Monday, March 21, 2011

Then there was March.

Pretend that this was posted in the beginning of March... ;)

Las Fallas has begun! Every day at 2:00 PM until March 19th there was a fireworks show called the Mascletás. This word along with pretty much any Las Fallas term is in Valencian, the language we do not speak! The whole city is buzzing with Fallas fever. Without warning, children are popping poppers and setting things on fire around every corner. If we didn't come to Spain with an anxiety disorder, we will definitely leave with one! Honestly though, we are getting more and more excited about this festival every day. We were definitely lucky to be in Spain during this time of the year to see something purely Valencian. The school even offered us a special class on Las Fallas and let me just say that the pictures will be worth the wait! As our mother says, it is the best festival in the world.. we'll see!

In other news, the Longwood girls have officially been to a bull fight!! We were lucky enough to be sitting next to a man born and raised in Valencia who explained the athletic aspects of the bull fight that one looks for in a good bullfighter. He explained the different roles that each of the men on the field contributed. We were also explained that bulls are raised their whole lives for this twenty minutes of suffering.
From my own personal perspective, you just don't know how sad it is to see a stadium full of people cheering at the death of an animal until you go to a bull fight. One bull was really smart in melting my previously hard heart by putting his cute little face over the wall. Ironically, I was assigned to write a paper on bull fighting the week before we went, my paper was in favor of continuing the tradition. After seeing the bull fight I won't be grabbing my picket sign anytime soon however I definitely won't be so quick to open my mouth in support of the massacre.

Word of the day; Matar-- To kill They audience was filled with screaming bullfighter fans "¡Mátalo!" "Kill it!!"

;) Janice


It is my pleasure to finally introduce to you; Juan Luis also known as Juan Lu! Last week I went to tutor and Juan Luis' mother told me that we only had about 30 minutes to study as he was chosen to play on his select team that night. This was the best 30 minutes of studying Juan Lu and I have ever had. He was buzzing through his workbook to really maximize the time we had. He read it and slid the book to me as he repeated the information that he just memorized and repeated the process for the full thirty minutes. We're learning a lot about the Egyptian times!! After we studied for our full time, it was a hurricane to get his futbol stuff together and rush out of the door with him. He walked with me to the corner of the street where he had to leave to meet his dad in the parking garage. People in Spain park their cars in parking garages. The best way I have heard this city described is in comparison with downtown Richmond. Not too packed like New York but nevertheless it is a busy city where everyone lives in flats. What a wonderful day of tutoring!

Monday, March 14, 2011

30 Minutes to shred

I have officially come to LOVE our host mom. Around her daughter, she can get quite overwhelming. There is something about their relationship that we can't figure out but everything gets a little bit more intense when Maria Jesus -the daughter- is in the room.

The other day I got dressed for a run just to go outside to find it raining. When I came back inside momma Española said "It's raining outside! Come in, there's a health program on!" I entered to living room to see our mother standing in front of the TV where some women doing arm workouts. She tells me how to stand with one foot in front of the other; I did as I was told. Then as she notices the weight in the women's hands, she looks around the room and reaches for the candle and radio sitting next to her TV. With a 1970s radio in my hand and a vanilla candle in my mother's, we continue to swing our arms. Stretched out first to be even with the back leg and then with the front. Next, with our arms extended straight down, we lift our shoulders tightly and release. These were the only two exercises the women did, however we continued to work out through the first half of the program. When she released me from my workout I finished watching the program with her. Eventually she went upstairs to be with a friend at which point I switched the channel to watch scrubs in Spanish. Needless to say, I woke up sore the next day!

Ya está,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Febrero loco

In summation, February was just as the Spaniards say, crazy.. Febrero loco. We haven't written in a while because this week was midterm CRUNCH! We both had five exams the fifth of which we will take on Tuesday so we're still not exactly finished but this weekend we will act like we're finished! We're going out for Sangria and tapas tonight with some friends!
In February we learned a lot about our own culture. A teacher was appalled that we weren't familiar with the works of Elizabeth Taylor. She took us downstairs to the computer lab to pull her up online. One of us also learned that there every four years there is something that we call leap year in which there are only 28 days in February. We should be learning a lot about our own politics because I'm pretty sure these Spaniards know a ton more than we do about Obama than we do.
For the midterms, we began our study cram with some chocolate, snacks, and coke. To get out of the house we told our mom that we were meeting a friend downstairs to return a book. Then we got our snacks and coke put them in Katie's purse and snuck back in the house. One might ask, "Why all of the effort? Why not just tell her?" She would definitely lecture us for like 45 minutes on nutrition.
So February down, it's hard to believe that we've been here for so long already! Hasta Luego

Monday, February 28, 2011

Gracia Espana

Yes, I am in Europe. Yes, I am at the beach. Yes, there will always be topless women...WoW. All I have to say about this subject is that if you are over 40..tops 50 or over 140 pounds, don't do it! Keep the bathing suit on Spaniards.

