Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rookie Mistakes

As I am sure anyone who is learning a foreign language has experienced, I have definitely embarrassed myself in Spanish to other students and the locals. My mom just wrote me about her experience abroad in the Netherlands, when she ordered a fish with no legs (meaning to ask for a fish with no bones), only for the waiter to reply that ALL fish have no legs. I can relate. These are my worst two so far:

1. About two weeks in, I was at lunch one day talking with my Señora and fumbled my words (botched the gender, number, tense, the whole shebang) like four sentences in a row. Naturally, she couldn't understand what I was trying to say. So we were laughing and I said, "¡Estoy embarazada!", which cued more laughter from her. Apparently "Estoy AVERGONZADO" is the correct way to say "I am embarrassed." "Estoy EMBARAZADA" means "I am pregnant."

2. You might have already seen me post this one on facebook, but in case you didn't, here it is. This past Sunday my church, which is really small, had a cultural celebration day, where they had something interesting from each nationality represented in the congregation (Of which there are TONS). Mainly dancing and singing. Then someone was like, "Let's get all the American students up there!" So there's about 15 of us, and we passed the mike around to say one thing that has made Sevilla a great experience or that is different to us, etc. I love my Señora (who is a member at this church), so I wanted to say that she was one of the reasons I love it here; that she is the best in Sevilla. Small problem. Didn't really know the crucial difference between la mayor (the oldest) and la mejor (the best). So, on my turn, I took the mike and told the whole congregation that I love Mari Carmen and that she is the oldest in Sevilla. Everyone laughed, including Carmen, and I fixed it. Not my greatest moment.

I love hearing stories like these - everyone in our program has at least one or two. (If any of you all have a funny one, let's have it!)

This week has been crazy. Just finished up my exam for Spanish 102 and am packing for an EARLY departure tomorrow to go visit the Canary Islands! Two friends and I are staying in a place near the beach on the south side of the big island. I'm excited to explore the area and hopefully get a cool hike in there somewhere as well. Packing myself as many sandwiches as I can so I can buy as little food as is possible while there. I just KNOW that makes all you fellow cheap Dutch people proud!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cathedral and Carmona

These are pictures of 2 events: The first few are from a field trip with my professor to Sevilla´s cathedral, named Giralda, the third largest in the world. We walked to the top of the belltower and looked out over the city. Interesting fact: it used to be a Muslim tower, and since the call to prayer was 5 times a day, they took it easy on the bellringer guy by constructing the path up the tower with ramps, not stairs, so he could ride a horse the whole way. The next set of pictures are in Carmona, a small city where we took a day trip to sightsee and walk around this past Saturday.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Room Tour

Thought I would give you guys a little tour of my habitación. For some reason, it happened to be extremely clean that day. It must have been this past Wednesday - I always clean up on Wednesdays. But really, it always looks this neat. (That was a lie.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Note to Self

There are a few quirks that I’ve learned about since arriving in January. These could be annoying if I was here for the long term, but they aren’t a big deal because I’m only here for a short while. So for now, they are just interesting cultural differences. So here is a helpful "Note to Self" (© Rudi Gesch, 1995) list for you guys in case you ever visit:

1. "Spanish Time.” (buckle up, here comes a rant…) It seems to me that this phenomenon is EVERYWHERE, with the possible two exceptions of America and Germany. Since when does everyone get to have their own “time”? AKA, an excuse for being LATE to everything. Spanish time. Jamaican time. Costa Rican time. Heck, I know whole FAMILIES back home who run on their own “time.” And if you just cite “__________ time” as the cause of the lateness, you’re off the hook. What?! As a Gesch, I am fully aware of my predisposition to chronic punctuality, but come ON. If you SAY you are going to meet someone at 11:00, 11:30 is ridiculous! Is it that toxic to leave the house 7 minutes earlier than you usually leave? Is the whole world satisfied to make others wait on them? But just a heads up….whether you like it or not…people here run on “Spanish time. “ It is what it is. For all you Gesches out there and other like-minded world citizens who see the importance of keeping a meeting time, I salute you.

2. Marble/tile floors are everywhere. No carpeting. Looks pretty…until you have to walk out of bed in the morning across ice-cold floors. Bring slippers.

3. Weak sauce internet connection. If you have attempted a skype session or google voice phone call with me up to this point, you know what I’m talking about. For what it’s worth to those of you who have, I love talking to you, choppy connection or not. But private wi-fi networks (like those in houses, etc.) are not good enough to keep a skype session going. So in the future, I am going to be doing that stuff in places with more solid wi-fi access, like my school or at a café.

4. If you are startled awake at 2 in the morning to the sounds of what appears to be a foreign invasion, don’t panic. No, it is not a fleet of tanks, but the massive garbage trucks and crews who have chosen this convenient hour to take care o’ bidness. Hey, as long as the garbage gets taken care of, I’m happy.

5. This is a BIG Note to Self: Double check your suitcases before you leave to make sure that your favorite shoes are with you. The first day here I discovered a sad truth: my beloved Sambas have been left at home. But I am learning to cope without them, and have decided that my reunion with the best shoes ever will be all the sweeter because of our time apart. Just trying to stay positive in the face of adversity.

So these are a few interesting facets of my life here, and I am sure I will continue to learn about more along the way. Oddly, I actually LIKE these differences - being out of the comfort zone can be refreshing. Having said that, these things have made me love the U.S. of A. even more (if that was possible).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love Lockdown

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd show you a really cute element of Sevilla. To express their endless love (cue Lionel Richie song NOW for one another, couples in Sevilla will write their names on a padlock and lock it onto a spindle of the Triana bridge. Then they throw the key into the river so that it can never be unlocked. Word on the street is that this love padlock phenomenon happens all over Europe on bridges in Prague, London, and more. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I like to think that all these couples are still together. Presh. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Few, The Proud

This is the crew who stayed up until 5:00 am to see the outcome of Sunday night's game. We heard morning birds chirping on our way home. Good stuff. And credit to Kathy "Special K" Gesch for the t-shirt so I could adequately rep my team!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Córdoba Excursion

Here are pictures from last Friday's day trip to the city of Córdoba, about a 2 hour bus ride from Sevilla. We mainly focused on La Mezquita (The Mosque) de Córdoba. It's a really interesting building because it was first Muslim, then Christian, then Muslim again, and finally Roman Catholic. Each one sort of tried to top the last with its additions in construction. (The 7th photo in the slideshow is of the tower that was the Mosque's call to prayer. When the Catholics took over, they chose not to destroy the old Muslim tower, but to build a bigger tower encasing the old one.) After the tour, we ate lunch in a park and explored the city. The city was beautiful, but almost empty, which was a weird feeling. It felt almost like the set of a play. The colors here were awesome.  I've decided I'm painting all the walls in my house yellow and red. Just a heads up to Mom and Dad. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pure Bliss

Just returned home from a bar that showed the superbowl...currently 5:00 in the morning and I have class in 4 hours. Totally worth it. So happy for A-Rodg and the team and so proud to be a cheesehead!

(Mom - the shirt was clutch, thank you. I'll put up a picture later.)

(Everyone - did you all catch Christina Aguilera's HORRENDOUS national anthem?! Not only did she sound awful, she messed up the words! What a disgrace.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Round 2 of Pictures

Before I put up pictures from Cordoba this coming weekend, here are a few from recent walks and outings around in the city in the past week. Again, I included a lot of La Plaza de's just too pretty not to. Enjoy! 


...Ashley can't contain hers. This is just a stupid little video to let you know that tomorrow is our first professor-led excursion, to the beautiful city of Cordoba! I will do my best to get some good shots of the scenery so you all can see it too.