Day 35 in Spain: My Cuento

I’m planning to create my cuento, my relato, my short story on studying abroad in separate countries from your best friend and life partner.

I’ve written a short story in English once before about a couple who decided to go to the same college but having chosen not to live together the first year.

This new short story will be similar in terms of having a conflict with the same two people. Except this time, it’s a couple of years down the road and their in a new stage of their life together, but apart.

It’s meant to be a drama, a romance.

It will be interesting to see the style of the writing, the character development, the message, and mood it offers others, especially because it will be written in Spanish.

Vamos a ver.

p.s. Today we brainstormed more in depth about the stories we want to create for our literature class. Looking forward to producing a story in Spanish about my life with Joseph– a story and life that I’m proud of. It will very much be realistic fiction: a short story about real people with real problems in what seems to be two different worlds. Of course, I will change certain aspects of the plot to make the story more appealing and surprising. Can’t wait to share this piece of work with you by the end of the semester!

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Day 34 in Spain: The River in the Park

The fresh air

The picturesque sky reflected in the river

The bit of sun that’s left of the day

The art above the bridge like a tapestry

The children playing in the park

The wooden benches

The pretty trees with pretty leaves in winter

The green of the grass

The day

p.s. I really enjoyed yesterday’s walk in the park after a long day at the university running errands. Here’s to some fresh air and sun in Madrid’s winter!

Day 33 in Spain: The Spanish Here

is so different, colloquial, and “útil,” useful.

there are certain phrases like qué tal vs. cómo estás that I really enjoy using.

there are certain exchanges like no pasa nada and que vaya bien el día.

there are farewells like hasta luego and hasta ahora and hasta pronto that mean see you later, or see you soon, or hope to see you soon.

their ‘vale’ is in agreement to whatever was referenced to prior.

p.s. On Monday, I was creating a guía (guide), or resumen (overview), as they say here for my first exam of the semester. Here are some colloquial phrases that I hear everyday, am learning about day by day, and am trying to use daily, too. Here’s to Spain’s español!

Day 32 in Spain: Sunday Market at El Rastro

“Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat?”

Chandeliers, art, and jewelry boxes, super antique…

“I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty”

Rustic cameras, genie-like bottles, over-sized bottle caps galore …

“Strolling along down a
What’s that word again?
Street”

Crowds, Spanish sounds, and lots of walking feet

p.s. Here’s to feeling like The Little Mermaid yesterday! So in awe of all the things that were being sold at this flea market. El Rastro was so huge– much larger than the one I visited in Thailand, and with tons of locals. It was such an awesome cultural activity to observe and enjoy.

Read more about El Rastro here: http://www.madridtourist.info/rastro_market.html

p.p.s. And for Disney fans who want to get a kick out of how I looked yesterday, feel free to watch this:

https://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjrpcq3vrHZAhUh9IMKHWHEAbkQyCkILzAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D0UBqDqKWKJo&usg=AOvVaw2JKFlP-hSJ3bmObbw9ypvZ

Day 31 in Spain: Saturday Shopping

I’ve never been to Primark until Saturday.

It’s a department store but also a spectacle.

The inside of the store is white with bright lights and screens everywhere.

The display in the center of the store along the walls is what appears to be firecrackers showering the store.

The top of the ceiling is gazebo-shaped.

The variety of purses remind me of my mom’s favorite store, TJMAX.

The jeans section remind me of my sister’s hunt to find the perfect pair at Charlotte Russe.

The bathing suits took me back to Old Navy. (Bathing suits in February? Yes! March is approaching and it will be spring here. Fa la la la la).

The sales and crowd remind me of Forever 21 madness and goodness in Times Square.

So, let’s just say: I’ll be returning!

p.s. I had an awesome time shopping in Gran Vía Saturday evening, and stood their until closing time (10 p.m.). Don’t worry Mom and Dad, I was on a budget! Here’s to shopping in Spain!

Day 30 in Spain: Palacio Real de Aranjuez

Royalty fascinates me here.

Ornamental gardens.

Study rooms filled with gold.

Porcelain rooms filled with delicacies.

Official meeting rooms filled with dark red velvet walls.

Every room with an intricate chandelier filled with diamonds and crystals.

