Bits and pieces

Hello! I have lots of things to write about, but I also have to do some homework and go to sleep soon, so I’m just going to address some of my smaller thoughts today.

  • When I went to school today, I found out that I was placed in THE HIGHEST LEVEL CLASS at the school. In a way, I almost feel like this is a mistake, because when I sit there it seems like everyone else around me understands las maestras better than I do. But the test was mostly a WRITTEN exam, and truthfully, I’m pretty good at writing in Spanish. My first class was grammar, and I sat there feeling stupid while Amelia, la maestra, explained things to us. But when we were given worksheets to do exercises, I understood what she had been talking about. We’re using tenses that I haven’t used since high school (the four tenses of el condicional), but they’re coming back to me. I actually answered quite a few sentences right that other students were getting wrong… but everyone still speaks better Spanish that I do. I had conversation class later, which was more challenging, but not unmanageable. On lunes (Monday), it’s my job to talk to everyone about America and American culture, and answer their questions about it. I have to talk ALL CLASS LONG, but I’m not too worried because mi maestra Teresa is very helpful, and I’m just talking about what I know. I could ask to be moved to a lower level if I wanted to, but honestly, I think that I’m going to be challenged more in these classes, and I think I’ll learn faster as a result.
  • Today I checked on Joaquin to see if he was okay. He told me he is doing much better than he was yesterday. He explained that his mother has been battling cancer for a long time, and just finished a long and exhausting chemotherapy treatment. The phone call that he got yesterday was about some test results, and I guess the cancer metastasized somewhere else. At the time when he heard the news yesterday, it seemed devastating and final. But he told me that since then, they have talked to other doctors and discovered new treatment options for her, so there is hope. It’s a tough situation all around, but I’m glad to know that Joaquin and his family are staying positive about the future.
  • I walked by a shoe store today that was having a sale. One thing you must know about Spain: Everyone here has AMAZING shoes. Everyone. My director told me before I came here that I would find tons of very nice shoes for lower prices than in the United States. I brought some nicer shoes with me, but I’ve really been itching to get some nice Spanish sandals. There was a very cute pair on the sale rack (SERENDIPITOUSLY IN MY SIZE), so I bought them and they only cost 5 euros (cheaper than a meal!).
  • Someone in this house plays some kind of musical instrument. Loudly. I’m actually a little annoyed with myself because I can’t figure out what kind of instrument it is. It has a similar low, warm woodwind tone as a saxophone, but I know that it’s not any sort of woodwind or brass instrument. I know this because sometimes the person playing would accidentally hit another note in discordant conjunction with the one he meant to hit, which led me to think it might be an organ? Or an electric harp? I don’t know. But it’s loud.
  • I enjoy being totally responsible for my own meals! Look at mi almuerzo (lunch) from today!It’s olives (honestly, all the olives here are AMAZING), jamón ibérica rolled with mozzarella, an apple, and tomato juice. It was awesome.
  • While I was preparing my lunch, a DIFFERENT MAN than all the others I’ve seen came into my kitchen. He greeted me with the European “double kiss,” which took me by surprise. I was clearly awkward about it, and he was like “Es un costumbre (custom).” I know I’ll need to get used to it, but that was the first time anyone here has greeted me with it! He talked to me for a minute or two (in fast Spanish). I didn’t catch everything he said, but I got the gist of it (that’s been happening more lately… progress?), and he was basically saying that if I ever need anything or have any problems living here, I can just talk to them. This made me feel a little bit guilty again about wanting to leave, because the people here are all KIND to me. And I put all my clothes away in the closet today. I still just don’t want to stay here, though. I figure I shouldn’t hurt their feelings too much if I just say “I want to live with my friend, and his landlord told me there was a room opening up.” I don’t need to explain privacy issues, or location issues, or money issues… and no one’s feelings will be hurt!
  • Tonight, “La Feria” opened with an AWESOME parade. I took lots of photos, and I’ll probably post them in a blog entry tomorrow when I have time. It was a beautiful event, and the sense of community throughout the whole thing was just very uplifting and fun.

Well, those are all the “bits and pieces” for now. Time to do a little homework and get some sleep! Adios!


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