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Archive for May, 2011

Why is there sand in my hair?

Hello again!

Well, after a little bit of a rough morning, I managed to get through the morning classes to get to the really good part: the beach at Cadiz.

Not too much to report over here. All we did today was spend about four hours at the beach. Not complaining. Perfect way to spend a Monday, don’t you think? I just hope that when I show up to classes tomorrow morning, I don’t look like as red as a langosta.

In unrelated news, I’ll see if I can upload a video to this blog from last night’s protests. Otherwise, I’ll definitely be reporting on tomorrow’s cooking classes. Que emocionante!

Hasta luego!

-Patrick

 

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If I show up on CNN tomorrow…..

Hello again all!

Welp…not much to report over here. Went to the archeology museum earlier today. How wonderful to see some of the ancient artifacts, such as tools from early human species to several statues of Roman gods/goddesses. Unfortunately, with security in every single room of the museum, photography was not allowed. So, I have a few photos of exhibits outside of the museum. I hope that these will suffice…

After an exhaustive morning, I went with the class to a local plaza where we walked around for a bit, because the restaurants and the stores were closed because today (Sunday) has a religious importance in Spanish culture.

Today, we also ran into another protest, except this one was jam-packed with people. I now think that it’s physically impossible to be claustrophobic in Spain.

The protesters were chanting in the streets things like, “This isn’t a democracy,” “Where’s the media?,” and “The people united will never be defeated.”

Here’re some photos:

This group of protesters, as shown in the photo above, refer to themselves as M15, or 15M to signify the beginning of these protests on May 15th.

What I find interesting about these protests is a) how well attended/planned they are and b) how incredibly non-violent these protests are.

Well, for now, that’s all I’ve got. Tomorrow, we’re headed to the beach. Que bueno!

Hasta luego!

-Patrick

Oh wait…I’ve got homework to do?!?!

Hello again everyone!

Let me begin by stating that the title of this blog came from my sudden revelation that I’m not here in Seville on vacation. I just realized that I have homework that’s due Monday….yikes.

Lots of things are going on in this part of the world. Friday, we all participated in a gymkhana, or a scavenger hunt, across the city of Seville. While it was, at times, fun, it became incredibly difficult when a) I couldn’t understand some of the questions and b) the people in the streets were incredibly rude and unhelpful. I understand that we all have bad days and a hurried schedule, but just two minutes shouldn’t be too cumbersome, right?

Anyways, during the gymkhana, we passed by a group of student protesters. (Photo included)

They’re currently protesting against, according to my señora, the political system, calling it the “Spanish Revolution.” The situation is worsened due to a major economic crisis and the problem of unemployment. To explain better, a recent article written by Martin Varsavsky, from The Huffington Post states, “Over 20% unemployment rate and over 30% youth unemployment rate, incompetent politicians unable to deal with the effects of the crisis, extremely high housing prices both for rental and purchase, a mortgage system that ties mortgage holders for life to the bank if the real estate is sold for under the loan amount, and a general discontent with the status of the political landscape (especially the effective two-party system of the center-right People’s Party and the center-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party)” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-varsavsky/spanish-revolution-of-201_b_867156.html). And yes, I did just site that website MLA style.

In lighter news, today (Saturday), the group went to visit the city of Córdoba, where you can see an ancient mosque/cathedral. I’m putting these two terms together because, quick history lesson, when los Reyes Catolicos took the Spanish peninsula back from the Moors (the ancient Muslim empire), they defiled the mosque at Córdoba by building a church on top of the already existent mosque. Supposedly, after the church was built, the King who commissioned the church’s construction looked at it and said something to the effect of “What have I done?”

However, there’s one thing that I took away from Córdoba: the fact that during the Moor Empire, Jews, Christians and Muslims had no sort of religious tensions and would often go off to their respective religious services together. Heck, Christians, Jews and Muslims even helped to construct the mosque there. Maybe we could learn from their example of tolerance…

So, other than a few more photos, I don’t have too much else to report. Tomorrow, I’m headed to the Archeology Museum (big surprise).

Hasta luego!

-Patrick

I’m not eating caracoles

Hello everyone!

You might be wondering where the title of this blog came from. Well, long story short, in one of our classes on Wednesday, we were talking about the typical tapas or Spanish appetizers eaten in the afternoon (olives, for example, are one type of tapas). Then, our teacher at the school mentioned something called caracoles, which, as I later found out in that class, are, as the French say, escargot. Okay, they’re snails. Um, yuck. No offense. I love trying various foods, and I love some of the foods here in Spain. But the idea of eating snails……yeah, I’ll pass thank you very much.

