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September 27, 2010

Ooooh I know it has been way too long I know I know I am sorry. I just had a final Saturday that I stressed out for way more than I should have (considering I am basically not getting any credit for this semester) and blah blah blah things get busy and tired. But today! Today was my first day of real, real classes!

My first one – my actual Professional Teaching Development class – was okay. I know the professor already and he seems very nice. I think he was frazzled today. His name is Jorge. Reviewing English grammar looks to be an interesting challenge, especially considering that the textbooks text tenses and phrases with “Shall” and “Ought” that I don’t ever really use. But my homework includes having to look over English grammar textbooks and look at exercises that look interesting and helpful, which is crazy. It’s all started to feel even more real. We’re visiting our schools this week… and I cannot wait!

My other class on Mondays and Wednesdays is Advanced Phonetics and Phonology, which sounds boring (and maybe it is) but I am really excited to learn how to actually pronounce Spanish. It is about time. My professor Joaquin, is totally awesome. He is funny and knows his stuff. We talked mainly about syllables today, and somehow I still managed to stay awake and alert. That might have had something to do with all the coffee I drank right before class, but I am going to try thinking that it’s because I actually find the information totally interesting and absolutely relevent. It was great.

El bosque

Sunday I went on an 8 mile hike with my program, which was also totally fun and definitely a new way to, um, get over all the cheap wine I drank the night before (I’m just living the Spanish life….).  It was absolutely beautiful. We walked from one small town to another to another in the Huelva province. It was really amazing how much we saw and how much the climate changed: from wet and lush and cool to hot and dry and sticky. Somehow the guide knew my food interest and kept pointing out all kinds of food lore of the area, from the mushrooms in the forest (we didn’t see any, but apparently they are there) to the chestnut trees that the Moors brought south with them to the acorn trees that people collected to feed their pigs (jamón iberica is traditionally pigs that have been fed exclusively these acorns, and thus their meat has a richer, nuttier flavor) to the trees from which people hack the bark to make corks – a now dying industry thanks to the advent of plastic ones.

I hope to live there.

But really… I have never seen such perfect, picturesque towns. I could have stayed forever, and hope to go back at some point.

In the one I photographed the most, there were lots of bicycles and dreadlocks and people hand-pressing apple cider and then selling it in this plaza, where there was a small market going on. My friend Sarah bought some amazing uh-maze-ing looking tomato sauce. I have hardly ever seen tomatoes so bright in a jar (without preservatives and colors and market pressure). And for only two Euros! I kicked myself for thinking I would have no use for money on a hike.

White walls, white bikes.

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