Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once.”
― Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic
Hey everyone! I have just tried to make a video for my blog with my reflection over this past month as well as some updates, but it is being stubborn. I tried three times and it encourages me to keep trying…Ugh. I will probably use my DSLR and upload it soon. But, while you’re struggling with your withdrawals (from me of course), enjoy my tumblr account! I am working on uploading things on there and it will serve as an outlet for daily pictures and videos, which I have been taking! I think it will be a little easier than managing FB, blogs, & everything else. So, I will keep the big galleries on FB, but tumblr will be more of a day-to-day basis.
It has almost been a month of my study abroad trip. How is that even possible? And how have I neglected this blog so badly? I apologize for the gap in between everything…lo siento. I have been working on a long blog post for a while, which includes reflection, lessons on Spanish mannerism, fun words I have learned. It has obviously been taking a while. So, I thought meanwhile, I could gift you with a small blog post update.
Classes. What am I taking? Thanks for asking! (Todos en espanol): La lengua espanola aplicado a los medios, La historia de musica, Literatura Contemporanea de Espana y Iberoamerica, y finalmente, La historia contemporanea de Espana. Each of these are dificult in their own way, some more than others…definitely the literature class. Ironic for me being an english lit major. But when everything is in a different language, it is definitely a different playing field. The teachers are not over-accommodating of international students, not to mean that they are in anyway negligible. Every teacher that I have talked to (all of them, in my pathetic broken spanish) have been helpful & nice. I have class M-F, most days starting at 9am and ending at 12:15-2:00pm. I have to say that the commute isn’t that bad; the system is just as convenient and as clean as Boston’s, which is not to deny my inevitable lost moments. Did I mention that the campus has two cafeterias? And coffee vending machines? It’s great for .55 cents. Really great. Also, all of my classes are in one building which I think is great, except for that first week of school where I was going to the wrong classrooms constantly. Starting over abroad makes you re-live your freshman year at college (or university, as Europeans say); lost, confused, & learning the system. Taking all of my classes in spanish is definitely been stressful, but good. I am reading Spanish more every day than I ever have. I know it will be rewarding, as long as I get a 5 in each class (out of 10) and keep TOPS.
One thing that I haven’t done as much as expected is surprisingly speak in spanish. More than anything else is I am reading and listening more than I ever have. I am quite proud of the fact that I can understand most of my teachers’ lectures. In terms of speaking spanish, is not to say I go through my daily routine without speaking it, but I am trying to make a more conscious efforts to speak it more daily. I will make small changes, like talking in spanish to my roommates (They are great!): Shout out to Sebastian and Amin who regretfully left to continue their amazing travels. As of right now, all girls and all from different countries: Spain, Germany, Iran, Holland. Quite the mezcla. The common language is English, but I would say all of us can speak Spanish, some obviously fluently. When I wake up at 6:30 am everyday, when I come home, I am greeted with friendly ¿Qué tal?’s. I have noticed no one says Como estas here. Not to mention, every teacher I have ever encountered uses the vosotros form. Thanks education, oh wait… you said I never had to use that. How deceiving. It’s actually pretty easy to catch onto. Everyone’s accent is different especially when they talk rapidly. Sometimes a couple of words becomes one…In class, you can look around and see other exchange students just as confused, so reassuring.
Possible update: Trip to Segovia this weekend! Sorry for those of you who are just as geographically challenged as I am.
Another change in lifestyle here is the way time passes. While Madrid is a very populated and a seemingly, fast paced city, the culture and the people that belong to it have a way of making it feel slower. Never rushing quite the way an American does. Spontaneous. In the moment. Never worrying about being punctual. It’s refreshing. As is the culturally accepted, if not encouraged, siesta. However, head with caution. Get absolutely everything you need to do out of the house done…before siesta. It’s existence is strong, feeling somewhat monumental& oppressive when you for example, need to get your abono transporte, which takes 15-20 days once applied for. Lovely.
While I am writing this, I have chicken breasts in the oven. Just finished making rosemary sweet potato fries and banana bread. The independence of living in an apartment, the ability to go grocery shopping, and cooking for myself has been such a blessing. As well, it serves as my dose of procrastination. I have a lot of homework to do. Missing class because you’re not feeling well doesn’t help. However, I feel as though things I can control, like cooking or working out have been my process of grasping for structure and stability, while still maintaining my go-with-the-flow attitude. Being here though, in comparison to Spaniards, makes me feel uptight; very strange feeling. I have been cooking every day as much as I can, as well as working out, and here’s a new one..budgeting, calculating money & spending daily. Being an independent adult is wonderful, but as any naive teenager would mistake, it is a lot of work & responsibility. As all things in Spain, it is a process, something that I am adapting to. So far, I love it here. I miss my family & friends but skype & viber are great tools.
