Sunday, October 26, 2008
It's been awhile!
Okay, so I’m not as good at blogging as I thought I would be. It just seems that there is always something better to do, then to send news of what I have done into a cyber oblivion.
However, I do realize that NOT writing anything would be a mistake because, why do things unless you can tell the story afterward… am I right?
I am not sure how many things have happened since my last post. Obviously a lot, considering I have hardly written anything. I’ll start with my visa. Some of you already know that I had some issues with my visa. For the rest of you I’ll try to tell the story in a coherent manner! (those of you who already knew probably got the frazzled/ freaked out version anyway so you can read this too!)
So, since I am staying in Spain for longer than 6 months I needed to apply to be a legal resident. When I got to Spain I had a message within the first few days saying that I had to have a meeting with one of the professors at CCCS (my school) about how to go about applying for my residents card. In this meeting the other girls staying for the year and I were told that we would need to get more passport photos #1, that we would need to bring our passports. Obviously! #2. That we would need to get there EARLY early EARLY! #3. "What is early?" we asked, thinking around 8 or something. "Around 6 or 7am" she said.
So, we went about making our preparations and two other girls and I decided to meet up at the bridge in our neighborhood and walk together, about 45 minutes to Plaza de España. I woke up at 4:30am so that I would have a few minutes to myself before I left the house around 5am to get to the bridge by 5:45am. I never know what the weather is going to be like in Seville so, I wore a long sleeved shirt. #1 bad decision on that day. IT WAS FREEZING! So after our walk to the Plaza de España, we arrived to find a bunch of other immigrants waiting outside (oh yeah, the doors don’t actually even open until 9am) . The thing was, these people were all very familiar with the system (which doesn’t actually make any sense if you ask me). So, we get there and everyone is just sitting around. No line, just wherever they want… there are some lucky people who are sitting in their warm cars or who “reserved” their spot in “line” and left.
SO, what is the system? When you get there you are supposed to yell out so that everyone can hear “¿quien es el ultimo?” (who was the last one here?) then you are supposed to remember who that is and when the line actually starts to form everyone swarms into order. Luckily someone came and told us this system or we never would have had a place in line.
Finally at around 8am they opened the gate into the patio of the building and everyone swarmed to their spots in line. We got our spot right behind a huge and slightly scary looking man. And there we waited. Katie (one of the other girls) and I had to go and make photocopies of one of the forms for all of us, since forgot to do that earlier. So, we left and the other girl held our spot in line. We made the copies and then decided that since we had a lot of time and since we had been up for so long to go into the STARBUCKS right next door to the copy place. It was wonderful! I bought a Caramel Macchiato (it was Very expensive) but I thought worth it since the day was going to be crazy. Katie and I were sitting inside Starbucks waiting for our coffee when her phone rang. It was the other girl in line. The line had started moving!!! Even though it was a half an hour early (we were told that if there are a lot of people they open the door early). So, we quickly got our coffee and began to speed walk down the streets of Seville. Then we got another call! SHE WAS THE NEXT ONE TO GO IN!!!! We ran. I spilled my 8 -9 dollar coffee all over myself. And continued running. We made it just in time to walk right in and find out that the copies we had just made were expired and we would have to fill out new copies anyway. That was act one of a crazy day.
So, after we filled out the papers and caught our breath, we waited. We waited for a long time. Then another girl from our school who had come, but not with us, came to share news of her experience. "The meeting is short" she said, "But… you know we can’t leave the country until we get our residents card and we aren’t going to get our residents cards until December so we can’t go anywhere because our visas don’t allow it." WHAT WHAT WHAT? My mind was spinning or rather revolving around one thought “ THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE.” Maybe a little dramatic… but my entire day started with waking up to see if my internet worked, it didn’t. It was the seventh day of no internet at my house, which I took to mean that it would never work again. I mean, if something doesn’t work for a week it usually doesn’t start working after that.
SO anyway, I went in and had my meeting, and the news that this wasn’t my last meeting (we have to go back at the end of October) and the news that we can’t travel… well only for 5 days to a Shegnen registered country. I don’t know a lot about that except Morocco and the United Kingdom aren’t part of the Shengen club. Also we have to pay 10 E and there were just a lot of little things that weren’t discussed. Thus, they became about 80% more stressful because we were excepting something else. And so went the second part of my day.
The third part is short and wasn’t that bad. It was simply going to the Archeological museum of Seville for my Spanish Civ class. We got there late due to our problems and had a tour about the Phoenicians, and Carthagins and all that good stuff. Our guide was our Civ professor. A week later he asked if anyone could tell that he was extremely hungover during the tour. He doesn’t remember I was as there, which is good because he probably doesn’t remember that I was NOT paying attention at all. I was about to fall asleep. Then, after the tour I walked an hour home and CRASHED.
