Alright, so I guess to start this off I'll apologize in advance for not having written in awhile. I mean, it's not like any of you were checking every five minutes to see if I'd blogged recently, but I feel an obligation to the blog and the like 3.5 people who read it, so I'm sorry.
So it's been what, like two weeks since my last post? I think it's safe to say I've fallen into a rhythm here so I'll try to give you a basic rundown. Mondays are always my busiest (I have three whole classes) and they're broken up oddly enough that it's hard to do anything but class until 6 when my last class ends, at which time I eat and gym and occasionally see friends (crazy, I know). Tuesdays and Thursdays I don't have class until 7pm so I usually grab breakfast with Er and head to the gym around 12, spending the rest of my day either with a friend or - now that summer is upon us - tanning on the terrace. Wednesdays I have two classes but to be honest I only go to the latter because the former has a professor who puts his notes on line and doesn't take attendance. I'm a 20 year old college student in Spain, what do you want from me? Fridays I don't have class *pause to exhale deeply and forget your anger towards me* and on the weekends I tend to go wherever the wind takes me. Sunday doeners with the girls, however, are always a must.
Despite the relative consistency of classes, I would hardly say that my schedule is predictable, and thank God for it. Last Wednesday, my friend Alvaro and I went out for drinks and I told him about Librilla, my favorite place to go hiking. Most people would say "Hey that sounds beautiful, we should go someday," but not Alvaro. He decides almost immediately that we should go the following day. So what do we do? Look up the train schedule. We spent all of Thursday getting lost in the mountains of Librilla before finally wandering to the beautiful lakes on the outskirts of the city, and ate homemade bocadillos with our feet in the water and our faces to the sun. It was kinda wonderful. Minus the part where we improvised our walk back into the city and jumped some fences and trespassed over a whole bunch of orchards, but if you ask me that makes it even better. All in all we walked 20 miles that day and SOMEHOW I found it in me to go out dancing that night. Spain does that to you.
The other day, my flatmates and I went dancing and I came to the conclusion that there is not a single woman with Latin blood that cannot move with fluidity and grace across a dance floor and look way more attractive than me while they do it.
Yet another hiking trip this past week to Orihuela with friends resulted in a bit of a surprise. To start off, Erin and I were traveling with two Australians, four Italians, an Austrian, and a Spaniard, and since two of the Italians preferred to practice their French, it resulted in five languages being spoken at the dinner table that day with Spanish being the only one everyone was capable of, at varying levels. You would not believe the headache. Also, the stereotype about Italians and Americans being the loudest is absolutely 100% accurate, you should see them all together at one table. EVERYONE knew we were there. On the way home that day we planned to buy our tickets on the train ride home - it would cost 2 euro and I had bought tickets while on the train in the past. Long story short, this time around we were NOT allowed to do that, and subsequently received a police escort home. Like I said, it's a long story. But a damn funny one at that! And so worth the fine that Er and I will soon be receiving in the mail.
Hmmm what else... Er and I went to the mall this week - she's trying to improve my wardrobe because I've spent 20 years not really caring how many pairs of heels I have - and it's a slow process. I'm a bit of a work in progress.
Let's see, what else is going on in my life?
MY MOM GETS HERE IN THREE WEEKS OH MY GOODNESS OH MY GOODNESS OH MY GOODNESS! I cannot WAIT to see her! And after a few days of having her in Murcia and Cartagena, we're headed to Portugal and Morocco! I honestly cannot believe it's happening. And then Malta with Er! Which means I really should just stop eating dinner altogether, both to save money and to lose weight. Two birds with one stone, no?
Also bought bus tickets to Las Fiyas yesterday! I'll hold off on telling you about that one till the 19th when it happens but holy wow am I excited!
