Friday, November 12, 2010

Spain - 2nd week

I finished my second week of school.  I probably should have been put in the beginner class.  My grammar is intermediate, but my conversation level is beginner.  There is nothing more frustrating than to sit in class and everyone be laughing at something the teacher said, and me not understand any of it. Most of these students have been here for two months, but this week we got a new French boy and he seems to understand everything perfectly fine.  I have three Swedish girls, a Norwegian man, a Russian girl and the French boy in my class.  They are all really nice and can speak Spanish beautifully (or so I think, because really I can't understand them!)  Today I insisted they test me again to make sure I was supposed to be in this level.  After my test they said I could choose which class I wanted because I was sort of in between.  Next week the beginner class is starting past tense verbs, (which I have already studied), so I am choosing to stay in misery.  Such is life.  Poco a poco.  Little by little.  
Marcos has been super encouraging.  He sent me a link about language learning and it helped me realize that I am being too hard on myself, which isn't anything new.  I am so excited to see what I can understand and how I sound speaking spanish after my three months here...
.... and speaking of here, lets talk about life in Spain.  It's very different.  For example:

  • They eat a small breakfast, a huge lunch around 2-3pm and dinner after 10pm!  I tried this up until I eat lunch with them and make my own dinner around 7pm so that I can be in bed by 10pm.  (They all stay up til at least midnight.)  What I do like though is that everyday for lunch, they all sit at the table and eat together and, get this.......... sit and talk about their day!  They also eat a piece of fruit after every meal, instead of ice cream and chocolate like me! So much healthier.
  • There are no trucks.  Everyone drives gas friendly cars. Yesterday I saw thee ONLY hummer in Cadiz and everyone on the streets was shaking their heads and laughing at him.  "What a fool!" they were saying, because in all honesty, he does look like an asshole, blaring his music with the windows rolled down. (and his hummer is yellow, like a giant banana on the streets!)
  • Everyone smokes.  I mentioned this last year when I came, but it needs to be said again.  They smoke in cafe's, restaurants, right outside of schools with little children watching.  If I ever moved here permanently (or for a long period of time) I would create a movement.  The Alliance for a Tobacco Free Spain, ATFS!  I would be the biggest tobacco nazi in this country, shutting down smoking in all public zones and 100 feet from every school, hmm... make that 250 feet!  I don't know how I got so lucky with Marcos, one of the very few who don't smoke in Spain, and who also hates smoking.
  • The unemployment rate is over 30%!  YEP, THIRTY PERCENT!  I feel sooooo bad for this country and it's people.  Here is the latest article I found on their situation: click here.  Marcos and his brother Paco look for work everyday.  The other day, we heard a woman walk up to a construction site and asked "If my husband comes here tomorrow, would you have work for him?"  I am sure she has asked so many other businesses/companies the same question.
  • Everything they eat is in oil.  No joke.  Which is another reason I decided to start making my own dinners.  Most of the food I have had tastes good, but it isn't necessarily my favorite.
  • I joined a gym here.  It's would be call "the worst gym in the USA" if it was in the states.  It's dirty, packed full of equipment and has NO air circulation.  It smells like dirty sweaty men and armpits galore. When I jog on the treadmill, I have to be careful not to jump or I would smack my head on the ceiling.  No joke.  (It's not as bad as it seems, but definitely not USA standards.)
  • They greet you with two kisses, left side, then right, instead of a hand shake, for both hello and goodbye!
  • It's LOUD.  Dogs bark non stop here.  My neighborhood reminds me of one that I would see in some east coast movie in Jersey.  Where mothers are constantly around the house, hanging clothes, yelling at their kids to come in, phones ringing, TV's on full blast for the hard of hearing, and people are always hanging out in the streets.  I LOVE EAR PLUGS!
View outside my window
  • There is a law here in Cadiz that says you will be fined for littering on the beach but go on ahead, put your trash in the streets.  Ok, so the second part I made up, but seriously Spaniards, use the trash bins that are so nicely put throughout the city.
  • Siesta time.  America is all about buy buy buy with stores open from early morning til 9pm at night... but here in Spain, they shut down all their stores from 2-5pm just to go home and eat a nice big lunch and a nap!  I wonder what the stress levels are in Spain.  I would assume slim to none because of their lovely siestas. (Marcos just went to the store to get some eggs, as I want to bake some cookies for tonight, and the supermarket was even closed!)
  • Que mas? (what more?)  I am loving it here.  Although most of what I just said seems negative, I still love it here.  The history of this city is mesmerizing.  Every where I look seems to be a wall, a castle, a cathedral, a theater, all over 100's of years old!

I wish I had more pictures for you but I haven't been taking my camera out very much.  I will leave the house with my camera at all times starting right now. :)  Here are a few pictures of the house I have taken.

the kitchen :) (notice the washer machine, very common in Europe)

Marcos, always loving on me... such a sweet boyfriend.

Until next time......... xo

1 comment:

Barbie Hull said...

Cole - you are so amazing for spending all of this time away!! LUCKY! Don't even worry - before you know it you will be speaking with & understanding everyone!