Friday, October 19, 2007

Laugh it up!

Well this week school seemed more like school. its still hard to get used to going to school for 5 or 6 hours a day. Its not the same as in the US. You dont just sit there and take notes, everything is very interactive. we read outloud all the time, even little worksheets with the directions on them we read out loud! its good practice. i had to read part of this poem in 20th century literature, i sounded so bad because a lot of the words are poetic and they arent sentences that flow together like reading a book or something else. ohwell, practice makes perfect!

i have a test on tuesday in my romance/love lit class. im not too worried. i need to review a little, but we have a study guide. its funny because in the US i would have started studying for a test like a week or so in advance, but here i am so different. ill probably study the night before! i think its a result of the culture differences and differences in school, because when i get homework its a little tiny bit everynight and we never have to turn it in, its just for practice. we always go over it in class too. As a result im more relaxed and i kind of just take things as they come. thats how spain is, people dont stick to schedule (which usually rule my life). everyone is 10 to 15 minutes late and people are very flexible day to day or hour to hour!

However, i swear, my host mom belongs in the US. she is crazy! in a good/amusing way of course. i accidentally left the light on the bathroom twice for like 4 seconds when i was going from my room to the bathroom and then back to look in the mirror and she thought it was the end of the world. i can understand what she says, but im not sure how serious her emotions are. she is always really loving to me, but when i left the light on the second time she told me it was a disaster and that im so insensible. i laughed about it with caitlin, because i can tell that she enjoys picking on me. she didnt even know if it was me or caitlin that left the light on, she just assumed it was me. thats ok though because i know she isnt actually super mad, she is just funny/anal. She also asked me if i got hot at night, which i do! i swear i already told her that. Yet today she asked me and i said yes. She then informed me that my blanket sheds lint all over. So she said i could take it off if i was getting hot. I think she just wanted me to take it off because of the lint, but who knows. Shes a riot!

Oh today she also talked to me and caitlin about how expensive electricity is, she went far enough to explain the cost of each kilobite of electricity or something like that. Then i got confused and i thought that she told me next time i leave the light on i have to pay or something, because she used the verb Apagar which is to turn off, meaning next time its left on shes going to make me turn it off. i thought she used the verb pagar which means to pay, it got cleared up though! After she informed caitlin and me about how expensive everything is here and how there are so many taxes (impuestos) even for cleaning the streets, i threw back at her that healthcare is free unlike the United States. I thought that would shut her down, but then she said the people that have money have to pay for the people without any money, so you still end up paying. But thats the same in the US, people that have money pay to keep cities working, hospitals open, welfare available etc. I dont want anyone to worry and think that Maria is hating on me, she is just a unique character. I cant explain her, if you met her you would understand after a while. Caitlin and i laugh about it all the time. I adore her, she just is loco (crazy)! Seriously every single day she tells us how she doesnt like to talk to anyone in her apartment building, even though she has lived here 4 yrs. Caitlin told her she made friends with a little boy that lives in our apartment building and that threw her into a whirlwind of comments about her neighbors and how one is noisy and another is this and that. I wonder what they think about her, she says she just does small chit chat with them in the elevator and thats it! Too funny!

Anyways, today caitlin and i went out with some girls in our program for tapas (special appetizers here) and vino (wine). its a popular outing for many. Before we left Maria told me like four different times about all the cleaning she had to do in our house! When we left she was filling up the vacum cleaner which takes water. She told me the other day that she bought it in a smaller town because it was less expensive, but it works better then the ones in the stores here. As we were walking out i asked her why the vacumm took water to use it and she said it gets all the bacteria and germs and dust! Seriously she is obssessed with cleaning!

Tapas and vino was so much fun. First we met at the bus station and bought tickets to seville. im going with four other girls, not caitlin, because she traveled to seville with her boyfriend before our program began. The bus ride is going to be 12 hours!!! but we are doing it overnight so it shouldnt be that bad. Ive already taken the bus 7hrs so i think i can make it. Plus we got booked at one of the top 10 hostels in the world, with a pool on the roof and its suppose to be upper 70's/low 80's in seville. Its in southern spain so the weather is alot different! we plan to go see this amazing cathedral, alcazar (i dont think i spelled that right but its some sort of castle or something, i need to read up on it), and i guess there is an amazing garden/terrace area with peacocks right across from the cathedral! My friend from high school is studying in seville so we are going to meet up with him when he gets back from a Merida on saturday evening/part of the day sunday. I cant wait!

We also bought bus tickets to go to Leon tomorrow. Its 1.5 hrs away and im not sure what we are going to do there but i guess its a site to see! My host mom said there is a lot to explore and it will be a good day trip!

Recently, since ive gotten my appetite back, Caitlin and i have become addicted to the candy shops here. They are everywhere!!!! And each one we find looks better then the last! We told Maria about it and she said they are for the children....i dont care though!

