One for the Record Books: Week 6

23 Oct

So, I have made it through Week 6! It was a typical school week with lots of classes and little down time. But, with the completion of this week, I have broken the record of the longest time I have gone without seeing my family in person. The previous record was 5 weeks and 6 days, but now it is over 6 weeks. And, I have only cried once. Smashing success, in my opinion.

As I mentioned, this past week was a typical class week. With school, the days fly by because I go to school in the morning until 2:30, lunch is over by 3:30, and then I have two hours of free time before heading back for my night classes. So essentially, it is 8pm before I know it, which is bad, because I do very little work during my free time in the afternoon. The lack of motivation that I feel to do school work is pitiful.

But, other than my 20 hours of school, I did manage to have some interesting experiences this week! The first ones involve food. As a whole, the food here is very good. My host mom is a fantastic cook! However, one day this week she decided to cook us anchovies. I like fish, so that was fine with me. So to eat them, I picked up my fork and politely began cutting the anchovies, utilizing the proper table manners that I have been taught. After devouring about three of them, my host mom stops me an informs me that the anchovies still have a spine in them, that I need to pull out. So, I for lunch, I successfully consumed anchovies (which were delicious) and a multitude of anchovy spines. Yum!

My next food adventure is far more interesting. I went to a tapas place (a restaurant that gives free food when you order beverages) with one of my program coordinators, Teresa, and another student. After ordering drinks, the waiter brought out the tapas, one of which was a piece of bread covered in some dark purplish/black substance. When we asked Teresa what it was, she told us to try it first, and then she would tell us. (That should have been a warning sign). So I tried this strange substance, and I liked it. Then, Teresa informed us that the black stuff is a little thing called Black Pudding. And, guess what Black Pudding is? That’s right, it is curdled pig’s blood. I literally just cringed as I wrote that, as I am still disgusted by the thought of what I consumed. Needless to say, I will not be eating Black Pudding again anytime soon. I still get flashbacks….

On to my next adventure- a flamenco show. Definitely an interesting cultural experience, but the key word is interesting. The singers were very talented, but when they sang it was as if they were yelling at someone. The dancers, however, were incredible. I wish I could move my feet and hips like that. After a very long (a full 2 hours) flamenco show, I then had to walk home at 1 am, by myself. For someone who doesn’t like to walk 40 feet outside to her car in rural New Jersey, this was an experience. Although the city feels very safe, it is still eerie walking home in the dark by yourself. I am not sure I have ever walked faster in my life. For anyone who saw me walking, they probably got a kick out of the crazy American girl with a petrified look on her face, practically sprinting through the streets. But, I survived, so that’s good. All of these new experiences I am having in Spain….

And then my last adventure, hiking. I have discovered since being here that I do enjoy hiking. So, this past Sunday, I decided to go hiking in the Sierra Nevadas with another Delaware student. So, we got up bright and early and boarded a bus to Lanjaron, a town about 40 minutes away. We first hiked to an abandoned Arabic castle with spectacular views of the mountains. Then, we began our real hike up into the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. We were supposed to be hiking a 9 mile route. But, guess how long our hike ended up being? No matter what you guessed, you are probably wrong. 19 miles. Yes, I spent my Sunday trekking 19 miles up and down in a mountain range.

How did that happen, you ask? Well, we were supposed to turn off of the main trail when we saw a fountain. However, we never saw a fountain, so we just kept walking up. Before we knew it, we passed a sign that informed us that we were over 9 miles outside of the town where we started. Uh, Oh. So then, we had to turn around and hike 9 miles back down. So, the first 9 miles were great! The scenery was beautiful and it was a gorgeous October day. I took plenty of tree/mountain pictures and enjoyed the views! But the last 9 miles? It ranks up there in my Top 5 Worst Physical Pains ever. I consciously had to make sure that one foot was going in front of the other. Needless to say, I was feeling the burn from that hike up until Wednesday. But after that hike, I think I can consider myself in the Major Leagues as a hiker. Therefore, anyone who ever wants to hike (ahem, Andrew), I’m your girl!

The aftermath of the hike was a little rough. I did have trouble walking/sitting/overall moving for about 3 days. And, I also might have forgotten to have put on sunscreen before the adventure, so I walked around looking like a lobster for a solid couple of days. Oh well, definitely worth it!

Ruins of an Arabic Castle

Ruins of an Arabic Castle

View from the Mountains!

View from the Mountains!

Met this little guy on the trail!

Met this little guy on the trail!

Something about Spain that I have yet to mention in my blogs is the traffic here in Granada. Prior to venturing to Europe, I thought I was familiar with crazy traffic (i.e. Hunterdon Central at dismissal, Flemington traffic circles, Newark, Delaware all the time), but I was wrong. Here, the drivers are crazy. They speed through incredibly narrow roads, whip around corners, and simply take the traffic signals as a guide. Although I have many irrational fears (ie man living in my attic), being hit by a car while in Europe is definitely one of the rational ones!

So, it was a studious and adventurous week here in Spain, and I look forward to the next 10! Until next time, my friends!

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