Paintings that carry so much of the Catholic sentiment.

Ceilings with details that never end.

Rich in color.

Rich in function.

Rich in lavishness.

p.s. I went to Aranjuez with a couple of friends yesterday, and the palace along with the gardens and cathedral were so gorgeous. I can’t believe we were INSIDE this palace where Queen Elizabeth, spouse of King Philip II of Spain, lived and died. My dreams of walking through a palace like in the program “Reign” have come to life! Too bad photography within the palace was prohibited. Nonetheless, thank you, ciudad de Aranjuez!

Day 29 in Spain: Hearing What Joseph’s Up To ( and a poem)

He’s checked out Hosier Lane where there’s graffiti art everywhere,

the State Library of Victoria,

the Central Business District,

Victoria University,

K-mart

and the-make-your-own-kitkatplace

p.s. On Thursday, Joseph sent me some awesome pics of his time abroad thus far! I did something touristy, too, and visited the Reina Sofía.

p.p.s. Here’s a poem I wrote about a beautiful feminist piece of art I learned about in regards to the Franco era.

La Femme: Sea fuerte. Sea poderosa. Sea comprensiva. Sea amable. Sea valiente. Sea todas las cosas que tú quieres ver en las otras generaciones de mujeres. Espere que ellas sean todas estas cosas y más. Es nuestro legado para desear el mejor para ellas. Sea así.

The Woman: Be strong. Be powerful. Be understanding. Be kind. Be brave. Be all the things you want to see in the next generations of women. Hope that they be that, and more. It is our legacy to want the best, and much better, for them. Be like that.

Day 28 in Spain: One-Month Reflection Abroad

It’s been one month since I’ve been here. I have created my class schedule and budget sheet, established my new routine, and have visited a couple of cities within Spain, including Toledo and Segovia. And local places like Buen Retiro Park and Museo Nacional de Prado.

I’ve figured out my vicinity, and so I now know how to find the discount store, local supermarket, photo shop, post office, cleaners, and H & M all by walking.

I’ve met awesome friends from London, Czech Republic, Sweden, and France.

I’ve stayed connected with people back home, and get to video chat with my dad almost everyday while he’s on lunch.

I’ve booked trips to go to Morocco, Africa and Barcelona, Spain in March. So stoked!

I’ve done a couple of projects for class, and am working my way through assignments with a better pace now.

I’m looking into Lisbon, Portugal for April, and France and Italy for 3-4 days in May to kick off the end of the semester. Vamos a ver. We’ll see.

I’ve created a goals list, and an observation list, and have been honest and realistic about both.

I’ve been writing in my journal everyday.

I am looking forward to taking more videos and conducting interviews with my new friends.

I am hoping to snag an interview with my host mother before I go back home, too.

p.s. Here’s to living in Spain for 4 weeks thus far!

Day 27 in Spain: Educational Differences

In Spain, students’ sole responsibility is to take courses. Most students don’t have jobs, and their parents pay for their education out of pocket as tuition is a small portion compared to the States. In short, they leave with a degree in a specialized profession with little to no debt, as college loans are uncommon.

In Spain, extra curricular activities are not as common either. Most students commute to school and socialize in friend groups, but not necessarily in clubs. A social life apart from academics in the States is a super important part of the college experience. Most students in the States, also go away for school to become more independent. Students in Spain don’t leave home until almost 30-years-old because family is a nuclear, central part of their culture and religion for those who practice.

In Spain, scholarships are only given to students who meet above the grade point average standards, as well as for economical circumstances. In contrast, in the States, scholarships can be given to those involved in sports, for those who write award-winning essays, and for those who can compete for grants they qualify for online.

p.s. Today in class we discussed as a group what the differences in our home campuses are like compared to here. While there are many differences, school here is still hard work, preparation, and extra concentration as I wake up early, commute to class by public transportation, and take most of my classes in Spanish. So, here’s to the differences in education (which isn’t a bad thing by the way)!

Day 26 in Spain: Monday Tasks

Grocery shopping and bread galore at a place called Sol Supermercado

Post office run at a place called Correos

Print shop run at a place called Work Center

Cleaners run at a place called h and x

p.s. Here’s to getting to know my neighborhood while running errands at the same time!