Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Post Number Dos: La Vie à Barcelonie

Hello again!!  I didn´t post yesterday.  And technically I didn't post today because it's now FOUR IN THE MORNING !!  My sleep schedule is all fucked up (This vulgar phrase deserves a foot note-- unfortunately, blogspot is not sophisticated enough for such accessories but alas..  Anyways, I apologize for the delicate ears.  I must say, you're going to have to just get used to this foul vocabulary if you wish to read further.  Because THIS BE MY BLOG and I won't be censoring myself for nobody. Pssshh, censorship, particularly self-censorship, can shove it :) )

Anyway... so, what was I saying?  Oh yea, my sleep schedule's fucked up.  I'm going to tell you why by recounting these past few undocumented days.  Let's see, so I left you off on January 10th.  Oh geez, there's soo much to say, where do I begin?  Chokay. So. Time travel to yesterday (Jan. 11).  It was a good day.  My first day of exploration.  I spent the first half, the morning half, trying to find a place to get my SIM card.  Correction: trying to find the Movistar store, in order to get my SIM card... We, and by we I mean my roommate Tiffany and one of the kids from a floor below, Collan (also IES).  The deal with him is that he's a student housing with my host mom's son, Miguel.  So, he and his roommate Zach have dinner with us every night because apparently Miguel can't/doesn't want to cook. ANYWAY, so the three of us had been walking around the neighborhood the night before like sketchy, insomniac Americans and we came across the Movistar cell phone store. I made a mental note to come back to it tomorrow. Check.  I didn't make the mental note of where exactly the store was.  No check.  For the life of me, the following morning, I could not remember where the stupid store was.  So, of course, instead of doing the rational thing and retracing our steps from the night before, I decided to just take a random direction and start wandering, under the assumption that I would come upon the store eventually. Stupid. Well, about 2 hours later, I found myself lost and sweaty with no Movistar store in sight, with a substantial hill standing between me and home.  But I got some nice pictures out of it.  I came upon the Jardins de Turo del Putget from whose hills, I had a great view of the city.

Barcelona is WAY bigger than I thought it would be.  It takes a while to walk places that seem fairly close on the map.  It has to do with the hills, I think.  The incline of the streets changes constantly and dramatically.  The hills here are steep and last forever.  Hence, the sweatiness..  I'm not sure if the rest of the city is like that.  The main area downtown I believe to be mostly flat.  Don't quote me on that.

I needed to get lost.  It helped me to become more familiar with the neighborhood I'll be living in.  However, I still have NO idea where I am in respects to the entire city.  Hopefully, that will change somewhat tomorrow (today) if I have a chance to explore some more after orientation.  I still haven't seen the sea yet.

Orientation officially started today (yesterday).  I liked it alright.  It seemed a bit pointless.  But then again, I was running on my lowly single hour sleep from the night before.  I don't think I'm going to sleep this semester.  I don't know how I dragged my zombie self to orientation this morning.  Out of sheer will (and a strong stomach) I got up and out of bed.  It's about a 20 minute subway ride to la Placa de Catalunya and then it's supposed to be no more than a 5 minute walk to the IES building.  But I got lost ('course) and only after 30 minutes of wandering did I finally reach the building.  I completely walked past the fucker and kept on walking down La Ronda de Sant Pere until I realized, ohhh, dees aderesses be goin' up, durrr.. ABOUT FACE.  I was pissed and tired and pissed tired.  But I made it.  Walked into class 15 minutes late and my Spanish teacher shot me a look (I don't even know her name. I should get on that.) and I'm feeling super about the awesome first impression I just made.  Two thumbs up, Kaitlin, two, thumbs, up.

I met some nice people in my Spanish class though.  They seem more grounded and interesting than the majority of the people in the program. I'd say the majority of the people don't know Spanish at all.  Nor do I think they came here with the intention of learning it.  They come from the Liberal Arts and Business sector of IES.  A lot of people I spoke to came here mainly in the interest in partying. I'm glad I chose Advanced Studies path. 'Course.. don't get me wrong.  I like a good party (why else do you think I got 1 hour sleep the night before? ) But it's upsetting that this is the America that the IES program is presenting to the people of Spain.  I'm not surprised that we have a terrible reputation in other countries.  To be honest, I think the IES program or at least this part of the program presents an unfavorable image of Americans to the people of Spain. I'm talking about the idea that Americans are a people who will not budge, but instead expect the world to change for us. Seeing this, I wish I had chosen a program that puts more of a priority on cultural immersion and one that incorporates community involvement and service.  AH, but here I go again.  Making these bold, definitive statements and it's only the first day of orientation.  Calm down, Kaitlin.  Cheer up, Nancy Negative.  Who knows what will happen with time.  Especially with taking classes at UPF.

Did I mention that as well as taking classes at the IES center, I'm taking several classes at the local public university, Universitat Pompeu Fabra? Yes, I just checked, I did mention that.  Well, the UPF orientation was also today.  The main building of the campus is BEAUTIFUL.  I'm falling in love with Spanish architecture.  It's so refreshing and enlivening.  I walked in and I was dumbstruck-- I, go, here??  Sweeeet.  All my classes are in Spanish.  I also have the opportunity to become involved in clubs and sports on campus.  Imma look into the theatre program, fo' sho'.... among other things, of course.  But I'm excited!!  I was concerned about my access to involvement in extracurricular activities which I saw as a good way to meet the locals.  They also offer what they call linguistic exchange programs between foreign and local students.  I really want to learn Catalan and I think this would be like the perfect way to do that.  Again, it'd be a good way to meet the locals.  Ahhh, I'm really looking forward to starting classes there!!!  They won't start until the 30th but I'll keep y'all posted.

So, yea, that was my day.  The UPF orientation didn't end until 6:30pm.  I didn't get home until 7pm.  When I finally did get home, I collapsed, woke up for dinner, and then collapsed again.  And then woke up at 4am fully rested.  Hence, the reason why I'm awake blogging at this ungodly hour.  But now, I'm getting sleepy again.  I should probably sleep for the remaining 2 hours I have before I have to get up again. (Clock check: 7am)  So, buenas noches!! 

*Please note that I apologize for the possible incoherence of the post.  Due to my sleepiness, I failed to reread/edit it.  But, I hope that regardless that this post entertains!

Thu-thu-thu-thu-thu-thu-thu-that's all folks!!  At least for tonight.  Good night!

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