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Losing your passport shortly before you leave Spain would have been a really stupid thing to do, particularly since you had it last week.

Next time, check all the pockets of your backpack before having a minor freak-out. Better yet, don't let there be a next time.

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And, furthermore, I can once again feel my rear end. Also, my fingers. That room was really cold. And I was basically sitting in it taking tests for three hours. Actually more like three hours and 20 minutes, because it was 14:50 when I finally finished. And I hadn't had lunch yet, because this is Spain and Spain is like that.

On the plus side, I spent three hours and twenty minutes basically writing two really long essay/short(long) answer tests. In Spanish. I don't think I could have done that a year ago. Although I admittedly had some trouble with describing the olive harvest scene (I need to figure out how to say basket and ladder. I hypothetically know how to say both of these, but reality begs to differ. Also, I should figure out how to say grid. Although "square holes" works. That wasn't for the olive harvest, that was for the "spherical hispanic amphora" question).

And I had some hot chocolate. Not just Nesquik, although it was largely nesquik. I put in some of the fragments of the real dark stuff, and some cinnamon, so it was excellent. Although it occurs to me that I need to sing tonight, so that was perhaps a bad idea. But it was still yummy.

Speaking of singing, I also need to play guitar tonight, and haven't practiced since Thursday. I should do something about that, like yesterday. But now will work too, I guess.

And there are always dragons.
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Class will be over in a week. That's a very odd thought. Not only class, but exams will be over in a week. I have an exam on Saturday. How odd is that? Also, it feels kind of like being in high school again (except the Saturday), because all of my exams are scheduled and proctored.
Also, my archeology exam? Most of the exam will be an essay question - asking us the same question we turned in an exam on three-four weeks ago - "What is archeology?" - for which he basically just wanted us to regurgitate what he's told us in class. The Spanish school system is weird. He finally got around to giving us our essays back, though, so I just need to memorize my essay in a slightly condensed form.

I should probably think about what I'm going to do in the week between class being over and my family showing up. I wonder if Kona's actually going to Morocco, of if she's just wandering around southern Spain.

But really, the point of this post:
Yes, I've joined the lemmings.
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So, there you are, kids. If you ever need to tell your Spanish-speaking friends, "This is the most difficult shower I've (n)ever taken," think back to this moment.

Tonight has been an evening for feeling silly.
Despite having used the oven twice before (and forgetting a knob last time), I forgot to set it to bake, and to set the timer, and to set the temperature. So I waited 15 minutes wondering why the oven wasn't getting hot . . .

And then I tried to take a shower. Aside from needing to wash my hair, I have a sore throat and a runny nose, and thought that hot water would feel nice.
First problem: I couldn't light the hot water heater. Well, actually, I managed the water heater just fine; I even noticed that the one knob on the gas line was turned and turned that. I just couldn't light the butane lighter to get the flame lit. The last one was running out of juice, so Pepi clearly got around to getting a new one, and I couldn't get it to light. I can light camping stoves. I can light Coleman lanterns in the dark. I can manage those nasty paper matches. I can light fires with one match - with no matches if there are still a few coals left. I can light fires in the woods when it's been raining for three days and everything is soaked. But I'm a wooden matches kind of gal. I don't like butane lighters. This is why. And the fact that the metal piece gets hot and will give you a nastier burn than the actual fire, and you're liable to forget that it's hot until it burns you.
So I knocked on Ana's door when she was practicing and she lit the water heater for me.
And all was well, right?
Of course not. The water was coming out of the faucet rather than the shower head, which it's never done before, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to switch it (turns out the little pull-up piece is in the same place as the ones at home, only it's disguised as a holder for the portable shower head). Ana to the rescue again.
And all was well?
Well, I started my shower. And when I went to rinse the soap out of my hair, I discovered that the water had gone cold. Looking through the little window, it looked like the heater had gone out. So I called Ana (who was luckily puttering around the kitchen) and stood there wet and shivering while she tried to re-light the heater - and discovered that the tank of butane was empty. So I stood there wet and shivering while she changed it and re-lit the heater.
Era la ducha más dificil que nunca he tomado.

This whole weekend has been vaguely bleh. In addition to being sick, I read the death-crumpets book (La virgen de los sicarios, The Virgin of the Hitment), which was both depressing and disturbing. And I can't even say that I didn't like the book, because it wasn't the book's fault. What I didn't like was knowing that the situation that the book describes still exists in Colombia; the drug trafficking and the casual disregard for human life and relationships, the world where someone will kill you for your nice sneakers that will probably get them killed sometime next week, and, what is perhaps the worst bit, a world where many people don't believe things can be different.
And while I knew about many of the problems in Colombia, there's a difference between knowing and reading a novel where you're immersed in that world.
I would say, "oh good, I've finished it," but I still need to watch the movie before class on Wednesday, and then we'll be discussing it for three classes.
And writing for the past two-three days has been like pulling teeth (okay, not quite that painful, actually. But slow and draggy and hard), although that finally got better today and perhaps now that Things Are Happening it will continue being better.

