Apr 272010
 
Spain’s Alhambra, Hippies in a Forest, and a Night Out

I was really thrown off when the two guys never came home from the forest.

Now before I launch into this story, let’s all learn, like the refrain sung by the whole audience during a folk music concert, a useful phrase: “Forcing it.”

The phrase, “Miss, you FORCED IT with the homework” was used ad nauseam in Boston Public Schools to mean: “Madam teacher, we believe the amount of work you are giving [...Read More!]

Apr 262010
 
An Important Pre-Travel Warning About Your Passport

Do you know you can fly from Madrid or Barcelona, Spain, to Marrakesh, Morocco for the teensy price of 15 Euros or $22 U.S. Dollars?!

I was drooling all over the keyboard when I saw this Ryanair promotion, and was about to click “Buy” to fulfill my long-standing lust for quality North Africa time when– BAM! — an informational window popped up on my screen:

“You may not enter Morocco with a passport [...Read More!]

Apr 252010
 
How to Turn Your Hostel or Home into a Luxury Health Retreat!

Here are the series of events that occurred yesterday, each of which illustrates how you, too, can turn your low-budget hostel or everyday home into a luxurious health retreat for a few days or a week!

1pm: I arrive in a delicious hostel in Granada after a seven-hour bus ride from Madrid. I feel like utter trash: too many deep-fried or starchy tapas, not enough exercise or sleep, and too much [...Read More!]

Apr 242010
 
Pamela's Article 2: A Painful Lesson

Article #30 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project Understanding an Adult’s Punishment By Pamela Agbi, Age 14

This story is a story I will never ever forget in my life.

On the sixth of March, Ghana’s Independence Day, Youth Creating Change organized an excursion to a huge celebration in Aburi Botanical Gardens, two hours from Sogakope.

All the students in YCC’s Cross-Culture Class were organized to attend so that we could [...Read More!]

Apr 232010
 
Help Give Advice to 16-21 Year Olds Planning to Travel!

Recently, I have gotten a bevy of emails from 16 to 21 year old women asking for advice on their dream of taking a year off to travel. This poses some difficult ethical dilemmas for me that I’d love your help with, dear readers.

Namely: How can our advice to these young prospective travelers balance my worship of travel as education, with my passion for all youth to obtain the educational [...Read More!]

Apr 222010
 
Two Cubans, an American, and a Mexican Restaurant in Spain

Two Cubans and an American walk into a Mexican restaurant in Spain.

Is this the start of a really bad joke?

Nope! It’s what happened last night when I met up with the childhood friend of my former Boston Public Schools coworker in Madrid!

The three of us: two Cubans and an American, ate nachos and drank Spanish beverages while discussing Cuban politics– until I got yelled at for asking too much about Cuban [...Read More!]

Apr 212010
 
Are You SURE That's Appropriate for a Grandmother?

In Latin America, the word often used to mean “cool, man!” is: “chevere!” But Latin American Spanish ain’t Spain-y Spanish, baby. Therefore, you have to do your research before you bandy about your old slang in a new country.

Here’s what happened when I asked my lovely host family in Barcelona to explain the Spain-y Spanish version of “cool, man!”

“Do you know what means ‘chulo’?” asked Anna.

“No, please explain,” I said.

“It [...Read More!]

Apr 202010
 
Parque Guell: At the Center of the “Too Much Tourism?” Debate

In Alice Walker’s beloved short story, “Everyday Use,” the conflict centers around which of two very different daughters should get to keep the mother’s ancestral quilt.

Should the precious quilt go to the daughter who plans to hang it in a case on a wall, never to be used, but only to be gazed at in historical appreciation?

Or should the quilt go to the more simple, less-educated daughter who longs to use [...Read More!]

Apr 192010
 
A Warning About Your Dream of Visiting or Moving to Barcelona

Look at that plate of Spanish tapas to the left.

Can you guess what flavor and food is sitting atop those slices of bread? Is it sweet or savory? Does it consist of fish, or cheese, or vegetables… or white chocolate? Is it soft or hard? Creamy or crumbly?

You really can’t tell until you bite into it, can you!

The same goes for cities. You can hear hundreds of [...Read More!]

Apr 182010
 
A Sign on a Barcelona Beach that Made Me Smile

Look carefully at the icons illustrating the sign to the left, snapped on a rather chilly beach in Spain’s Barcelona.

Now ponder: How did the conversation go between the sign’s designers? Let us imagine.

“Hey, Julio, how do you figure we should represent the concept ‘Don’t party here all night?’ on this new sign we have to make?”

“I don’t know, Jorge, maybe some empty alcohol bottles and a stick figure vomiting?”

“That’s gross, [...Read More!]