Monday, October 02, 2006

Asignaturas, El Prado, Toreros y Más

It's hard to believe that September is already over! Three weeks in Spain, twelve more to go. It's going by very quickly. Classes are now finally starting. I'm taking two classes through my program. One is Advanced Spanish Language, which is basically an intense Spanish grammar class that I take here in Alcalá. The other class I take in Madrid with all of the Alcalá students and the Tufts students who are living in Madrid. That class is called Spanish Theater and Civilization and is essentially a study of Spanish history, culture, and theater from the late 1800s up until the Spanish Civil War, which started in 1936. The classes I'm going to be taking at the University of Alcalá are Spanish Literature II, which studies Spanish literature from the 16th and 17th centuries, and a philosophy/law class called Conscientious Objection and Religious Beliefs. All my classes look like they'll be pretty interesting but it seems like the university classes are going to require a lot of work to keep up with the Spanish students.

This past weekend was super busy. Friday we went on a guided tour of the Prado with everyone from the program. The Prado is the most famous art museum in Spain and it's most famous for it's collection of Valezquez, Goya and El Greco paintings. It's a HUGE museum, so we only looked at the major paintings by Valezquez and Goya, but I'm planning on going back a few times so that I can see everything. Some of the best (and most famous) paintings we saw were Las Meninas by Valezquez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Meninas) and El Tres de Mayo by Goya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tres_de_mayo). It's pretty incredible to be standing 2 feet in front of paintings that you've seen a million times in books and on posters. After the museum we wandered around the Paseo del Prado for a bit and then headed back to Alcalá.

Friday night, we decided that we were going to get our first true taste of Madrid nightlife. Pretty much all of us in the Alcalá program took the train into the city and went to Kapital, one of the biggest discotecas in Madrid. First of all, we didn't even go to Kapital until 1 a.m., which is early by Madrid standards. Second of all, this was one of the craziest places I've ever been to. There were seven huge floors in the discoteca, each playing a different kind of music. It was so much fun and well worth the 15 euro to get in. When we finally left at 4:30 a.m. (again, early for madrileños), it was as crowded as it had been all night. Discotecas in Madrid usually stay open until 8 a.m. and tons of people definitely stay there until then. When we went walking to look for the bus back to Alcalá, the city was so alive. There was so much traffic and so many people out walking around. Looking at the streets, you would have thought it was 8 at night, not 5 in the morning. Needless to say I was a little tired after finally getting to my bed at 6 a.m., but it was a great introduction to the crazy nightlife Madrid is so famous for.

Sunday I went on a historic/architectural walking tour of Madrid with the program. I had already seen a lot of the places we went to, but we went to a bunch of new places that I was glad to see. We went to the Plaza Mayor, the Plaza de Cibeles, the Plaza de Colón, the Spanish stock exchange, the Madrid Ritz, and a bunch of Madrid/Spanish government buildings. The best part was the end of the tour, when we went to the Palacio Real (royal palace). We didn't go inside (although I'm planning on going on a tour of the inside later on), but it was still amazing wandreing around the outside. The palace is HUGE and outside is a gorgeous garden/courtyard with statues, fountains, and paths. After the tour we all sat and drank cafe con leches outside on a terazza overlooking the palace.

I stayed in Madrid after the tour was over and wandered around the city for a bit before meeting up with most of the people from my program to go to a Corrida (a bullfight) at the Plaza de las Ventas, one of the most famous bullfighting stadiums in Spain. The stadium is shaping like a giant ring, and even though we sat up high in the 7 euro seats, we had an amazing view. In a corrida, 3 toreros (bullfighters) take on 6 toros (bulls). First, the bull is let out into the ring and the toreros run it around to tire it out. Then, they stick 8 spears into the bull's back to weaken it (this is when the blood starts coming out). Finally, they go in for the kill and stab a huge sword into the bull's back. After it falls over dead, horses are strapped to it to drag the bull out of the stadium. It was pretty violent to watch (lots of blood), but it was amazing. The toreros wear gorgeous suits (called trajes de luces, suits of light) and the whole act of killing the bull is almost dance-like. It was such a cool experience. The crowd gets really into it too. There were all these old Spanish men sitting next to us who kept yelling obscenities at the toreros, which was hysterical and made me nostalgic for Fenway park and American sporting events. They explained to us that the bulls and the bullfighters were awful, but obviously we Americans had no idea and thought they were great. I was glad we got to go to a corrida, because the last ones of the year are in October and don't start again until April and because it's such a historical part of Spanish culture.

