... that Baldomero Espartero was the regent in spain during the years 1840-1843?
because i do.
and is that something that you ever really cared to know?
because i didn't.
apparently, teachers in Spain expect students to memorize pages of just dates and events for tests. do they care about concepts, not so much... but we will soon find out. midterm numero uno in t-minus 1 hour.
other than that... everything is quite great! im gearing up to head to amsterdam this weekend... which should be an event for the history books. im also officially making plans to head down to granada to visit Corynn, a friend of Natalie's who is studying there... im pretty jazzed.
but back to studying, cognitive break time has ended.
... is what they say on el aprendiz, the spanish version of the apprentice. not quite the same without the Donald.
my host mama has a job interview tomorrow! so hopefully that will go well for her. She is a singer, but needing to have something else a little more steady. she is a wonderful lady and deserves something good!
the girls who i spend most of my time with were in madrid this weekend, because our program splits trips up and i am in the other group. so it was great getting to see them today! i hung out with amanda... that was big fun.
today was pretty mellow, but this should be an exciting week. wednesday, there is a spanish cooking workshop that we're going to. thursday, amanda and i are going to Sitges for a film festival to see a film called Timer that KatieAnn told me i should check out. after, i am meeting up with this girl named Carlota who lives here in Barcelona. My friend John, who graduated from Western and just started at a grad school program for sustainable energy engineering up in Stockholm, met her when he was studying in Holland a few years back. he hooked us up via facebook and now were on for una cita! im a little nervous, i would assume that she speaks at least a little english, but im really trying to work on this whole spanish thing... Friday afternoon, were going on a bike tour of the city... which is funny because i own my own bike now and have ridden it pretty much everywhere... oh well, its just something free and fun to do i suppose. friday night though, were going back to Sitges to see what turns out to be a 6 mini film series of Zombie films, including one titled "Zombies and Cigarettes". so of course... couldnt miss that. there is also hot potential for some hiking this weekend, and i could definitely use some physical activity before every single muscle in my body becomes flaccid.
i sit now in my room. its so quiet and peaceful... completely 180 from the way life has been the past few days.
since wednesday night, it has been nonstop fun. this weekend has been the Mercé celebration here in the city. Mercé is apparently the patron saint of barcelona, and her saints day was on thursday. it basically is another excuse for this city to
party just a little harder. this weekend has been stuffed to the brim with parades, street shows, flea markets, free concerts, fire runs, human castles, wine tasting, etc. the free concerts have definitely been the most fun. i got to see the go! team, the hives an
d cat people all for free. i was super jazzed to see the dirty projectors... but they canceled! worst ever...
red team. ftw.
today, im planning on heading down for the final day of the celebration. i have some wine tasting coupons left, so ill be sure to put those to use. mom, dont worry, im writing down the ones that i like so we can look for them later. also, there is some more of the Castells (human castles) and some traditional catalan dance stuff going on a bit later. and the weekend closes with a big music and fireworks show down by the magic fountains... needless to say, it should be a good end to a 4 day weekend.
well, i am going to go meet amanda in the park next to our houses, for some reading and writing and thinking time... how lucky i am to have a friend like that!
i am finding out how poor of a blogger i am the hard way, definitely. sorry for the lack of tender loving care put into this thus far, but i'll work on it!
well, i am now about 3 weeks into it, and things are going swimmingly. i'm getting the hang of things, for sure. i've been hanging out and talking to my host brother more (keep in mind he speaks no english so our conversations consist of my less than perfect spanish and a rousing game of charades).
wow, i took so much time away from this, that i don't even know where to begin! i went to the picasso museum after class on thursday. it was really well put together and interesting. i guess i didnt really have much previous contact with his early works, like his social realism and landscape periods. he was an incredible print maker! his etching and prints were absolutely mind blowing. he also had some incredible pieces of pottery and some bronze work. the coolest thing was, there were 3 rooms dedicated to showing a single sequence of works. picasso, at one point, was completely infatuated with velasquez's piece "las meninas". he did like a 42 piece study, re creating parts of the piece through his own understanding. even though the subjects were morphed, stretched, disfigured, he remainded really honest to the space, volume, and tonal values in the original piece. it was just really cool. there also was a temporary exhibit set up showcasing the works of kees van dongen. i really liked his stuff! some of it reminded me of matisse, who is one of my favorites of all times, and some of it reminded me of renoir, which was weird. van dongen's fauvist expressionism stuff was really incredible too.
i went on a tour of a winery yesterday, about an hour out of barcelona. it was called codorniu. they are one of the biggest producers and exporters of cava, spanish champagne. we got to wind down and through the cellars, check out the amazingly beautiful lands surrounding the winery, and even taste a couple different kinds of the cava. we went on this trip with everyone in my whole program. i realized why i always end up being really quiet in big groups like this. mark twain said, "its better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt." and being surrounded by some of these people who truely just talk for the sake of talking, reminds me why i dont. people are so rude sometimes.
im working on booking a couple of trips, one up to dublin, one to amsterdam, and one to toulouse, france to go see passion pit! so i will keep posted on how those work out. i also got my spanish class switched. the professor said that i was doing really well and that everything seemed pretty easy for me and asked if i wanted to move up! so now im in a close to 300 level spanish, which could be interesting, we'll see. my first day of class for that is tomorrow. what sucks is that instead of having 3.5 hours of spanish 2 times a week, i now have an hour and 45 min, mon-thurs, at 9 am. fml.