Funny story, So let me tell you a little bit about the little old Spanish woman we live with. Eating healthy is very very important to her, she loves her two daughters, her favorite color is green (hints her adorable bright green sweater she loves), she has taken every class you can possibly think of, from cooking to massages, she thinks that women don't need to get married and if you want children...Do not fret for technology has given us the option of paying a visit to the Doctor...yup. Every morning she listens to the news on her dinky little hand held radio and talks about all the devistating things happening in the world. She informs us about the weather and then she will explain what vitamins are in the food we are eating and how vegitables are an imortant part of your diet. I love this woman...ha. So last night she cooked us sliced potatoes, over a little bed of lettuce and topped it with slices of tomatoes, oil and vinegar...we have tomatos every day. Anyways, I was having a hard time eating this specific meal that night because she had put a lot of oil on the dish and the potatoes were really soaked in the stuff. At the end of my meal, I had possibly a sliver of a potato left and maybe a little bit of the tomato seeds...but the woman starts yelling at me! She straight up told me there are starving people in the world and i should eat everything on my plate...haha. So when she turned her back, my sassy clever roommate...yes in this point of the story Janice is solely my roommate....scrapped her left-overs on my plate, during that time our mother turned around and started laughing and said, "that's right, eat it all!"...Well, Let me tell you something, you know what I did? I ate every crumb my little Spanish fork could scoop up. .There wasn't going to be a single starving person disapointed in me! No sir. Thank you Janice Linthicum, yet again, for turning a funny sitution to a HiLaRiOuS one. I do love you. :)

This weekend was probably one of my favorite weekends; janice and i really got to know Valencia. We set out without a map into the old streets near Mercado Central and La Plaza de la Reina. We winded in and out of the skinny alleyways, passing the cute old men contently smiling playing their accordians. Janice and I told ourselves that we were not going to be embarrassed by the touristy act of capturing the beauty of Spain on our cameras; we were simply Amercians that day. By golly we have to buy fotos like that back in the states, we can't just walk down the street and Kodak that Jank, ha. We took pictures of everything! From the virbrant purple eggplants at the food market, to the graffiti on the old cracked and piant chipped walls. It was a glorious day. Spain handed us a free gift that day, with a big fat grin it gave us a big blue ribboned box and said "yup, that's right...Enjoy"...Gracias Espana.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Parlez vous Francais

Katie and I went on an adventure this past weekend to a nearby pueblo. We were supposed to go with some friends but the alarm didn't wake us up on time. The alarm clock made us late!! We traveled alone and explored on our own as well which ended up being perfect. It was honestly one of my favorite days and for the most part it was just me and Katie exploring *going down unmarked roads* alone. I love her more all the time!!
Okay, I'm just going to come out with the awesome news... Katie and I used our French on the train.. This was definitely the highlight for me. Luckily, I was able to sit with another French speaker on the way home from the town where I could speak French again. Umm also, there are two girls living in our house for a few days from.. FRANCE! We totally spoke French to them at dinner as well. For the passed two days I have woken up to the sound of French girls getting ready and gone to bed to the sound of giggling Frenchies. They're 14 and 15. I definitely consider all of this to be a sign. I'm moving on to conquer French next..! Maybe I'll study abroad in Canada. The dreams just keep coming, anything is possible ;) Thank you Longwood University for requiring language majors to take four levels of another language! I love French.

Back to our adventure.. Pictures tell the story best:

Tonight I have tutoring again and I'm still loving it. Keep Juan Luis in mind. He's having a hard time getting over the fact that I only have 10 classes total in a week and he has 31. "That's double.. NO TRIPLE.. NO MORE THAN TRIPLE what you have in a week!" he said as he put his hand on his shaking head. The poor kid has to wake up at 7 for six classes and I wake up at 9 for two.. He was very angry to find out that I don't go to school on Friday. He even gave ME homework to do on my excursion. The kid is funny. We were going over future tenses Monday night and he said, "I will be president of the United States. I will have a lot of money. I will give you a little bit." How generous spaniards are...

Okay, that's all I have for now. Katie posted some more pictures on Facebook. I'm gonna go for a run before our 12:00 class.

Word of the day: La oruga -- the caterpillar Why do I know that?? I have no clue.. But, now you know!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Words as wide as skies

My new favorite thing in Spain is Vida Abundante. This past Sunday we went with some new friends to a church not far from our school. Let me just say that it was wonderful. Everyone was really welcoming. I think we got a kiss on each cheek from everyone. The worship was David Crowder's "How He Loves Us" -- ¡Cuanto nos ama!, Chris Tomlin's "Sing Sing Sing" -- ¡Vamos a cantar!, and (someone's) "Oh Happy Day" -- ¡Oh día feliz!" During worship I thought about David Crowder's song "I need you." I couldn't stop thinking about the words to that song.

I need words as wide as skies
I need a language as large as this longing inside.
I need a voice bigger than mine.
And I need a song to sing you that I’ve yet to find.

I've always loved this song but now that I can speak two languages, it has a new meaning. I love moments like my Vida Abundante moment when two languages doesn't even begin to provide a wide enough vocabulary to describe the joy of belonging to the conqueror of death. Honestly, these are the moments when I remember why I study/LOVE Spanish and why I have to live my life for Jesus. Clearly, the words will never be enough. I'm still found speechless.

The word of the day: Well, I love the fact that I learn a new phrase pretty much everyday! So I'll share a new expression. Anyone who studied Spanish knows that Hasta Luego means see you later but I learned that if you'll be back pretty quickly you can say "Hasta ahora." This is one of my new favorites. So, if you didn't know hasta luego, now you have two new ones ;)

Hasta ahora tíos ;)