Tuesday, December 11, 2007

El Ultimo

Originally I meant for this blog to be something I did every few days and told all the cool stories and kept anybody interested generally informed. Now I see that this is exactly post number twelve which would make it a relatively weekly thing. Not quite as good as I had in mind, but better than it could have been.
I guess this time of year is hectic no matter where you are. And, while Spain is definitely laid back, being here is no exception. I gave a presentation this morning and I've got my final exam tomorrow. The fact that I'm writing this should give some indication as to how keen I am on studying. My presentation was over Disneyland and it went very nicely (if I do say so myself). I even busted out my harmonica to play the small world song and give everybody a taste of how horrid it is.
Last week we all got to be a part of something pretty sweet. We all went to a convent and sang Villancicos (Christmas carols) to all the little kids. They seemed to really enjoy it--especially when we gave them each a Christmas present afterward. One little girl got a tea set but abandoned it for her former favorite toy--a plastic sword. I spent the latter half of the evening pretending to die numerous times, and when I was tired of that I held her upside down by her ankles and was rewarded by a good solid bite on the kneecap. We sang for an old-people's home yesterday and they responded much better. I wasn't bit once.
It finally feels like this semester's running out of gas. I don't feel like doing anything anymore--during siesta I sit and play minesweeper on my computer until I can go back to school and do things like this. Back in the day I would have practiced some Spanish or gone to a cafe, but I just find myself thinking of the things I'm going to do at home. Still, it's getting harder and harder to see the people around me out here and know that I've got less than a week before the chances of seeing each other become much slimmer.
Anyway, I had better get to studying finally. If you're actually reading this blog still at this point I suppose I'll see you soon. So thanks for keeping up with me and Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Con Dos Semanas Mas...

Things are still just as sweet as always, but I am definately starting to pine for California. Sevilla's being decorated, and seeing all the Christmas stuff is making me feel like I should be at home. But there're a few final hurdles yet. I've got the final test next week and it seems like Salva gives us a new verb tense to learn every day. Not that I'm complaining, I love filling in the gaps, but that's a lot of information for one test. Also, next monday we have our final presentations--I'm doing mine on the history of Disneyland. It doesn't sound like the most serious presentation topic, I know, but who can resist el lugar mas feliz de todo el mundo?
This past weekend we went to Ronda, a town about 2 hours out of Sevilla and the fourth most popular city to visit in Spain after Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla itself. It's built up on a big hill with cliffs all around and the view is spectacular. We walked up to one point to see the view and Salva told us it was the "place of gosh." Figuring that his English was sadly lacking in this instance, I asked what he meant. He told me that whenever a tourist saw the drop-off they would say "gosh," hence the name. I looked at him like he was crazy because I doubted his translation and he told me that actually it had a similar name in Spanish but he wouldn't tell me because it was much too strong a word. After some begging from him and the other prof, I got them to give me the word but they still wouldn't translate it for me. So I got out my trusty Spanish cell phone and texted David back in Sevilla (he's the go-to-guy whenever we need to know something the professors can't tell us). He texted back thus: "well, that's a good one and it has several meanings--all of which are bad..." That has certainly been one of the highlights of my Spanish education. The rest of the city was beautiful, especially one long staircase down to the river below. It was a secret staircase back in the day and it had about 300 steps--everybody was panting by the top.
Another interesting adventure happened that night back in Sevilla. We were all hanging out by the river after midnight (which is still a perfectly reasonable hour in Sevilla) when we were accosted by a pair of Canis. Canis are the wannabe gangsters of Sevilla--they go around on their mopeds and dress in stripes and too many piercings and make trouble wherever they can find it, often with foreigners like us. One of the two was about 15 and the other one looked like he was on something, so we weren't too worried and we started a nice conversation with them. They started being unpleasant, so we felt it was safer to pretend we didn't understand them. When they were convinced that we didn't understand their spanish, they began to say some really unpleasant things about some of our mothers and the like. The older one even said some things about pulling out a pistol (which is supremely unlikely in Spain, so don't worry about me) but we still felt it was good to get out of there, so we left without any more trouble--I think they finally realized that we were a group of about 20 and they had 2--Margarita always tells me that the Canis are uneducated.
And speaking of Margarita, I think she's going to take it bad when we leave. Just yesterday we told her that we wanted to take her out for lunch this week (she doesn't eat dinner). We insisted on paying for her and she started to cry--extremely uncomfortable, but really sweet. I'm gonna miss her too, she's been great. Actually, it's all been great and it'll be sad to see it all go.