The next ten days, according to mr weather.com, are going to be (wait for it ...) sunny!! And in the mid to high 50s!!! No wayyy!!
Walking around Granada in the sun is such a different experience because the city comes to life. The first few weeks it was muggy, rainy, grey ... Pittsburghy, which I'm used to so it by no means hindered my ability to soak up the beauty and marvel at the sites here, Granada knocked me off my feet even when it wasn't at its best. But when it's sunny, people come out and its a whole different world. La Plaza Nueva (where the IES center is located) is a huge public space with lots of little cafes, local vendors with magezines, .70 euro pan (bread) of questionable freshness, a pharmaceria (all the pharmacies here are marked by big, green, neon crosses protruding from the building), and of course a fountain. I guess that's a perk to not having sub-zero temperatures, you get tons and tons of fountains whereever you can squeeze em in. The fountains always catch my eye just because I'm not used to seeing them everywhere, but in the sun they do that whole "look at me I'm glimmering and gorgeous" thing which always makes me smile (yea, I'm a dork, no pasa nada).
Classes. Last week was the first week of classes and on Monday I had my interview for UGR courses. At the center I'm taking the mandatory Spanish grammer class, Imagenes de la Mujer en el Cine Mediterraneo (Women in Mediterranean Film), and Civilizaciones Islamicos desde 1492 (Islamic Civ in Spain since 1492). So far I'm enjoying them all, and have little to NO work, at all, it's mind blowing. Of course it's a welcome break from literally living my life in Magill Library back at the Ford, but it also makes my work here feel like busy work ... and therefore that much harder to make myself do. For example, last night I had to write 10 sentences in Spanish describing any person I wanted to, all I had to do was show change by using the reflexive verbs quedarse, ponerse, llavar a ser, and hacerse. Mind blowingly easy.
My profs are all pretty cool thus far, minus the grammer one. Fabiolla. She's insane/evil. She apparently actually called a student in the other section of my level fat today. And she yelled at me in class for not doing my work because i hadn't written the answers in the text book, when in reality bc we're in the same class Amanda and I share a book and both write the answers in the notebook so I had done the hw, just written the answers in my notebook instead of the textbook. She apologized after class when she realized she was being crazy, but still, NOT a fan of hers.
My history professor is awesome. He looks like a Spanish Robbin Williams, and wears red, thick framed/stylish red glasses, a leather jacket, and is always well dressed. He LOVES this subject, and really wants us to get into it and probably says "no tienes verguenza!!!" over 20 times a class (don't be embarassed, in regards to asking questions/asking him to clarify things). He's really passionate about the Arab world, even though he's Catholic, so I think I'm gonna get a lot out of his class. And we have all levels of Spanish speakers, from native to intermediate, in my class so the pace is easy to follow, which is awesome.
My film class is sweet because I love Spanish movies, even though I have yet to see one that isn't depressing, and our prof is a hardcore feminist and real blunt and not at all warm and fuzzy, but I like her a lot. On Tuesday nights from 7:00-9:00 we watch a movie, and then in class on Thursday we discuss what stereotypes we saw, how the women are portrayed, etc. which I always do in my head anyways so the fact that I'm getting credit for this class is pretty nice.
I had my interview on Monday for my UGR classes and ended up picking Sexologia and Anthropologia de Africa (Sexology and African Anthropology) just because I have never taken a class like them before, and I asked Alvira (the woman from IES who is our link to UGR) to tell me which classes are known to have awesome profs, be interesting, or have had positive reactions from previous IES students. And these were the top two, and I'm really excited about them!! They start next week, so I'll blog about them then!
