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MC Off-Campus Study Journals.

Trisha SemetisTrisha Semetis '08
Central College Abroad, Granada, Spain
tesmetis@monm.edu
Oswego, IL

November 12, 2007

So I fell in love this weekend. With the mountains and landscape of a section of Spain that is untouched by most of the world. It is called Las Alpujarras. And it is amazing! It is just so beautiful. I would walk out of the house I was staying in and see mountains and the most beautiful view of cities like Orgiva and Tableron. It was absolutely amazing, it was very relaxing and just a great weekend. I also learned a lot about our world and the ways to help save it from extinction.

And I learned I am very accident prone. But I will explain that as I tell the story of my amazing weekend. There were 12 of us that went on the program. We took a bus from Granada to Orgiva and then took a different bus to the top of the nearest mountain and we hiked down the mountain for about an hour to reach the farm.

The farm we stayed on has no mail delivery, no trash pick-up, no electricity and no running water to it's main buildings. But the family supports itself by creating electricity through wind power, water power and sun power. The water comes from springs and wells they made themselves at the top with hoses carrying it down to them. It was quite an amazing system. But we reached the farm and put our stuff down and ate an organic meal which was not that great but I guess when you grow up on all processed food, organic is not that great. But I ate it and enjoyed it. Then we took a tour of the farm.

There are three kids in the family. A twelve year old girl, Birta, a ten year old boy, Milan, and a two year old girl, Flora. They were so amazing and so cute. They reminded me of my sisters and I when we were younger. But we went to harvest an olive tree while taking a tour to help the family out a little bit. It was amazing. I climbed to the top and picked by hand. I got quite a bit of bruises from the tree and knocking myself around in it. I am especially proud of my fish-shaped bruise that takes up most of my shin. It is pretty exciting.

After harvesting the olive tree, Milan showed us his goats that he is taking care of and going to raise. The female thought my finger was food and bit me. I bled for a little bit but got it cleaned up and decided then that I don't like goats much. Then we went back to the main house and ate dinner and had a lecture about bio-dynamic farming and permaculture and the Steiner schools that the kids went to for their schooling.

Afterwards we played music until late into the night when we were all falling asleep. But it was great! Then we had breakfast and learned how to basket weave. But we met the oldest girl just then for she had been at a party the day before. And I played with her most of the day. She is really fun. All the kids speak three languages, German, Spanish and English. Which is absolutely amazing. But I will make sure my children speak two languages hopefully.

The way it worked was the father spoke English to the children and the mother spoke German and then the neighbors spoke Spanish to them. It was quite interesting. I think that is how I will teach my children Spanish and English. Have Nick talk to them in English and I will talk to them in Spanish. But Sunday we went to a cave that was used in the Spanish civil war to hide people and documents. It was really small and had no lights, all I could imagine was the movie The Decent. But I turned a corner too quick and took out a rock on the wall with my head. So I have cuts and scrapes on my forehead. It was fun though. Then we relaxed and talked to the family a little bit about the lifestyles and then we headed back. It was a downhill/mountain walk for about an hour and a half. It was quite a workout. But amazing still. And we took the bus back to Granada.

Overall it was an amazing weekend. I loved it so much! Ben, the program leader, needs someone to lead a group in the beginning of Dec. and I would really like to because everyone else will be in Paris that weekend. And I don't want to sit around here by myself. But I would like to go again. And leading a group would be pretty amazing. I want to visit the family again. So I might do that and the family asked if I would like to I could come back to their farm for a vacation. It would be pretty cool for our honeymoon or something like that for a nice relaxing time. Maybe not the honeymoon because I want to go somewhere really relaxing and not with that type of food. But who knows.

Anyway Spain is amazing. I am absolutely loving it. I am definitely going to miss a bunch of things from here when I go home but most of them I can kind of re-create in America. Oh yea... I fell in love with the King and the president of the government yesterday. I was watching the news when I got home and my senora told me the story as well but the president and the King were in South America on Saturday and they attended a conference with the leaders from most of the Central American and South American countries. But Zapatero, president of Spain, was talking and the Argentian president Hugo Chavez was interrupting him and disagreeing with him and the King leaned in front and pointed at Chavez and said "Porque tu no calles?" which is why don't you shut up in English. But it was hilarious. And now everyone in Spain understands how crazy Hugo Chavez is. But then what really made me happy was when the Nicarauguan (??) president started interrupting Zapatero and disagreeing, the King just got up and walked out of the conference. I absolutely thought that was amazing. Zapatero is a pretty amazing guy. Not many people in Spain like him but I think he is doing a great job. But I guess he doesn't get along with our president at all, which is interesting. I guess Bush said that Zapatero is to never set foot in the White House. But I don't remember where I heard that from. Maybe I didn't but still it would sound about right.

