first few days.

some initial observations about spain:
1. nobody ever seems to work. except people in shops and stuff. during the day i see people of all ages just walking around the city, talking, shopping, whatever. it’s weird. it’s like no careers exist in this town.
2. everybody hangs up their clothes on hangers outside their windows to dry. really paints the apartment buildings into these gorgeous mosaics.
3. there is stunning architecture everywhere. every building looks different, older, and grander than it would look in the states.
4. the cars here are insane. everyone drives like they’re in a jason bourne movie. it’s ridiculously unsafe.
5. the food is not phenomenally different than the states. i’ve seen pizza shops, pasta shops, even a macdonalds and burger king. and among other things, my host mom has made me a grilled cheese sandwich, chicken noodle soup, bean stew, and a dry meat and cheese sandwich for school. and they eat bread. they eat so much bread.

so far the trip has been good. started off pretty rough but has steadily gotten better and better. and now that classes have started time is gonna go hella fast so now the fun begins.

but let me start back with the plane ride. it was fun. more fun than i thought. we didn’t experience hardly any turbulence…which i was a bit bummed about, i wanted to get a tiny taste of it. but it was still fun. but oh my goodness cramped. didn’t sleep hardly at all, which was in retrospect a very dumb idea. but it was my first plane ride, i didn’t want to miss anything. our flight into madrid was in the dark so we couldn’t see anything, but the flight from madrid to oviedo was at noon, so that’s when we really got to see where we were. gorgeous countryside. a perfect blend of mountains and farmland and forest. breathtaking. getting to our hotel that first day was a huge relief. there was a bidet in the bathroom, which was great. blake and i showered, put on some killer dress clothes to go roaming around the city, then found outdoor ping pong tables in the park across the street from our hotel and went back and changed into scrubs and played our first games in a foreign country. awesome.

the evening was not so hot though, as we were supposed to meet our contact luna with our group. we all met at the hotel just fine, and she took us to this gigantic cathedral close by with a grand courtyard. in the courtyard there were a lot of christmas exhibits, and while taking a lot of pictures, we realized the group had walked on without us and didn’t notice. so blake and i wandered around the city for awhile, looking for them slash somewhere to eat, cause we were starving. we managed to find some food and then decided to crash back at the hotel because we were still so lagged from the plane ride. bad night.

next day was scary. we met our host families, and mine has turned out to be awesome. carmen and jose are in their late sixties and have one grown-up daughter and have hosted international students for eight years, three students per year. so they know how to do this. they are phenomenally hospitable, basically saying i can do whatever i want, whenever i want. so that’s nice. we’ve had some great conversations over all these awesome meals they’ve made for me. they have this small apartment about ten minutes from school and ten minutes from the main downtown area, so i’m in a great location.

the next day our group met again with luna and basically hung out all day. which was great. strength in numbers you know? luna showed us around the city a bit, most of the kids were able to buy cell phones, and we had our first school meeting where we took our placement test. not bad.

yesterday was the first day of classes, and these first three days of class are basically just a trial period; since there are seven classes to choose from in both intermediate and advanced sets, we can choose how many slash which ones we want to take. so yesterday i went to all five that were held, and i’m going to three more tonight. the classes are fine, basically the same as spanish classes at uni, a spanish person teaches a bunch of struggling american students. but i enjoy it.

so far so good. it’s so weird to think i’m actually gonna be here for four and a half more months. i think i’ll put up picture on facebook and write on here so check when you want. here’s one on the house though:

pretty sweet huh? there is a flock or whatever of them that just hang out at the park where we play ping pong. weird.

-jon

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