Hola hola :)
Sorry for being MIA, the internet at the university I’ve been living at for the past 2 weeks blocks certain websites, including my blog (and Netflix). Womp.
Despite that inconvenience, my time here has been awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pumped for Madrid, I've been itching to get there for 6 months now. But this place is beautiful. I’ve toured and explored (and gotten lost) all over the winding streets of Santiago, and can basically sum up these 2 weeks by saying that I've seen a lot of old buildings. Very, very old buildings. 'Catedral de Santiago' is a world heritage site and one of the most important constructions in Spain, if not Europe, if not the world (to religious people and historians, at least. One of the Jesus’s apostles—Saint James the Great—is buried there. Apparently people are very excited about that).
As much as I love culture, though, I think I’ve been more amped about the fact that my dorm has coffee vending machines and that I found a place in town selling €1 pizza. That's a bargain meal if I've ever seen one. Not everything is super cheap here but most things are significantly less expensive than in the states. You can find a decent bottle of champagne (cava) for €3, and the regular wine is even less. Whoever said the whole “wine is cheaper than water” thing wasn’t lying.
Speaking of alcohol, people drink here literally every night. There has yet to be a morning where I’ve woken up not feeling very close to the edge of death. Having wine or sangria or cervezas (beer) is a very regular thing with dinner and/or lunch, depending how Spanish you’re feeling that day. If a waiter at a restaurant likes you, (s)he generally presents the group with a round of café licor shots on the house no matter what hour of the day it is; it's an awesome tradition except for the fact that I'm not really the type to always enjoy being tipsy by midmorning. Honestly, it's probably time to cool it with my enthusiasm for the drinking culture since I have to get up at 8AM for classes. Listening to hours on hours of lecture in another language is a new form of torture when you feel like your skull is doing the tango with a chainsaw. I told one of my friends from home before leaving the states that I wanted to set up an IV for sangria while in Spain, and I didn’t realize how close to the truth that was going to be. No worries though, I’m making sure to complete my balanced health diet by averaging 6 coffees a day and consuming enough bread and olive oil to feed a small nation. In the near future I should probably search for something that resembles a vegetable.
This part is for the parents—I actually am learning a lot of really cool stuff. One of my classes is “language & literature,” and in addition to reading short stories and poetry and theater and whatnot my professor dedicates some of the classes to just learning colloquial Spanish. She teaches us what phrases are cool, what will help us fit in as Spaniards, and what makes us wear a neon sign on our foreheads reading “idiot American tourist, please rob me.” Safe to say I’ve successfully mastered delivering the phrase “fuck off,” which will probably be necessary at some point this semester. I'm also taking a history of Spain class which--surprise—is about the history of Spain. Also very cool but you'll definitely be bored if I describe what we're learning so I won’t bother. (Same with my Art History class, pretty self explanatory).
Right now I'm in the Santiago airport awaiting my flight. I don't really know anything about where I'll be living, have zero idea what my host family will be like, and have never been to Madrid in my life, so I'm currently experiencing a confusing (and semi-uncomfortable) blend of extreme excitement and extreme nervousness and extra-extreme exhaustion. Not sure if they have TUMS in this country but I need to find the pharmaceutical equivalent ASAP. On the whole exhaustion topic, I’m still in the process of trying to swing a schedule at my new university with no classes before noon but also no classes after 3PM and also also no classes on Fridays. I’ll let you know how that goes.