Everyone got there and we walked up to the CLM, where our classes will be
. We took our placement exams. All of the directions were in Spanish, so basically I understood nothing. The first part was writing an essay choosing one of two topics. I kind of understood the first topic based on the words relation to French and English, so I tried to write the pros and cons of the topic, taking words from what was written, French words, and some Spanglish words. Then, they turned on a video for us to watch and answer multiple choice questions. This time I understood absolutely nothing, so I put question marks. The third part was grammar, multiple choice, a lot like we did with Madame. I basically just guessed on those or tried to relate it to French. Finally, we had the oral part. The woman spoke really fast and I had no idea what she was saying. She slowed down and I kind of understood, how many years of Spanish did you take? I said, cero or none or something like that and she pointed to my grammar score, where I had gotten quite a few right on one part and said "como possible?". I had no idea how to say "I guessed" in espanol, but she seemed to get my drift and said "intuicion?" and I said, yea. She said "beginner classes?" I said, "si, gracias". So, I'm in level 1B, which is the first level, thank goodness! I do feel that French will help out muchos, though. While everyone was testing, I got to know some people in the group a little better, which was good. I unfortunately didn't take my camera, but the centro is gorgeous with a huge fountain in the middle and amazing architecture
. Everything is really beautiful here, palm trees everywhere and snow covered mountains in the distance.
We walked back towards the Correos to get our pictures taken and then back to Centros for the cell phone meeting. Pretty much starving by this time, (I hadn't had a chance to grab breakfast in the morning) we went to a welcome lunch at a nearby restaurant. We had all pre-ordered what we wanted. I had salad (which had tuna-that I didn't eat; corn, beets, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, etc.), chicken (which came with something potato-ish and vegetables), and tiramisu. The Spanish do have lunch a lot later and take their time when eating meals, so we took our time talking and getting to know each other more. Then, we walked to the other language school, where I think I will be for the classes in English. The building was so pretty, painted yellow with orange-ish roofs and palm trees all around. There have also been a lot of orange trees around, just randomly on the sidewalk or in the park. We had a little bit of free time, so a group of us went back to the first centro to explore a little. The last activity of the day was a culture shock orientation, which was done by a psychologist who works with the students at the language school. It was pretty interesting and she involved us, but everyone was just ready to go after a long day.
We decided to do some shopping, walked quite a bit, and saw some really neat places
. There is a gorgeous fountain in one section that leads to a street with a walking area in the middle and roads on the sides and then more paths and then stores. Many, many benches scattered around in a really nice area. We found a really neat store with traditional fans and hairclips. Some of the girls wanted to do some shoe and clothing shopping, so we found a lot of trendy Spanish shops. Right now, there is a sale on everything, kind of like an after-Thanksgiving sale, which is over pretty soon. I bought a pair of shoes that were on sale for a lot. It was kind of an impulse buy because my feet were killing me, but they're cute and I will wear them. The driving around here is kind of crazy and one girl said that she heard on the radio here that Spanish has the most people that get hit by cars. Any vehicle from mopeds to huge buses will go down tiny streets. Luckily, they are loud enough that you hear them coming on a small street. On busy streets, you have to stay on the sidewalks and cross at the crosswalks or you're in trouble.
I got back to the apartment and found dinner laid out for me. Lauren and Holly left for London this evening, so I'm the only student around. Lola's daughter, whose name I couldn't catch, is visiting. I met her and her dog, Lucas, when they returned. She was very nice and spoke some English, which was helpful because I didn't have Lauren or Holly to help translate. Lola is pretty good about talking slowly and motioning so I can understand. She showed me what I can have for breakfast manana (toast and yogurt). For dinner tonight, Lola had made a tortilla with potatoes in the middle and another ensalada, the same as yesterday, but with some bowtie pasta in it. Me gusta todos! I'm basically exhausted again, so I think I'll get a good sleep so I can possibly do something tomorrow night. We're talking about taking salsa and flamenco lessons, going mountain biking and hiking in the mountains with the Centros program, and going to the Alhambra, which you apparently have to book like years in advance (aka 3 months). We have a few days off before classes start, so it will be bueno to get to know the city a little more. Adios!
So I just got back from a very long day wearing high heeled shoes. Not a wise decision. I woke up muchos early to get a shower and get ready to leave by ocho. My alarm startled me, so I did my normal jump up into the air and lie back down move. I got up in a few minutes, but no-one else was up, so I had to be really quiet. Any noise that I made, Luna would start to bark, so I felt really bad about possibly waking up aka disturbing Lola. I tried to take the quickest shower I possibly could, they say to take only one short shower a day to save water and electricity for warming the water. I left in plenty of time to make it to the Correos and ended up getting there really early, which was neat because I got in some serious people watching. A lot of people were on their way to work, meeting up with people, or going to school. A lot of the kids I saw had on uniforms.