Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Report Card

I think I should make a habit of listing what is going well and what's not. I promise there will be amusing anecdotes soon, so bear with me please :)

What's going well:
-I finally feel comfortable and I have a routine. This has done wonders for my ability to complete homework and actually function during the day.
-Learning Basque. Surprisingly so. I got a 95% on my first exam. Not too shabby. I also can use a few Basque phrases. I pick up on it in the streets and even in my own home.
-Understanding Spanish. I've not really had a problem with that, which is nice, knock on wood. I realize that the reason people just assume my Spanish is good is because I clearly understand. I totally laugh at the jokes at the same time as native speakers. For example, in my art history class, which is taught entirely in Spanish, my very amusing professor asked us why this particular photo of a church you could be sure was in España. We were pointing out architectural features and he was like, nope. He said  you could tell it was Spain because there was garbage on the ground around the church. I was the the only one laughing. The other Americans were just like, wait what? XD (it's true about there being trash everywhere by the way.)

What's improved:
-Talking with my host family has to be the biggest improvement. It's more than just "sí" "no" "está bien" "vale" "gracias" "hola" "buenos días" and "hasta luego" now. I'm having actual, meaningful conversation with my family and this is a very good thing.
-Directly related to the above, my Spanish has gotten so much better since I arrived. I can actually talk and have conversations. I'm slightly afraid of speaking in one class though, because there's two of us Americans and four native speakers. I have slightly less fear now though, but it's definitely still there.
-Getting organized. Who knew just how important having a notebook for every class was? I only brought one notebook with me from the US and I was like, oh I can use this for all my classes and buy a new one when I run out. No. Wrong way of thinking. Buy more notebooks, it will help tremendously.

What still needs work/I don't understand:
-Sleeping schedule. I have three alarms now, but I still think I need more sleep. My first alarm is what time I should get up if I want to have time to check Facebook and read the news. The second is what time I should get up. And the third is what time I absolutely have to get up. I totally still have to fight myself to keep from falling asleep in class. That needs to change. My bus is at 10:30am so it's not like I have to wake up super early.
-I still need rain boots.
-I don't understand why it is acceptable to go to the restroom and not wash your hands after. Everyone at the university seems to do this. It's only ever the Americans washing their hands and we all just look at each other thinking, "Are we missing something?" But that's not something I'm probably ever going to ask anyone about so I may never have an answer. O_o
-Right of way is different here and I haven't figured it out yet. I know vaguely when I can cross or not cross the street. But what I don't quite understand is why cars stop and wait for me to cross the street sometimes but not other times. There does seem to be a pattern to it but I can't quite figure it out. I'm fairly sure it's related to street size and location. It's not nice people v. people in a hurry. People who look like they are in a hurry still stop, albeit grudgingly.

Ok. Report complete.

More traditionally blogging fare commence:

I successfully managed to heat up food today. I know that seems mundane, but it's the first time I've been alone at meal time and not had meals already prepared for me since I've been in Spain.  Naturally, my host mom and sister came back as I was just finishing up preparations. They wanted to finish getting everything for me but I'd already done almost all of that.

I started off really hungry and I ended up really full. I had heat up a pasta and chorizo dish my host sister had told me to eat if I got hungry before they got back. Then as I was eating my host mom asked if I would like some salad to go with my pasta. I did and she made this super delicious salad. It was lettuce, raisins, pine nuts, tomatoes, bacon and fresh goat cheese from Greece. It was so tasty. So I ended up having a bowl of pasta and an equal sized bowl of salad. I am so full now. But it was so tasty. They asked if I wanted dessert. No gracias.

I told my host mom that I was studying Romanesque architecture on the Camino de Santiago and she got really excited. She showed me a bunch of the books that she'd placed in my room that were historical fiction set on the Camino de Santiago. I love historical fiction so I'm pretty excited about this. 

In fact, I'm going to go read one now. (If you're interested/ curious, I'm starting with "El Verdugo de Dios: Un Inquisidor en el Camino de Santiago" by Toti Martínez de Lezea.

Con cariño

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