Friday, October 31, 2008

Not your normal Halloween…

Today wasn’t really a festival (though tomorrow is an equivalent to Memorial Day). But… we did get to go out of class to watch a man climb up the highest tower of the cathedral . It was freezing cold and rainy (and my last day of classes) but everyone gathered and he climbed it - with no harness or ropes that any of us or the locals knew of. So I got some pictures and everything because that is what a good tourist does, but it just looks like there is an extra bulge on the intricate architecture of the cathedral tower (you can’t really see that man at all but I promise he is there). I’ll just be able to point to the picture and hope someone might believe that it is a man J .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Morcillo...and my new family ;)

So, some of you may know of my recent fear of morcillo (blood pudding). Well, I have some humor for you that happened in my new family (I moved after two weeks and I LOVE it). The father is a meat-preparer and for those of you now know me best, meat is not my first love. I find this humorous. Then, on the first day I had a main meal with the whole family (and even some visiting extended family) - we had it. I saw it laughing at me on the plate before me as I ate my first course of soup....the morcillo. The quick prayer of "Lord, I'll get it down if you keep it down" ran through my head and I eyed the other options of chorizo (amazing spicy sausage), and a sweeter cut of sausage. Yup. I had it. The whole thing. Catch me on a good day and I may even have it again. This is for all of you who THINK you can eat some pretty crazy things. This girl has you beat!!!! (pictures will come soon).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Gredas...How BEAUTIFUL!

We are going through the countryside now on our way to Gredas - the mountains - the farther we go the more beautiful the landscape becomes. It has been a rainy morning, especially in Salamanca, but I believe in the sunshine that the Lord eventually blessed us with at the top of the mountain. The really cool thing, outside of the view, is that I was able to speak Spanish to the guide the whole time - what an accomplishment!

Monday, October 13, 2008

National Day?

National Day....October 13...The day that the Spanish celebrate being Spanish. I can't really explain it - I was told that there would be parades and everything but unfortunately I only saw one...and it was representing Bolivia and the Dominican Republic - go figure. At any rate, we got the day off and everyone seemed very happy. It was a great chance for me to explore Salamanca.

...Some...(most) people are so cute here. So petite - the little ladies dressed to impress and the ninos and ninas - WAY TOO CUTE. If there was a souvenier to be had :) - hmmm...there are some pretty cute people here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A whole week...and the little old man came by :)

I can't believe it's been one whole week! It's been so great! Even though the mornings here are cold, - the rest of the day is so perfect! Today's weather has been absolutely AMAZING. The sky is always blue, and it is addictively beautiful in the afternoon. This afternoon I rushed through my ususal 3 pm lunch so I could get back outside and enjoy the day. I went to study some Espanol and it came to me in a great package. As illuded to in a previous post, the old men of Salamanca come to sit in Plaza Mayor in the afternoons. Today, one little old man came up to me and asked for cigarettes. I had to apologize that since I don't fumar (smoke), I didn't have any for him. The next little old man came up to me and he just wanted to talk. His patience with me was priceless and he kept converation close to things I could talk about. I initially questioned his intentions, but was pleasently suprised when he just like to visit with people - after we were finished talking, he went on to the next person.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Visitad la ciudad...

So I went on a little site-seeing excursion with a group from my language school. Bearing with the slightly chilling drafts that flow around the city on a cloudy day, we had a lot of fun together. Learning (in Spanish) about the beauty and depth that this city has to offer, I enjoyed the architecture and the people. This was the day that I officially saw la rana and our wonderful tour guide Marien showed us some other fun oddities of the city - for instance the astronaut and the devil with an ice cream cone carved into the side of one of the most beautiful cathedrals one will ever have the chance to see.

Plaza Major...the beautiful

If the sun is out, it is guarenteed here. And if you are a people watcher (which is one of my favorite hobbies), just take a seat anywhere...on the ground, on a bench, on a person ;) Whatever! It is the center of the city and beautiful all the time. Not as nice to sit in when rainy but still not so shabby. This is where the old men sit on benches together in the afternoon - for no reason than just to enjoy the day together. I know it's not that easy, but for me, the naive outsider, I have the luxury to believe so. As the sun sets, the people move... to soak in every moment that they can. It is soo beautiful. I love this intimate, yet busy city. Maybe it is the liberated feeling that I have or maybe it is something's just really nice.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

La Rana...(the frog)

Just like Harvard students rub the bronze toe of John Harvard's statue in Boston, Massachutsetts, the students at la Universidad de Salamanca search for la rana, or the frog. For hundreds of years, students have been trying to find the little frog nested on top of a skull in the detailed arctiture of one of the university's buildings. If you can find it without help, you are in luck - it is believed that you will have good studies and do well. I found it with no help - I'm really hoping it will help with my Spanish! :) I studied all evening (minus when I went out for tapas again :) ) and I feel that it somewhat helped ;) j/k!

Can you find the rana?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tapas es mi favorita!

If you are even half the eclectic, indecisive eater that I am - you would love tapas. These large appetizers can be sweet and savory - everything from jamon con queso (ham with cheese) or calamari, tortillas (more like a potato and egg omlette here) con tuna, or empendadas...I've even scence pizza! You can pick as much or as little as you want. If you don't like what one tapas "bar" has, you can just go to another and get something better! Sometimes you know what you are eating....and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you figure out halfway through, and sometimes you wish you didn't know ;)

Chocolate con churros...

...can we say yum-o! This is for all of those chocoholics - so I was introduced to every woman's (and some men's) dream hot chocolate here. I wish my mother was here at this moment because the chocolatier makes pure hot chocolate - more like drinking melted chocolate. Well here's how it goes, one takes her churro (fried donut-ty thing - though not as sweet) and dunks it or more specifically dredges it through the thick aphrodisiac of a beverage and bites into bliss. What a great way to be introduced to the flavors of Salamanca. Note: more than 80% of the people in the chocolate shop were women (some had men with them). I also witnessed a plate piled high of churros with 3 hot chocolates delivered (family pack ;) ) to one table. I think I one-upped Rachel Ray on this one! :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Spain or bust!

So, I am crazy this time :) ...
I have been learning Spanish furiously for the past few days. It's been on my mind for a couple of months but crazy schedules, a 24/7 job, 26 resident assistants (whom I love and already miss so dearly), and my own procratination has changed that. Outside of right now, I have been listening to the 8 Spanish CDs (thanks for letting me steal them, Dad) that I downloaded on my ipod and claim to teach me Spanish instantly. I wish I could retain absolutely every carefully articulated word, but I'm not there just yet - I still cleaningnout the cobbwebbs of Spanish classes years ago, with a spattering of Bahasah Melayu and Tamil.

Why Spanish?
Well, I'm waiting for my flight to board for Spain (via Frankfort). I don't take normal work "vacation days." I wait for only God-sized notions like..."how about going to Spain to learn SPanish for a month and get to know University students to show them and tell them about Christ?" Oh yeah, and "how about quitting your job to do it :) ?" I love God - I really do! He is way more creative than I could ever be and I'm way to adventurous and prideful not to hol Him to a challenge. I needed a break from normal and God and I needed to see each other in a different light than what we had been walking through. I want to show others what Jesus is all about and how amazing a relationship with him really is. It isn't something found within a church or at a "Christian school" or with judges instead of believers and songs without worship. I want to speak to be able to tell peeople that but they will (hopefully) see more through my actions than my words anyway. No rules, no quota, no hours, just me and God.