I am currently writing this to avoid doing more homework. Namely, reading muchas paginas (many pages)-14 to be exact-of small-print spanish about a topic I would fine equally dry and boring en ingles. (Lo siento, pero no se como puedo insert accent marks). The reading is for my Espana y Las Americas class and the topic is the Economic History of Spain. I should be more interested, but at this time of day I am losing focus quickly. Perhaps I will do it over a cup of coffee tomorrow during our break between classes. I may actually be purchasing plane tickets then-ah, well, maybe there will be time for both. I hope to meet up with my roommate from UNC who is studying in the Netherlands (aka Los Paises Bajos en espanol) this semester. We want to meet in PARIS! I cannot wait.
On Saturday, everyone in the program boarded a bus at 8:45ish to head to Cordoba for the day. I slept some of the way there, but was able to see muchos, muchos arboles de oliva. We drove through the countryside which was beautiful-rolling hills, green grass, blue skies, olive farms. I decided a life living here, running an olive farm and living in a gorgeous house in the Spanish countryside sounded pretty sweet. It has already been added to my list of “cosas quiero hacer antes de muero.”
The bus stopped at a gas station/hotel so that we could use the bathroom, but people also stopped at the bar and got coffee and other beverages. This is the point in which I realized the difference between the USA mindset and the Spanish (or perhaps general European?) one. We tend to rush, rush, rush and do not have time to stop and have a drink. We have to do what we need to do and get back on the bus, for example. Here, it is different-more relaxed. Yo me gusta este vida. Cordoba-like mostly everything else I have been talking about-was a beautiful sight from the time we all sleepily stumbled off the bus into the cold.
and it was COLD. First, we got a tour of La Catedral De Cordoba which is probably the most famous thing in Cordoba and what it is known for. It was built in 785! The Cathedral was originally a mosque but was later converted to a Christian cathedral in 1236, when the city was captured by Fernando III. Our professor de arte y cultura-Fernando- gave the tour although honestly I think most of us were too cold to pay much attention to what he was saying and simply took photos here and there of the amazing interior of the cathedral. Don’t get me wrong-the history is interesting- but it is also a bit difficult to pay attention when the tour is in Spanish.
We next visited a synagogue that dates to the 14th century that is covered in Hebrew script. Oh, along the way, we rubbed the foot of a statue of Moses Maimonides for good luck and geez since that, everything has been fabulous. It is, after all, the 8th luckiest good luck monument in the world (according to a google search).
We had roughly and hour and a half to explore wherever we wanted at this point and so a group of us decided we wanted hot beverages and found a little cafeteria where we drank tea and hot chocolate and ate chocolate croissants and churros. I also bought an awesome little leather cross-body bag en una tienda de cuero (leather shop). Cordoba is known for both its leather and silver goods. After that, it was time to head back to the bus (like a bunch’o tourists) and say adios a Cordoba.
We arrived in Seville around 5pm (the bus ride was about an hour and a half) and I headed back home for a while before going to a TexMex bar (the most American place around-the have Sunday brunch, BLTs, and burgers) to watch the UNC game. That’s all I will say about that. If you watch ACC basketball at all you will understand what I mean. We left right after and a few of us went to eat tapas. Mmm-mm good! I had some sort of sandwich with chicken and ham and french fries. I tried a spinach croquette which was amazing and also some calamari which I thoroughly enjoyed also. I ordered the house red wine which was also muy delicioso. Next part of the adventure consisted of wandering into a flamenco bar and becoming a native for a moment. I compared it to the Carborro of Sevilla-relaxed, somewhat grungy (in a good way), and funfun! The dancing was very interesting and the woman-who had a TON of curly black hair by the way-was maybe in her forties and danced very well in her bright red dress. It was off to eat dessert next-of course-and then to search for una discoteca (their version of what we call a club-their club is for gentlemen only). We wandered and had a good time but never ended up finding the one we were looking for. I think its name had something to do with groucho marx perhaps? Some guy was trying to tell us where it was and what it was called (in Spanish of course) and that’s what I got out of what he said, anyway. It was pretty late at this point (but not so for Spaniards-I’ve heard they start going out near 2am) so we got taxis home. I came back to mi tia sitting on the couch watching TV and she first asked how the game was and then how my night was. At the end of our chat, she said “Besos!”.
Sunday consisted of waking up around 12:30, going to buy train tickets to Cadiz, eating a lunch of delicious paella (perhaps one of the best things I’ve had yet), skyping for a long time (Kevin), doing a smidgeon of homework, and then eating another great meal of spanish tortilla made by mi tia! It was raining all day and pretty dark and miserable. I spent the day in sweats and thoroughly enjoyed it. In the afternoon, mi tia called me into the kitchen to show me how she flips the tortilla and told me how it is both a difficult and easy thing to make. Sometimes when she flips it from the pan to the plate, it falls on the ground. I tried to get a picture of her with it, but she said NOOO she didn’t look good at the moment and maybe another time. It consists of potatoes and egg and you should all try it if you ever come here. It rocks. I would like to learn how to make it from her and maybe I’ll make it for you when I come back, if you’re lucky. 🙂
Today, it turned out I didn’t have class just like everyone in the US (for MLK day), although mine was for a different reason. The program director’s wife died suddenly Sunday morning and the funeral was today. I am very sorry to hear about this tragic event. Apparently they have a 19 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. I only met the man at orientation, but he seemed very friendly. Tomorrow it is back to class though. Anyway, I woke up super late again today and met some friends to buy school supplies then returned to have a lunch of something like baked beans, veggies (which she now always gives me and which I like), and a piece of beef. We met again after lunch to go to Starbucks and work on homework which I ended up doing very little of. Instead, I drank coffee and ate some crazy dessert and talked to my friend. No-I did do a little homework. Really. It was off to Corte Ingles after this to buy more minutes for my phone and some cereal for snacking. The walk back made me feel like I was in a huge city again with all the tall buildings with their lights and the traffic and the pedestrians. It was maybe 8:45 and things were likely closing in a while. Dinner was some fried ham and cheese thing, a single chicken nugget, noodle soup, and a salad. I enjoyed it. I learned most host mothers eat after we do but I am not quite sure why. There is a lot here I don’t understand but I guess that’s just living in another country! I love it and mom and dad, it may be hard to convince me to come home. good luck to you both. 🙂