Hola, estoy en España y les quiero escribir sobre mis experiencias. So we got to Salamanca on Sunday night and finally met our host families, but up until then Sunday was packed with visits to the Museo del Prado and the Reina Sofía museum in Madrid, then to San Lorenzo del Escorial, an old royal retreat converted into a monastery a ways out of madrid, then right next to that the Valle de los Caídos with a creepy cathedral where Francisco Franco, the good ol’ dictator of Spain, is buried.
But anyway, we got to Salamanca and I and the other two guys in the group (Tommy and Chris) met our host mom (her name escapes me still). All three of us are in one little bedroom, but it’s actually a great setup. We had to unbolt this bar from the side of Tommy’s bed so he would have room to sleep, then get the heater turned down (it was waaaaay to hot when we got there….) Anyway, we had dinner at 8-ish, and it was some yummy soup plus bread, and also flan in a cup. It was a lot to eat! I was glad to notice that our host has a gigantic copy of Don Quijote in her living room – it’s a lot like a family in the U.S. having a big family bible, since both serve as the founding document of modern English and modern Spanish respectively.
We have also living with us a brasilian girl and two french girls, which seemed like it might be trouble given Chris’s propensity for hitting on girls, but I think it will work out. The brasileña speaks Spanish and English fairly well, but las francesas don’t speak English, or Spanish, or Portuguese, and none of the rest of us speak french, so even with the help of an Español-Francés dictionary we had a really hard time communicating. I wish I could tell you their names or how they were spelt, but I couldn’t remember. Last night Tommy and I stayed up late listening to Chris tell stories about his time in the army in Iraq, which was really fascinating. Chris is the only member of our group who is not a member of the church. By typical BYU standards he’s a rough character, and seems a little out of place amongst all the rest of us. But he is a great guy – given all he’s experienced in his life, he has done a marvellous job keeping his life on track and just generally being a good guy. It’s fun to get to know him.
It’s been cool to put my Spanish to use and see that I’m in many situations well understood, and I can keep up with what’s being said to me as well. At a restaurant we went to we had to leave soon after ordering, so I checked if they could make the food to go (para llevar) and then asked them to do so. Of course, they still originally brought the food out on plates (when I asked them again to make it to go, por favor!) and they messed up some of our order (I wanted a croka, not a pizza, but close enough).
Today was our first day at the language school. I went to the class that I was assigned to – and then I became very frightened about the remainder of the program. The class seemed to having nothing to do with either what I signed up for or with the score I got on the pre-test I took. I sat for an hour and a half and copied down notes on the many exciting uses of the prepositions ‘para’ and ‘en’, and it felt like I was just transferring the contents of a dictionary entry into my notebook. A month of that would kill me! Why have I already taken 4 years worth Spanish classes only to be subjected to such drudgery? Well, it worked out that I was in the wrong class, and instead of sitting there for a total of four hours a day (including conversation), I just have to go to a one hour lecture on Spanish culture, which is far more interesting than preposition meaning.
Anyway, my friends are all finished, so I’ve got to jet. See you all later!