Our professor who gave us all of the wrong info about the visa went and had a meeting to see if we could travel. This was a week later, and they said yes and the man who checked our visas must have been confused or something. Although, the day before I found out that I could go to Morocco ( somewhere I want to go more than most places) I cancelled the trip and booked a last minute trip to Lagos, PORTUGAL. Minutes after returning to the school, after booking my new trip and paying for it. I was informed that… yay! You can go to Morocco. I just sat there. And then I just laughed and laughed. Fate really seemed to have it out for me!
SO, I went to Portugal! It was incredible. There were some minor complications like, it rained. But the sun came out on the day of our boat and beach trip! I did not get drunk. I actually ended up switching rooms with the girls I was staying with as they began to get drunk they asked if I would like to trade rooms and sleep with the other (yet sober) girl. I agreed. I had a good night, I had some good drinks… and watched, amused as the other girls lost their sense of self control. I left around 2am, when a girl almost knocked over my drink for the third time as she pole-danced on the bar. Bars are not as fun when you are the only sober one there. So Yaru ( the only other sober girl) and I left and went back to the hotel). The hotel had free wifi… which doesn’t exist in Spain. So that was nice. I talked to my aunt and my mom on skype. I sat in the lobby and watched the wasted girls come in.
Maybe you have noticed that I say girls whenever I am talking about people in Spain. This is not an all girls program. But there are hardly any GUYS at all. It’s weird I wasn’t aware that study abroad (at least in Spain) tends to be monopolized by girls. Maybe it’s just the program I’m in. It’s just kind of interesting, like horseback riding, mostly only girls. It’s okay, just must be a little weird for the guys, they kind of band together like a pack of wolves. So, I’m guessing it is a little awkward.
So, when I was in Portugal I got an email from one of my friends going to Morocco and the trip was cancelled due to bad weather on the Gibraltar Strait. Maybe Fate doesn’t hate me after all! I felt bad for the other girls but very happy that I had come to Portugal. It’s interesting how things work out.
Last weekend I went to Gibraltar. It was incredible. I saw monkeys, and the Rock of Gibraltar and AFRICA! We could see Africa it was pretty cool. My camera died because I forgot to change the batteries. But I let it go… I think my experience with my visa and going slightly mad from all of Fate’s crazy twists I have started to learn to let (some) things go. I’m not a pro yet.. But I’m working at it. I had a really good time!
Yesterday I went to FATIMA! It was beautiful and a wonderful experience. I went with two very good girls. Actually, I felt spiritually inadequate around them but it was wonderful just the same and I couldn’t image having gone with anyone else. We took a red-eye bus (if that exists) there spent the day there and took another red-eye back. We got there around 7am and went to Mass first thing. Then we had COFFEE. It was the cheapest coffee I’ve had in Europe and the best. Then we went shopping for HOLY paraphernalia. Then we had lunch. Then we began our walk around the stations to the chapel. We prayed the rosary as we walked. This woman was by herself and asked if she could join us. It was really awesome she was the sweetest woman and she prayed with us the whole way. When we got the chapel at the end and went in they were actually just placing the monstrance for Eucharistic Adoration. WE stayed. That was really cool.
(Anyone from THE GROUP that is reading this? I heard one of the songs…. In Portuguese! It was “ HE ROSE FROM DEATH”. It was really cool to know that there were other people there from the way. Pretty cool stuff. It made me happy to hear it.)
We saw the houses were Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco lived. Then we had more cheap coffee and went back to the Basilica. It was really awesome and an all around wonderful experience. Short though it was, I will never forget it. It was wonderful to see so many people there to deepen their faith and grow spiritually. Really cool. I got back this morning at 5am but it was really 4am because of the time change which I completely forgot about. THUS, has my time been spent.
I’m sure I forgot to share a lot of things that happened. But I’ll try to be better about keeping everyone updated. A lot of it was because my internet wasn’t working which makes it hard to update a blog. Also, I was really stressed but I’ve gotten over it and I’m having a great time! I’m going to Ireland for my fall break starting next weekend. I’m really excited. I am loving Spain, Life, and my opportunities here. I’m not really going to write anything about my classes other than I have Spanish History, Latin American History and Spanish for the Medical professional. None are easy but I’ve kind of given up on being the #1 student and I’m just trying to make it through. I have to tame my competitive side so that I don’t worry to much about them or else I get really stressed about it… but It’s all cool.
I Love it here… and simultaneously I am ready to go home (I’m really excited for Christmas) and I miss you all!
~ bye ~