Honestly, I'm just happy to have found my rhythm here. Living in Spain thus far has been so much more than amazing and I am so, so grateful, but in the last few weeks I have begun to feel like I truly belong here. I walk into a bar and I know how to order a drink and what it is I want and where I want to sit. I walk into class and I can look for my friends who have a seat saved for me, Someone asks me to meet them somewhere and believe it or not I actually know where it is. I'll never look Spanish - my height and hair color bar me from that - but I'll be damned if I can't hang with the best of them. Since I started learning Spanish in 8th grade, I've wanted to travel the world, but I never truly understood what that meant until I moved here. In and of itself, the fact that I can say I LIVE here, not "I'm visiting" gives me more joy than I can express. Side note: If my English starts lookin' a little off, you can blame my friend Laura, with whom I spend quite a lot of time and whose Irish anecdotes and slang have already begun to affect my vocabulary. Honestly I would have her read the contents of a ketchup bottle if it meant I got to hear her talk (best accent ever). Anyway, back to feeling like a native. It's kind of awesome. Not to say that I aaaaalways know what's going on in my Narrative Lit class, in fact I rarely do, but aside from that, there isn't much that confuses me anymore, and when I don't know what to do, I'm more than willing to ask. Interestingly enough, I do think I have changed in that respect. It takes a lot to ask someone something that it feels like everyone around you already knows. You feel exceptionally stupid walking up to a waiter and saying, "Hey, do I come to you or do you plan on coming to the table?" because it depends. Sometimes they come to you as you sit, sometimes you're expected to get up and order at the bar. One thing about Spain is that they lack consistency on all fronts, but honestly I think that has helped me grow. I've always been self depreciating and I can handle it when I don't know EVERYTHING (even though I pretty much do - HA) but it takes a whole other level of self confidence to walk up to someone who doesn't know you and ask them something you know nothing about in a language that is not the one you were raised speaking. But, it gets easier. And as time has gone on I have less questions but more willingness to ask the ones I do have. It's a pretty cool feeling, to be honest.
As for my word of the day, today you get a phrase. "Me lo has pegado" more or less translates to "You made it stick with me" as in "You've said something enough that I've started to say it too." Living in a foreign country and interacting with so many people from so many different cultures changes you in more ways than one, but the most obvious is your vernacular. I've begun to say things like "grand" thanks to Laura the beautiful Irish girl, I haven't said "Oh my gosh" in months because I'm too busy saying "Madre mia" and a friend of mine has picked up my bad habit of saying "Okay-vale" - which really just means "okay" in both English and Spanish and totally doesn't make sense to put together, but I do and now he does, because talking with someone long enough truly changes your vocabulary after just a few weeks. It's kind of amazing. To me, it's the first thing you notice to change. Words you never used to say start to come out of your mouth and sometimes (often) you find yourself saying an English word with a Spanish accent and vice versa. It kinda makes your brain hurt, but what are you gonna do?
Oh! Wanna hear something cool? My Spanish has improved exponentially since I arrived. **she said in the least conceited way possible** I still don't know all the words ever, I learn new ones every day, and I still make mistakes, but I can speak without thinking about what I want to say and I don't have to translate to English in my head, it's just Spanish through and through, and it works. How awesome is that? I don't know, makes me pretty excited. I even have proof! So we had to open bank accounts when we arrived in Spain and we used the bank closest to my apartment. The people were amazingly friendly, despite our inability to articulate everything we needed and our nervousness about our language skills, they were patient and welcoming. Now? I walk in and am welcomed with "Alexandra, que tal estas?" as if they know me well and we get drinks on the weekends. I get called out of the normal line to meet at a different desk with one of the people who (for some reason) seems to really like talking to me, and they help me immediately with whatever I need. But it's not just me they're super friendly with, it's everyone. These are by far the friendliest people I have ever encountered in my life, and I've done my fair share of traveling. All of Spain, especially Murcia, is more welcoming than any place is expected to be, and it truly makes all the difference in the world. The other day, for example, an ATM took my bank card because it hates me and said I put my PIN in wrong. I went to the bank Tuesday and immediately was given a new one and a new PIN and talked with my favorite teller for twenty minutes. Who knew "bank tellers" and "friendly" could go in the same sentence? These people are awesome.
Okay, it's 12:30am and I got 5 hours of sleep last night, so if you carry the one and.... it's bed time.
Goodnight mis amores <3
I wrote this blog while living in Spain my second year of college - figured it wouldn't hurt to share.