Last weekend was a blast, on Thursday we went and hung out in the Residencia with some friends. The dorms there are pretty stereotypical university dorms, the girls' room we were in had a fridge and microwave though, and its own bathroom which I'm pretty jealous of (stupid co-ed haverford banos just don't measure up haha). The Residencia is a good twenty/twenty five minute walk from the IES center, uphill, but there was a bunch of us so it went pretty quickly. After hanging out at the residencia until midnight we headed back towards our usual territory to meet up with other IES kiddos. A group of kids were at a bar called Dulce Vida, which isn't a tapas bar or a pub, it was a pretty Americany bar actually, they had American music videos blasting on a flat screen TV featuring gems such as "Big Pimpin'" by Jay-Z (for all adults reading this, its a HUGE hit ... but from the 90s) among other old school rap and hip hop mixed in with some more recent jams. It had been a 5 euro all you can drink night so when we got there everyone was pretty gone, and we got a bunch of free drinks out of it which was awesome. Eventually the night evolved into a danceoff between an IES guy (mom, dad, think Benny's dancing when he was 6 ... thats what this kid broke out for us hah) and a random Spaniard at the bar. Funniest thing I've ever seen. The pictures I took just don't portray it, but I'll post them anyways. We got home relatively early (like 3 ish) and passed out.
I love not having classes on Friday :). Friday, it snowed. It SNOWED. I was so upset. I went to the gym and worked out and then Amanda and I just bummed around since it was frigid out. We tried to go to the Papelerria around the corner to buy notebooks and folders but it was closed since we went at like 2:00 ... siesta/comida time haha. You'd think we'd know better by now. Amanda had a headache so she stayed in that night, I met up with Joya and Dio that night. We went tapas hopping, but in the end ended up staying at the tapas bar Minotauro for a decent chunk of the night. I have decided that I am switching over from beer to sangria since it's only .10 euro more than a beer, and significantly less filling/heavy. Minotauro's tapas are always a little greasier, bagel sanwiches with ham and cheese fried up, lots of olives and potato chips on the side. We met up with a bunch of the boys there and Joya and I stuck with our two drinks while the boys kept going, which is great because with each drink you get a different tapas so we got a preview of what minotauro has to offer ... mini hamberguesas (burgers) and skewered chicken haha. Afterwards we payed a visit to Pepe at La Mancha and had an Alhambra (Granada's local brew, heavy, delicious, and muy fuerte ... strong). And ended up at the discoteca around the corner called Granada 10.
Granada 10. Where to begin. It was a blast, Joya and I were with all the boys and just danced all night. But the music selection was hilarious. Spain must get American Top 40 tracks a few months later, or even years. We heard a lot of Black Eyed Peas songs (Lets Get It Started, Pump It, My Humps .. sorry Mom and Dad and co. I know this means nothing to you hah), Single Ladies, some Daddy Yankee, some House songs, J.Lo, I Kissed a Girl (many of these over two or three times) and then Spanish songs I didn't know. The crowd was fun and pretty high energy so I didn't even notice it was 5:00 until I checked my phone. We decided to call it a night since it was only Friday. I got home and fell right asleep needless to say and didn't wake up until lunch time (2:00) Saturday.
Saturday's lunch still cracks me up. Trini's brother from France is visiting, Antonio, so they had gone out for lunch. Trini had left us lunch on the table that we could heat up in the microwave, so Amanda and I entered the kitchen to find our plates with FIVE hot dogs and an entire bowl full of white rice EACH. Five. Trini really wants us to eat eat eat haha. Since Trini wasn't there we snuck must of the hotdogs into a zip lock bag to save for dinners and one of the rice heaps. Turns out the hot dogs were de "pollo y pato" (chicken and duck) which 1. makes Saturday the first time I've ever had duck and 2. makes me very confused about what the Spanish think a hot dog IS. They were good though, very different tasting.
Saturday we got a very early start to the night and headed out around 8:30 ish to watch some soccer at Paddys. Afterwards we went to a new tapas bar right next door called Europa with ridiculously delicious tapas, not traditional, but still delicious. With our first round we had baby baked potatoes with sour cream, corn, beats, carrots, and butter on top which reminded me of home for some reason, then we had hamberguesa with round number 2, then we had skewered curry chicken, all for under 6 euro each! Stuffed, we made our way over to Paddy's in time for happy hour, we met up with a bunch of IES kids throughout the course of this journey and we all joked around in Paddy's until 130 or so, when all the guys wanted to go to Granada 10.
