1. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you will understand the joy that is this photo:
Yes, friends, I made myself a pumpkin pie. Delicious. Everything I wanted and more. I even made the crust. A big shoutout goes to my mom who brought me the can of pumpkin in the first place.
2. Sunday was International Peace Day. And hey, I love peace! The kids in my school have been learning “Imagine” by John Lennon. I have probably heard that song upwards of 50 times in the last two weeks. And most of them can really only sing the part that goes “Imagine all the people.” I wish you could hear it in their precious accents. It’s too good. It sounds more like “eem-ah-jeannnn alll zeee-peeh-pulll.” It was really beautiful though, with all of the students singing the song in harmony and talking about peace and what it means to them. They also drew Picasso-style depictions of peace. Keep the spirit of peace in your hearts, babies, you are the future. 🙂
3. I don’t think I like dating in Spain. It’s really confusing. I would probably identify dating in the U.S.A. as “confusing,” so it’s difficult to quantify how much more confusing it is in a foreign language. Most of the time I can’t tell if I’m on a date. And what makes things worse, is that it’s not standard protocol for boys to pay for you here. And if they do, it really means nothing. So there’s no identifier. There’s no word for “date” (the verb or the noun) in Spanish. This should really tell me something.
Early on in my time here, I asked my Spanish girl friend if boys asked girls on dates. She said, “Yea, you go on dates with your boyfriend.” I then questioned, “But…before someone is your boyfriend..how do you get to know each other?” She replied (this is serious), “I don’t know…meet in the park and kiss?”
So there you have it. Spanish dating in a nutshell. I don’t know if this is going to work out for me. I am honestly amazed by people who have cross-cultural relationships. There are so many challenges to overcome (ya know, beyond identifying whether or not you’re actually going on dates).
That’s all for today. Hope you enjoyed my random musings.
My apologies on such an extreme delay updating on anything substantial. I am officially in my teaching location in Granada (hooray) and am currently writing this e-mail from my bed in my new apartment. So let me catch you up to speed…
I concluded my home stay on a lovely note with my Spanish “familia.” They are such darling people. My senora gave me two bracelets as a parting gift with a stone on them for good luck. They told me that if I ever needed anything, they would help me.
All in all, my time at my language school was valuable. I can speak in more tenses than the present now. Which is helpful. Previously, I would start every sentence referring to a time not in the present with “in the past” or “in the future” and then proceed to speak in the present tense. It got old. And people had a hard time understanding me. Unfortunately, I did not manage to woo my teacher. However, he did give me B/A’s in the class (not that it counts for anything…) and wrote nice comments about my SPIRIT (legitimately) on my progress report.
On Saturday, I made the three hour train ride to Granada. It’s really beautiful here and the people are SUPER nice. Fun fact: When you order a cerveza here, you get a FREE tapa with it. I like free! I like tapas! I like cervezas! I like Granada! 🙂 I haven’t had much time to explore and discover yet. I have been a woman on a mission. The mission: find an apartment.
I looked at roughly 10 places. It was like Goldilocks and the tree bears. Too expensive…too far from work…too small…etc. The other really challenging aspect of this process is that it’s impossible to understand people on the phone and I am bad with maps. I got lost every step of the way. To every appointment. I misunderstood every person. Tres (3) sounds very similar to seis (6). E in Spanish sounds like our A. Sometimes people tell you the wrong bus route.
My friend Alex accompanied me, which was helpful because he is far superior to me in Spanish and he has a sense of direction. And it was nice to get a second opinion. I finally settled on a mediocre apartment close to my school with really really nice Spanish roommates.
Here’s the scoop:
Two roomies: Elias (el-eee-us) and Ana. They are cousins. Both 22. Elias is in a rock band and plays the guitar. Ana studied architecture and is looking for work. They are very kind, and just giggle politely when they don’t understand me. They want me to help them learn English, and make them “American” food (whatever that is…hamburgers?). They do understand a little bit of English but they did not learn American English. So whenever I tell them a word in English and they look confused, I try again in British English. For example: Trashcan= no go. Rubbish bin= yes.
They try really hard to say my name the way that I say it, but its never going to happen. I heard them practicing in the other room today…it’s really precious. Elias made me dinner tonight, and we bonded. He’s super nice. I asked him all of the Spanish social norms and about the concept of last names in Spain. Very informative.
I’m not going to lie. My apartment is not the most beautiful. My room is nice, but…the whole thing is kinda old…for example… when I want to take a hot shower, I need to turn on a the gas, and then use a LIGHTER to light the gas. I am not good with lighters. I have genuine fear that I am going to burn down the apartment complex.
Next up: get a bank account and start work on Friday!
To conclude, I’d like to state that I now have copious amounts of Internet and will use my free time from here on out to respond to e-mails, and welcome phone calls via Skype!
Besos y abrazos.
While I am in Sevilla, I go to Spanish class 4 hours a day. In high school and college, I hated Spanish. I thought it was difficult and I didn’t think I’d ever need to use it (wrong-o). However, I am seriously in love with this language class. It’s extremely intensive because it is only two weeks, but it’s really entertaining and I’m learning a lot.
The school I am attending is in the heart of the city and teaches a bunch of different languages to students of many nationalities. They offer a lot of other cultural programs as well…weekend trips to nearby countries, tours of the city, etc. The atmosphere of the school is so fun. You never know what language the person sitting next to you in the library speaks. Everyone seems to love the study of culture and the joys of travel. It’s exhilarating! It would be really cool to work at an international language school one day.
While I am indulging in the romance of learning a new language, I am also realizing how immensely difficult it is to become fluent. Yes, I can form sentences. Yes, I can understand you if you use basic words, speak slowly and use charades. However, when I overhear a conversation in Spanish at the table next to me (at the same pace at which I would speak English)…I can’t understand anything.
I am learning more and more that residing in a foreign country does not grant you the sudden privilege to understand another language. In fact, I believe to be fluent in a second language, even living in a country where it is the native language, is an active choice, and is hard work. You can learn by osmosis how to function in the everyday places…i.e. the grocery store, the mall, etc. But you can’t just learn how to have a coherent conversation by walking around. It takes a lot of study and a lot of practice, and a little discomfort. It is uncomfortable when you can’t find the words to express your thoughts to someone else. It’s uncomfortable when you say something so incorrectly that other people laugh. But that’s how you learn. When I move to Granada, and I have fewer American friends nearby, I am going to become even more fully immersed in the uncomfortable stage, but I’ll need to keep reminding myself that is it all part of the process.
On a different note, I have a huge crush on my cutie Spanish teacher. I don’t think he’s interested in me at all, but I often daydream in my free time about our future life together. He could perfect his English, I could perfect my Spanish…we could work at this language school together…have bilingual babies…it’s really the ideal situation. The positive aspect to this scenario is that I try harder in class, and that benefits everyone. 🙂
Besos y Abrazos,