benvingut! thats "welcome" in Catalan, the language that I am learning quickly to love and to hate. if only i could actually pick it up, then, perhaps, i could understand the signs posted everywhere and what people everywhere were saying.
i think that i might be starting to trick people... shaking this whole "stereotypical american" thing. a club promoter on Las Ramblas asked if i was italian. some kids the other day came up to me and asked "sabes donde esta un supermercado?" i think that i may just be getting the hang of this...
the city is beautiful, and i am absolutely in love with it. yet being a pacific northwest girl through and through, i was starting to get a bit of cabin fever. sure, seattle is a big city. but you drive 30 min and you're smack dab in the middle of the cascades. my friend amanda and i ventured off today to go park hunting and got much more than we had bargained for... we had seen on the map that there was a really big park a few blocks away from our school. so we went walking... just walking. we both forgot our maps (oops) and were just kind of making it up as we went. we ended up finding the park alright... after trudging up hills that makes 6th ave. seem like a cake walk, and climbing more stairs than all of the spu campus combined, we reached the park. the park turned out to be a giant hill, complete with switch-backs and some rough terrain, especially for my little feetsies, adorned in flip flops. so we hiked this hill. and when we made it to the top, it was well worth it! we made it to this look out, were you could see the entire city, all the way to the sea! it was just exactly what i needed...
i have a cell phone now. i went into the store on saturday afternoon to talk prices and such with the guy at the counter. turns out, trying to figure out the most economical cell phone option while speaking a different language is not the easiest thing that i've ever done. but he was patient, and i ended up legitimately getting the best deal. score one for me.
just as i was beginning to feel this overwhelming sense of homesickness, the most unexpected of things completely shattered that feeling. Saturday, i spent the day wandering with my friend jourdan, who by the way is quite wonderful. in the afternoon, we wandered over to by where la universitat de barcelona was located. in this big open square, i saw that there were maps and a turn table set up. "theyre going to have a b boy battle!" we sat down and waited it out. about 1o min later the guy at the turntable cranked up the jams and the dancing began. lots of people gathered. it was incredible... there was just something about hearing Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, Snoop and the rest of the homies that made me feel at home. at that point, a guy mobbed by on a bright green and red fixie with a messenger bag and my heart just kicked back in its easy chair and the homesickness was no more.
well, amanda is on her way over, were going for a walk. i start classes tomorrow, i'm super jazzed. i signed up the other day for a winery tour and a bike tour through the city. there are also some opportunities to do some volunteer work here and also, i just found out about the potential to do a four day exchange program with some students in morocco! stoked, to say the least.
it hasn't hardly hit me yet that i'm thousands and thousands of miles away from home.
maybe its the fact that Dani, my host brother, is playing bob marley and wii mario kart in the living room.
but regardless, i absolutely dig this city...
yesterday, our first full day in Spain, we left our hotel in Castelldefels and headed into the big city. we toured la placa catalunya by foot and then went around the entire city on a bus.
i have never felt so ridiculous in my entire life... everyone with their maps out, wandering in herds, speaking english and talking quite loudly about their hair and how much the wished that they had starbucks right now...
that is until the girls found a starbucks and dropped like 4,50 euro on a cup of coffee... ridiculous.
anyway. we went back to the hotel that evening, had meetings, dinner at 830, and went down to the beach.
today has been an adventure. ive undoubtedly spoke more spanish than english.
and even though i can speak spanish pretty well, i still feel completely lost because everyone speaks catalan to each other, and then change to castellano when they want to speak with me.
my host mom picked me up this morning.
she is the sweetest lady ever!
marsel, her friends 11 year old son, came with her.
we took a cab (my 2nd cab ride of my life, mind you) to our house and went up. we live on the 7th floor of an apartment in the l'eixample neighborhood, about a block or so from La Sagrada Familia.
my 17 year old brother, Dani, was upstairs. apparently, in spain, Dani is a boys name always, not a girls... woops.
dani has a semi long shaggy brown hair, complete with dreadlock rat tail and a littly braid off to the side.
he told me that he wants to go to the united states so that he can go break dance there.
apparently hes really into that.
sylvia, my mom, is a singer. she showed me an album that she did some duets on, and shes fantastic!
i told her about my job at outdoors for all and she told me about how sometimes she goes and sings with people with disabilities.
this weekend, shes going to be out of town because she has a show in a small town north of here.
the appartment is small, but i have a great little room.
i dont have to take my shoes off when i go inside, and im allowed to go barefoot.
you flush the toilet by pulling the chain that hangs down from the ceiling.
i took a 2 hour siesta and now am delerious and cant speak spanish very quickly... hopefully ill wake up, if it ever cools off.
it seems like just yesterday, my mom was reprimanding me for not applying for my passport soon enough.
bags packed: check
it would appear that i'm all set to leave.
more or less, thats probably true.
only i feel like i'm not prepared at all.
for those who are just now tuning in; i'm moving to spain for 4 months.... tomorrow.
i'm going to school in Barcelona for the semester.
i'll be living in the l'eixample neighborhood with a family. a 42 year old father who owns his own business, a 17 year old sister, a 13 year old sister, and a 41 year old mother who is a shopkeeper and singer.
i leave richland tomorrow morning. we're aiming for about 930... knowing that even so, i won't be ready to leave the house until 11.
my brother, my dad and i are going to meet up with craig in seattle and hang for the day. if all goes according to plan, i will also get to see KatieAnn, Andy, Alicia, and Kyle one last time before its hasta luego, e.e.u.u.