Monday, September 19, 2011

Week of 9/11

This past week was exciting as it was a week of firsts, first class in Spain, first Catalan festival, etc.  I wrote most of this week's blog from parks including the ciutadella park and the arc de triompf.

Sunday 11/9/2011 
First off, I want to send thanks to all those overseas fighting for our country.
Sunday, I went to my first Catalan fair.  9/11 is to the Catalans was a major loss in their fight for freedom. It was the day that they lost to the Spanish and the Spanish Army marched into Barcelona.  The catalans commemorate this day in order to remember their desire for freedom, which is due to several reasons one of which is their loss of many of their freedoms under the Spanish government

Therefore, there was a big fair at the Arc de Triomf.  There were lots of booths selling shirts, candy, key chains ( I bought a pretty sweet dino key chain with the Catalan flag on its belly), drinks and hand made artifacts all of which were for Catalan pride or for remembering the fight for independence. Earlier that morning, there were political speeches... which we thankfully missed. We watched a few of the free concerts they had there and then went to the ciutadella park to look at the book fair that was going on.  After that we went to the the Cascada, which is a large ornate fountain in the park which Atoni Gaudi (a very famous Catalan Architect) assisted with as a student.

When we returned to the fair, Cory (another student in my study abroad program) and I took a picture with a very excited an probably drunk Catalan Viking.  He was very excited so we joined in with him for his cheers for Independence.

After that there was a huge crowd of several hundred people cheering for independence that marched from around the city and then gathered at the Arc de trimpf for the celebrations. At that point I left with a few people as i had to get groceries as I had no food in my room. Unfortunately, all the stores were closed as it was a holiday.  I later found out that there were a large number of riot police assembled near the Arc just on stand by.

Monday 12/9/2011
Today, was the first day of my Spanish class.  For the first week and a half of the program, we have an intensive portion of Spanish with 3 hour class every day.  And then later next week, all of our regular classes start.  During my first class and few days here, I realized how easy it is to forget something if you don't use it for 3 years.  I took Spanish for 5 years through senior year of high school, but 3 years off from learning/using it puts on a lot of rust.  However, I remembered a lot and started dusting it off.

After class I went home and was going to go to the grocery store, but once I laid down on my bed I didn't wake up till after 5pm.  Once I woke up I finally began my quest to find the ATMs that didn't charge fees.  the first one I went to, based on google maps, took me to a very sketchy location with not an ATM to be found.  However, there was a big group of people watching me as I came near there.  Therefore, I quickly turned around and walked away.  After walking for a while, I finally found another area with ATMs.  While looking for it, I stumbled upon a kids fair and watched the show for a bit.

After the show, I went to the grocery store in the mall.  This was my first grocery shopping experience here and it was overwhelming! Trying to read ingredients in Spanish takes so much talent.  I spent literally 5 minutes with each food trying to read the ingredients and without anything to translate.  And let me tell you, Spanglish does NOT work in Spain.  Asking a worker, "Donde esta el milko?" or "donde esta la bathrooma" will not get you anywhere, even if you say it with a spanish accent.

Tuesday 13/9/2011
 On its way.

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