Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today is my mommy's birthday!

¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS MAMA! Espero que disfrutes el día, te amo.

¿Como estaís? In the United States, South American Spanish is taught in the Spanish classes, and this is slightly different than the Spanish that is spoken here. One of the biggest differences is that in Spain the “vosotros” form (a plural form of “you,” which essentially translates to, “Y’all”) is used all the time, but in South America the “ustedes” form (a slightly more formal version of the same thing) is used but “vosotros” is not used. Therefore, when one learns Spanish in high school and college they usually do not teach the “vosotros” form so I really did not have any idea how to use it, and I was a bit surprised when I arrived here and everyone and their mother uses the word. I have since made it my mission to learn it and become comfortable using it and I am pleased to say that although I still struggle with some of the tenses, it has become a staple in my vocabulary!

Last week was our first week of classes and I am pleased to report that I am thoroughly enjoying my classes. I am taking a Spanish speaking and writing class (POE) and a grammar class with the same professor, Susanna. She has a good teaching style, speaks slowly enough that she is easy to understand, and we play a lot of games in the class so I like it. All ten of us in the GRIIS program have to take a Spanish culture and language class with Amalia and I am grateful that I at least get to spend a little bit of class time with my friends as it is sad not to see them everyday anymore. My last class is probably my favorite. Art history is one of those subjects that I have always wanted to take and I was so excited when I saw that I could take it here, but I was thrilled when I met my professor. Salvador is hilarious, a great aficionado of opera music, begins each class by making us sing the “Granada,” song with him, he speaks slowly and clearly enough that I can understand him, and is quite passionate about his fascinating subject. Lovely.

Last Thursday I went to my first acting class. As sort of an extracurricular club, the CLM offers this acting class for the students and for any Granadinas that wish to take it as well. For me, this is a formula for perfection. There were just enough Americans there to make me feel comfortable, one or two students from Bulgaria to keep it interesting, some Spaniards from outside of Granada who are studying in the city, and a good number of actual Granadinans! There are so many different accents in this room it really is laughable. As it was the first day, we played a lot of fun and classic “get-to-know-ya” and acting games. Once again, my name proved to be difficult for everyone and it didn’t get much better when I also introduced the fact that I’m from Mashpee. I’m so happy that I’m finally starting to make Spanish friends. It’s been great hanging out with my American friends, but I’ve definitely been lacking a little bit in the cultural department with Spanish friends my own age.

Thankfully this joyous train of Spanish friends kept on chuggin’ the next night. GRIIS has this program where they set up an American trying to learn Spanish with a Spaniard trying to learn English so that each can practice the language that she or he wishes to become proficient in, your partner is called your “Intercambio.” My friend Molly has an Intercambio, Alba, who is our age and wants to meet and make friends with Americans and she has a lot of friends who want the same thing. We got to meet up with them on Friday night for Tapas. They are all so nice and speak really slowly and carefully so that we can understand them. Also, for some reason it is really easy for me to talk with them. It was so much fun exchanging cultural experiences with them and fielding questions like, “Do you like McDonalds?”

Before we went out on Friday, Pam, Jayson, Molly and I went with Teresa to El Museo del Sacramonte which is near El Albaicin. Almost all of the homes in El Sacramonte have been built into caves and people actually live in them today. The museum was a tribute to these dwellings and explained how people lived in the past and live in them today. It was super interesting.

Random sprinkle of information: I have found a new obsession in the food department: Falaffel. There are probably as many “Kebab King” restaurants in Granada as there heladerias and I am perfectly fine with this.

Last random ray of sunshine: Yesterday was Jaime’s birthday (he’s 10 now!) so Pam and I bought him a Spy kit at El Corte Ingles as a gift. It is equipped with a magic pen (it has invisible ink) and a watch that has a microphone and a recording device. I think it was a fairly successful gift, but I’m sure that Carlos and Anita will not appreciate it when Jaime uses it to spy on them- which he probably will.

PS Os amo!

PPS Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Mommy, happy birthday to you!

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