The other day Caitlin and I rented a movie from the AHA office (our program here in spain). It was a french film dubbed in spanish about 6 college age students that are all from different countries, studying in spain. There is a program called Arasmos (spelling?) and its very popular. Its going on exchange when you live in Europe. Students that are in college and live in Europe go on exchange to other countries in Europe through this program. There are a lot of Arasmos students at my university, and the movie i watched was about them too. In the apartment there were students from Spain, Germany, England, France, Italy, and i think a couple other places. If any of you have heard of real world, the reality tv show on MTV, it was kind of like that, only a movie version. The main character was a guy from France that was leaving his girlfriend behind and going on exchange for a year to Barcelona, Spain. He eneds up living in this diverse house of students from several countries! The movie is called La Casa De Locos (The house of crazies).

Ok well im going to get some shut eye, the bus to Leon leaves at 1030 tomorrow!
take care everyone. i havent gotten super homesick yet. I told my mom the other day i just miss smelling like home, i dont prefer smelling like Maria. HAHA. its just the little things. Because its a new place and Maria cleans so damn much I still kind of feel like im staying in a hotel. Its ok though! i love it here and i couldnt ask for a better place to study abroad! Missing the holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving is going to stink too, but its all good. I just think about home when i think of those dates coming up, but my group is thinking bout trying to get a cabin and make thanksgiving dinner together! I really really really hope we do that! I love my group!

signing off!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I have all my photos in albums on facebook. Im going to paste the sites here and hopefully grammee, papa, aunt lisa, fryes, grandpa, and whoever else can see them. let me know if its working!

Night life photos:

Oviedo and Llanes:


San Sebastian:

A new week begins!

A new school week begins today and I definately can say i enjoyed my weekend. On Saturday i went to Gijon, which is on the beach. It was sunny, not a cloud in the sky, with some wind! Actually the entire weekend it was sunny! I dont know when the rain is coming, but everyone tells me it rains here a lot, so im enjoying the sun while it lasts. Gijon is approx 20mins away on the bus and a round trip ticket costs only 3.70 euros! CHEAP! A lot of people from my program went to San Sebastian this past weekend, but i had gone the weekend before. It seemed like whoever didnt go to San Sebastian went to Gijon because i saw two different groups of people from my program while i was there. I went with Caitlin and Ben, but we ran into five girls that i was hoping we could meet up with. We spent time on the beach, and ate our lunches, then explored and walked around a couple hours. Then we went to this market that Caitlin and i love. Its called Alimerka. I think we just like the sound of the name and the fact that u can get some cheap food and wine! They are everywhere here, including one right across the street from my apartment and another 1 block away! For a snack we bought a loaf of bread, salami, cheese, wine, juice, and nuts all for under 10 euro. As you can see there are definately ways to get around the fact that the euro to the dollar is a rip off here! You just have to learn how to work the system! After relaxing on the beach for another hour we hiked to the other side of the coast and looked down to the ocean and marina, with an amazing view! The sea is so clean here, its a crystal blue color! I even walked in the water a little, because even though it was barely 70 degrees F and windy, the water is way warmer then in Oregon!

We were contemplating whether we were going to stay into the evening or return home for dinner and then go out in Oviedo. But then we heard the younger population actually goes to Oviedo to party and go out because in Gijon the bars and clubs close early (at 2). Now 2 am may sound incredibly LATE to all of you but i ensure that is not the case here. i know i have talked about that a little, but time is so different here! I am not sure if i have explained my daily schedule but i dont start class until 12 or 2. Usually i eat lunch around 3pm and dinner is at 9 or 10pm. Thats normal here! The first time i went out at night here, Caitlin and i left the house at 1030, big mistake! Bars arent even happening until 12 or 1. Everything happens in a sequence of events. Bars are busy from like 12 or 1 until 3 or so and then the discotecas (clubs) get busy between 3-5am. I am starting to get used to being on that schedule, but it is still hard, because i never stay out past 1 or 2am when im back in the states, and thats on rare occasions. There is also a siesta time that Caitlin and i always fail to plan in our schedule. All the stores, especially on saturdays, close between 2-5pm. So we will be out and then want to get coffee or something, but everything closes up! Carmen, one of the directors of my program said that some spanish people are trying to change that because it disrupts the day and not many people are privledged enough to actually take a nap during that time. Its also hard for younger children who go to school in the morning, come home for 2 hours, and then go back to school until 5pm and then they have after school activities until 8 or 9pm!

Anyways, we ended up returning to Oviedo around 8pm and i had dinner at home. Its free, so i rather eat at home when i can! We rested up until midnight and met up with my friend from North Carolina and her boyfriend from London, along with a couple other girls. We have been going to the same bar and club the last few times, so we decided to try and branch out. We ended up going to 4 or 5 other places, but in the end we were back at the Funky Room (a club). The night was fun and i ended up getting home around 4am.

On Sunday Caitlin and I went to the open market where there are vendors of clothes, pottery, etc. We bought a few gifts and headed home to relax and do a little homework for the rest of the day!

Thats all for now. I was trying to plan a trip to Seville this coming weekend because my friend from highschool is studying there. However, I looked for hostels and they are all booked up! We might meet up somewhere else in spain for the weekend and im going to bring a few girls from my program, but im not sure yet because we are going to try to talk this evening. I had suggested Toledo, which is another city in spain, but he said he heard that you dont really want to be there more then a day. Im not sure what will happen, maybe ill visit the following weekend!

hasta luego!