And homework (aside from death-crumpets) was major-time Not Happening; but the paper is short and isn't due until Tuesday evening.

I did get work done on my books on Friday, though. And people are coming over for paella tomorrow, which should be fun.
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I have an archeology paper due tomorrow, which I wrote over the weekend (hooray for foresight and willpower!), but didn't get around to editing and proofreading until this morning (not-so-hooray for willpower), and which it occurred to me that it will be difficult to print tomorrow before class, because I have bookbinding all morning. And I still haven't figured out if the computer lab is ever open in the afternoons, and I was worried that the printing lady wouldn't show up this morning before I had to go to class. But I arrived, and she was there, and there was no line, and in exchange for six centimos, I now have three pages of archeology paper (saying that makes it sound like a better bargain than it was, though; I still had to write the arheology paper, remember).

Voice lesson in half an hour. I'm going to try to get a little nano done before going over the words to the song again. Or maybe I'll just read my flist.


29 October 2008 09:28 am
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While it may not get properly cold here, it was still WAY too cold this morning to take a cold water shower. Or even really to wash my hair in cold water and not shower. But it was time to wash my hair, and it needed it . . .
It's days like this that I really envy people with very short hair.

Maybe I should have just stayed in bed with the ewok-type creature who came over from Ron and Deb's house. Even if Gandalf wanted us to go on some huge quest type thing, and the cardboard box the ewok traveled in kept bursting into flame, and there was some sort of overarching Adam and Eve metaphor. At least it was warm.
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Going to a party with a bunch of people you don't know, and being assigned to two of them and expected to talk with them for most of two hours.

In other news, we had the first Velada Internacional for the compañeros de conversación program last night. Don't get me wrong. I think that compañeros de conversacion is a good program to have; we'll meet more people (and also practice our Spanish - but I'm doing that most of the time). And I can't think of a particularly better way of kick-starting it than throwing a giant party and sticking all of the people involved in the same room. But that doesn't mean that it wasn't really awkward. In fact, as one of the girls pointed out, it was kind of like being on a blind date - only they were double-teaming you (and actually, while we were each assigned two compañeros/as, there was also a waiting list, so program people would come around occasionally and shove more Spanish people in your direction. There were points where I was in the middle of a semicircle of five Spaniards (literally in the middle; I was practically sitting on the table)).

Highlights on the awkward )

However, I did eventually figure out that they were both students hoping to become English teachers, and quiet guy seems to have a good sense of humor if you can get him to be un-awkward enough to talk, and the other seems to be a right proper geek; video games and fantasy and sci-fan (not the introverted sort of geek, though (luckily - otherwise we would have been treated to even-more-awkward than it was already).

In other news, I need to figure out how to say awkward in Spanish.
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I officially take back anything bad I ever said about Pharos and the Pay-for-Print system.

Okay, that's a lie. I still think that it isn't intuitive (it's easy, but it isn't intuitive; you have to teach almost everyone how to use it the first time), and that when it goes screwy, you've got some interesting problems, and the fact that there aren't printer-card/OneCard-money machines in the printing labs is annoying, but it's so much better than it could be.

. . . You've perhaps guessed that I've had my first experience printing here.

And, in it's favor, it could be a lot worse. It isn't hard, and it isn't expensive (2 centimos per page, which is less than 3 cents, and if you get a card it's slightly cheaper still), and my camera-memory-stick-cum-zip-drive works just fine. HOWEVER. The entire system appears to be run by one woman, who isn't always there, and probably has another job too, and I haven't a clue what the hours of the lab are (never mind her hours; not even her fellow coworker seemed to know when she would be back) - and something that one of the other girls said makes me suspect that they are odd somehow. On the plus side, you can pay with change or with a card (the cards are little paper things like your tenth-cup is free deal from a cafe, or like the cafeteria at my high school), but it just seems so WEIRD to me that I can't just go and print at any point during the computer lab's hours. I was only waiting there for 30 or 40 minutes, but when I told Sonia (former Smith AMS student; is from Córdoba; I ran into her in the lab) that I had an hour and fourty-five minutes before my class, she gave me a sort of well-you'd-better-hope-that's-enough look. And did I mention that there was a line? A short line, but still.

I will say that what I saw of the lab appeared to be less ancient than the classroom support equipment. Which is to say, the computers were somewhat shiny; I brought my laptop (in case the flash drive didn't work) and so didn't actually use them.

Well, I suppose things like this are the reason that I'm in Spain.
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belatedly cut because it's way too long to inflict on your friends pages )
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You're not being very helpful. Given that I'm here in Spain, it would make sense for me to take a literature course that would fulfill one of my 200-level requirements in addition to just taking classes in Spanish to fill up number-of-classes requirements.

