So…. I’m figuring that you all have been anxious to hear from me. Figured as much. You’ve missed me. Well I don’t blame you. I’ve missed all of you twice as much, if not a little more. So, to get to the point, I should probably begin now. Right here, right now. Here goes…. here goes… ok I should start.
Where to begin… So where did I leave off last time? Ah. We went to Leon. That seems like ages ago. It really was. I’m ancient now, a whole year older than when you heard from me last. (actually, that’s not true since I posted the last post when we returned, so I was ancient even then). Anyhow, so we visited the towns of Leon, Asturgo, Burgos, Zaragoza in the period of five days. It was very guay, to say the least.
So, Leon is a cute little roman-founded town, in the middle of a ginormous mountain range. We spent oh, say seven, eight hours on the bus, minus an hour break for lunch. So we arrived and all, and were shown around the town a bit where there was a religious procession with a marching band all in uniform and several hefty men shouldering a model of Jesus on the cross. There were several more processions to come after that, all with Jesus at a different position.
A little later, we found ourselves at a tapas bar where the majority of our table got croquettas, which were breaded meats and cheeses. They were delicious. For the most part.
The next day, bright and early, we began our series of lectures. Now, here’s an interesting tidbit of information. Up until this point, most of us had thought our professor was kinda boring, and hard to understand. But that was until we found out that he was actual a pretty famous artist/novelist (I think he’s a novelist too, someone correct me if I’m wrong) in his hometown Leon. One of the graffiti on the wall read “Gustavo (our prof.) is the best.” Claro, because he even has a street named after him. Oh yeah, that’s right. I got a picture with him on my birthday. Be jealous.
Continuing on, tangent free, we spent the trip taking notes, and walking throughout Leon. One thing that was cool to learn, was that throughout Castilla y Leon, the tapas were endless. I mean, all you’d have to do was buy a drink, and the steaming tapas would come out directly after. Unfortunately, I only had this happen to me at one of the restaurants, because I’m just lucky like that. Even the tapas that we had there were very “Americanized”, simple ones that the waiter thought we could handle. All the other tables got these very elaborate, cheesy-looking-authentic-hot tapas. Not. Cool.
On the subject of being the stereotyped Americans, we were highly embarrassed one time at the restaurant named (you guessed it) “The Mafia”. It was my 21st birthday, (and no, I did not drink, though I know some of you wish that I had), and of course, I couldn’t decide where to eat. We finally met up with a few of our classmates who recommended it to us. It was a fancy, Italian restaurant, though they warned it would be a little pricy. We sat down outside, and remember, this was after we got those easy-does-it-American tapas, so it was a bit late, around 10 (which, you would think would be typical time for Spanish to eat, but we still weren’t used to this schedule quite yet. I’m still not used to it. Now that you mention it, I could go for a few tapas right now…). We sat next to a Spanish couple who were both smoking, and had a small perro on a leash which kept leaping onto their laps. We had to restrain ourselves from kidnapping it.
So we sat down there, right? And we were waiting for our waiter to come. At first, we were wondering if we had been seen, but finally, he arrived. Speaking in English of course. We got our menus, and ordered drinks, then spent a while looking over the abundant supply of food, written out in Spanish, on the atlas-sized menus. One of ours noticed a pretty good deal, but after much questioning, we learned it was the kids menu. Silly mistake, right? We then realized our advantage in this scheme, and decided to play dumb, and order it, even though it clearly said “must be 10 and younger”, though in Spanish. The waiter returned, and we all confidently ordered the exact same thing. When he collected our menus and left, we celebrated our stupendous victory. Or so we thought.
The waiter returned, again, and in faltering English said “Um,- I don’t- think you- can order- this” gesturing to the part in the menu where it said “must be 10 and younger”. We all did a “OOooo ok!” like we had noooo idea that we couldn’t do that and we don’t understand this language at all. Not until the waiter left did we realized that he had given us English menus. Que bueno.
I guess playing dumb was not as easy as we thought. Throughout the rest of the meal we weren’t sure whether we should still continue to address him in English, or practice our Spanish more. When we left, he somehow heard that it was my birthday and he said “Oh, felicidades!” Happy Birthday to me.
It was definitely a day like no other, I’ll give you that. Not only was I sick (like I have been every single birthday), but also we had the opportunity to visit a school and be lectured on how this school has nothing to do with our class, but how we must see it anyway because it is an example of a classical building which we hadn’t seen. Again, que bueno. But, hey how often will I get to celebrate my birthday in a foreign country? And my 21st at that? I guess a perk to the day was getting a picture with Gustavo. And the decently attractive bus driver the next day.
All in all, I think this whole semester abroad is a birthday present. So even though my birthday-day (hmm… is that correct? I can’t speak English anymore…) wasn’t the greatest, the whole year makes up for it. Viva la vida!


2 thoughts on “Hmmm…

  1. Roger Carl Johanson

    Oct. 4th, 012

    Hi Jen, from Uncle Roger. I am enjoying reading all of your blogs. What a terrific experience
    you are having. Look forward to seeing you and learning more about your experiences in
    Barcelona. Love Uncle Roger.


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