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This weekend was, again, very relaxed. I'm getting to know Pamplona more and more. I can't believe I've been here over a month now! Crazy!!
On Friday, I went to a creative writing workshop, which was very cool. I took a class called Creative Writing Workshop last semester and found that a lot of things were very similar. This one was a bit more informal because it wasn't actually a class (as far as I could tell). I was actually under the impression that it was a session on creative writing and we would be doing writing exercises or hearing a lecture. In reality, it was actually more of the format of the class I took, where people submit stories and have them criticized by the rest of the group.
In this session, four people's stories were being reviewed. The person would go to the front, read their story, and then hear the feedback from the rest of the group. I could actually understand the feedback more often than I could understand the story. I think my favorite story was one about the French Revolution. 1) I could sort of understand it and 2) I just like the French Revolution as a theme.
On Saturday, Carmen and I went shopping to look for a new bag. I want kind of a bag that can carry a few books, but also serve as a purse when I don't want to carry all of that. So kind of like a messenger bag, but a little smaller. I've seen them everywhere except for in the stores. I didn't buy anything, but Carmen got a new purse and a new duvet cover for her bed. Ah well, maybe I'll be successful next time. Now I know where I can buy purses anyway.
I didn't really do very much on Sunday. Carmen and I went on a walk, but it started raining, so I mostly stayed inside and read. I needed to finish Robinson Crusoe for a book club meeting that was on Monday. While we were walking, however, we bumped into some friends of Carmen. It was a family with two young people around my age (I really couldn't tell how old they were). They kept trying to get their son to talk to me in English, but he turned really red and said he was too embarrassed because his English isn't that good. I told him that he didn't have to. It reminded me a lot of when I used to go to Mexican restaurants with my parents and they would always try to get me to talk in Spanish with them. I definitely would now, but then I thought I'd embarrass myself.
I actually tried to go see The Ugly Duckling (El patito feo), but I got completely lost. The website and pamphlet I had said that it would be in the science building. I checked the campus map and it said it was in one location. I wandered around for an hour trying to find the building to no success. I could just hear Master Yoda saying in my head, "Lost a building, have you?" I was exactly where the map said it should be and yet there was no building. I think it's part of another building, but everything was locked up tight. As it turns out, the play was in the Medicine building. They should have just said that. I would have known where it was if they had said something related to medicine. That's a completely different part of the campus. Ah, well. You live and learn.
Last night I got to go to my first book club meeting! It was very exciting to meet other Spanish students and listen to them discuss Robinson Crusoe. Although I didn't talk, I'm glad I read the book because I could follow their topics of discussion. It was also fascinating to hear them discuss an English book. They all read it in Spanish and so it was funny hearing some of the names translated. There's a character named "Friday" and they called him "Viernes." They didn't talk too much about the English perception of the Spaniards as much as I would have liked, but maybe that's because I was there. At some point in the future, I'll definitely participate in the discussion, but it was really loud in there and I don't like trying to talk loud in English, much less Spanish. They normally meet in a different pub, but we had to meet in a smaller one because we met on Monday. So in the future it shouldn't be as loud.
When Robinson Crusoe escapes his island, he travels through Pamplona, except he calls it Pampeluna. I thought I'd include the excerpt for your enjoyment:
When we came to Madrid, we, being all of us strangers to Spain, were willing to stay some time to see the court of Spain, and what was worth observing; but it being the latter part of the summer, we hastened away, and set out from Madrid about the middle of October; but when we came to the edge of Navarre, we were alarmed, at several towns on the way, with an account that so much snow was falling on the French side of the mountains, that several travellers were obliged to come back to Pampeluna, after having attempted at an extreme hazard to pass on.
When we came to Pampeluna itself, we found it so indeed; and to me, that had been always used to a hot climate, and to countries where I could scarce bear any clothes on, the cold was insufferable; nor, indeed, was it more painful than surprising to come but ten days before out of Old Castile, where the weather was not only warm but very hot, and immediately to feel a wind from the Pyrenean Mountains so very keen, so severely cold, as to be intolerable and to endanger benumbing and perishing of our fingers and toes.
Poor Friday was really frightened when he saw the mountains all covered with snow, and felt cold weather, which he had never seen or felt before in his life. To mend the matter, when we came to Pampeluna it continued snowing with so much violence and so long, that the people said winter was come before its time; and the roads, which were difficult before, were now quite impassable; for, in a word, the snow lay in some places too thick for us to travel, and being not hard frozen, as is the case in the northern countries, there was no going without being in danger of being buried alive every step. We stayed no less than twenty days at Pampeluna; when (seeing the winter coming on, and no likelihood of its being better, for it was the severest winter all over Europe that had been known in the memory of man) I proposed that we should go away to Fontarabia, and there take shipping for Bordeaux, which was a very little voyage.
It is extremely cold here, but at least it's not the coldest in the history of humans, eh?
Everyone was so nice! It's really hard to get to know Spanish people here, because they aren't as open (it's actually a stereotype for northern Spain), but once you do, they are great people and will do anything for you.
Today I'm going to a party for Fat Tuesday at a classmate's apartment and tomorrow Carmen is taking me to an Ash Wednesday service. It's going to be fun to see Lent because Catholicism is much more widely practiced. Protestants kind of do Lent as they feel like it, but all practicing Catholics observe Lent. In the Presbyterian church, we definitely do Ash Wednesday and enter a Lenten season. I'm excited to compare. That's my Christian Education major showing. Not going to lie, I try to change prayers I hear into inclusive language (challenge accepted).
Hopefully the weather will stabilize. It's been cold, pleasant, freezing, raining, snowing, rain-snowing, cloudy, and partially sunny just this week. As my mom reminds me, Europe is winter is a bit crazy, but then the springs are heavenly.
¡Saludos y hasta pronto!