18 April 2010

I've been slacking a little bit on the updates, but again this can be attributed to the majority of my time being spent outside the house. The last few weeks can be summed up by saying I've spent a great deal of time in the park, gone to class as usual, and continued enjoying every second of being in Santiago.

The one out of the ordinary thing that went on recently was my trip to Finisterre last weekend. The weather was beautiful, so my friend Brandon and I left Friday afternoon and took a bus to Finisterre. One of our teachers has a house there that she only uses a few weeks out of the year, and she offered to let us stay there. So we spent two nights in Finisterre on a mini-vacation. I watched the sunrise from the patio both mornings we were there. After that we ate breakfast, headed to the beach, ate lunch in a restaurant, spent the afternoon on the beautiful patio, went for a walk, cooked dinner, and went to bed. That was the general schedule of the weekend, and it made it very hard to leave.

Before I have to leave Santiago (less than two months left), I'm attempting to learn a little of the language of Galicia--the province of Spain where Santiago is located--Gallego. I've started studying it along with two friends, and our teachers (who all speak Gallego as well as Spanish) have offered to help in any way they can. It's very similar to Spanish (which means I can more or less understand it even though I speak very little), but I had forgotten what it felt like to start learning a language because it's been years since I started studying Spanish. It's like going back to square one, and this is the feeling with a language similar to one I already speak! It should be interesting to see how much Gallego I can learn before I leave. It won't be an immensely useful language to know because they only speak it here in Galicia, but it's an interesting thing to study.

The end of this experience gets closer every day, so I will be out of the house soaking up Santiago as much as possible over the next few weeks.

01 April 2010

Semana Santa

Ah, it's Semana Santa (Holy Week), which means I don't have class and Santiago is filled with tourists. My travel plans fell through, so I've been in Santiago all week, but it has been a wonderful experience. The only other people not traveling are my friend from Switzerland and my newest friends from Saudi Arabia. I have spent the majority of my week with the 8 guys from Saudi Arabia, who are constantly making me laugh. The one drawback is that when it's just me and them they speak a lot of Arabic. That's not all bad though because I'm learning a little (and by a little I mean very little, but it's a start), and I can always ask whoever is sitting beside me to translate and tell me what's going on. Maybe after Spanish I'll tackle Arabic.

I've enjoyed watching the city celebrate this week with lots of processions and special events for Semana Santa, and I've also gotten to know a different part of the city by spending some time alone here. The weather has been fairly awful, but the sun finally came out today and I'm getting to be outside a little more.

I also made a new friend. I was reading in a cafe and heard a girl ordering in English. It was obvious that she spoke zero Spanish and was not a native English-speaker, so I asked her where she was from. We ended up talking for a couple hours and she spent the rest of the day with my friend Natascia and I. She is from Germany and just finished the Camino de Santiago, starting from Portugal and walking for 12 days. She's here in Santiago until Saturday, so yesterday she went with my friends and I to A Coruña, and she's planning to go out with us tonight. I'm still amazed how much I'm learning about the rest of the world by being in Spain.

It's so hard to believe I have less than 2 months left of my Spanish adventure!