I never thought I’d find myself typing this, but I’m actually starting to feel settled here in La Rioja. Although my many “faux-pas'” might suggest otherwise, I am picking up Spanish! I’ve made friends, can recognise and exchange a friendly “Hasta luego” with familiar faces in lots of different situations (yes, often people I’ve embarrassed myself trying to interact with!) and I’ve established a routine for the weekdays. I also never thought I’d ever make any sort of complaint about weekends but it’s on the weekends spent here in Logrono that I find myself with the time to miss home or feel lonely. Of course, it’s not possible to keep myself entertained with exciting trips every weekend, but I’ve recognised that I need to spend time with friends and keep busy on quieter weekends like the one just gone.
I’ve been quietly dreading Valentine’s day this year, but since it’s not celebrated with as much pomp and commercialism as it is at home, it crept up quite suddenly. I’d been anticipating feeling really lonely but a lovely package from my lovely uni friends arrived, by happy coincidence, on Thursday so that made me feel loved!
THANK YOU BOYS!
A definite low point of the week was when my jeans ripped, in the crotch of all places (don’t ask – I’m blaming sitting cross-legged a lot!) on Tuesday, leaving me to waddle around the school for the rest of the school day. Either no one noticed or they were too polite to ask why I was walking as if I were constipated …I’m rooting for the fist option!
I didn’t have chance to go shopping for new ones until Friday so I spent my Valentine’s morning getting some retail therapy! But, what should have been a treat was actually a fairly traumatic experience. I wear a UK size 10, which I thought was a really normal size and at the mid-small point of the range of sizes. Here, the size 10 equivalent is the second largest size that a lot of the shops sell and it wasn’t even available in some of the styles! I did eventually find a decent pair and which fit, but the incident has left me feeling a bit fat and dejected! Yes, your average Spanish woman is very slim and beautiful (damn her!) but I also see a lot of curvier women and I’ve been left wondering where anyone over a size 12 shops!
Determined not to let Spain and it’s beautiful people give me a complex, as an act of defiance I treated myself to brunch out and ordered myself a carb-tastic slice of tortilla de patatas/potato omelette (I also really wanted some comfort food – but we’ll go with act of defiance!). I did, however, go out for a run on Saturday morning!
Would you like some more carbs with your carbs?
On Friday evening I experienced my first basketball match. My knowledge of basketball is limited to what I’ve learnt from One Tree Hill so I probably annoyed everyone with my many questions, but I had a great time! Basketball is really popular in Spain and the supporters were at least as rowdy as York City’s football teams’! A lot of swear words were being thrown around and drums were banged to try to rush the players, but the atmosphere wasn’t at all threatening. The match was fast and exciting, and very close – but our team came out on top!
With the mascot …pretty sure it’s a horse!
Faux-Pas of the week: The name of Logrono’s basketball team is Clavijo and at one point the supporters started chanting it. I thought they were saying “Adios/Goodbye” to the other team (Huesca) and made an uncertain attempt to join in – good thing it was half-hearted!
Continuing the weekend’s programme of cultural activities (yes, basketball does count!) on Saturday afternoon I visited an exhibition about Darwin at Logrono’s science museum. The exhibition was aimed at children, which meant that we were able to understand the simple Spanish and had fun playing with the interactive elements!
Somehow, an afternoon at a museum turned into a night out …that counts as cultural too, right!?
Somehow, I’ve managed to plan two weeks of classes around all this, because I’m going home for a long weekend next weekend thanks to there being yet another bank holiday here! I might be feeling more settled but I absolutely can’t wait to spend time with lovely family and friends in the ‘Shire! I can’t promise a blog next week, as I’ll be spending my weekend relaxing (really, this time!) and my Tuesday travelling.