I'm continuing to do well and even though I still have those "What am I doing here?" moments, I'm really enjoying Spain. Studying abroad is really fun, but I've definitely come to realize that it's not just a 4 week vacation. There's a lot of work and it can be incredibly exhausting, epecially when you're trying to speak another language. However, it's definitely worth it. For now, I am going to go work on an essay for my grammar class, but I will update again soon. Hasta el prózimo vez.

38 comments:

macdok said...

Great to hear from you. How will you ever adjust to the early evenings of New England??!!

Carol Nylen said...

Oh my word. I don't know how you could stand the bullfight. I know it's the culture and all that but it seems so sad to kill the bull. I know for sure that I couldn't watch.

That's nuts--4:30 being early by Madrid standards! I'd like to know what's considered late. Maybe siesta time the next day? Would that be considered overdoing it????

It's a whole new world--glad you're there to experience it for the rest of us. It's so much fun to read your blogs.

Is it hard doing all of this AND taking classes?

Carol

Joni said...

Hi Kellie!! Karen gave me your blog address when I emailed and asked how you were doing! This is gonna be fun! Now of course I'm gonna want Devin to do this when she is in Australia. Can't wait to see your pics. The beer and sprite drink sounds interesting but think I'll stick to Margs! Buenos noches for now
Joni

Caitlin said...

Kellie,
So good to hear that you are having a great time. It must be exhausting in many ways! The bull fight sounds amazing- what a great experience.
Also loved hearing about the late night scene. I know your mom is looking forward to that in November!!
I shared your bullfight story with Maeve-she wanted to know where the pictures were. Hopefully we'll see some soon. Thanks for sharing.
Caitlin and Maeve

Annemarie Orth said...

Hi, I'm a Spanish teacher at King Middle School and I graduated from Tufts in 1996. I also studied abroad my junior year, in Sevilla, Spain. It's wonderful reading about your experiences and it reminds me of my first month in Sevilla. I remember getting very frustrated and feeling like I would never get the hang of the Andalusian accent. It is exhausting, especially when you're taking classes for native speakers. Honestly, I didn't worry so much about my classes. I tried to get to know as many Sevillanos as possible. In fact, I tried to avoid all the gringos there.
Hopefully my 8th grade students will be reading your blogs soon. This is a perfect opportunity for them to get a peak at what it's like to travel and live in a Spanish-speaking country.
Annemarie Orth

Annemarie Orth said...

Una cosa mas, Have you tried the drink, Tinto de verano con limón? It was my favorite there-red wien with a splash of lemon soda!

mary beth said...

Hi Kellie
Just catching up with what's going on...how in the world do you have any time for classes? I'm exhausted just thinking about being up so late... and to think you are just starting the night. I'm having a great geography lesson through all your travels. Glad to hear you're soaking up everything!! Keep on enjoying yourself! Can't wait for the pictures!!!!

Anonymous said...

hi!,I like your writing so so much! percentage we

communicate more approximately your article

on AOL? I require a specialist on this house to unravel my


problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to see you.
Also see my webpage: http://www.thespainforum.com/f188/

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Colorado! I'm bored to death at

work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the information you provide here and can't
wait to take a look when I get home. I'm

amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I'm not even using WIFI,

just 3G .. Anyways, awesome blog!
Feel free to visit my homepage www.ktotv.Com

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic

but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
I'm getting fed up of

Wordpress because I've had issues with hackers and
I'm looking at options for another platform. I

would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.
Feel free to visit my weblog - spanish history in ireland

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you However

I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable

to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting equivalent rss

downside? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkxxx
Also visit my web-site : zondervan study bible spanish

Anonymous said...

You made some nice points there. I looked on the internet for the
topic and found most guys will approve with

your blog.
Look at my site :: coral

Anonymous said...

You made some nice points there. I looked on the internet for the topic and found most guys will approve
with

your blog.
my web site > coral

Anonymous said...

Well I sincerely liked reading it. This information provided by you is very useful
for good planning.
Here is my web page :: brolly

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your

weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent

quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today..
My blog post : do-it-yourself solar sytem

Anonymous said...

hello there and thank you for your info - I have certainly picked up anything new from right here.

