over the next three weeks. I hear that Austin is already in Italy wait for you to arrive and begin the fun. You all have a wonderful and safe time together. Love to all, mom


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