As my friends back home go into the home stretch of their fall semester and cram for finals week’s imminent approach, I sit through lectures a few days a week and sip sangria on the weekends. Wow that was fun to say. No but really, I am actually doing the whole college thing. Don’t get me wrong, this semester in and of itself has been a vacation from life, for me. I wake up every day grateful for the life I’m living. How many people do you know whose stories all begin with something along the lines of “Remember that time in Malta..” and involve people from places like Australia, Spain, Morocco, etc.? I’m tellin’ you, this semester I was spoiled. Unfortunately, however, my spoiling will soon come to an end. Or at least a brief pause. Fiiiiinals are cominggggg.
So the Spanish don’t do finals like we do. In the States, you get one week of exams to show you actually got something out of the classes you took and that you have a basic knowledge of what’s going on. The exam is usually anywhere from 20% - 50% of your grade, but you already have some general idea of what you did all year so at the very least you can usually pull a passing grade. Usually. And then we have Spain. Spain does not do what we do. Spain does not do what we do even a little bit. The Spanish have their first round of exams over a twenty day span from the end of May to the middle of June, and then there’s a second round for the (many) poor souls that screw up the first one. In Spain your final is at least 70% of your grade. Seventy. Percent. I’d like to point out that “Spain” and “Satan” start with the same letter, so do with that what you will. In America, we have exams throughout the semester to make sure you know what’s going on and you’ve kept up with the class and you at least know what class it is that you’re actually enrolled in. In Spain… No. Attendance is not taken except for in the occasional practica (mandatory class). There are no midterms. There is no homework. As the semester progresses you begin to see how screwed you really are. It’s like you’re casually playing in the middle of some train tracks – not sure why you’d be doing that but work with me here – and your shoelace gets stuck in the track. It’s cool, no big deal, there’s no trains coming, these tracks are almost deserted they’re so rarely used. But then SURPRISE every train that ever could have come down these tracks friggen’ flys around the corner and all you can do is sit there and curl up into the fetal position and hope you get lucky and they have really good brakes. Basically, the trains have just come around the corner and your favorite 20 year old idiot blonde is so not ready for them.
I have my first exam May 27th, followed by one on June 6th, another June 10th, and the last on June 13th. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Wrong. So much wrong. Studying begins now. I printed off – actually Er did it for me cause I was in class – all six of my 100-slide Syntax and Semantics powerpoint presentations so that I could start highlighting and outlining. By the way, printing here is dirt cheap. I printed a couple hundred pages for 4 euro. Anyway, I have those ready, I have my 900 page translation textbook which I also printed and had bound by the copiest, and I will be scouring the internet for synopsi and analysis of the books we had to read for my narrative lit class so that I have a better understanding of what the Hell is going on in there. As for German, I’m just going to talk to Lara in German from now on to keep it in practice and that’ll be the end of that. I have 8 weeks left in Spain. I have 4 weeks until my first exam. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and die in fear of my impending exams, but another part of me thinks maaaaaaybe there’s some tiiiiny chance that I could pass. I mean, at least one or two. Sort of?
Aside from school, which is not so subtly taking over my life - probably to make up for my lack of academic involvement for the past few months – life is pretty damn good. I have some pretty amazing friends and flatmates, I live in one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to, and I truly couldn’t be happier. Actually wait, I take that back. I’ve been sick for 2.5 weeks now and if that could end I would be forever grateful. But aside from that, I’m golden.
Ky is visiting in just under a month! Cannot wait to show my favorite place to one of my very best friends! Showing someone else around the place I currently call home is such a crazy notion when that place is in freakin’ Spain. But it’s like this is my city too now, and that’s a pretty wonderful feeling.
I’ll have two weeks between the end of exams and the beginning of my internship and classes in Germany so as of now I’m thinking a week in Ireland with my favorite little leprechaun (Lara) and then a week with the German love of my life (Sassy). And that will be my summer. My classes and internship in Fulda will go until the week school starts at WVU and the vicious cycle will continue. Oh good God my mom keeps sending me little reminders that the academic calendar is posted for 2015-2016 and that my graduation week is on it. I may kill her. I refuse to grow up. You can’t make me.
Oh, I’m not sure if I mentioned this already and I refuse to look at old posts to check mostly because I’m lazy, but I’m registered for classes for my last Fall semester of college! That sounds freakin’ terrifying, wow. Not saying that again. I’m taking Spanish 480 – Problems in the Hispanic World, Foreign Lit 298 – Honors German Fairytales, Linguistics 411 – Phonology, German 440 – Cultural History from 350 – 1700 (L O L), Geology 101 (ew), and some sort of math that I’d really rather not take but that’s life. Going from 12 credits in Spain to 18 credits at WVU is going to be so much more than unfortunate but what can you do. I really am excited to get back, I adore Spain and plan to move back soon but if I must go back, I’m glad it’ll be to WVU and eventually all the way back home to Temecula. I miss it more than I have words to express, in any damn language.
Anyway, I think I’d better go. My lit professor is talking about a book we’re reading whose main character’s name is Alejandra and every time she says it I think she called on me and then I have a bit of an aneurism mixed with some cardiac arrest and my body just can’t handle that so I’d better pay attention, hmm?
Until next time
PS. When the girls and I went for coffee today I was chatting with the barrista while he made our drinks – we’ve been going to this place since the first day we arrived in Spain – and he told me that every day I come in, my Spanish is better than the day before. Best. Compliment. EVER. Will be riding that high all day. That is all.
PPS. The phrase of the day is "mala leche" which basically means bad mood like upset, but the literal translation is "bad milk" which I find amusing. It has no relevance to me because how can you live in Spain and be in a bad mood? The two things are mutually exclusive.
I wrote this blog while living in Spain my second year of college - figured it wouldn't hurt to share.