Anchovies, the Lottery, and Photography

I apologize for the previous “Business” post. But sometimes life requires a little seriousness.

But as for my current life, which is a lot more fun that thinking about teaching abroad, I’m actually living abroad. And the past few days have been so great!

I had my photography class yesterday and I was really dreading having to go because I didn’t really have any pictures I was crazy about. I had to photograph “You and your environment.” I took pictures of some of my friends and my apartment, but nothing really stood out to me.  I even went over to Ale’s to take pictures of her (which I didn’t end up doing), but I felt really discouraged about this whole project. Fortunately, she is a terrific friend and she helped me figure out what to do and inspired some ideas in me.

In the end, after spending about 5 hours compiling photographs and editing them, I actually went to class excited to share my photos. I came up with a mini-theme for it as well. I put my photos into five folders all titled (in Spanish) with expressions or words I had just recently learned here. (Photographs are attached to this post).  I wanted to portray the idea that my life here is completely new and different than my life back in Denver. My “environment” has changed entirely: I live in a new city in a foreign country, I’m speaking a new language, I’m meeting new people, I live in a different apartment, etc. So it’s important that I portray how my environment might be different from that of an average Spaniard’s.  So my photographs were based around the idea that if I had to show my friends back home what my new life was like, what would I show them?  Anyway, I think the teacher liked my approach.  After class, I was talking to the school secretary and she told me that my professor told her that I’m improving with my pictures. That makes me feel really good :)

Also, one of my classmates burnt me a CD with all this jazz music on it! It turns out, he teaches Saxophone here and is a musician. We began talking about musicians and groups and hit it off really well. So this week, he brought me a CD with all kinds of awesome music! I’m so excited to listen to it all!

After class, the entire school (including my professor and the other employees there…this is nothing new, this happens every week) went to a photography exhibit! It was actually really terrific. All my classmates are great fun, and we stopped by, picked up some beer and went to the event. It was outside so it was freezing cold, but I ended up meeting a lot of people and we got along really well. Everyone here seems to think I’m really funny, but I think it’s just because I’m awkward and my Spanish is even more awkward. But regardless everyone I meet is laughing and one guy gave me a can of anchovies. He claims they are some of the best in Spain. BTW, anchovies are normal here. You can get a tapas of bread, cheese, and anchovy at almost every place. Although I’m not a huge fan of the salty fish, it was really nice that he gave them to me.

But it’s just so great that I’m learning so much here. Not only am I learning about Spain and their culture and their language, but I’m learning about photography. I’m learning something new every where I go. I’m meeting new people daily and I’m speaking so much Spanish and learning tons of slang, and I just realized last night, while I was standing in the freezing cold watching photographs be projected from an Apple laptop sitting on top of a trash can in the middle of an alley with 50 other people huddled up, fighting the cold, but enjoying the slideshow and the cheap beer purchased from the “chinos,” that my life is incredible. And I can’t avoid but learn things and try new things. And this is just so exciting. I’m never leaving this place. I’m doing everything I’ve always wanted to. Don’t tell Mom and Dad, but I think I’m going to sign up for another year of this….How can I give this up, honestly? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if I can do it for another year, I should take the chance. I’m 23 years old. I’ve got the rest of my life to pay off my college debts and do what grown ups are supposed to. But for now, I’m going to continue exploring and living my life to the fullest. And heck, I work 16 hours a week and even when I do work, I don’t do that much. I’m on vacation practically. A vacation of learning, living, and dreaming. It’s perfection.  I can’t believe my luck. I can’t believe where I’m living. I can’t believe the people I’ve met. I can’t believe how incredibly awesome this place is. It’s another world here, and it’s a place that I feel everyone should be.

Today, I went to Getafe for school and I started teaching the 5 year olds. It went well, but I was only with them for a few minutes. At lunch, Toni, my amazing professor who keeps giving me gifts, gave me a 5 euro lottery ticket for christmas. December 22nd I find out if I won! But, wow, she is so great I can’t even believe it! Also, tomorrow, I’ll be meeting up with her around 1:30pm to go to lunch with her husband and three of her nieces. It was so nice of her to invite me, and she absolutely insists that I go! She said the restaurant we are going to is real typical Spanish. I can’t wait to meet her family and eat some amazing Spanish food! I really need to get this woman something, she has been so great to me.

Anyway, tonight David is coming over and we are going with my roommates to get some Mojitos or something. We have another visitor in house right now, she’s from Sweden! Sweet! She’s really nice. Tomorrow, after my lunch, I’m gonna hang out with Ale and then she’s having a get together at her place since Blanca and her roommate, Levene, will all be gone.

Mom and Dad come in a few weeks and I can’t wait to show them all around!

Write more later,
Graham

PS Got a letter from Meme (that’s my grandmother). SOOO great to get snail mail from the states :) Love you, Meme!  Thanks for the letter

PPS As for the rest of you, where are my letters, eh?! And where are my care packages of American food that I can’t get out here? Huh!? I’m waiting…

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