Gina in Granada

Conquering Europe One Step at a Time

Life as a Granadian

I’ve debated writing this blog post for quite some time. I feel as though I haven’t done anything exceptionally “blog worthy” in a few weeks. However after much deliberation I realized that many of you are probably wondering what I’ve been doing in between my travels and classes! And that is why I’ve decided to give you a sneak peak into my Andalusian adventure.

I can’t believe-no,scratch that. everyone else can’t believe that it’s taken me until March to make my way to the local hotspots, but regardless, I finally know the true meaning of being an abroad student in Granada. Better late than never, I suppose. Shock is the only way to describe how I feel that my program is officially more than halfway over. I keep toggling between the ideas that I feel like I’ve been here forever, and the fact that although I’m having a wonderful time I often find myself craving my friends, my dog, and bagels (duh). Being in the single digits for the number of weeks I have left is odd to say the least, so it dawned on me that I better start “living it up!” The past two weekends I mustered up the strength to test out the ever popular El Camborio discoteca and Hannigans Irish pub. I was skeptical, but rest assure they are all they’re cracked up to be! El Camborio is a club nestled in the Albaicín with a picture perfect view of the Alhambra. If you don’t have a stroke on your walk up, it’s definitely worth a picture before you are bombarded with the drink specials of the night. “Special” is a nice way of saying concoction at Camborio. If you are a diabetic, perhaps you should skip out on the sugary mixture of juice posing as an alcoholic beverage, and just cough up the 3 euro for a real one. Just a personal opinion. The Spaniards laugh as we recap our night at El Camborio because it is so stereotypically touristy, but it’s nice to not be in the minority for a change.The cave-like atmosphere and outdoor patio area are nice changes from the same ole club setting you’re used to. As for Hannigans, I would not typically consider myself an irish pub goer, but I forgot how amazing it is to hear English. As much as I would love to be a frat bro, I just cannot enjoy consuming beer, which is another reason why I’m a fan of Hannigans. They serve Strongbow,the hard cider-type drink that I tried in Switzerland, but it looks like beer makes me feel like I’m one of the other kids. That just sounded like a commercial for prosthetic legs or a heart transplant, but it’s true. Also, they played the Beegees, which undoubtedly won my heart.

Remember my internship at the school?  Well it’s already been 5 weeks there! I feel as if I’ve known some of these kids forever and already find myself way more attached than I thought possible. When I first started, my heart belonged to the six-year-olds. It truly is impossible not to find them adorable and contemplate smuggling them out in my purse, however I’ve realized that the work I do with them most likely will not have a substantial influence in their lives. That’s alright though, because I’m seeing big changes in the other classrooms. Opening the door to my 6th grade classroom, I have to brace myself for the standing ovation; I kid you not. The once timid 12 year olds now start an uproar before I even have time to take off my jacket. They chant my name and bombard me with hugs as they stumble over their thoughts attempting to tell me about their weekends. Though their rowdiness should bother me, it does the complete opposite, and I become almost as excited to hear their stories as they are to share them. It takes a solid fifteen minutes for an actual teacher to arrive to the classroom and give an assignment, so in the meantime, we chat, and I try my best to give all of them a bit of individual attention. I cannot speak highly enough about them, and about how much I appreciate their enthusiasm. I’m being too cheesy for my liking right now, but I can’t stop. I have to speak about the seniors, who I recently found out, are 18 years old. Only two years separates us, yet it feels like ten. They’re certainly immature, which I attribute to the fact that the educational system is Spain is subpar, and also, in America they would already be in college. Our routine goes as follow: I plan an activity, and take six or so students into another room to make a more conducive setting for learning. For example, last week we worked on homophones. Sadly, half of you reading this probably don’t know what those are. Homophones are words that sound identical but are spelled differently. I would put an example such as “pear/pair” on the blackboard and wait for someone to attempt figuring it out. As I imagined, there weren’t many words these kids were familiar with so I would try my best to explain it in spanish or draw it on the board.  When we finished in English I felt a bit bad for my challenging game, so I threw myself under the bus and let them do the teaching. Soon it was six against one, and I was getting a Spanish lesson. The week before that, I constructed a crossword puzzle with American fun facts. They were SO into it and it humored me to see them struggle with clues like “name the breakfast food made with eggs, flour, sugar and milk.” The answer is pancakes for all you not-so-suzy homemakers out there.

Botellón. There aren’t even words to describe this Spanish phenomenon translating into “big bottle.” Each weekend, people gather in various locations for some outdoor partying. I’m not talking a party on the lawn of a frat house, or your cousin’s 4th of July barbecue. We’re in the major leagues now. Though it is not technically legal, it’s a tradition that has been 100% accepted here, and there are way more drunkards than there are policemen, so what can you do?  The Botellón happens all the time, however this past weekend was the largest one of the year: La Fiesta de la Primavera. My pictures do not do it justice, because it’s impossible to get all 20,000+ attendees in one picture. This all day affair takes place outside of a large department store, and the streets are completely covered in bottles, bags, remnants of costumes, and a lot of mud. Who cleans it up? I have no idea, but my heart goes out to them. I only spent an hour in the craziness, but that was enough. I told myself I wouldn’t go home without a prize, so I began scoping out which locals I could coax into letting me take their hat. Don’t ask me why; I have no idea. Anyway, I found the hat I wanted and approached a guy, probably around my age with a few of his friends. Out of nowhere Spanish began to spew out of my mouth as I explained that I needed a hat from the Botellón to bring to my class on Monday because of a competition we were having. He wasn’t buyin’ it, and after a few minutes of begging and giving puppy dog eyes I finally called it quits. I could say “there’s always next time” but this was one of those “once in a lifetime” kind of experiences, I’d say.

now imagine that times 8

now imagine that times 8

Well everyone, I’ve now spent over an hour of my time yet again avoiding the ample amount of work I have to do. It’s midterm week here and so far I’ve only taken my Spanish exam. To be honest, the only test I’m worried about is history. My teacher reassures us not to be nervous, then follows up with “so yeah, just know…everything.” Nothing like a few thousand years of Spanish history crammed into one night of studying! But don’t worry, once I’m done here, I shall begin writing sample essays. I am the little engine that could. Besides, there are too many good things to look forward to to bring down my mood. This friday is my much anticipated trip to Morocco, and shortly after that is spring break! THAT MEANS I’M IN THE SINGLE DIGIT COUNTDOWN UNTIL I SEE TWO OF MY BEST FRIENDS! Cannot. Contain. Excitement. Not surprisingly, another Spanish airline strike and I went head to head when they came dangerously close to sabotaging my reunification with my girlies, but I proved victorious yet again.  I say you can take my money, but you can’t take my spirit, stupid airport.

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