You know how when you move your furniture you spend the next few weeks bumping into everything, collecting bruises and small gashes. And when you try walking around in the dark? Forget it. That’s what I’m doing right now but for a whole town while studying in Spain. I get caught on the corners of hallways and bang my elbow, I run into chairs, miss steps and occasionally almost get hit by cars (they’re more aggressive drivers here). I’ve brought my clumsiness to a whole new level and I have a fair collection of bruises to show for it.
Of course, it’s not just all physically running into stuff, it translates onto a whole new level. Just like how you slowly find your way around your living room I’m finding my place here in Spain. Each day I learn how to speak more. I’m learning that while studying Spanish for 3+ years has been extremely helpful it also isn’t as applicable as one may imagine.
For a lot of reasons: people don’t pronounce everything clearly, I only had really practiced Spanish with other beginners, peopletalkreallyreallyfastsometimes, and I was taught how to speak in certain ways for situations. For example in class we’d be told “you’re telling someone about your vacation last April to the Grand Canyon: now go.” However, even if you are telling someone about your visit to the Grand Canyon, chances are there will be lots of questions and interruptions.
Slowly, I’m remembering and recognizing more of the vocabulary and being able to understand it. As opposed to a class where you only need to remember the vocabulary until the test.
School is going well. I’ve completed two weeks of classes and I’ve begun to make friends. Some classes are easier than others. The easiest ones are where the teachers take notes on the board because then I can understand and copy them. However, sometimes I can’t read their handwriting which results into normal notes up until one word that I more or less made up followed by more notes.
I mentioned in my last post that English would be my easiest class which holds true. Math is also not as hard as I first thought. We’re studying things that I’ve already learned so as long as I can understand the question, I can answer it. Physical Education also is on the list of classes I understand because it’s very easy to just follow along with everyone else. As a result the hardest classes are the ones that the teachers lecture in: History and Philosophy.
I’ll try my best to follow but eventually it gets to a point where I cannot focus any longer. It’s harder than you may think to pay attention for that long. It’d be a lot easier to pretend to listen and nod occasionally but that’s also a lot more boring and useless.
I’m currently enrolled in: Castellan (literature), English (the language), Math applied to Humanities, Contemporary History, Philosophy, P.E., Contemporary World Sciences, Economy, and a computer type class that from what I gather is about data imputing. Now, I don’t have all my classes everyday, I have six.
School starts at 8:30 then I have two classes. Then we have a 20 minute break and then two more classes followed by another 20 minute break then our last two. Then I go home for lunch at 2:30.
Before you panic, let me quickly explain the whole Spanish Eating schedule real fast: I eat breakfast around 8 before I leave for school. I then have a snack during one of my breaks. Almuerzo (Lunch) is around 3pm and is the main meal of the day. Then around 5 or 6pm I eat another snack. Dinner is then a lighter meal, like an American lunch, and is eaten around 9:30/10pm. Got it? I know it seems totally weird and out of balance but others are just as shocked when I tell them the American eating schedule.
Azuaga is not a very large town but unlike small town U.S.A. it’s more concentrated, with lots of narrow streets and alleys. It’s like a really little city. It’s built on a hill, so if you get lost you can just walk uphill until you find the main street. At the very top, above the rest of the town is ruins to a really old castle from the fifteenth century as well a small church and a statue. From there you can look down at the whole town and surrounding land. Around the town are stretching fields of green backed by grayish purple mountains. Because everything is on a slope, looking down the street you can see the mountains and hills sprawling out. In those hills is my host family’s “casa en el campo” (house in the countryside) that we visit each weekend. It’s a peaceful place with lots of animals and beautiful sights.
My first few weeks abroad have been a bit of a slip and slide. It’s been confusing and chaotic and I’ll admit there are times where it feels like I’ve just jumped out of a plane with a parachute that only has a 50/50 chance of opening. But other times I feel content and so grateful to be here. So even though my furniture has been move around in new, weird positions, I’m slowly beginning to like the design of it all.