Monday, September 24, 2007

Semana Cuatro

Things have been relatively quiet lately. As quiet as things get when you´re in another country and barely understand anybody around you, that is. I just finished my second test today and decided I was getting some good internet time as a reward. It wasn´t too terribly tough, so I´m pretty happy--it´s a little weird that I´ve basically finished my first class, it certainly doesn´t feel like four credits worth. I gave a presentation in class last week on my Sophomore year at Dordt and the guys on my wing--only a five minute presentation (in Spanish), so it hasn´t been bad at all.
This weekend was an adventure. I went with four other guys and drove to "El Bosque" to do some hiking. The original plan was to hike in, stay at a hostel, and hike out the next day. However, the trail we took was closed due to fire damage and the ranger that caught us wasn´t too keen on the idea of us pressing on. So we went back to the trailhead and drove to our destination, Grazilema. It´s what they call a "Pueblo blanco" because every building is painted white with red tile rooftops. The streets were tiny and winding--obviously build without cars in mind, and it was nestled in some beautiful mountains. The hostel was full, so we spent the afternoon wandering around and had a nice dinner before driving home again.
I´m still hoping to do some traveling, I just don´t know where yet. I´m hoping to convince my brother to fly out in October and travel with me for a week, but who knows? This weekend I´m working on plans to see the beaches in Portugal, so I should have some really sweet pictures up then.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Semana Dos

This whole last week of school has been great. Even when the newness of Spanish classes wore off, I was still having a great time. My teacher, Salva, is a ton of fun and I'm expecting the rest of the quarter to be similar. We've got our first test tomorrow, but it shouldn't be that bad--after all, it's for beginners, right?

This weekend was at least as fun as last weekend, even though it got off to a little bit of a rocky start. There's this thing called a botillon (I think) that the Spanish kids do out here--get a bottle of liquor, a bottle of coke, and some plastic cups and go hang out in the street or in a park for a while. So, I was doing this with some guys in the park when the police showed up. It turns out that we stupid Americans were having our first botillon in the only park in Sevilla that it's illegal. They just made us throw away the rum and head on our way. We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon in a bookstore--which is probably a much better use of our time.

Speaking of bookstores, I've started re-reading The Hobbit, but this time in Spanish. I've put in a good 6 hours or so and I've gotten all the way to page 4 with some severe help from my dictionary. It might be a lofty goal to read it this semester, but I'm hoping my Spanish will improve to the point where I don't use the dictionary 5 times every sentance.

Sunday afternoon was definitely the highlight of the weekend--we went to a genuine Spanish bullfight. Completely not knowing what to expect, the first bull was pretty intense--but around the fifth or sixth it was getting a little old. Some of the people in the group weren't quite ready for the killing (which was definitely a bit sad), but it was so intense and interesting that I didn't think about it too much. The Matadors are certainly pretty bold, but you start to recognize that while the bulls are pretty fierce, they're also really dumb. Really, how many times can you run through a red sheet before realizing you're really not getting anything? In all, it was definitely something I'd recommend for anybody to see.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Escuela comienza

So, it was tough coming here (as opposed to Dordt), but when I was telling myself "it can only improve," I wasn't lying--God is good. The weekend was great--Saturday at the beach and Sunday at church and at home. It was awesome to get out of the heat at the beach, even if it was the Atlantic. It was a really nice beach with just a few minor differences--like the fact that it's completely ok to be topless. Just when I thought Spain couldn't get any more foreign to me....

Classes started today and I don't know when the last time was that I enjoyed school so much (sorry to any profs who are reading this). There're about ocho of us in the beginner class (which isn't exactly for beginners, as it is conducted almost entirely in Spanish) and I think we're going to have a good time together--no taking ourselves too seriously like the advanced students.

The schedule's pretty nice too--8-1:30 with a half hour break in the middle. We get done in time for lunch and siesta and get an open afternoon (sans homework) until dinner around 9. Bedtime, at the earliest, is midnight--so we get to have some night-life as well--especially on the weekends when everybody's up until at least 2AM.