I e-mailed my advisor six days ago to ask if Class A or Class B would be suitable, and she hasn't gotten back to me. I was aware when asking her to be my advisor that she could be a little slower in answering e-mails than I might like (but not this slow!), but I was kind of in a rush about that decision because my pre-major advisor, also in the Spanish department, was on sabbatical - which no one had told me - and no one else bothered to inform me that it was necessary to declare one's major before applying to go abroad.

Since I would really like an answer on this topic before classes start next week, I decided to e-mail the department head. Only, you seem to have seen fit to not post that information on your website. I had to go to the course catalog via the registrar (to a section of the website that I didn't actually know existed, and was just hoping it was) in order to figure out who I should be e-mailing.

It seems to me that a LANGUAGE department might put a little more effort into making things accessible to students abroad.

Please write back,
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I dreamed that I was at a ¿bead shop? a store, anyway, with decent window-shopping and a sort of glass-fronted counter. Anyway, my bag was behind the counter (I really don't know why; it's not the sort of bag that's big enough that they make you leave it at the front of the store - not usually, anyway), and I wanted it back. So the sales clerk asked me to describe what was in it (in Spanish, mind, because the dream took place in Spain). And while that's the bag in which I carry everything that might be useful, I couldn't actually think of what I kept in it. I finally came up with "a camera in a little black bag (I meant case, but can't say case in Spanish)." And she looked, and found it, among a surprising number of other oddiments that shouldn't all have fit into the bag, like the little stuffed kangaroo that I got in Australia when I was three, and a glass water bottle partially filled with wine that belonged to my friends (I don't know why I was carrying it; I had a bag and they thought that it was sketchy to carry a bottle of wine around the street?), which gave the sales clerk some pause, although I don't know of any reason that I shouldn't be carrying around a water bottle with wine in it (it was a funny-shaped bottle, too, like one of those Pom bottles with big lumps). I offered it to her if it would make her feel better, because my friends weren't around to claim it and I was tired of hauling it around, and I suspected that they had forgotten I had it, and anyway, it's not like I cared about it (this, folks, is why you should never delegate me to haul around drinks that I have no interest in) but the sales clerk said she didn't want it and kept going through my bag. And as she rooted around, I kept thinking things like, now why didn't I remember that I had my teal bandanna in here? But she eventually found the camera in its case, and gave me my bag back.
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Oh right, that's why no one is on right now (or at least, why for part of everyone - the rest of you have no excuse); it's currently the first meeting of SSFFS.

Also, the dinner I just ate with my aunt and uncle? Cost 112 euros for the three of us. And it was amazing, but that's a scary number even if I don't think about the exchange rate.

ETA: Or maybe either gmail or AIM or both hate Spain.
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Last night I dreamed that I was back at Smith. Only, Smith may have been in Spain. I don't really remember.

Also, on the bus yesterday, my iPod's shuffle theme seemed to be Songs That Remind Me of My Friends. So I'm having lots of fun here, but missing all of you folks.
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Oh, the joy )
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Another dream )

I have an appointment with the Spanish Consulate. I will be in Boston on the 12th.

The school for social work started today, and this morning in Seelye I dealt with things from the basic ("Is there a lab with PCs in it?" (Welcome to the AWESOME of Mac Intel Dual-boots. No, I didn't actually say that.)) to the complex and esoteric ("So I've put this .pdf into a Word document" (Really? I didn't know you could do that.) "and I shrunk it a little bit, but when I print it it comes out all munched-up, and I'm afraid that I don't have the original document I scanned it from." (Um . . . um . . . how about taking a screenshot of the .pdf and inserting it into the word document as a graphics file? Which actually worked surprisingly well.) or "I'm looking for one of those cassette recorders where you can record your own voice along with the tape." (. . . I asked Steve about that one, and he didn't have a clue what I was talking about and I had to remind him that cassette tapes normally wipe previous data when you record over them rather than layering new and old data. He seemed to feel that this was really archaic technology. I wonder if I should tell him that I'm fairly sure my dad still tapes Prairie Home and the Puzzler every week on cassette tapes, and that our stereo system still has a record player (not that it works; my parents gave up on it when they bought a new stereo system and the same (pricey) part broke twice within a month of purchasing the thing). Or maybe I should casually mention that I had a class first year in which we had to watch a video on laserdisk. I think I'm still in a parenthesis. I'll close it now.)

And then I spent an hour this morning scanning slides. It was kind of cool, even though it was annoying and tedious.
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I actually heard back from the Spanish Consulate today )

Maybe I'll e-mail s-m b now. She'll be a nice antidote for Slowness in Answering E-mails.
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The letter one )

And did I mention that I'm definitely going to Spain next semester?

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