In other news, I FINISHED MY FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL! Now I'm 25% done with classes. Crazyyyyy. These past four days have gone by very fast, and I actually feel like I've learned a lot. It could just be because I'm in a good mood, but I love my classes, my professors, and my classmates.
Well, most of them. You know my Traditions class, which I haven't really enjoyed? I'm at a much higher level than the other students. I don't know how that happened, and it sounds bad for me to say this....but they're not the greatest at Spanish. And I'm not saying I'm good at all! I'm terrible at Spanish. But they're in 100/200 level classes, while I'm typically at the 300/400 level. Many have realized this, so they now turn to me for an English translation of our professor MANY times a class. It's not that I mind translating and helping them out, but it gets tiring. And it kinda annoys me when they take up class time asking ridiculous questions and using grammar that makes me cringe. But it does come with it's perks. My professor knows my level of Spanish, so she doesn't call on me in class, meaning I get to sit there and work on homework or daydream or whatnot. Plus, the work isn't too hard. And I got a 100% on my presentation from yesterday!
Bragging aside, school isn't too bad. Though there is a lot of homework! Monday I have yet another presentation to give, this time on bull fights. Yay? Today we learned about Las Fallas, which is a festival in Valencia in honor of San Jose, the patron saint of carpenters. Basically, from March 1st- March 18th, they have explosions every day at 2pm, leading up to March 19th where they have these giant fires where they burn....ginormous dolls. Apparently the local carpenters spend all year collecting residue, and then build giant stage-like objects in which they place these dolls. These dolls are satirical, but are really creepy. They're displayed throughout the month, and then burning them is supposed to be reminiscent of burning away sin and evil spirits.
I don't care. You cannot make me go to that festival. Ever. Usually I'm not opposed to traditions, and find them interesting. This one just creeps me out. Here's one picture:
I hope you weren't planning on sleeping tonight.
We even watched some videos of this burning in class. My reaction? NOPE. Giant, creepy dolls, fire, and explosions? It's like something out of a horror movie.
I came back for lunch, as usual, to some paella, which is a typical Spanish meal made of rice and chicken. It was delicious! As usual, I couldn't eat all of it, and Teresa seemed to get a little frustrated. I keep having to explain that the food is good, but that it's just too much. Maybe someday she'll give me smaller portions...
After lunch, I was so tired that I decided to take advantage of the descanso, or siesta. I was planning on laying down and playing with my phone, but the next thing I knew, it was 4:30 and my alarm was going off. Thank goodness I thought to set it! The weirdest thing is that I don't remember being asleep. I guess I just passed out?
I went to the plaza to meet my friends for some more fun. About 5 or 6 of us went for tapas and sangria, then bought tickets for a flamenco this Saturday at the theater! I'm pretty excited for that! We also went back to the convent because a couple people absolutely needed some of their sweet almonds. I didn't get any because I knew I would eat the whole box tonight, and that just shouldn't happen. But I did steal a few handfuls! We even said the password correctly.
They say: Ave Maria pureza
We say: Sin pecado conveivado
If any of you speak Spanish, please don't correct me if I got that wrong. I'm too lazy to look it up and spell it all right. But I can say it!
Since none of us can get enough of eating here, we went to this bakery that was incredibly enticing. One girl got some type of pastry covered in powdered sugar, which we all shared. Then, GELATO! I'm going to come back so fat... but on a hot day, nothing beats it. And we all tried different flavors. I got the Vainilla Cervantina, mostly because it is obviously named after Cervantes, and I figured it would be great to try it. And it was delicious!
Afterwards, some people went home but one of my friends and I went shopping on the Calle Mayor (again). And I spent way too much (again). But, hey, when in Spain...live it up?
So...there's one notably weird cultural thing they do here in Spain. Other than the besitos, or kisses on each cheek which I'm strangely completely accustomed to. Los piropos. Basically it's completely normal for guys to stare at girls, cat call, shout, etc. Most Spanish women typically ignore it, and it's just an accepted thing. Well, I guess I'm not a hag (or maybe it's just because I'm a foreigner) but I've been getting my fair share of attention. In just the past week, I've been beeped at, yelled at, stared at- pretty much everything. It doesn't bother me much, but I have a tendency to be nice to people so I always feel a need to respond, say hi, or whatever. I have to remind myself not to!
Just this minute, my host mom brought a random lady in my room here to introduce me. I had no idea who this woman was until I recognized her from a picture in the living room. It's her daughter! She seems nice and greeted me in English, which is cool, but I am kind of surprised to see her here. I didn't know she lived in Alcala! Teresa introduced me as Teresita, which is what they call me. That, or nina. Which are both better than what my brother calls me!
Guess what?! Tomorrow is a big day! Since we don't have classes, we are going to...(drumroll please) SEGOVIA! Yeah, I didn't know anything about it either. It's about two hours northwest of Madrid in Castile and Leon. My school is taking an excursion there, but they ran out of room on the bus, since it's a popular trip. So, some friends and I are going to take the train to Madrid and then a bus to Segovia so we can meet up with everyone there! Then we can join the tour or do whatever we want! The people I'm going with are in my Great Spanish Painters class, and today we learned about a famous church in Segovia, so we're hoping to go see that while we're there! We shall see!
P.S. I just had dinner (it's 10:30 by the way) and it was a patata frita, which I have had many times here, and hot dogs! When I called them perros calientes, Teresa was obviously confused. Turns out they don't call them that here....oops.