Sunday, December 11, 2011
This past Thursday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and an important festival in Seville. During the week there are processionals with marching bands, priests, candles and golden alters with beautiful statues of Mary on them. The night before the feast day, Spanish troubadours dressed in capes and adorned with ribbons and patches wander the streets playing and singing songs about the Virgin Mary. They also bring flowers to a statue of Mary right by the Cathedral and serenade her. Another tradition during this time of year is "el baile de los seises." This dance occurs on the altar in the Cathedral by a statue of Mary. Young boys dressed up in stunning costumes with feathered hats perform the dance. Young girls and boys in the choir sing and are accompanied by an orchestra. This festival has been one of my favorites in Spain!
This semester I have attended the University of Seville. The building I have class in was the first tobacco factory in Europe. I enjoy classes at the university- I am taking Spanish Baroque Poetry, Middle Ages and Renaissance Spanish Literature and Spanish Literature of the Nineteenth Century. In Spain, classes are basically all lecture. Students rarely participate in discussions. A big difference between American and Spanish universities is the grading system. Instead of the letter system, the Spanish grading system ranges from 0-10 with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. There is only a final test here, too-no papers, projects, quizzes or other exams. My professors have all been wonderful, but they all show up to class 15 minutes late (typical at Spanish universities) and cancel class frequently.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I got some awful news when I got back from Barcelona. A couple of weeks ago I went out with some friends and met Landon. He was such a nice guy-full of life, kind, funny and friendly. You can imagine my shock when I learned of his death this past Wednesday. Even though I only met him once, Landon changed me. He made me realize that I have to live life to the fullest and get the most out of my experiences. Whenever I feel homesick or stressed, I think of Landon. He reminds me to cherish every moment. Rest in peace, Landon!
I have always wanted to go to Barcelona-and this past weekend I finally got there! It was an amazing trip. I visited the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, St. Paul's hospital, Park Guell, Barcelona's soccer stadium, Arc de Triomf, Catalonian Music Palace, St. María del Mar Cathedral, Casa Mila, Casa Battlo and Montjuic Park, with the National Art Palace and magic fountain. The Sagrada Familia Cathedral is impressive, and the music palace is the most beautiful building I have ever seen. Gaudi's architecture is stunning and the light and music show at the fountain was spectacular.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for everyone to count their blessings and give thanks for all they have. This year I am thankful for my family, friends and the wonderful adventure I have had in Spain this semester. To celebrate Thanksgiving, our program went to a restaurant for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner-turkey and all :). While it was wonderful to celebrate Thanksgiving, it was really hard being away from my loved ones. And, for some reason, Spanish people don't really understand the point of Thanksgiving. They think it is about eating a lot of turkey. It was difficult to celebrate Thanksgiving here and I am so glad that I will be back in the states in a few weeks to celebrate Christmas with my family!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
This past weekend we went to Granada (which means pomegranate in Spanish :D). I visited Granada several years ago when I was in Spain for ten days in high school. Our first day in Granada we went to the Royal Chapel (Capilla Real) where the remains of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella are interred (the Catholic kings). Some of us took a climb up to St. Nicholas' View. From there you can see the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and fortress, and the whole city of Granada. The next day we went to the Alhambra, which is my favorite part of Granada, and the Generalife (a palace and gardens next to the Alhambra). I'm so glad I got the opportunity to see the sights of Granada again!