is me on exchange...
(5.0) (1 Vote)
January 7th, 2003
Pros: Tons of shops and
Yesterday marked the end of week one in Barcelona! We have seen
quite a bit of the city through a bus tour (great idea Justine!)
and are trying to plan a trip to somewhere else in Spain for the
weekend. Perhaps Madrid, but might be a little far. We would like
to get to the Guggeinheim, which is in Bilbao (I think). I am still
working on my geography.
Our hotel is on La Rambla, which is great since it puts us near
tons of shopping and restaurants - although eating has been a challenging
experience so far. We had food poisoning the first two days as a
result of the hotel new year´s buffet. Everything, and I mean
EVERYTHING, involves pork, which is going over really well with
me :) We did find a great sushi place accross from the hotel. And
we had a really nice dinner last night, except we have come to notice
some strange customs. They automtically bring you a roll (you don´t
have to ask), but they charge you for it. You have to specifically
tell them that you don´t want it. And the stories about slow
service in Spain are true. Dinner is a two hour experience. It is
actually kind of nice because no one comes over to rush you out...you
can sit and enjoy your meal as long as you like.
I am a little worried though because the exchange coordinator told
us that we should plan to accomplish one thing each day. He said
not to make a list of five things (I then thought to myself, ten)
to do each day. He said to put one thing on your list, and maybe,
MAYBE, you´ll get it done. This isn´t sight seeing kind
of stuff...this is getting a book from the library or going to the
bank. Since everything shuts down from 1 to 4 for Siesta, it is
tough to get stuff done in the afternoon. I may go crazy, but we´ll
We have gone for walks along La Rambla almost every day. It is always
full of people. There are shops (little kiosks) along the centre
selling books, magazines, flowers, and pets. It is so strange...you
can buy fish, hamsters, rabbits, birds, and even chickens and roosters
right off the street to take home as pets. Unfortunately Winston,
there are no dogs, but there are some really cute cats!
School starts today, although I won´t have too many classes
until next week. I have seen my rez room...think Saugeen. I have
not met my room mate yet, but her name is Ana Maria and she is a
Spanish student, which is great for me and learning Spanish. I think
she is studying English and French, so hopefully between the three
languages we will be able to figure out some way to talk to eachother!
'Adios...hasta la proxia capitulo!
Some of you received this as an email, but I thought I would post
it for everyone to read...
Well, I am finally in rez and on my own. Momma Coop left early this
morning, and I don't think it has really hit me yet. I am on my
own and I don't understand most of what is going on around me.
Today was my first real class...in English! There are a few exchange
kids who seem nice, so I am hoping that they appear in a few of
my other classes. I am fairly comfortable getting around the city
- can walk everywhere and the transport system is great. Barcelona
is actually in a region of Spain known as Catalonia, and it pretty
much operates as it's own district...sort of autonomous. I'm learning
more as I go, but I don't think Barcelona is a typical Spanish city.
Catalan people tend to be reserved and it takes a while to establish
a relationship, or so I have been told. I will just have to wait
and see how the next couple of weeks go to see if it is true.
My roommate, Ana, seems very friendly and although we have only
been in the same room for a total of 40 minutes so far, she was
really helpful in getting someone to help me set-up the internet.
She just got on the phone and rambled something in Spanish (no idea
what she said) and this guy showed, then he didn't know what was
wrong, so she called some other guy (who speaks both English and
Spanish perfectly...English is with a British accent - not sure
how that works) and he got in here and played for a while. She had
to leave, but they both stayed to figure it out. Very nice all around.
However, only when they made the effort to speak 'mas lente' did
I have any idea what was going on. This other guy, who I thought
I had met earlier in the elevator, came along so that he and Ana
could go to school together. I practiced a Spanish line in my head
so that I could say 'hi, I'm Krysten...I think we met int he elevator
yesterday.' Turns out he is the identical twin brother of the guy
in the elevator...what are the chances!
So far, my Spanish has caused me to ask for a map instead of a menu...to
ask when I was going to get hot, rather than when the weather would
warm up...and to have to make suction cup noises in order to demonstrate
to the sales clerk that I was looking for hooks that stick to the
wall rather than drill into the wall...needless to say, the store
did not sell what I needed, if he even had any idea as to what I
was looking for. I have also learned the importance of accents...mama
(without the accent) is breast and papa (without its accent) is
potato, or Pope is the 'p' is a capital. I realized this when my
mom and I tried to send a postcard to my gradparents and thought
it would be fun to include a little Spanish. Luckily, they won't
know the difference, but the postman mught get a good laugh.
Slowly but surely I am sure I will get there. I met a guy from Switzerland
whose English is fairly good, but he has this strange habit of quietly
repeating what you are saying ot him while you are speaking. I guess
it helps him with the English, but it freaks me out because I can
hear myself echoing all the time that I speak to him.
I will keep you updated of my adventures as they unfold...