Sunday, April 21, 2013

Scattered Anecdotes

Here are some scattered anecdotes to keep you up with the goings on since my spring break trip.

I went to a chorus and orchestra concert the week before. Only in Spain will you have a mass running up to the beginning of the concert. It was the funniest thing. I left the house early to give myself enough time to get there because I couldn't remember exactly how to get to the Cathedral where the concert took place. Well, I got there and walked in on a mass. When I saw people with the flyers for the concert, however, I knew I was in the right place. It was just funny.

So, I've had a cold for a week or so now. Just congestion, nothing serious. Well on one of the first days, Carmen offered to put a piece of an onion in my room, because its supposed to help. It might have, or it was possibly a placebo effect, not sure. Regardless, my room still sometimes smells like onion even though the window has been open a lot of the time. She's funny about home remedies and things like that.

This past Sunday, a group of us wanted to go to Las Bardenas Reales again to have a picnic and look around. We were going to rent a car and drive down. Well, I assumed they had booked the car the day before, I guess, because nothing is open on Sundays. So we went to the rental car place and, sure enough, it was closed. Instead, we took our food to the Cuidadela in Pamplona and had a lovely time walking around Pamplona in the amazing weather.

Yes, it is starting to finally feel like Spring in Pamplona. Although, this week the temperatures really jumped around. It was so hot on Wednesday that I was afraid that I hadn't packed summery enough clothes. Carmen assured me that that weather was more typical for summer than spring and that it was just a random hot day. Whew! Thursday was cooler and felt more like Spring. Friday was just chilly again. The weather this year has jumped around a lot.

This Thursday, we didn't have class in our department because it was the "Día del Patron" of "Filosofia y Letras" (our department). Each department has a patron saint and have a day off each year accordingly. There were events at the university and such for the occasion. I only went to the beginning part of it because we ended up going to Las Bardenas Reales that day instead. It was so much more windier than the last time we went! However, we made the best of it and had a lovely picnic.

At Las Bardenas, aka the James Bond Desert (or that's what I call it), we went into this little canyon area and there were still some spots that had water or were wet. I accidently stepped in a mud puddle and got my Chaco sandals caked with mud. Luckily I wasn't wearing other shoes, because they would have been harder to clean. I ended up taking off my sandals and walking around in that
part barefoot to let the mud dry on my shoes, so as to scrape off easier. I felt like I was literally walking on eggshells because of the cracked ground. Then the muddy parts just felt really cool.

This Saturday, I went on a trip organized by the international committee to Biarritz, France, a coastal town popular for vacationing as it has a beach. Carmen was really excited that I went because she had wanted to take me when she thought the bus from Pamplona to Biarritz was running, but it only starts in the summer-- like June or July. It's one of her favorite places to go so she was glad that I went.

Anyway, we took a bus there and they let us off to explore the town. The bus left Pamplona at 12:00 and arrived at 2:00 (so late! But as I've said, most Europeans don't get up early). Over half the group went surfing, but as it was expensive and I don't know how to surf, I opted out of surfing and hung out with two of my German friends Inca and Debby.

We walked around the town looking for a coffee shop that wasn't too expensive . We ended up finding one relatively close to where we started and that was in the sun. We sat outside for a good while enjoying the coffee and each other's company. Then we walked by the waterfront and took lots of pictures. Ate crêpes and laid out on the beach. Drank more coffee. All in all, it was a good day.

Inca and Debby taught me some German/reminded me of words that I knew. Which was fun. When it was time to meet the bus, we walked back and ended up waiting for the bus for an hour and ten they called someone in the group and we had to walk to another spot. Then we had to wait again for the surfers. We pretty much left two hours later than we were supposed to. I wouldn't have minded if we could have gone around the city more. Ah well. Spaniards.

Today, I went to a mass service in the Catedral de Pamplona with Inca, Debby, and Katie (who I went to Grease with later in the day), which was nice. Their mass is the most fancy, or I don't know, that I've been too. There are a bunch of priests and they process in to where they do the service and then they process out. It's been very interesting comparing mass services. Some don't sing at all, and then some sing all the time. The ones that do, don't sing out of hymn books. Instead, they sing by memory or respond to the priest. I like my Presbyterian services where you have a bulletin that you can follow along with and know what to say/sing.

Later that afternoon, I went to see Grease with my Australian friend, Katie. I had chills that were multiplyin.' Everything was in Spanish, which was hard to follow at times, but overall it was really fun. I saw a ton of kids there, but while I was watching it, I thought "I'd never take my kids to see this." It was not only the lyrics, but a few of the actors had this fondness of mooning the audience. In the movie, they only do it once. It this play, it was multiple times. The curtain call was more fun than American ones, however. After everyone did their bows, they did a song medley and had everyone on their feet dancing and clapping.

Well, there you go. Somewhat caught up on the past few weeks!

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