We went to Granada 10 and were greeted with the exact same soundtrack from the night before, but it was endearing and I enjoyed it, especially because I've decided not to go back there for a whiiile since we need to investigate more discotecas! We all danced around and saved eachother from Spanish men, etc. Overall great night, your ticket gets you one free drink so we got free cocktails ... recently I've been enjoying zuma de pina y vodka (pineapple juice and vodka) or fanta limon y vodka (lemon fanta and vodka) mmm mmm good! We stayed at Granada 10 until 5:30 or 6:00, got home and slept slept slept.
Sunday was another lazy day, we slept until it was time for la comida, did some homework, and didn't leave the house :)
Last Monday was cute. Because Trini's brother is in town, and basically the rest of her family all live in Granada, Trini had everyone over for a family reunion. When I got back from IES I was greeted by Trini's mom and DIEGO!! Amanda and I sat around and talked with Trini's mom while fawning over Diego. Amanda took some adorable pictures, which Trini was extremely excited about, she is so in love with her little gordito it's so so so cute. We ate lunch with Trini's mom and her brother and Trini of course which was exciting because we got to see all the family dynamics and conversations and etc. Trini's mom is a very slow eater, so naturally we picked on her. And we found out that Trini is the only one of her siblings (three total I think) born IN granada, which she is very proud of. Monday night, after a siesta that lasted longer than planned due to my setting my wake up alarm for 545 AM not PM, I was heading out the door to the gym when i encounted a family reunion! Amanada and I got to meet all of Trini's primos y tios (cousins and aunts/uncles), they were all eating homemade tapas and being boisterous, it was great!
Tuesday's I have class from 9-10 am and then not again until 7pm, so I decided to lift after class. Oh Spain, the looks my guapos gave me once they realized I was there to lift weights. I had to improvise with a lot of the weights since there were 7 Kg but not 10Kg weights, etc. Plus there was no squat machine so I used the Smith Machine, which clearly had only previously been used for arm excersizes, for squats at which point men actually put their wieghts down and stared at me in complete and utter confusion. Whatever, they'll get used to my American weirdness eventually! It felt sooo soo good to lift, it's been over three weeks since I last lifted and so of course today my entire body aches, and it feels amazing :). Now that I have my gym, my bags, MY INTERNET, my phone, and almost all my classes I'm starting to feel like I live here rather than like a tourist.
Last night (Tuesday night) I went straight from my film class to Paddys for the Brazil France soccer game. In my class we watched a movie called Solas about women who want to be independent but don't have a lot of money/opportunities and also about a mother-daughter dynamic that was really fractured sincter her daugher wants a life completely opposite of her oppressed mother's. It was pretty intense, so leaving that and going straight to Paddy's was not an easy transition so I couldn't really adjust to the game until after our half-time Shawarma run (right across the street).
Today I got out of class half an hour early for some reason and went to a little cafe called Coffee Bella (the one owned by the English woman) and got a coffee and did some work by the window. I love people watching, it was really relaxing. Then I took a walk around Granada since I had over an hour to kill before lunch, and just enjoyed the sun and feeling like I could one day be Spanish. We had lunch with Trini's mom and brother again, and tonight we're just taking it easy and trying to conserve some money.
Csenka's flying in Friday from Toronto!!! Just in time for Valentine's day :) I'm going to reserve us tickets to see the Alhambra Saturday which I'm really excited about since I havent been there yet. But I'll write more about that tomorrow since I've already created a mini novel here!!
Oh, and also I found some cereal in a mercado and bought it since it was the closest thing to American cereals that is healthy-ish I could find :) Very very exciting for me !
Hasta Luego, hecho de menossss
(later, miss you)