Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Saturday Adventure

My pre departure class professor told us that the ability to laugh at ourselves is a good study abroad survival skill. Never has that been more true than yesterday.

I just had another day in paradise. I pretty much spent all day on the beach, swimming and sunbathing from 12-7, with of course a break for lunch and an adventure to see San Sebastian's famous Peine del Viento statues. Peine del Viento means Wind Comb. I posted a ton of pictures on Facebook. I feel like I'm totally spamming Facebook with updates and pictures. I totally justify my spamming by reminding myself that my family really actually does want to see all my pictures (I hope). 

I got asked by some British tourists "excuse me can you (mimes taking a picture)?" And they were quite surprised to be answered in perfect English. Guess I don't look American?

Oh and I had on my SF Giants backpack. Walking by the main bus station yesterday morning I saw a maybe 9 or 10 year old Spanish boy wearing a Dodgers shirt. If you don't know, the Giants and Dodgers are bitter, longtime rivals so this tiny local boy glared at me. I wasn't expecting that. I'm in Spain, not California! So I was relaying this story to my friend as we were on the beach and all tech sudden I hear this guy say (in English) "so I shouldn't wear this then?" And he held up one of the all black Dodgers hats. Ho snap. We both agreed that Spain is neutral territory. "No hate." 

My friend from school back in the States, Matt, is studying in nearby Southern France and his program had a weekend excursion here to my city. Way back when we were sitting next to each other in the very last row of the above mentioned pre departure class, we totally talked about visiting each other given how close our cities are. Having that really happen was really fantastic.

Having someone from school back home is the best thing, especially in Europe. I haven't seen Matt since school ended, so naturally we had to catch up. But also, since we both hail from the Bay Area and go to the same school we have a lot more in common. Most of the people from both of our programs (which are run by the same company) are from Idaho or Nevada, since the program headquarters are based in UNR (Univesity of Nevada, Reno). So Matt and I were pretty happy to see each other. We stayed out until 5 am talking, which is pretty normal on a Saturday here. 

My city is pretty safe but I've come to believe that I should never go against what my host mom says. If says I need a jacket, I get a jacket because she is never wrong. Buses here stop running at midnight 
but taxi stands are very easy to find, are incredibly safe and not horrendously expensive. My host mom had told me the very first day that if come come home after 11, don't walk home. If I come home after 12, take a taxi. This city is very safe but she said it's more for her peace of mind than anything else. She told me what address to tell the driver and how much to tip too. So Matt and I took separate cabs home/to the hotel since they were in opposite directions, but not before him promising to return and me promising to visit his city. I have a long weekend next month so that's a possibility. If we have half as much fun as we did tonight, we'll still have tons of fun.

I got in (btw almost all taxis here are nice Mercedeses) and told the driver the address (which isn't the building address btw). He totally realized that I wasn't from there but he told me my Spanish is very good. I told him I was from California and he, like everyone else here, got really excited and asked me how I liked it here. I love it here so it's no lie when I tell people that. This city is paradise.

But naturally, study abroad isn't supposed to go smoothly all the time. And if you were wondering, yes, I was completely sober when this happened. I get home with my nice taxi driver. I pay the fare and I give him his tip (10% is the norm here) and I walk up to my building's door I get my keys out and there's even an elevator waiting for me and I managed to open the lock without much difficulty, which is a small victory in and of itself. But then I can't open the door itself. I try it again. Then I realize that the door had been bolted. Oh. Uh oh. Hmmm. Now what? It's after 5 am, everyone is sleeping and I can't open the door from the outside. 

I ended up sitting outside the door contemplating the meaning of life and laughing at the silly predicament I found myself in. I was perfectly safe inside my building but denied my bed and sleep. I wasn't really ready for bed anyway but yeah. I just had to laugh at myself. I did all the stuff my host mom had told me about getting home really late at night/ early in the morning. But life likes to throw curveballs. Before I knew it it was 7am and I remembered my host mom says she wakes up about this time everyday. I tried knocking. No answer. Then it occurred to me the thing I thought was a light switch (because people actually turn off the hallway lights themselves here) was actually a door bell. 

My host mom was horrified that they'd left me locked out. I thankfully can keep myself entertained. And I'm a pretty easy going person. She gave me a hug and told me next time just ring the doorbell, regardless of the time. I just went in my room, put on my pajamas and went on Facebook and the internet to read about my beloved Giants clinching for a bit because I still wasn't quite sleepy. I could not stop laughing at myself. When stuff like this happens to me, my reaction is usually laughter. I couldn't help myself. I'm still giggling about it.

As I found out this morning, my host brother had come back late and just assumed everyone was home, especially given that I don't usually stay out until 5am. I had a good giggle with my host sister about the whole affair too. Apparently this is not the first time this has happened to students who have stayed with them. If it happens to me, I'm ringing the doorbell next time. 

I had shut the blinds all the way and turned off all my alarms but I woke up at 11. I didn't get out of bed until 12. Took a cold shower (by choice). I realized when I went into the kitchen that no one was home so I poured myself a glass of juice and a bowl of cereal without incident. Life goes on.

I did notice for the first time that the box of cereal I've been eating for the past few weeks is in French. I can read it just fine so i guess somehow it never sunk in that it was French. 

My host family came home and we had a huge lunch maybe an hour after my cereal. Because it's Sunday, it was a two course meal. Three hours later, I'm still full. I did some homework but I just got sleepy so I took a nap. I was woken up by what sounded like a baby crying. This confused me until I listened to the yelling. The granddaughter was trying to get her way by crying like a baby but when you're seven, that only succeeds at ticking off your family. So naturally I ended up blogging about my life. And here we are.

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