Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vale, venga!

Yay Spain!!!!
(I wonder if I'll ever be able to start a blog post without something along those lines...)

So here I am! Sittin in my room, sweating up a storm, every window open in this dang apartment trying to catch any semblance of a breeze.  So far I've been unsuccessful.  Game plan: rearrange my desk to sit directly in front of my window.

I've been having some lovely lovely times here!  The fair was incredible (yay!) but now it's over (boo!).  That was honestly an awesome way to start this trip!  Instead of feeling cooped up in our own town, we were gifted with a 15 day celebration of Murcia!  Now I'm ready to go explore other places :)
Here are a few photos of my lovely fair days. I will miss the days where people of all ages go out at night to the same place and go nuts!

Pastel de carne... mmmmmm

So many good memories!! Anyways, now I start real classes on Monday! The academic setup at the university level is way different then the U.S., making it extremely tough to find what classes I want/which are available/when are they.  Students over here pick a major before they start freshman year, and from then on they have a fixed schedule all four years.  They have a handful of classes that they choose from, but the rest are neatly organized and fit together perfectly.  Then I come along and mess everything up, trying to pick courses from different majors and such.  It's a little confusing but I'm teaming up with my friend Emily to pick out some classes we could possibly enjoy together. Teamwork!!

Here's some photos of my house! I would post a photo of my room but I think I'll save my mother the heart attack.  BREAKING NEWS: Lauren's Room Is Messy.
But really, isn't my flat the cutest! Flat translates to "piso" in Spanish. Vocab lesson for the day is complete!

This is my kitchen!

The living room!

and the lovely terrace!

I'll rip the band-aid off early by saying I declined attending a bull fight last night.  I honestly didn't know til this week that they actually kill the bull!  Right in front you. Multiple. Bulls.  No thank you.  I came close to being upset at the parade, when I saw the horses forced to perform meaningless tricks that I'm sure they don't appreciate doing.  All in all, the bull fight isn't worth it for me.  I'll get just as much of the Spanish experience shoving my face with new sorts of tapas at the bar next door to the stadium!

What else is new... plans for trips are buzzing in the air.  Next weekend a couple friends and I want to go to Granada.  Seriously, everybody and their mom (literally, Lexi's mother) LOVES Granada and says it's the best. I'm more than willing to find out.  Bring it!

Love you all and miss you!!!!

---Here are some photos that accompany last week's post

At Maria's with deeeeelicious paella!

La Manga


The cathedral (big meeting spot for my friends and I)

I swear the ice cream is better here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where to begin!

I'm in Spain!
I have an awesome flat!
I'm taking classes at the University of Murcia!
It feels like I eat tapas for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I go out like typical Spanish youth does!

To sum up: I'm having an EXCELLENT TIME!

AND the days keep on getting better.

Phase one: arriving at Murcia
The train here was a piece of cake. Once we got to the train station Maria's brother picked us up and we headed to their house, where we had an amazing meal prepared by Maria Jose (Maria's mom).  It was so yummy, I wished I never had to leave that table! Promptly after eating, Maria proposed that we head to the beach for a few days, since my program didn't start til that Friday. 3 hours later we were on a bus to La Manga, which is a skinny strip of land separating el Mar Menor and the Mediterranean Ocean. One side had water that resembled a lagoon (mar menor), and the other has much more waves and is a little chillier. IT WAS AWESOME. Plus we hung out with Maria's friends and their family which was such a fun way to practice my Spanish... you know, out of the classroom kinda stuff.

Then we came back Thursday night, and I won't worry you with the fiasco/tornado turned Spanish woman that is my landlady.  She was crabby. I did not enjoy her.

Phase two: exchange program begins
Friday was orientation, followed by a bunch of us ISEP students hanging out together and getting to know one another.  Since then we've been roaming around the city in various packs, trying not to stand out too much.  I was realizing one of the biggest wishes I have for this coming semester: I wish to walk around Murcia and go completely unnoticed.  To blend in with the university students would be SO COOL.  Since Murcia is a relatively small place, I've found that it's easy to spot someone who doesn't belong.  It doesn't help that half the time my friends and I are absorbed in a map of some kind, but we're working on it.  To accomplish this goal I just need to A. speak Spanish like true Murcianos; B. know my way around town without stopping and contemplating from time to time and C. dress up on a daily basis and stop wearing flip flops.  I CAN DO IT!

Right now the only class I'm taking is a two-week course designed to brush up on concepts and get us international students prepared to speak mucho espanol.  It starts at 4 which is incredible for my sleeping habits :)

Phase three: living situation
Initial feelings-ugh
Current feelings- YAY YAY YAY YAY!
NEW FLAT! IT'S AWESOME!! I'm excited to wake up and not find new bug bites, and to shower in hot water for more than 3 minutes! I live with Annalisa, and she's such a sweetheart. I'll post photos of the place very soon!!

Miss you all!! :)