My classes officially started. I am taking Spanish, Meditteranean Politics & Culture, and Politics, Warfare, and Economics in the Age of Globalization. I had Spanish yesterday. The class is broken down into two sections taught by two different teachers. Judit is my teacher for the first section. She’s young, bubbly, and hilarious. She jokes about her horrible English and explains everything with some sort of dance move. The class is an hour and forty minutes long and we spent the time introducing ourselves and kind of going over a syllabus. The class is extremely laid back. I had no anxiety to use my Spanish, and she’s very encouraging. The class itself is also great. There are 12 kids. I’ve gotten pretty used to 300 person lecture halls, so this is a wonderful change. Four of the students are from Germany, one girl is from Sweden, one girl is from Canada, one guy is from Korea, and the rest of us are from the U.S. The class is taught completely in Spanish, which is very interesting when you have people who speak all differently languages trying to understand each other in a language that no one in the class is fluent in besides the teacher. It’s great.
While going over the syllabus, Judit went over the API rules for missing classes. We must attend 80% of the class, which means we can miss five. After she sympathized with us for having to be in class by 9:00 (which she thinks is absurd), she insisted, “Chicos, please only miss class for important things like if your family visits, if you’re really sick, or if you travel.” Sooo I’m feeling pretty great about that.
My teacher for the second section is a middle-aged woman with a super raspy voice. Chain smoking is treating her well. She’s really friendly and really patient with us. I managed to understand everything she said, which was lovely. Clearly, all of my practice in Spanish bars is really starting to pay off. I’ve been staying out until the crack of dawn to practice…talk about dedication.
I was supposed to have my two international relations today. They are both taught by the same professor. He canceled class. On the first day. No big deal.
Since I actually didn’t have anything I needed to do today, I indulged in lounging. Napping is such a great part of Spain. I also went around to various markets to pick up some more fresh vegetables and más pan. I did go running too though. Yes, I do get strange looks as I run past Spaniards taking their 2 hour lunch breaks drinking wine, but people actually do work out in Spain. Once I got to a park, I was surrounded by dog walkers, fellow runners, and roller bladers (it’s pretty popular here).
While I’m running, it starts raining out of nowhere. It starts as a light drizzle and progresses into a pretty steady downpour. As I looked around, I realized no one was at all phased. Runners continued on their runs. The people playing ping pong moved under a tree. The couple making out on a bench put up an umbrella and continued their “conversation”. Barcelona just decided it wanted to rain and people just accepted it. I continued my run mystified by a city that seems so surreal. Then I witnessed a person on a vespa cut-off a woman on a bike. As she yelled at him and smacked his car with her hand while he drove off, I was taken back to reality. Okay, I guess Barcelona still has a lot in common with every other urban town.