Friday, September 7, 2007

En Salamanca

I'm so sorry that it takes me so long to post blogs. I write them whenever I have time, but I only have a few hours in the day when I have access to free internet, and it's too difficult drag my computer around with me all the time. Anyway, here are the blogs from a few days ago. Yesterday I toured the Cathedral in Salamanca, so soon you all will be getting another history lesson when I get around to writing it. Coming up...there is a festival this weekend to celebrate the patron virgin of Salamanca. It actually lasts for 5 days or so and there will be a bullfight on Wednesday. My preconception is that it will be much like Little Rock's Riverfest, but we'll have to see. Hasta luego...

9.4.07

En Salamanca

I started school officially today. It feels so much better to have some sort of structure to my days now rather than taking tours and running around Salamanca trying to figure out what to do. Not that I haven’t been having the time of my life, it just gets so exhausting, especially when I have days like yesterday. Gina and I woke up an hour late yesterday and we were almost late for our tour around Salamanca. If we had missed it, I would have been so lost because, well, I’m Jessi and I get lost. We had to take the placement test first, and I had barely had time to wake up and get my bearings when all of a sudden I am handed 80 questions and have 30 minutes to complete them. I got a little more than halfway through the test in that half hour (I’m such a slow test-taker), and then I was the first to be called out for the speaking exam. The hallway was crowded and all of the chatter was echoing off the walls, so I could barely hear my examiner. He tried to ask me where I was born three times and I just could not hear him. So after that, I was flustered and couldn’t understand anything Rodrigo (one of the directors) said on the tour and finally just went home. My señora could tell I was upset and hugged me and kissed me (on the cheeks, as is customary in Spain) and told me that I would be fine. And at lunch I told her I liked watermelon so she gave me a huge slice to make me feel better, it was really sweet. The afternoon was much better. I went shopping with Gina and a few others and found some really inexpensive clothes because all of the sales are going on right now. We were kind of disappointed because everything we bought looked exactly like the clothes you buy in America, and we really wanted to try out the European style. Then we thought about it and the only real difference is the way they wear their clothes, not what they wear. The Spaniards always dress up and look much more put-together than Americans. They even dress up jeans and t-shirts. It is definitely not okay to wear sweats and pajama pants and such outside of the house in Spain like it is in Arkansas. Also, skinny jeans are really popular here, and everyone looks good in them. In America, that style is a little bit harder to accomplish because, well, Europeans tend to be thinner than Americans.

Today was a good day even though first days of school are always boring. We did ice-breakers like we do in the States and it was the same thing in every class. The only class I have a problem with is my oral practice class because some of the people in there cannot even read Spanish off of a piece of paper. I guess that’s what I get for being so nervous on test day. That class is intermediate and my others are advanced, so really I’m doing pretty well. I could move up to the advanced oral class, but I’ll probably just stay in the intermediate one because sometimes I do have a lot more trouble speaking than anything else. It was, for the most part, an uneventful day (if that’s possible). I have some homework and I’m going to meet some friends later for ice cream. I’m pretty much just livin’ life…except it’s in Spain!




9.5.07
I spoke in Spanish all afternoon! I sat with my friends outside a little café for an hour or so and we spoke only in Spanish to each other. This is the first day that I have spoken more Spanish than English while I’ve been here – that’s pretty exciting! I’m actually really anxious to start what they call “intercambios.” It’s a meeting between Spanish students who want to learn English and the ISA students who are learning Spanish, and we help each other out with our respective languages. It’s a really great way to meet Spanish students…well, there really is no other way. All of our classes are in the “International Courses” building on campus, so there are no Spaniards at all. I have met a few people from other countries who don’t speak English, so our common language is Spanish, but the point of being here is to get the whole cultural experience and you can’t really get that without knowing any Spanish people. I just haven’t had the opportunity to meet any Spaniards yet.

I’m also looking forward to the festival this weekend, which will be a cultural experience in itself. I’m still not sure what the reason is for the celebration, I suppose there’s a topic for me to ask my señora at dinner tonight. Anyway, the city has been preparing for this festival since we got here at the beginning of the week, and we are all very excited (by we I mean my friends in my program). I’m not sure what to expect except a lot of people, food, and drinks. I guess I’ll find out soon, though.

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