Friday, February 26, 2010

Saved by the...Jesús?

As many of you know, I am very routine-oriented. I like structure, I like being prepared, I like having deadlines. I use my planner more than anyone I know, except maybe my Mom. Sure, I can be spontaneous and I like to party (yes, Jamie, I'm using your catch phrase), but I do really love being organized. Which is why I'm glad that today marks the end of my second week of being an official student at la Universidad de Sevilla. I'm finally getting my routine down.

A typical day of mine goes as follows:

-Wake up at around 10. Eat two slices of bread with olive oil on top and sometimes with garlic. (Sounds nasty, but is actually really good. The garlic I save for certain days, since it doesn't really help the breath situation.)

-Walk or Sevici (the communal bike service here) to either my program center or the tobacco factory. Yes, all of my university classes are held in an old tobacco factory, the same one where the opera of Carmen unfolded in real life. It is a pretty but incredibly confusing building. The set-up isn't too bad for me, however, considering three out of four of my classes are in the same room. Aula XX (Classroom 20) and I are going to be very, very good friends.

[The road I take to get to school.]

-Listen to spanish professors talk for two hours straight, understand about 70% of what's going on (depending on the class) and try to make friends. Realize I look incredibly American with my rain jacket and Sperry's. (It WOULD be raining here while it's nice and sunny in Oregon. Perfecto.)

-Eat my sandwich or return home for lunch, depending on the day. If I have time at home, take a siesta or do some homework before my next class.

-Finish class and go to the gym. Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a group exercise class, a mixture of step/dancing/arm weights/abs. It's a learn-as-you-go kind of thing, and I'm happy to report that my ability to follow along has greatly improved since the failure of coordination that was my first class.

-Eat dinner at around 8:30 or 9 with Chantel and Chencha while watching 'Pasapalabra' on TV. Do homework, skype with people that I love, and go to bed. Wake up and repeat.

So, that's my routine in a simplified nutshell. There are random and unplanned moments in there as well, don't get me wrong. But mostly, I will be following this schedule every week, Monday through Thursday. (Yes, for the first time in the history of my schooling, I don't have class on Friday. Whoop whoop!) The classes I'm taking are:

-Regional Geography of Europe
-Climate and Society
-History of Slavery in America
-Conservation and Management of Space and Natural Resources

Classes are going well so far, although they are extremely different from those in the US. The other day, the power went out halfway through my Climate and Society lecture, obviously hindering the powerpoint presentation my professor had prepared. But instead of making us wait for the power to turn back on or coming up with another activity for us to do, she just shrugged and said 'Ok, well I'll see you all next week.' The following day, I showed up ready for class, only to find out that there was an assembly going on for the Spanish students, and so class was canceled. No one had mentioned anything about this before, even though it was obviously a planned event. Such is the Spanish way, I guess.

Nevertheless, this is not to say that my classes don't have value. I have a group presentation already due on Thursday, and I'm still not quite sure as to what it entails. When the professor first announced this project, I was immediately nervous about finding a group. Who wants an exchange student who wears weird clothes and can't understand everything in their group? I was anxiously contemplating this when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to find the boy sitting next to me asking me, "¿Quieres ser parte de en nuestro grupo?" In my head I yelled joyously, "YES! YES I WANT TO BE IN YOUR GROUP! CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I HAVE NO FRIENDS? YAY!" But I kept my cool, and replied, "Si, claro." (Yes, of course.) Success! So, who was this boy who had saved me from certain embarrassment by kindly inviting me to his group? What was his name?

"Como te llamas?" I asked.
"Jesús," He responded.

Jesus. Well, that's appropriate.

So now I'm in a group with Jesús, Juan José, and Clara. And like all of the rest of my education here, I have no real idea what to expect when I meet with them next week. All I can say is, let's hope I've got some more Jesúses in the rest of my classes...

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