I have officially finished my first class, hopefully with a passing grade. I just got out of my final and it was very challenging. I'm beginning to think I'm at a standstill with my Spanish. I guess practice makes perfect, but I don't know how much I want to practice anymore. I'm still loving the culture and hanging out with my friends, though.
This weekend I'm going to Granada with the program. I'm really looking forward to it. I spent a weekend there when I was here last time and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really like Arabic architecture and Granada is filled with it. If my memory serves me correctly, Granada was the last city to fall to the Christian Empire and that's why it still has such a strong Middle Eastern feel to it. Next weekend I'm headed to Madrid with 3 friends. We purchased our train tickets and booked our hostel--so we're all set to go! The train we're taking is called El Ave (or the bird). It's a bullet train. It's a 6 hour car ride, but the train will only take us about 2 hours. The weekend after I'm headed to Madrid I'm going to Cádiz for Carnaval. It's supposedly the 3rd largest in the world. I'm looking very forward to it and I've already purchased a money belt to lessen the chances of an unpleasant experience.
Speaking of unpleasant experiences...I think lunch today definitely qualifies. A large part of being abroad is being exposed to new experiences. Luckily, I'm on the same boat as everyone in my program. That being said, I've been warned of the strange things that might happen by other kids in the program. My friend Briana had warned me about this one. Today for lunch we had a bowl of stew, which was very good might I add. During the middle of the meal my señora brought out a plate of meat. I wondered what it was for and hoped I wouldn't be asked to try it, unfortunately I wasn't that lucky. After we finished our soup she cut off a piece of several of the meats and put it in my empty soup bowl. She then told me to watch her and she mashed all of her meat together in one large pile. I could barely resist throwing up. The fact that I couldn't even identify several of the different kinds of meat made me sick to my stomach. She then told me that after mashing it you use bread as silverware to eat it. I told her I was ok just using my fork. It was worse than the mysterious meat in the middle school cafeteria. One of the items looked like sausage, but was jet black. I've never seen anything like it before. Needless to say, I tried my best to avoid it. I rarely know what I'm eating, but it looks somewhat familiar. I always tell her I like the food, but today I just couldn't get myself to say it. I told her it was así, así, which means ok. I hope we don't ever have it again.
I don't know if it's just because they don't like her cooking or what, but my spanish "brothers" literally don't eat. I've never seen something like this before. It's certainly not a problem we have in the Elman household, but I've never been around anyone that's forced to eat. Every meal she yells at them, particularly the younger one, to eat. Maybe they're the exception to the rule, but every teenage boy I know can't get enough food. It's quite bizarre.
I couldn't help but laugh about this the other day. I was walking home from school, on one of Sevilla's many tiny streets and there were two workmen fixing a large pothole in the street. I remember thinking to myself, wow, they have the whole street blocked off. There was a row of cars waiting, but it didn't seem like too much. When I got to the large intersection about 100 meters from there I heard a symphony of car horns. The workmen didn't even think to block the street off and there was no where for the cars to go. It made me very thankful for the horse blockades they put up at home.
This is El Ayuntamiento, also known as City Hall. Too bad Chicago's City Hall doesn't look like this!
Garbage-men cleaning up the oranges. The street smelled so nice!
Ok, well I better run. I've got to be at the University by 8:30am and that's going to be difficult.