I did however expertise some technical points using this web

site, as I experienced to reload the web site lots of times
previous

to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?
Not that

I'm complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your

placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and

marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for

much more of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update

this again very soon..
My page: http://islamicartsmagazine.com

Anonymous said...

We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.


Your website provided us with helpful information to paintings

on. You have done an impressive job and our whole

group can be thankful to

you.
Here is my homepage ; click through the following document

Anonymous said...

When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a


comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!
Also see my page: Spain Celebrations And Festivals List

Anonymous said...

I’d have to verify with you here. Which is not something I usually do!
I take pleasure in studying a

publish that can make individuals think. Additionally, thanks for

permitting me to comment!
Feel free to surf my website - sitges spain vacation rentals

Anonymous said...

I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not
sure whether this post is written

by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem.
You are

wonderful! Thanks!
Here is my webpage - Directory.mylinkdirectories.com

Anonymous said...

Awsome blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some


more. I am taking your feeds also.
My site: wiki.li

Anonymous said...

Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and

you are just extremely excellent. I really like what

you've acquired here, really like what you're
stating and the way in which you

say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for
to keep it smart. I

cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific web
site.
Visit my site ... http://penfieldrecovery.com

Anonymous said...

I’m impressed, I need to say. Really hardly ever do
I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and
let me tell you, you've got hit the nail on the head. Your

thought is outstanding; the issue is something that not

sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very

happy that I stumbled across

this in my seek for one thing regarding this.
Also see my webpage: Http://Mysweetbaby.Pixnet.Net

Anonymous said...

There are some attention-grabbing deadlines in this article
but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There

is some validity however I'll take maintain opinion until I look into it

further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as

nicely

my web-site www.Paintoolkit.org

Anonymous said...

Would you be involved in exchanging

hyperlinks?
Stop by my web blog ; spain alicante weather in october

Anonymous said...

Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I


came to give it a look. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm

book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
Wonderful blog and outstanding

design.
My site - 4 letter word with qua

Anonymous said...

Someone essentially help to make seriously articles I would state.
This is the very

first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research
you made to

make this particular publish incredible. Fantastic

job!
Also visit my blog post - electronicapanama.blogspot.fr

Anonymous said...

My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post's to be precisely what I'm

looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content in
your case? I wouldn't mind publishing

a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write

related to here. Again, awesome weblog!
My website > http://videoeu.ru/users/MauritaJones1988

Anonymous said...

Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was
doing some research on that. And he

actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that:

Thanks for lunch!
my web page: htk.tlu.ee

Anonymous said...

It’s laborious to find knowledgeable

individuals on this subject, however you sound like you already know what you’re speaking about!
Thanks
Also visit my weblog ; adocu.com

Anonymous said...

hi!,I like your writing so much! share we communicate more about your article
on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to solve my problem.
May be that's you! Looking forward to see you.
my web site > http://www.flightclub.it/mediawiki/index.php5?title=User:KasiPeterson85

Anonymous said...

Useful info. Fortunate me I found your website

accidentally, and I'm shocked why this

coincidence didn't happened earlier! I bookmarked it.
Check out my page : www.authenticlinks.com

Anonymous said...

I am usually to blogging and i actually appreciate
your content. The article has actually peaks my interest.
I'm going to bookmark your site and hold checking for new information.
Here is my webpage : http://fpxrcbp.aegfe.sondij.llzoa.qypvthu.loqu.forum.mythem.es/

Anonymous said...

I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is written

by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You're

wonderful! Thanks!

Have a look at my page: vaccineeducationonline.org

Anonymous said...

Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before.
So nice to find someone with some authentic ideas

on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up.
this website is one

thing that is needed on the net, someone with a little originality.
helpful job for bringing something new to the web!


Visit my blog post dpdwebcsomag.hu

Anonymous said...

What’s Happening i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I've discovered It

positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I'm hoping to contribute & assist other users like its helped me. Great

job.

Have a look at my web site; http://boevye-Iskusstva.bosa.org.ua/

Anonymous said...

hey there and thank you for your info - I have definitely picked up
anything new from right here. I did however expertise
some technical points using this web

site, since I experienced to reload the web site a lot of
times previous

to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering
if your web host is OK? Not that

I'm complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your

placement in google and can damage your high quality score if ads and

marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for

much more of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update

this again soon..

Here is my web blog - design-buzz.com

bullfight said...

Thank for your information, you can view this funny bullfight funny bullfight compilation