Moving on, we went to see a monastery yesterday where we ran into an art exhibit as well as explored the various rooms in the monastery. For example, I learned that most of the monks ate their meals in absolute silence, while a priest would read and pray.

After that, we went to the Exposicion ’92. Similar to the World Fair, the event was held in Seville to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of the New World. While some of the buildings were incredibly colorful/eye-catching, it still felt as though it were a ghost town. It had a feeling that it had been once inhabited by people, but was later abandoned. Que lastima…

I have already made friends with a local café owner, from whom I buy my churros y chocolate, a typical snack eaten in Spain. It’s incredibly easy to understand him and he seems very friendly and it’s always interesting when he tries to speak English.

So, once again, I’ll do my best to upload as many photos as this website will allow.

Tomorrow, we’ll be participating in a “gymkhana” or, as it’s known back stateside, a scavenger hunt. How exciting!!!!

So that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more updates!

Hasta luego!

-Patrick

PS-I’ve just watched the Glee finale. One word: AWESOME!!!!!! Even better? Kurt and Rachel sung at the Gerswhin Theater where I went to see Wicked!!!!!!

What do you mean you don’t get Glee?

Hello again all!

That’s right…I don’t get to watch the season finale tonight and will most likely have the ending spoiled via Twitter or Facebook. Thanks a lot Internet.

So, to make this post a little more uplifting, I’m going to try and upload a few photos from my camera.

Hasta luego!

-Patrick

Geranios Institute: my morning school

La Plaza de Espana

Recognize this Star Wars fans?

After the jet-lag subsides…

Hello all!

Sorry for posting this so late. As I write this, it’s about 12:30 in the morning.

First thing on Saturday morning, I went up to the Rochester airport to begin my journey to Spain!!! We flew from Rochester to Chicago, from Chicago to Madrid ( a 7 and a half hour flight >=/) and from Madrid to Seville. At the Madrid airport, we met our Spanish professor, Profesor Plata and his wife and two sons. Unfortunately, the plane to Seville was delayed because of some recent elections in the country. However, after about a 20 minute delay, we were up in the air.

Anyways, things couldn’t be any better here in Seville! I have a wonderful host mother, who works at a local bank and lives with her three younger sons (there are two older ones who have left the house).

Yesterday (Sunday), after meeting our host families and the other students in the study abroad program, we went for a walk around the city. I have lots of photos to show (of the city along with a replica of a dinosaur from the Chicago airport).

How's the weather up there?

We passed by the cathedral as well as stopped to see the Luz de mayo festival, where children ask for donations and people hold a parade in the streets.

Today (Monday) we officially started our classes at the Geranios institute. Things got off to a bit of a rocky start because I was a little overwhelmed by the system of transportation. Okay, I couldn’t find the group, so I decided to go to the school by train, thinking that they had already arrived.

After that, we had our composition and grammar class, followed by a small welcome party. Later that day, we went to the Plaza de Espana and the Universidad de Sevilla. I’ll be uploading some more pictures and writing some more tomorrow. As I said, it’s late (It’s about 1:15 now) and I’d like to get some sleep.

But, I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on the goings on here in Seville.

Hasta luego!

-Patrick

Pre-flight jitters(?)

Hey all!

Welcome to my first ever blog! Let’s see how well this goes!

Anyways, as the song goes, “My bags are packed/I’m ready to go.” As I write this, preparations are underway for my upcoming study abroad trip in Seville on Saturday. All my bags are, for the most part, packed and I’m physically ready to go. All that’s left is the mental preparation for endless flying and the culture shock when I actually arrive in Spain. I’m still not a big fan of flying, but I guess it beats traveling by boat…

For those who aren’t familiar, Seville is located in the southwestern area of the country and is the fourth largest city in the country. Quick history lesson: for a long period in history, Spain was ruled by the Moors (from 700 to 1492), until La Reconquista, when the Catholic King and Queen of Spain reclaimed the country back from the Moors. Many of the building structures still have their base in the Moorish style of architecture.

I’m so incredibly excited to be going to visit a country so rich in its history and culture. As I mentioned, all that I am worried about is the culture shock. For example, the typical greeting in Spain is dos besos, or a kiss on each cheek. I just hope that I can remember little details like that and not come off as arrogant or demeaning…(fingers crossed).

Well, that’s it for now. I will do my level best to post as quickly and as detailed as possible.

¡Hasta luego!

-Patrick

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