Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Art History is one of my favorite classes, despite its ability to cramp my hand and my brain with information. María Estévez started with ancient art in Spain and moved through Classical, Islamic, Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance art within this first half of the semester. These are the main periods we need to know for the mid-term tomorrow, both general information about each period/style and the particularly Spanish aspects during each. Like any art history class, it is a lot of memorizing pictures and analyzing the piece or building to determine which style it fits into, learning terms for various elements of architecture or method of painting, and remembering important artists.
The best part about taking an art history class in Europe is that I've seen a lot of what we talk about! The Sevilla and Toledo Cathedrals; the art at el Prado Museo in Madrid; la Alhambra.... it's really great to fit them all into perspective and reality. This class is great for me because it's interesting and also it will work wonders (I hope!) on my design skills. Even regular old city buildings or small houses are very different here, and it's amazing to see people living in them and working in them in their everyday lives.
Wish me luck on the Art History exam tomorrow!
Could YOU tell me which style/period these are each from?
|Pantocrator: Christ in Majesty. In the Church of Sant Climent de Taüll, in Catalonia.|
|Portrait of Isabel Clara Eugenia by Sanchez Coello|
Monday, March 21, 2011
Para la Semana Santa, voy a viajar a Barcelona. Originalmente era ir para dos dias solo, pero ahora mi madre esta viajando alli para cuatro dias para encontrar me!!! Estoy muy emocionada! Voy a investigar y hacer muchas planes para nosotras :) y despues, tengo solomente un excursion de API a Cadiz para un fin de semana en Mayo. Con estes viajes y mis clases y examenes, hay mucho para hacer.
|on the way to las Alpujarras|
This week in Granada after our trip to the Aracena caves has been pretty good! I have been pretty busy with my classes- midterms are this week- as well as planning out the rest of my time and money here in Spain for the semester. Next weekend my friends and I are going to the beach, providing the ALSA bus strikes don't affect us too badly. After that, I have a weekend to visit the Sierra Nevadas here in Granada and probably to see the Science Park; later in April, I'm hoping to go to the Donana National Park with the same group that I went to Aracena with.
For spring break, which is the week before Easter or "Semana Santa" here, I was planning on taking two days to see Barcelona alone. My mom however has decided to come visit! We'll spend 4 days there together, and I'm so excited!!!! I'm going to do a lot of research and make plans for us so she can have a great time here and we can see the best of what Barcelona has to offer. After that, there's just an excursion to Cadiz with API in May. With all these plans and my classes and exams, there's a lot to do!
The weather is also getting better, which helps. This past Saturday we went to las Alpujarras, some tiny mountain villages near Granada, with API. It was very relaxing and fun, especially for me, since it reminded me of home! We went to 3 villages and hiked farms and big hills inbetween. It was very sunny! Later on that day some friends and I went to dinner to celebrate our friend Andrew's birthday.
Yesterday was a good day as well; I slept till noon, studied out in the sun on my rooftop, and then Rachel and I went to dinner at a Columbian friend's house to eat new types of food and talk with Joseph and his friends. I think my Spanish is really getting better!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
|taken from the van...lots of pine trees and purple flowers|
We stayed in a fairly nice hotel; I think we might have been the only people staying there this weekend, but it worked out well. The first order of business was lunch together, and since everyone brought bagged lunches we sat right in the hotel. Everyone on this trip was really, really nice and shared all of their food with everyone else and talked to us in Spanish and English. We were the youngest people in the group, and the pace was slower than I expected, but that's never a bad thing!
The caves themselves were incredible. I had never been in real caves before, so it was a really great experience- it was awesome, in every sense of the word, and made me feel completely dwarfed in the world. I also thought about the earthquakes in Japan and prayed to God that there wasn't one while we were in those caves. I soon forgot about that worry, however, with the beauty of the stalagmites and stalactites, the colors, and the water. We weren't exactly supposed to take pictures...but there was no way to resist.