Oh and I started reading "Los Diarios de Motocicletas" this weekend. About the Che and his journals. It is in Spanish and I absolutely loving it. I understand most of it but I figured that I should start reading more in Spanish. And I also bought Alice in Wonderland in Spanish too. So I will read them and see how much I understand. I also went and saw a movie in Spanish. Although it was "SuperSalidos" or SuperBad in English. It was kind of funny and I understood most of it but we are going to watch a Spanish-Spanish movie in December to see how much we can understand. I really want to see this animated movie that is coming out in December called "Donkey Xote" It is the story of Don Quijote from the donkey's perspective but the donkey looks just like the donkey from Shrek. So I am excited.

I think that is most of the update I have on my life. But I miss you all soo much and if you have any questions just email!!

October 25, 2007

¡Hola!

I am so happy to be in this country because I am learning so many new things and meeting so many new people. I am thinking about when I leave I am going to be missing so much here and missing all my new friends. And what is the craziest is that a month or so ago I was counting down the days to go home and thought that this seemed like it was going by so slow. But now it is moving way too fast. I just want to slow down and see everything and do everything but I know it is not possible so I am going to stay in Spain and focus on things to see here so I can go to other countries later in life. Therefore I am not going to Morocco anymore. I am going camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains though in a couple weekends. I am super excited because you live like it was the century 18 or something. It sounds really cool.

But I am dreading coming back to campus because I am really nervous about my major. As of right now I will be two or three credits short of a major and being a senior and an education major I do not have any time to take any more classes. I am already having to take classes over the summer and not getting my diploma till then anyway. I just wish that the credits would transfer back as all Spanish and work out to my advantage. But I am trying my hardest to try and fix this problem so I am contacting people and taking extra things here to transfer back so in all I should transfer back 21 credits supposedly but that is too much so we will see. I have 5 classes during the day and then 3 extra classes for just Central College students and then I am volunteering with las señoras y señors here and listening to stories and helping them with daily life. I am excited but I do not know if that credit will transfer back as credits or not. I talked to Veronica and she said they might and they might not it depends on the home institution. Which means probably not...sadly.

But I am loving it more and more and if I don't get the major it is okay but I was kind of hoping for one since I took the extra time to study in a Spanish speaking country. But all is well. Sorry it took so long to update. I will try to update more but who knows with time flying by like it is. Miss you all!!

September 28, 2007

¡Hola! I have been in Spain for almost two weeks now and I am really starting to enjoy myself here. I like it a lot and I have found a lot of different foods that I am enjoying. I was scared I might not be able to find something I like, but I did!! I also signed up to go on the Moroccan Exchange on Dec. 6 through the 9th. So I will be going there to do a program that the Center offers. It is pretty cheap and includes a lot of stuff. I am excited about it. I posted pictures online, if you want to see some of the sights. I will post more later but I will try to do it weekly.

I went to a Flamenco show last night and it was really beautiful but I thought that it would be a little different. It was kind of slow and interrupted. I thought that it was a lot more hand movements and not fast, per say but definitely different than what I saw.

I have videos of it so I will try to post some of those somewhere and will send that link. I am going to the beach on Saturday and then to a Bullfight on Sunday. I am not sure how to feel about the bullfight but I think that I am in Spain and cannot have time to go to another bullfight probably in my lifetime. So it might be disgusting and against my beliefs but it is part of their culture and I am supposed to be fitting in to this culture.

Well the link to my pictures is community.webshots.com/user/preciousgirl626 . If that does not work just go to www.webshots.com and then look up user preciousgirl626!

I hope all is well and if you have any questions for me, email me!! I miss you all!

September 21, 2007

I have made it to Granada and it is absolutely beautiful. My host family is nice, I don't think they like me much but I am okay. I have been getting a little sick but I am recovering, just a minor cold. I have learned a lot of Spanish already and cannot wait for the three months to learn even more.

I just think it is amazing to hear so many different people speak Spanish in different ways. I am used to hearing the Spanish from Mexico so hearing this Spanish with a little lisp is kind of crazy. I am in the lengua y cultura section and I like it a lot. It is a lot of review right now but I think that is best for me. We have been watching movies in Spanish to get our understanding level up a little bit more. It helps and watching television in my señora´s house is helping too.

The city is beautiful and I cannot wait to see most of it. We have done a couple excursions to places around the city and I will try to send some pics of the amazing sights I have seen so far. And I cannot wait to go to the Alhambra on Tuesday. That castle looks beautiful and it has a lot of history and for those of you that know me well know how much I like learning about history.

We have ten days off before classes start on the 9th of October so I am planning to try to travel to Poland and Amsterdam to see some historical sights there. I would really like to see Auschwitz and some other concentration camps in Poland. And I want to try to go to Paris while I am here and visit with some friends and look around Paris for a day or so.

I plan on going on the Moroccan Exchange program here too. It's sounds like a lot of fun and it is cheap to do so I might do that in November sometime. I have met a lot of amazing people here from around the globe and they are all super nice and it will be interesting to keep in touch with them for the rest of my life. I think that is about it but just keep checking for any signs of updates. I will try to update at least weekly.

Adios,

Trisha

 
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