Hola a todos! I am terribly sorry (especially to Aunty Kathy who has made formal complaints to my mother!) that I have been so negligent with my blog posts. I promise that this blog post will be rather epic and will take WAY too long to read. I guess there are no happy mediums in the blogging world. I hope that you are all well and enjoyed your feast de la accion de gracias (Thanksgiving). I was super stoked (that phrase is neither correct English nor Spanish) about the meal because everyone in our program shared it together at Amalia's house and I made and brought mashed potatoes. Luckily, we have not had any reported deaths from people eating my food so I guess I did pretty well! As I had to cook enough mashed potatoes for twenty-four people, it took me a long time to make them- almost four hours! However, I was pleased to see that they were almost gone and there was only about one portion left over (which Amalia, grinning, explained to me that she was keeping it for herself) when I left Amalia’s house.
The week after we came from Ireland felt short as Pam and I missed school on Monday, but it became rather stressful as we attempted to catch up on all of the work that we missed (hence the lack of blog writing). However, we had a huge event to look forward to- the opening of Harry Potter! We were so excited to see the film that we bought our tickets days in advance and arrived at the movie theatre quite early. However, we were surprised to find that the movie theatre was not even open and we were the only ones there! Apparently, the Spanish are not as intense with their movie premieres are we are in the United States. I suppose that if I was to see any movie in Spanish, Harry Potter is definitely the best choice as I have read the book multiple times and know the story quite well. Situated in the Neptuno mall, the movie theatre is quite close to Mae West (pronounced “my-west” by the Spanish), one of our favorite discotecas and when the movie ends they force you to walk out the back of the building- right near Mae West. We decided it would be quite hilarious to go to the discoteca so early so, at 8:00 pm at night we walked into Mae West (it’s free before 11:00 pm) and broke it down. It was one of the best experiences I have had there!
The next day our group took a day trip to Córdoba, Spain. On the way there our bus stopped at a restaurant where we had a traditional Spanish breakfast: toast with crushed tomatoes, a dash of salt, and olive oil and of course a side of Cola Cao (a very popular Spanish hot chocolate). I have wanted to go to Córdoba the entire time that I have been here, a feeling that was increased when I learned about la mezquita (the mosque) in my art history of Spain class that I am taking here. Our tour of the beautiful city began in the Jewish neighborhood where we went into a museum dedicated to the Jewish heritage in Spain. Then we toured around some of the other buildings in the area, including an ancient synagogue that had been converted into a mosque and then to a church. Later on we visited La Alcazaba, which is an Alhambra-esque city/castle. Last we visited la mezquita. It was AMAZING to see a building that I had learned and heard so much about. Like most of the ancient Arabic buildings in Spain, it was converted into a cathedral which is awkwardly built into the middle of the mosque. When you stand in the cathedral part, you instantly forget that you are also in an even older mosque- mind blowing.
Thanksgiving week, the following week, was another very busy week for me. Wednesday we went to Maristas (the high school where we volunteer in the English classes) and we gave a presentation on Thanksgiving as it is not a holiday that the Spanish celebrate. Of course, I wanted to make my activity extremely interesting so Paul (my project partner) and I decided to have the students read out loud a script (in English) that explains the first Thanksgiving… while simultaneously wearing Native American and Pilgrim paper hats that I made. Can you believe that I convinced seventeen and eighteen year-old high school students to wear these infantile costumes? They enjoyed it too, I was shocked. That night, Pam and I went to the Granada bus station to meet our friend from Stonehill, Jennie Denuccio, who is studying in London this semester. On our way there, Pam and I were not paying very close attention, so when the bus driver suddenly said, “Este es la ultima parade,” (this is the last stop) we got off the bus without questioning, assuming that it was the bus station (the last stop on the route). Oops. For reasons that we are unsure, the bus driver forced us off of the bus a ten minute walk from where we were actually supposed to get off from. However, we luckily got some help from other confused passengers and eventually found our way to Jennie. The next day Pam and I took turns showing Jennie around the city and then we all went out for Falafel for lunch (mmmm!). That night, of course, was our lovely Thanksgiving meal- so delicious!
Friday morning I went to the Alhambra with Amalia and a couple of other students where we saw the Matisse exhibit that is being shown right now in el Palacio de Carlos V (Carlos V’s Palace). Amalia knows so much about art, and she had so much to tell us, it was so interesting! I decided that I like Matisse’s style a little bit better than that of Picasso (both were very good friends). After our visit we met up with Pam and Jennie for churros at a local café. I do not think that I have yet explained that Spanish churros are different from those that we know in the United States. They are more like fried dough and are usually eaten with a fondue-like glass of melted chocolate in which they are dipped in. Need I explain just how amazing they are? I did not think so. After our wonderful snack Pam and Jennie took off for the bus station where they caught a bus to Malaga where they caught a plane (along with Pam’s high school friend Chrstina) to London. In London, they toured around, hung out with Jennie’s friends, visited our friend Ashley Trebasacci at Oxford (where she is studying for the year), and saw Harry Potter 7 in English. I imagine that this was a wonderful trip! Saturday I went to an amazing Flamenco show in Sacramonte. The stage where the artists performed was directly in front of a giant picture window that started with the blinds closed, and when the show began the blinds were pulled aside to reveal a breath-taking view of the city with the Alhambra illuminated in the middle. The show itself was spectacular, and I now understand why they label Flamenco as one of the “great global wonders.” Sunday I went to mass with the family and had a much needed relaxing day (because, of course, my life is so hard).
I forgot to mention- and I honestly cannot remember any more which week it occurred in- that Professor Antonio Barbagallo (a last name which basically translates to Rooster Beard, quite the respectable name), the head of the foreign languages department at Stonehill, came to visit and assess our program here. First, he came and lectured to all of us involved in the program- a very interesting lecture on anglocismos in the Spanish language (he is Italian, but speaks Italian, Spanish, French, and English!). Afterwards, Pam and I were invited to have lunch with him, the director of the CLM, her second in command, Amalia, and one of our other professors from the CLM. It was such an interesting lunch and I felt so honored to be in the company of such influential people. Here in Spain, we would call this particular situation, “super guay” (wicked cool).
Today in Flamenco class, Ana dressed us up, did our hair, put makeup on us, and took pictures! I felt like a peculiar mixture between a doll and a model, but it was so much fun to see Ana so excited and to have so much fun. Tomorrow, Pam leaves for Brussels with our friend Mark where they will visit her extended family members that live there. On Saturday I leave Granada to meet them both in Florence, Italy where we will spend a couple days and visit my friends Jenna and Faith as well as some of Pam’s friends. I’m so excited! Ok, I hope that this post quenched your blog thirst at least a little, and I’m sorry- once again, for my negligence! ¡Hasta luego!
PS I come home in about seventeen days!
PPS I’m so glad that we got to Skype yesterday, PJ!
PPPS I love you.