There was also one room that had some interesting formations, to say the least! One of the ladies I was with pointed out that these particular stalagmites and stalactites are probably the most life-like representation of the phallus that we will ever see in nature (other than the real thing, I assume). There were lots of funny postcards about that part of the tour!
|The gift shop actually sold bottles of the red-tinted river water.|
Friday, March 11, 2011
My other news regarding theater is sadly limited. There's a beautiful theater that I walk by every day on my way to class, and I may see if they'll take a semester-long volunteer worker, since I'm going a little crazy without theater in my life. I went to see a production at the great Teatro Isabel la Católica, but my Spanish still isn't advanced enough to really understand everything that happens during a show. I wanted this semester to be a break from the crazy schedules and fast-paced life that I led for 3+ years since starting college, and even before, and that is certainly what it's turning out to be! At least I know my History of Art class is really helping my design skills; and the architecture I've seen, the new cultures, and especially my Islamic Culture class are really opening my eyes to the world. I'm really fascinated by the Arab world and seeing la Alhambra in person was really incredible: hopefully my theatrical experience in the future will reflect some of what I'm learning here.
Elections for the Saint Michael's College Drama Club are coming up! Members sent nominations in this past week for all the positions, which include: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Technical Liaison, and Student Association Representatives. I will not be running for the executive board for next year, but I'm definitely planning to remain an active member! Good luck to all who are running!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Otherwise, I'm finding that my adjustments here have really become personal. I like the city, I don't mind the Spanish language barrier as much, my new English roommate is pretty cool, and classes are going okay. It's me and my own lifestyle that I am learning the most about. I know this is all on that graph of "study abroad phases" that you go through that everyone will tell you about (which is kind of depressing and predestined, if you ask me) but I'm really learning a lot about the kind of people I'd rather spend time with-- sometimes I feel like I don't fit in here, which is to be expected with the Spaniards to some degree, but especially with the Americans.
American student studying in Madrid who recently went missing and whose body was recently found make me want to stay in at night. Does that make my views un-American, stereotypically speaking, for a student studying abroad? I hear American students study abroad so they can go wild and take risks they never would at home, so does that make me something other than an American student?
Other considerations are pieces of less-than-happy news from home. My professor John Devlin and his family are working their way through daughter Kat's recovery from an umbilical cord transplant, a procedure to prevent the spread of cancer in her cells. Although the procedure went through, they are still in Boston now, weeks later, dealing with resulting fevers and smaller procedures and whatnot. Many thoughts and prayers to them; being away from home and constantly moved around and having to deal with every small insensitivity can really make a stressful situation even more trying.
I'm also hearing some things that I don't want to hear about Saint Mike's and college justice systems throughout the U.S. A friend of mine recently has made the college aware of an uncomfortable and unsafe situation on campus, and they have been unreceptive and slow-moving towards fixing the problem. After the death on campus a few weeks ago, I had hoped the support system would be stronger than this. I am pretty disappointed, and worried for my friend as well. No one should feel unsafe on campus, and no one should have to wait for something really bad to happen before action is taken. At Saint Mike's especially this kind of thing is rare, and I would like to think Saint Michael's is investing in keeping it that way.
That's all for now; thanks for reading! Next weekend I'm going on a hiking expedition with a friend in caves near Portugal...working on travel plans for spring break....updates to come!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
|Lots of fans!|
It was quite an experience. I've been to some sporting events before, mostly baseball games or basketball games, but not at this level or with this fan base! Although Granada and Salamanca are in a lower division than, say, Madrid and Barcelona, the most famous teams, it's still a big deal. The Spaniards around us called obscenities and sang songs throughout, roaring and gasping and breathing altogether like some giant beast. It was an incredible real-life example of a mob scene, or herd mentality perhaps.
It was clear that Granada was the better team, but due to what was clearly bad refereeing (even to my inexperienced eyes...) Salamanca won. It was really a fluke, but still a really cool experience. The Spanish people are really passionate, and losing myself in the game is something that hasn't happened for long time with sporting events. Good to know I can still be entertained in classic bloodthirsty style; such is human nature.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Saint Mike's has a pretty large selection of programs to choose from, it's true, but API really offered a lot of cities in Spain I was looking at. They also do their best to lay out exactly what you need to do to apply with checklists and online forms, which is really great, and offer some international and national excursions, activities, and more that are basically included in the overall cost, which is low for what you get. I am really enjoying the atmosphere with API, and I like that I could just drop into the office (which is very close to school) and say hi or ask questions or sign up for activities.