February 01, 2010

Primer dia de las clases

I was super nervous all yesterday about the beginning of classes, specifically the placement exam we had to take before we started classes. I needed to do well enough on the exam to get into the "Advanced" classes or else I wouldn't get credit for my minor AND I would have had to pay 50€. No bueno.

We had to wake up at 6:45 to leave the house by 7:15 to make it to school by 7:45. Yuck. We ate a breakfast of corn flakes, a muffin, and green tea before Emma and I met Valerie, another student in our building, and Alissa, my roommate from orientation, and headed to campus. It's a beautiful walk right through Málaga. We met the other students outside and proceeded to the dark basement to take our examen and our entrevista (interview). The exam consisted of a lot of grammar questions and even some modismos (idioms). After our exam, we met with a profesor for 5 minutes and talked. My profesor asked me about my studies, my time in Europe so far, why I chose Málaga , etc. We all waited afterwards for about an hour, worrying about our results. Most of us needed to get into the advanced class so our credits would transfer. But I guess it wouldn't be a complete waste since we're in Spain and all but it would still suck.

But we did it! We got our classes and got right to work in our Spanish Society and Culture class. Our teacher's name is Antonio and he is super eccentric and animated and speaks slowly! You have no idea what a relief that is. Most people in Andalucia have a weird dialect where they slur all of their words and drop the "s"'s at the end of words so foreigners have a really difficult time understanding them at first. Our senora speaks very clearly and slowly for us but not all of the students are as lucky as us.

Anyways, Antonio was great. We spent the whole class taking turns talking about ourselves and answering his questions about the class. Of course I said I was interested in the comida (food) of Spanish culture. I'm obsessed with Spanish food. I've been asking people what they've been having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner just to see what type of food is out there. Emma was just saying how much she misses Food Network, and I definitely agree. ¡Lo echo de menos tambien!

Afterward we went back to the casa and chilled before lunch. Our family has a maid named Maria Jose as well. She cleans the floors and windows and cooks lunch most of the time. Today we had maccarones, which is a smooth tube-shaped pasta without ridges in a tomato meat sauce. It was sooooo good! Maria Jose gave me a HUGE bowl with bread and I ate almost all of it. Instead of going into a food coma like my belly wanted me to, I had to go straight back to class for my English elective, From El Greco to Picasso: The Great Masters of Spanish Painting, with our profesora, Cristina. It's supposed to be taught in English, but today she said her switch in her brain from Spanish to English wasn't working, so she will start teaching in English tomorrow. There are a whopping 5 people in our class but it sounds really interesting. We studied a lot of famous Spanish paintings in high school and our guias during orientation have given us great explanations of some of the obras maestras (master works) but I want to know more about the artists' lives.

After class, I met most of our study abroad group in La Plaza for a walking tour of Malaga. We saw so many cool parts of the city that I would have never ventured to without our friendly director, Iker (cool name, huh?). We saw where Picasso was born, the Alcazaba, La Manquita (which means the one-armed woman but is actually a cathedral) and tons of other stuff. It really made me realize that it's more than just a beach town. It has a lot of culture and history that make it such a great place to live. And the weather was beautiful this afternoon - about 65° and sunny.

We had grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for dessert with potato chips, yogurt, and fruit. She asked if we wanted one or two sandwiches and when we both said just one, she said that we don't eat very much. I feel like I'm always eating here even though the meals are so spread out.

Tomorrow I have my first Spanish Language and Spanish Literature classes starting at 8 AM. It's been a long day so I'll be sleeping well tonight. ¡Hasta luego, chicos!

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