Some of the best parts of living in Spain: walking a lot everyday outside, efficiency of the public transportation, hearing beautiful spanish, learning spanish, being exposed to new culture, being old enough to order & buy alcohol without getting strange looks or ID checked, the possibilities of everything, siestas. Most of all, support from everyone at home.
Worst things: Siestas when you want to get things done, the recent weather (cold & rainy), abono transportes, language barriers, homework (so much), missing everyone, TIME DIFFERENCE.
Apologies for the somewhat generic blog. Insert laughter here….do it. Thank you 🙂 Have to finish cooking dinner and finish homework….maybe squeeze in a 30 min workout (hopefully). Oh, and yes, Dad, you would love this. When on average do I eat dinner? Early? 9. Usually? 10-11! Love y’all. Hasta luego.
Video that I made of a collection of some of my fotografias y videos.
-Plaza del Zocodover
-Monasterio de San de los Reyes
-Cafe solo, claro que si
-Hamburguesa y papas fritas
-Marzapan (un postre de Toledo)
“Like a travel through history”.
It was much more beautiful than expected. Not the city, but the weather most definitely. We were granted with a sunny day, perfect for roaming the historical and cobblestone streets of Toledo, full of character and uphill walking…Every narrow street felt like it stood on it’s own, like you were walking around a city-sized museum. You just had to make sure you didn’t get run over by the cars. From the hanging jamon (ham) in the shops to the swords hanging around, it was definitely an experience. Not only was it beautiful, but you were surrounded by people from all over, since tourists are Toledo’s bread and butter.
As one can view from it’s architecture, Toledo has a rich and culturally diverse history: Catholic, Jewish, & Moorish. I won’t give you a history lesson, but it was certainly a pleasure to see the combination or mezcla of cultures, the layers of Toledo’s history, often called the ‘soul’ or ‘essence’ of Spain. While that is still to be determined, I hope you enjoy this video and experiencing Toledo por mis ojos.
8:30 am, esta en la cocina
It is today.
Nunca pienso que aprendia cosas a la univerisdad como ‘Lengua [o Idioma] Espanola Aplica a Medio…habeis tenido cursos con vocabulario defoneticas y fonologia, morphologia, partes de discurso, y estructura de oraciones en espanol? No me tampoco. Pero, he tomando un curso en ingles, de estudios de communicaciones, llamando Introduccion a Idioma. A la noche, estuve leer el descripcion y la tema 1 del curso y el vocabulario es muy similar, como órganos implicados en el habla, en la producción de diferentes tipos de sonidos.
Ya he comido. Yogurt Griego con una naranja. Pero, pienso un poco nerviosa sobre que necesito tomar todos mis clases en espanol. Y al mismo tiempo, estoy emocionada, porque este es mas practica en la idioma para mi. Voy a salir pronto…Hasta luego
23.00 a la noche, esta en mi habitacion
Este clase estuve muy interesante. Con suerte..soy solamente el hablando no nativo a espanol. Todas en mi clase son hablantes nativos o espanol es sus lengua materna. Nunca en vida, he visto una profesora hablar este rapida y con tanto enthusiasmo. Una palabra a describir ella: emocionada. Quizas, animada. El ritmo de hablando en este clase es muy extrano para mi, a eschuchar por un tiempo largo. Se lo hace muy cansado. Pero, yo pienso estaba bien. Cuando escuchaba, entiendi mucha la informacion. Especialmente, entiendi los palabras ‘vale’, la forma de vosotros (usar tanto), y otras frases sobre el examen final. Por ejemplo, ‘el examen final es tanto dificil. Pero, no te preocupes…’ Parece estos son diferentes. No me importa si sacar una nota desde 10 hasta 6, yo pienso; porque tengo S/U por notas, gracias a dios. A la manana, tengo una cita con la oficina de transportes en la estacion de Nuevos Ministerio, pero necesito llegar mas temprano porque no queria tarde por clase…los hice demasiados cerca en tiempo. Pero, mi clase a la manana es Literatura Comparativa y la profesora ya parece muy simpatica y bien.
Lo siento por perdido tildes o accentos, porque estoy escribiendo sin un teclado espanol. Vale, buenas noches y saludos de Espana.
Despite the process of getting an apartment in Madrid, so many hours spent on idealista.com trying to find the right one, I am glad that I did what so many people suggested [mom, you were right]. Staying at a hostel was not only cheap, but fun and I met so many great people. I was able to look at my apartment in person, and now I am moved in. I have my own space, access to a kitchen [cooking & groceries, thank god], & more.
Mostly unpacked today, but had a chance to walk around & get lunch. So many fruterias around, and stores. So convenient!