Vale vale vale

So… I hope I haven’t kept you guys waiting for too long to update you guys on my travels! As you can probably imagine, it’s been a veryyy busy few days. Arriving on Monday, it’s now Thursday, going into Friday, and between those four days, I have had four classes (well, it’s the same class, but it feels like a lot- I’m still on summer mode…), met my host mom, set up my classes for the semester, and gotten lost about four times. Surprised? Probably not, because most of you guys might already be informed of my poor sense of orientation. If not, well, it’s bad. You wouldn’t have to see it to believe it, cause it’s true. Ok, rabbit trail, complete.

I had so many ideas running through my head today, that I couldn’t wait to get them down, but as you can see, this seems to be going nowhere. It’s currently one in the morning for us, and my body is still jet-lagging it. Let’s see if I can pull this together, somewhat.

What I really want to talk about is our overall influence on people in Spain. You might expect that upon coming to Barcelona, you would hear several rounds of “la cucaracha”, tingling guitars, or flamenco music filling the streets. Well, I’m just about to tell you all, that’s not the case. Instead, I’ve heard more American music and watched more American shows than I have heard or listened to Spanish music or shows. But, I guess that’s basically the same for other Spanish speaking countries like Ecuador, Chile, etc. (from some good friends that have gone there of course). It’s not just Spanish speaking countries though; it’s also English speaking countries, and I’m guessing others too, maintain a huge American influence. Interesting, right? It makes you wonder if that’s how it is in just the cities, or if it’s nationwide too. I’ll find out and get back to you guys about that. You might have to remind me though;  I’ll probably forget.

I’ve also found that it’s almost impossible for me to blend in like I have trained myself. I don’t take out my life-sized map on the streets, I try not to look too lost (even though I am, for most of the time), I try to dress like the locals, and still, people sometimes ask if I speak English, or would throw in a few English words here and there with strong Castellano accents. Am I that obvious? Ahh… I’ve got to work on not getting lost too much. And looking American. Hmmm…

One possibility, is if I start speaking like a Spaniard. See, I have observed, and heard from a friend who travelled to Spain this summer, that people that live in Barcelona like to say “vale” after almost every single phrase. I would ask for directions, and it would sound something like this:

“Do you know where the closest Movistar is?” (for cell phones)

“Well, you want go to the right, ok? a la arriba, see? and cross the plaza central, and it’s right there in the mall, down the stairs. Ok?

“Ok, muchas gracias.” Then, cue in the exasperated gasps and blistered toes and ankles an hour later.

Sometimes, instead of saying “vale”, though, they’ll substitute with an “eh?” I have thus concluded that los Espanoles could be part Canadian, part American, all Spanish and mostly fantastic. Cool how our worlds come in full circle.

I have yet to remark about my homestay. Thus far, it’s been marvelous darling. But for real, it has been. I live with an older woman whose kids have moved out, and are living in other parts of Spain (I forget where, at the moment). The flat is really pequeñito, but it’s so adorable that I don’t really mind. I have a balcony view of the street from my room that gets pretty noisy at night when the Harleys vroom down the street.

My host mom is so adorable. Just like the house, but even more so, just because she is. She says the Canadian “eh?” which is where I picked it up from. When she arrived to pick me up, one of the girls from our group said, “Woah, someone’s a hot grandma,” or something along those lines. Although I’m still a little shaky on my vocab, and definitely so with my verbs, she can still understand what I’m saying for the most part, and I can understand her. Sometimes.

It’s crazy to think that, to extend on that point, I am making sense in what I’m saying to people here, and that not all of what I say is complete gibberish. The BCA director commented today, much to my surprise, that, my Spanish is actually pretty good. And, I can understand, for the most part, what people are saying to me, especially when I’m asking directions, even though I usually end up lost anyway.

Well, that’s all folks! Hopefully, I can spend more time having fun exploring than waste time getting lost. Pictures to come soon!

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