Sunday, September 26, 2010

Estoy en España...

I haven't blogged in almost a week.  This has been one of our busiest weeks so far.  Well I don't know if that is really true, all of our weeks are busy.  It was the second week of our intensive language course where we essentially had all the grammar I had learned in the past 9 years crammed into two short weeks.  Surprisingly I think I did alright in the class (grammar has NEVER been my strong point) but I'm not too worried about it.

So several fun things happened this week. On Tuesday night a few of us went out to hang out at a bar that has beer pong tournaments once a week.  It was a little too expensive for me to want to play, but I did buy a budweiser at the bar since it was a very American bar.  I didn't love it there, but if I ever feel homesick that will be the place to go - its ALL americans. Afterwards Sahar and I went to Bilindo with our German friends when everyone else went home.  As usual we had a lot of fun!

 On Wednesday night we met with our intercambios, some of us for the first time others had already gotten together with them for coffee or drinks.  An intercambio is basically a spaniard that wants to practice their english with someone who wants to practice their spanish.  Both have the same opportunity to practice the language they want to learn. The one I have that was assigned by CIEE is named Sergio and he seems nice.  He works full time as a web designer, and seems pretty reserved.  I didn't talk to him long as we were in a bar with half americans and half spaniards.  I tried to meet more Spaniards, but I also ended up seeing one of Victor's friends who I had met at Ale's despedida (going away party) - his name is Juan Jose and he is very nice.  Victor's cousin was looking for an intercambio too so I had already met up with him to have dinner and beer and practice spanish/english.  He is nice and I will probably meet up with him again soon.

On Thursday I went to my first Spanish soccer game.  Seville FC played against a team from Santender (a region up north), and while they played extremely well in the first half, they blew it in the second half and let that mediocre team score a goal to tie it up.  Bummer!  But the coolest thing about the games in Sevilla is that the Sevillanos have so much pride for their team and city that they sing for the entire match.  There was not a moment when there was no signing.  It was amazing!  We were in the cheap seats, since CIEE paid for them through our interest groups.

Did I already talk about interest groups?  There were five choices and each group has different activities that they do throughout the semester, and then in November we all travel to different cities (and some go to Portugal and Morrocco) to do one final activity with the group.  Through mine (Deportes y Naturaleza) we got to go to a soccer game, we will get a Paddle lesson (surprisingly a big sport here, especially among men!) go on a hike etc.  Then November 19-21 we will travel to Madrid to visit museums and hopefully see another game.  My student group leader is named Nacho and he was one of the cool guides from orientation.  It should be a lot of fun!

On Thursday night after the soccer game I called up my Spanish friend Carolina, and met up with her and some of her friends in Plaza Alfalfa.  I love my American friends but I didn't come to Spain to get less than the full immersion experience.  I wanted a homestay that doesn't speak English (check) and to make friends that will force me to speak spanish (check).  Carolina speaks a little bit of english but she gets mad at me when I use it.  So when I'm around her I only speak in spanish even if it means taking 10 minutes to explain what i'm trying to say.  Even my señora has commented on the marked difference in my level of communication since I arrived!  Here is a picture of me and Carolina with some other spanish friends and Christine (on the right).

Yesterday I had another one of those "I'm in Spain" moments.  At least thats what we call them.  It's a time or feeling when all of a sudden it hits you that you are living life, and you are in Spain. It happens almost daily, and I'm hoping its not part of the honeymoon phase of living in a new place.  It could be though because I still walk down the street everyday thinking of how lucky I am to be living here for four months.  Anyway, Paige and I went to Montadito's yesterday for lunch after our exam the have a celebratory beer and some deliciously cheap food.  Paige went inside to place our order and it took way longer than normal so I was sitting outside on my own for about fifteen minutes on the corner of Asuncion and Virgen de Loreto.  All of a sudden I started watching the family next to me as they began interacting.  It was two parents with their three kids probably aged 11, 6 and a baby.  Grandma was also at the table enjoying her food when the other side of the family shows up, the cousins of the kids (probably my age) those girl's parents and their dog.  Just watching them interact made me think of how different the culture is here, how naturally they all pass time together almost everyday, and how they just live the life they love.  The culture here is different in so many ways than just the familial aspect, but its such a strong part of the way they live that it is certainly worth noting.  Its normal for kids to live with their parents until they get married or have to move to another city to work.  In the states when a 25 or 28 year old is still living with their parents there is an automatic stigma attached to it and it is assumed they probably haven't worked hard enough or been successful enough.

On another note we booked our trip to Morrocco!  We leave on October 28 and come back on November 1.  We are skipping a day of classes, but it will be worth it since we will have five whole days in Morrocco.  We are paying about $115 for our flights, but its fine since we will have a free place to stay, security, and guided tours for the time we are there as well thanks to our friend Paige and her dad's friend Aziz who is from Morrocco.  Next weekend I decided I would not go to Oktoberfest because the flights are so expensive, so instead I'm going to Granada with my friends.  The following weekend we will all spend three days in Lagos, Portugal on what will probably be like a spring break trip.  Oh well though - look how beautiful it is!

Today I was supposed to go ride for the first time, but because of the way the whole city seems to shut down on Sundays there were only three buses running from Sevilla to Aznalcázar which is where I would get picked up to go ride.  Instead I'm going to try to go out on Wednesday or Friday for my first lesson.

On another note I was talking to my Spanish friend Lucia on Thursday about how to use the bus system to get to this barn I want to ride and photograph at and so she started asking me questions about photography.  I showed her my website, she loved it, and she wants to take me down to Huelva where her grandfather has about 10,000 acres and tons of horses so that I can photograph her with the horses!  What fun!  Anyway, this is about everything I can think of to write right now..

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