Oh boy has it been a week. Sorry for the lack of writing, it was like nothing terrifically, astonishingly, wondrous happened that was write-worthy and now I have ALL of the things to say, all at once. I promise to do my best to keep my thoughts organized so your brain doesn't hurt by the time you're done reading.
Alright, so first off, I'm sick. Leave it to me to get sick within my first week in a foreign country, or anywhere really. It's more of a head cold with an added cough (if that isn't implied when you say head cold - I know nothing), so I can work through it. Interestingly enough, my family back home and my friends here are sick, so either my family has some sort of connection I'm not aware of or else we are some seriously unlucky people.
So, due to the fact that I'm not on my death bed, I still have to attend our Spanish intensive. Can I just say how absolutely useless that thing is? Today we went over how to use the conditional tense and the inner workings of commands ("Do that" is different than "Will you do that?"). Yesterday we had to write a love story (ew). These are the things I do every morning from 9:30 (I hate single digit morning times for those who don't know) till 1pm, with a half hour break around 11:30. Luckily, the building we have the class in is literally (yes dad, literally) a three minute walk from my apartment, so I can wake up at 9:15, eat some breakfast, and make it there just fine. Some of you may not be aware of my undying hatred for mornings, but for those of you who are, you'll be surprised to learn that they are slightly harder to hate when all you want to do is wake up and go experience the beautiful place you live in. So, I wake up, head to the absolutely useless class of irrelevance from Hell, take a break (aka go get a snack at my apartment), come back for more happy fun times in class, and head home with Abbe and Er. We break for lunch at our own apartments because we're too poor to go out to eat (have yet to receive our stipends) and we have enough food at our apartments that we need to get rid of it before we buy anything else. Look at me being financially responsible. Speaking of food, I have been all about the cooking game recently. Today I had chicken and cheese quesadillas with refried beans (brought to me by Abbe because I'm sickly and she pities me and is amazing) and then some salsa. Last night was steamed veggies with pasta that had chicken and mushrooms in it and some tomato sauce on top, I even impressed myself.
Oh, I finally opened a Spanish bank account! If it wasn't real before, it certainly is now. Granted, it has no money in it, but we'll get there when we get there - baby steps. The lady who helped us open our bank accounts is actually the sweetest little lady ever, despite the deceiving, perpetually sour look on her face. She gave us (when I say us, I mean Abbe, Er and I) a list of the best tapas bars in the city and I feel obliged to visit every single one of them - I will let you know my thoughts, but I can foresee only good things for anything involving Spanish food and drink.
Let's see, what else is going on.. I finally got hangers to unpack my clothes! I had yet to do so until a few days ago because I had no money - not actually, I have money but my credit cards cannot be used at ATM's here so in effect, I have no money - but Er loaned me some (God bless her) and I got to put my clothes away! My room is rather bare but there's only so much you can bring from one continent to another, I do wish I had brought my photo albums though.. Oh well, next time! Anyway, I should be getting the school stipend sent to my Spanish account soon so never fear (Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Wayne) I promise I am just fine!
OH MY GOSH GUYS YSA TOLD ME ABOUT A PLACE FOR DANCE LESSONS THAT'S ONLY FIFTEEN MINUTES FROM MY HOUSE AND ABBE SAID SHE WOULD TAKE IT WITH ME! It's two days a week and you learn the salsa and the bachata! I am actually going to learn SPANISH DANCES in SPAIN. I know, I know, please inhale and exhale before you throw your computer at the wall because you hate me and would hit me with something if I were in your vicinity - but you can't because I'm in Spain, HA! Okay, I'm done.. For now. But yes, dance classes! I'm actually really excited. There is a one hundred percent chance that I will make a fool of myself during these classes but who cares, I'm here for me and I'm going to enjoy it! That has been my recent philosophy - I came up with it on the plane ride over here - I plan to do things and try things that I wouldn't normally do, whether it be because I normally don't have the time or the confidence or the guts to do them, I will try these things in Spain. For example, taking Spanish dance classes that will inevitably embarrass me until I get the hang of them, and skipping homework that usually takes priority to go experience something that I may never have the chance to again. I know that last bit makes me sound horrifyingly nerdy but what can I say, I school. I school a lot. But here, I just need to pass my classes to get credit at WVU, and as terrible as it sounds to someone who usually fights tooth and nail for every grade I get, I just want to pass if it means that I enjoy my time here that much more. I'm pretty excited for like two and a half of my classes. Medieval Literature doesn't exactly tickle my fancy but my Linguistics, German and (possibly) Psych classes should be pretty cool! Speaking of which, I had to email one of my German professors back home to see which level of German I should take and she told me that no matter what I took I would be "dynamite." Suffice it to say that made my day. It will be interesting to see how German goes because honestly typing this post is hard in and of itself because of all the Spanish I've been speaking but I think I'll be okay after the first few days. I actually got to talk to someone the other day - he was serving doeners and anyone who hasn't had one needs to hop the next flight over to taste one, they're Turkish gyros basically and you see them a lot in Germany - but this guy spoke broken English and then fluent Spanish and German, so I actually used all three of my languages in a five minute period and holy wow did my brain hurt after that.. But it was pretty cool! Language is not one of those immediately gratifying things to study. Like, for me I get excited to learn new words (shut up I know I'm weird) but it's a whole other thing to get to actually use everything you've been learning for so long and see that you know what you're doing, despite your doubts and reservations about your abilities. I actually speak Spanish! And my German is pretty decent too! Who knew, right?
