The Beginning of the End: Week 15

19 Dec

And so, Week 15 has come and gone. I seriously cannot believe that I am here already. It just goes to show that life goes by so fast and you need to enjoy it! Wow, that sounded somewhat cheesy, so you will just have to deal with it.

This week, by the standards of my other weeks here, has been quite boring. It was the last week of classes (thank goodness!) and so I just spent a lot of time in class, thinking about class, and doing work for class. Essentially, probably as interesting as a last week of classes in the US. Although I have learned a lot in the large majority of my courses, I am glad to be done with them. Even the professors seem bored with the subjects. I have only had class for 10 weeks, but believe me, it has felt like an eternity.

On Monday, I was supposed to start studying for finals, but the procrastinator in me simply could not let that happen. So instead, I did absolutely nothing on Monday. I watched countless episodes of sitcoms (The Office, How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, The Mindy Project; yes, I like a variety) and slept. It was a beautifully spent day, in my opinion.

This week brought to light more differences between Spanish classrooms and American classrooms. In two of my classes this week, we talked about things that probably would not have been appropriate in school settings in the US. In one, the class spent at least 15 minutes discussing with the teacher which American actresses he found attractive. A very funny conversation, in my opinion. In another, a student gave an entire presentation on the benefits of marijuana use and the teacher was siding with him the entire time. It just goes to show how much more liberal European classrooms are than their American counterparts!

I also had another run-in with a Spanish dog this week. Believe me when I say I cannot wait to return to the US and a little thing called a leash law. I was casually walking back from class at 8:15 last Tuesday night. I don’t frequent the busiest streets, but rather have to walk in some side streets to get to school in a timely fashion. And so, I am walking and thinking, when I spot a dog about 15 feet in front of me, just staring at me. It was alone, did not have a collar on, and was just watching me. My first thought: “I am going to die and nobody will here me scream”. Yes, I was seriously afraid of that occurring. (Isn’t it nice to know that being in Spain hasn’t changed me that much?). So, whilst my life was flashing before my eyes, I brusquely made my way past the feral dog and on my way home. The little psycho animal just stared at me the entire time. But, I made it out alive, so that is all that matters.  And, as sad as it sounds, that was one of the most exciting things that happened to me all week.

Another fun thing that happened was on Friday night. My program had a little Christmas party! We watched Elf and enjoyed some traditional Spanish Christmas treats. Some were a little odd, but on the whole they were very delicious! Plus, one of the boys in my program had just received a package from home, the contents of which he brought to share. Guess what this package contained? Smidgens. Yes, Gertrude Hawk Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Smidgens. I was dying of pure joy. On a Friday night, in Spain, I watched Elf while eating Smidgens. Who could ask for a better last Friday night here? Plus, I had to give him major props for sharing. If they were mine, I can’t say I would have done the same.

On Saturday morning, I frequented the flea market again. Once again, another time where I realize a profound difference between the Spanish and American cultures. When I hit up a flea market in the US, I am there by 7:30 at least. Everyone knows you have to go early to beat the crowds and get the good items. So, knowing that it is Spain, I rolled up to the flea market at 10:30. I figured that would be prime flea market time. When I got there, they were still setting up! I simply could not believe it. So, I did end up beating the crowds, because by the time I left at 11:45, it still wasn’t crowded. And, I managed not to get assaulted by aggressive Spanish ladies, so I consider Saturday a success.

In the afternoon, the grandchildren came over again. It was another nice way to distract myself from studying. They were still as cute as ever and they still love me, so once again, another success for the books.

And Sunday; not a very eventful day. I spent most of the day actually studying (some of it for my final on Wednesday; I know, strange, right?) and being productive. It was a very productive day. The other part of my day I spent watching the romantic comedy: The Holiday. During lunch, there was a commercial on TV for the movie, and it made me want to watch it; so I did. And, I must say, I have no regrets. Not only was the movie highly entertaining, but it also starred a dashing British man. It only reinforced my new notion that my husband must be British.

And so, that was my thrilling week. I bet you’re jealous, right? Probably not, considering many of you are already enjoying some snow and some winter break. But, in 4 days from now I will be on an airplane headed back to the gorgeous USA, and I simply cannot wait.

In my opinion, if you want to appreciate America, study abroad. Besides for missing all of the people that I know and love and the food, I have realized how much I miss the little things. For instance, the other day while I was video chatting with my mom, our house phone rang. And, I got incredibly excited knowing that in 4 days from now, when the phone rings I will be able to answer it. Yes, I am looking forward to answering the phone. But other little things, such as driving, or the ability to call/text people whenever I want, or breathing fresh air, are some that I realized how much I take for granted back in the States. So, while this experience has easily been the greatest adventure of my life, it has also made me realize how much I appreciate and love my life back in the States.

I also cannot wait to get back to the normal meal schedule of the US. I am so tired of eating dinner at 9:15 (or later). At least twice this week I have had to stay up (even though I wanted to go to sleep) just so I could eat some food. Yesterday, when I told my host mom how early people in the US eat dinner on holidays, you should have seen the look on her face. She was appalled! But, I cannot wait to eat meals at normal times again. In the beginning of this trip, I said that I didn’t think I would ever get adjusted to the schedule, and boy, was I right! I am still starving in between meals and I think dinner at 9:15 is far too late.

Another things I am looking forward to is the bathroom situation at my house in the States. I never thought I would be looking forward to sharing a bathroom with my four siblings (three of whom are boys). But, after this experience, I am. There is only 1 bathroom for the four females in this apartment. This ratio is terrible. I have never met people (my host mom and sister, that is) that spend more time in the bathroom. I have to plan when I am going to use it, because there have been times when they used the facilities consecutively for over an hour. And that is a long time to have to wait to use the bathroom, let me tell you. They also seem to believe that flushing the toilet is optional. In no way is it an optional thing for me. In no way.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to many things upon my return to the US. Granted, I still have 4 long days of finals ahead of me, but I am hoping these days will fly as did the rest of the trip.

And for those of you that only look at the pictures, I thought I would share some old pictures of Granada, since I didn’t take any this week.

View of the Alhambra

View of the Alhambra

One of Granada's many fountains

One of Granada’s many fountains

Aerial View of part of Granada

Aerial View of part of Granada

My case you were curious where I spend so many hours loving life

My School…in case you were curious where I spend so many hours loving life

The Nativity scene in my school. Notice how it says "Happy Holidays" at the bottom though...

The Nativity scene in my school. Notice how it says “Happy Holidays” at the bottom though…

And so, the beginning of the end has arrived. And let me tell you, it is strange.


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