Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Months!

Well, had I written this on Wednesday as I had intended, I was going to highlight the fact that I have been in Spain exactly two months...but now it has been two months and two days...close enough!

It is incredible. Two months is a long time, and I cannot quite believe it. But, I will spare you another lengthy, soul-bearing reflection! Instead, I'll just share some things I've learned or experienced in the past two months.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) refers to the week after Easter, instead of the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. This isn't a big deal, just something I discovered after I planned to be away for spring break...oops!

I am allergic to kiwis. I don't think allergic reactions could ever be enjoyable, but my fear was heightened while struggling to breath and wondering how to describe my condition in Spanish. Luckily, there was no need, and after two similar episodes I now know to avoid kiwis.

I was joking recently with friends about how for the first month I was here (and still now from time to time), when I didn't know what was being said, I would just smile, nod, and say "sí." My friend from Portugal looked at me and said, "Yeah, you did. That explains a lot." And I thought I had everyone fooled...

I washed my clothes with real detergent (not just fabric softener) and couldn't stop smelling my clothes all day.

The "don't make eye contact" tactic I always adhere to when I do not know the answer in class is really annoying when you're the one asking the question. To all my former teachers: I'm sorry.

I ate pig innards.

Other than the intestines, I have tried some delicious tapas.

I figured out my schedule for the fall. It is strange to think that in a few short months I will be back to my old life. But besides that realization, registering for classes has made me think about life after graduation, and I wish I could say I found answers. I'm still just as clueless as ever.

However, people I know here don't seem to be as concerned with having life figured out; as with many things, there is a more relaxed approach. So, I'll just wait and see.

I have learned to laugh at myself more. It makes things easier.

Many people ask me about Indiana and interesting things there...I love and miss Indiana, but I do struggle to answer their questions. My list: Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis 500, and Michael Jackson's childhood home. Go Hoosiers.

I usually mention, then, that my university is in Kentucky. The response:
"Oh, Kentucky Fried Chicken!" Thank you, Colonel Sanders.

I am sorry I made light of the snow in Indiana and Kentucky. Because now, while you all are enjoying nice, spring weather, Salamanca is sunny on a good day, but still very cold...The locals reassure me that this isn't normal; that doesn't make me feel any better!

When all else fails: cry. I had a challenging time registering for my courses. I won't divulge the whole story, but it includes a mean lady in the Philology department. Due to circumstances which couldn't be avoided, I was a bit late to register, and she couldn't understand why. I tried calmly explaining the situation, but she just continued to badger me. So, I let a few tears fall. After another minute, she started to take care of my registration. All is well, now.

Before I left, I was worried that it would be difficult to be "American" in Europe, that most people here dislike Americans. I have been proven wrong, so far. Of course, I haven't found any fanatics, and there are people who like to tease me about being American, and naturally everyone has a loyalty to his or her own country. And as much as I love being in Europe, I do miss the United States, and rather than being embarrassed, I'm happy to say that is where I call home.

I still have not adjusted to the incredible consumption of ham (sorry, Dad). Let me tell you about a meal I had, that may put this obsession in perspective...It was Friday, and though I do not like fish or seafood, I avoid meat on Fridays during Lent. I was pleased when I saw a breaded and fried fish fillet (yes, I was that strange child who loved fish sticks). Imagine my disappointment and shock when I cut open my fish to find ham and cheese. Yes, I was eating "fish cordon bleu."

I also have not yet adjusted to the measuring in meters and kilometers, telling time with the 24 hour clock, or hearing people get excited about 15 degree weather (until I remember 15 degrees Celsius is really quite warm).

Well, I know I have promised you all shorter, more frequent blogs. But, apparently, that isn't something I have learned in the past two months. There is still hope!

I hope you all are well!


P.s. Don't worry-I haven't forgotten what country I am in-I thought "ciao" was an Italian phrase, but I hear it in Spain quite often!

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