Welcome to blog post number two. Things are going well here in Murcia! It's starting to warm up a little, and the city is truly beautiful.
View from the campus in Espinardo
I've been having lots of adventures with my international friends, and I've also made a few Spanish friends as well! We visited the Espinardo campus, which is about fifteen minutes away in the Tranvia (tram-esque thing). The campus there is huge and beautiful. It's covered in orange trees and palm trees and really nice architecture. Apparently Murcia (which is also the region of Spain we are in, not just the name of my city) is widely known as "The Orchard of Europe". There are a lot of parks and trees and whatnot.
Even the plants have plants!
Amy and Arisvet on the swings in la Plaza Circular
Classes have technically been in session for about two weeks, but the registration date just passed this Friday. As international students, we have the opportunity to shop a little bit by attending various classes and choosing the ones that work best for us. It's been kind of a crazy process. The Spanish academic system is pretty different from what I'm used to, and also, although the course schedule is posted online, many changes are made in the times and locations of classes. It's a very relaxed atmosphere, however, and being late or missing entire classes are not things that are heavily frowned upon.
The library at the Merced campus
There are definitely a few things that I'm missing about America, however. Aside from missing all of your beautiful faces, I'm strongly affected by the absence of The Nectar of the Gods, also known as Dr. Pepper. *Insert existential sigh* On one particular night, my search for the aforementioned delicious beverage led to an exceptionally surreal instance of awesomeness. I was with my roommate Megan chasing a rumor of a store called "American Sweets" when we ran into another couple of international students, Alfredo and Sam.
Don't tell them I posted this picture...they don't actually wear cardigans that way. Well, Sam might.
Well they were looking for something called "The Veronica Space" or something like that, and we wandered around with them for a while. It was in one of the older parts of the city, and there were even some ruins from the original city walls. We finally found whatever Sam and Alfredo were looking for, and it just looked like another old building from the outside. So we opened the giant wooden doors and stepped into another world.... it was a small foyer which seemed kind of space-agey, with shiny chrome and sleek simplicity... then suddenly the sliding frosted glass doors opened and we were at the beach. There was a boardwalk, and sand everywhere, and beach toys, and a Foosball table, and A GIANT GIRAFFE BOUNCY CASTLE.
This is what it looks like when Rachel's mind explodes from the sheer awesomeness of her surroundings.
Ever seen a minimalist icon for Giant Giraffe Bouncy Castle? Because I have.
Giraffe + cupola = ????
I didn't think it was real life. Apparently it's some sort of exhibition space for photography and video (there were some projectors in some sections showing some stop motion in public spaces stuff) and the theme for that week was the beach. It was magical.
As far as other magical adventures go, I went with a group of 100 or so international students to Carnaval in Aguilas, a nearby town. Basically, everybody just dresses up in whatever costume and there are carnival rides and street vendors and parades and lots of dancing in the streets. The whole town turns into a party. We stayed for about ten hours total, and we were definitely exhausted by the end of it.
Here are a few of us...I'm the pirate one
There have been many other fun adventures, and I'm still exploring the city and learning every day. My Spanish has improved a whole lot, especially through these language-exchange meetings I've been going to, where we just meet up at a bar to chat with some Spaniards who want to learn English. It's probably one of my most favorite things I've ever done. They correct our Spanish so that we sound more natural, and we ask them about words and phrases that have confused us. Then we speak English for a while and do the same thing for them! Hurray for culture!
There are many more things I could tell you about, but that's all for now, friends! Stay classy!