Tonight the girls and I are going to get our Erasmus ID's! Erasmus is like the student association of the European Union - they organize a bunch of trips at like half the normal price, so they are directly up the average poor international student's alley. Afterwards we're headed to attempt to find me some boots and a freakin' jacket because I'm dumb and left mine in the car AT THE AIRPORT when I left San Diego. Go team. It's not like freezing here but at night and early in the morning, a jacket would be lovely.
You know how in America there's a lot of "You're in America, learn English"? So Germany is easily the most English-capable country I've visited, so even when you wanna speak German they want to practice there English. Spain is different in that very few people have any significant experience with English but when you speak Spanish with them they are more than happy to supply words you don't know or are trying to work around and to (very politely) help correct little grammar mistakes. Honestly, that's all I ask. I know I will mess up, God knows I can barely speak English, but the people here know just how to help a girl out.
My flatmates left me alone, by the way. Yas is visiting home - the Canary Islands (jerk), Ines is visiting her boyfriend who lives close to her home (near valencia), and Ysa is mostly at her boyfriend's house across the street. I, pathetically enough, get super scared at night because I'm actually a child, so I close all the blinds and deadbolt the door and keep at least one light on. **pause for laughter at my childishness** But the girls will be returning within the week and in the meantime Er and Abbe have both offered for me to stay at their places! Tonight we're actually going to have a sleepover at my place and order food and drink sangria and complain about how hard it is to be a college student in Spain (life is just sooo difficult) and watch some movies! Oh and I had an actual real good idea! We're going to do Sunday dinners! My flatmates, Abbe, Er and whoever else we may or may not happen to like enough to invite (no one) are gonna take turns with who cooks one big meal for the whole group and we'll all contribute a few euros! That way, us 'Murican's get authentic Spanish food, and the girls get all kinds of American food (though they're all the most excited for the Mexican food I plan on cooking) but I can't take any credit for any of my food - my mother is the absolute best cook EVER. I swear I would be way skinnier if I hadn't lived at home the first 18 years of my life, and she gets her cooking abilities from my Grandma so I can only hope that I have just a tiiiiny bit of that talent. I'm super excited for Sunday dinners though! I think it'll be pretty great, but I'll let you know for sure!
The girls and I would like to do a day trip to somewhere this weekend because classes don't start till the week after next but we're going to check and see what Erasmus has planned for the semester before we do anything else - it's way too great of an opportunity to pass up. Again with the financial responsibility - who am I?
In other news, I would like to make my appreciation for my mother and the rest of my family known, if it isn't already. While I talk to my mom every single day, my sisters and father absolutely suck at communication when I am not physically in the same place as them, but that's okay cause I know they love me. Little one says things like "my day is better now that I'm talking to you," middle bear is always supportive - this was a rough week for me and I needed her dry humor to get me out of my funk - and dad never fails to remind me how proud he is of me, which means a whole hell of a lot more than I think he knows. My grandparents talk to me constantly, whether it be on Facebook or even on WhatsApp - my grandma Sharon is the most technologically advanced 70 year old woman you will ever meet. I truly don't know what I would do without them. AND I got to talk to my mom for 23 minutes the other night and holy crap did that make my week, that woman is my freakin' favorite.
Also, Er and Abbe are the absolute best people I could have with me to take on Spain. Er is infallibly by my side when I need her whether I'm emotionally sick and twisty and need chocolate covered churros and a kick on the butt to keep me going or if I need some more cough drops and soup because I'm actually physically sick, she's there, and I couldn't ask for more. Abbe is already glued to our hips, and I love it. As most of you know, I am happy to talk and be friendly with pretty much anyone - there is good in everyone that makes them at least tolerable if you look hard enough - but I'm pretty selective with actual close friends, and Abbe slid right into friendship's DMs with Er and I. She's precious. She's SO sweet and really, really wonderful to hang out with, and astoundingly similar to Er and I. The three of us get along really, really well and I couldn't be happier to have them by my side (especially since Abbe knew I was dying and brought me the refried beans I needed for quesadillas today so I didn't have to walk to the store - hello brownie points). And as I said, my flatmates are wonderful and fantastic as well, I've heard lots and lots of stories about crappy placement here as far as people go and I was beyond lucky, I adore my girls!
Lastly, before you fall asleep reading because you're just that bored, I wanted to explain the post title. Today's phrase is "Es caprichoso el azar" which translates more or less to "Fate is capricious/whimsical" as in it's out of our hands, unpredictable, and sometimes without reason. This, for me, is huge. There are a lot of things that have happened in my life that I knew I would not be able to change, but I tried to live by the whole "if you don't like it, change it and if you can't change it, change your attitude" thing so I mean thus far I've been okay. Personally, I love this saying. It's something I've had to wrestle with for a long time. I don't like it when things are out of my hands, I hate when I can't fix something or help someone or figure out the "why" behind something that feels like it happened for no good reason. This new saying is one that I plan to try and live by for at least my time abroad, if not even longer. Truly, you can't always change it. Fate, or whatever you believe in, is not something we can always control, and while I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of things being out of my control, I think my time here will help me come to terms with it, and even embrace it. Life is short, and I don't want to waste time questioning it when I should be living it.
Until next time, mis amores.
I wrote this blog while living in Spain my second year of college - figured it wouldn't hurt to share.