Literalmente, cada fin de semana es una aventura nueva.

LITERALLY, Every weekend a new adventure! Te interesa oir mas? Escuchame:)

To conclude my second month living abroad here in Granada every weekend has been jam-packed with adventure after adventure, opportunity after opportunity. If you had a chance to read or skim my last post you'll see that I have a pretty demanding schedule. Despite this, I opted to participate in a service learning program, of my choosing, so I can volunteer some of my free time while at the same having the chance to speak with native Spanish speakers, and ADULTS (which I feel is where and when I struggle with in communicating the language the most!). FAISEM, was my center of choice, which stands for FOUNDATION FOR SOCIAL INTEGRATION OF THE PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISORDERS and they have these all throughout the country, to my understanding. Many others are volunteering their time to receive credit for their universities, but as a senior with 2 degrees in pursuit, I really don't need the extra hours.

Viernes - el dia 17 de febrero

My first experience there to really enjoy the presence of this crazy in a fun out of this world kind of way group was Friday the 17th of February. In a nearby city named Cadiz, also located in Andalucia (the southern community of Spain where Granada is also located), every year around this time there is a week long Carnaval festival, where people wear disfraces and spend entire nights and mornings out and about in the central parts of the city, drinking and eating the night away.. all to celebrate the time before Lent, so closely linked to religious practices and ideals. That Friday I was invited to the Carnaval celebration at FAISEM. And since this is my internship project, or the site where donde estoy haciendo "practica" this was my first assignment. We simply listened to music and had our own celebration. The creativity in the room was amazing and the music non-stop! So we danced for hours, enjoying one another's company while we danced, sang, and shared some snacks. I left feeling refreshed and honestly just great.

I've been told that a great way to engage yourself in a large part of the culture as well as simply get a chance to really communicate with others in the Spanish language, one simply has to take a step outside of the main doors of whatever location you're at. By simply joining the people taking a cigarette break every now and then you get a lesson in itself.

Here is a little background information of where I am working and with what type of people. http://www.faisem.es/pagina.asp?id=120 So far my experience there has been great and I cannot wait to spend some more time though. Despite the fact that when I do finally get there for the evening/day it's typically after long days.

Sabado - el dia 18 de febrero

Saturday was the program trip to Sevilla! One of the sites I've been waiting to see the most! Sevilla, Spain, also a province in the autonomous community of Andalucia, was my #1 choice for studying abroad. Everything happens a reason though I fortunately had the opportunity to travel there for the day with my new friends. So after a 3 hour bus trip to the breath taking city, we spent the day marveling at the heavily Baroque architecture and beautiful people. 

In addition to some guided tours of the city, we had a little bit of free time to do some soul searching in Sevilla on our own.
-The Catedral y la Giralda, which the lines were enormous for both. & in retrospect, I wish I would have climed la Giralda. Maybe next time!
-When we walked through the center and plazas around the Cathedral there was actually a protest/parading rally going on through the streets which was interesting to watch. My mom warned me prior to leaving for Spain that if I saw anything like this I should NOT participate. I didn't participate, Mom --but I couldn't resist photographing a bit of the event from the sidelines! Sorry Mom <3 lol
-We walked all along the Guadalquivir river and were able to find the Torre de Oro (pictured below).
-We saw other areas of town with beautiful structures, architectures, fountains, the works!

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I´m a little bummed that it was only a day trip! As soon as we got off the bus and had the opportunity to start walking around I immediately saw the cleanliness of the city and how it seemed that every part of the city was radiating light, even the people. I saw the families and the children going about their daily lives and enjoying themselves in the streets and I immediately had an inkling that someday I would want to take my family here and that this really would be a great place to raise a family! 

Sunday - el dia 19 de febrero

Another program led excursion we experienced was a Granada F.C. vs. Real Sociedad FUTBOL game! Never in our lives would we imagine ourselves watching the professional team of our very city. Naturally, we took full advantage of this sunny day to literally sport our love for Granada and the professionals in a sport that is a very important part of the Spanish culture. Granada won the game, ending with a 4-1 score, each goal was more exciting than the last. And we thoroughly enjoyed hearing the obscenities belted out by the granadinas and surrounding espanolas. It was an excitingly warm day, we didn't know we would be so lucky! The crowd was very intense and rowdy. What made it all that much more of a rewarding and cool experience was that we could participate in the craziness of the crowd. From doing the wave numerous times to attempting to join in on the chants (after dechipering them, of course), it´s a day we wish we could repeat..every weekend. And conveniently for us the game was within walking distance of our homestays. So after the game was over we all left a little tanner, happy, and even more proud and excited that we had chosen Granada to live in this semester. Anna Marie and I naturally had every intention to attend the match painted! Unaware of the weather we would have we limited it to our faces. At a local chino we found face paint for 1.50 euro and each bought our own package. (It would prove to be useful in more ways than one and on more days than just this cultural experience, which that in itself is always a beautiful thing.) We saved the artistry until we had successfully arrived at the venue for the game. And what a site to see it was:) many people were standing around and watching us as we painted one another's faces half red, and half white, with some black warrior paint for Anna Marie. I've literally ALWAYS wanted to paint myself for a sporting match. It was never exactly deemed appropriate for Bradley soccer games, especially with match conflicts and a lack of good weather to go all out and paint our bodies. And since Bradley doesn't have a football team, that obviously wasn't an option. 

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What better than Spain for a first time experience like this??
(Pictured here with Jose, nuestro profe de tutorias, Granada Seminar, y fonetica, Anna Marie (a fellow Bradley student and great friend!), me, and Veronica, la directora de nuestro programa de Central College Abroad.



Honestly, what better place than Spain for aventuras nuevas!
Don't tell anyone, but I never want to leave :)
 


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