La Semana Pasada

Man oh man it’s getting hard to keep up with blogging!

As I get farther and farther into the semester, I’m getting busier and busier! I suppose that being busy is better than being bored, but I’m finding it hard to find time to blog or talk to my family and friends back home! Maybe once I get even a little bit farther in, I’ll be able to better handle the different schedule that exists here in Spain and manage the time difference better. Here’s hoping!

Last week was just another week of classes, nothing particularly exciting to deal with there. I did however start my internship last week, which is pretty exciting. I’m working with the Unión Iberoamericana de Municipalistas, or the Ibero-American Union of Municipalities. Specifically I’m working with the Escuela Superior de Gobierno Local, a graduate school sponsored by the UIM where students from Latin America can obtain Master’s degrees in things like local government development. So far my work has been mostly clerical/administrative. I do a lot of uploading and filing and organizing and all that noise. The people at my office are really nice, though. Hopefully once I get a little more experience and prove myself a little more I’ll get to do more exciting things.

And then…there was my weekend. This past weekend was Carnaval in Cádiz, a city on the southern coast of Spain. Tons of people from southern Spain flock there for Carnaval every year. It’s also traditional to don a crazy costume for Carnaval. People here don’t really dress up for Halloween, so I think of this as kind of their Halloween. I ended up wearing a bright pink wig, a bright pink boa, some false eyelashes, and a crazy mask. I took the mask off eventually though because it got just a wee bit uncomfortable. People asked me what I was, and I told them that I had absolutely no idea. Something inexpensive that I found at a costume store. Eventually a couple of Spanish guys came up to me and said, “Oh! You’re Katy Perry!” to which I responded, “…yes, yes I am.” From then on, my costume, or disfraz, was Katy Perry. Solid.

Carnaval was an interesting experience, but it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. First of all, I was in Cádiz for twelve hours, no sleep. My bus left Granada at 1:30, we got there at 6:00, and I didn’t leave until 6:00 the next morning. For twelve hours I was walking around Carnaval (in brand new shoes – needless to say the backs of my feet ain’t pretty) trying to entertain myself. For a while it really wasn’t that bad, but by the time 4:00 am rolled around, I was ready to be home. Also, I expected it to be lots of dancing and parades and that kind of thing, but basically it was just a lot of drinking. I didn’t really drink that much, just a couple cups of tinto de verano (a mix of red wine and lemon-flavored Fanta). I wanted to keep my wits about me since I was in a crowd of 1000 strangers. I’m glad that I went, because now I can say that I’ve experienced that part of Spanish culture, but I don’t know if I’m exactly dying to go back again.

When we got back on Sunday, it was about 12:30, and I had barely slept on the bus. I also was under the impression that they were going to be providing us with breakfast on my bus, but all they did was raffle off a potato salad by having everyone guess a number between 1 and 305. Turns out that they were providing us with breakfast the day before, but we got there too late. Finally we made it back to Granada, grabbed the first taxi we saw, and came right home. Inma made us a delicious lunch, and I then proceeded to pass out for about five hours. I got up to eat and Skype with my parents and my boyfriend, and then I headed right back to bed.

Nothing else particularly exciting has happened in the past couple of days. Today is Ash Wednesday, and I think that I’ve come up with a pretty interesting Lenten sacrifice. I’ve decided I’m going to give up speaking English. Yes, I’m in Spain, but I still speak a lot of English with the other American students here. For Lent I am only going to speak in Spanish, that way I’ll be better able to achieve fluency. Why am I writing in English then? Well, if I had written this in Spanish, would you be able to understand a word (obviously, Kristen, that statement does not apply to you)? I’ll obviously speak English when it’s necessary, like when I’m talking to someone who doesn’t speak Spanish or if I need to make sure that something is understood very clearly, but other than that it’s all Spanish all the time for the next forty days!

Well, that’s it for now. I just heard Inma come in so hopefully that means that we’ll be eating lunch soon. I’m starving! Hasta luego!

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