20 February 2009

You're such a ham

Palabra del dia: No pasa nada! --> Don't worry about it! (Okay, so really it's a phrase)

I started my university class this week. I tried one class, and it wasn't too swell, so I went to another one that my friend Ronni convinced me to go to. The class is called "Anthropology of Ethnicity." And that's basically what it is. The professor is hilarious and really nice and there's no tests. Yes, you read that right. No tests. Hallelujah! Of course we have other work, but it's no big. I'd totally rather read and write than study and take a test. And we are required to do work that gets us out into the community and gets us working with Spanish students in the class. Also, for our last project, we have to write a paper and present it. Here's the catch: for the first 5 minutes of the presentation, we have to present in our native language (which is English for me, duh). What's the point of this, you ask? To show those whose native language is Spanish what it is like to be a non-native speaker in a class that is taught in Spanish. How cool is that?! The teacher is really receptive to the fact that the University of Granada has many, many international students, and so we don't all speak Spanish fluently. I'm so excited to learn about ethnicity and how it plays out through history and now and what all that entails. It's going to be pretty freakin' sweet!

The more I'm here, the more I learn about how my past experiences I've had at Jewell have prepared me for Spain. One in specific, the 2 weeks I spent in the Everglades through Outward Bound and the Pryor Leadership Program (shout out to K-Shaff and Sandra!). Little did I know at the time that 2 weeks living on a canoe (and being really, really smelly) would teach me lessons that I can't learn in a classroom and that would stick with me for years to come. First of all, I've learned how to adapt. When we were in the Glades, there's nothing you could do with your situation except adapt. There was no point in being frustrated or annoyed or getting caught up in being cold, wet, and smelly. You just had to suck it up and learn to deal. This has definitely helped me here. They have a different way of living, from siesta, to food, to ways of communication, no laundry dryers, to their strange relationship with the floor. But through it all, I've adapted. As mom says, it's not good, it's not bad, it's just different. Second, Spanish people are super laid back. If you're late, no pasa nada. If you spill something at lunch, no pasa nada. If you fail a class, no pasa nada, er, that's probably pasa algo (something), but you get the point. They don't let things get in the way of living or focusing on what's really important. It's just not a big deal. I love that! Lastly, things are a lot slower here. When I say things shut down for siesta everyday from 2-5pm, I mean they literally shut down. No post office, stores, or cafes. Have to cash that check by 4pm? That's too bad. Like I said, they live. They aren't worried about getting everything done and doing everything. If I had not learned to be more laid back from my experience in the Everglades, I'd be struggling for real here. Sorry if that's boring to you, but it just amazes me how our experiences carry over into other experiences in our lives. It's all connected.

Speaking of adapting, here's something that's different:

In Spain, they eat ham all the time. For every meal practically, it's there. They also store it differently than in the States. This is my new little friend that has joined me for breakfast for the past week. Yes, that is a hoof of a pig and it's leg on a stand. Oh and don't you worry, there's still hair on that hoof. If that doesn't wet your appetite, I don't know what will!

I noticed I have failed to post my address in Spain on my blog thus far, so here it is. If you would like to send me something (a card telling me how much you miss me, Werther's Originals, Trident Tropical Twist, you know, whatevs), feel free to do so.

Sarah Hartenberger
IES Abroad Granada
C/Pisas, 2-2°
18010 Granada

That's all I have for you today. Let me know if I'm missing something on here that you'd like to hear. It'd be good to have suggestions! Hasta luego!

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