Sin embargo, hay unos pocos momentos escogidos en la vida que según los estás viviendo ya sabes que los vas a recordar para siempre.
However, there are small chosen moments in life that while you are living them, you already know that you are going to remember them forever.
So, I read the above in the book I’m currently reading for my grammar class, El cazador del desert by Lorenzo Silvia. I honestly feel like it really encompasses my life right now, so I just had to share. It was so crazy when I happened upon it while reading, moments like that make me feel like I’m in the right place at the right time, obviously I was meant to be working on homework this weekend, haha.
Anyway, this week has been eventful, but not in an OMG I WENT TO ROME kind of way, so that’s been kind of nice, but I feel like Sunday is becoming my weekly blog update day, so I don’t want to break the habit! Tuesday began la Semana Cervantina here in Alcalá, basically a week long celebration of the life and works of Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quijote) who was born here. The festival always begins on el Día de Cervantes, October 9th, the day Cervantes was baptized in Alcalá. It begins on the date of his baptism because, well, we don’t know with certainty when he was born, haha, but we do have a certificate of baptism, the real one, here in Alcalá, and the parade it around on el Día. It was a really, really cool week, because Cervantes was one of the major reasons I came here. As a double English and Spanish major, when choosing study abroad programs, it was hard to ignore the fact that I could study Cervantes in the city where he was born. Definitely a major pull for me, haha. So, this week, the entirety of downtown was transformed into a medieval market, a completely different experience from the Renaissance Fairs in the States, as there are literally buildings in Alcalá from that time period, definitely giving a much more realistic effect, haha. I loved the market, I think I walked through it almost twice a day, every day this week, and bought a lot of presents for friends and family back home, as well as a couple things for myself. I think my favorite that I got was a beautiful hand-crafted and hand-painted jewelry box. The couple who make them and were selling them at the fair were really nice, and we talked a little in Spanish before I bought it, and they helped me pick out the best one for me based on our conversation. Little things like that are what’s so great about buying things at craft fairs, or medieval markets (haha) because you get the chance to see the person and talk to the person who made what, at least for me, will be a keepsake from Spain for a long time. It’s so different than just walking into a souvenir store and buying a t-shirt that says Alcalá de Henares, though I can’t lie, I did buy a I <3 Roma shirt, haha.
The food at el mercado has been incredible, though I've mostly gone for the crepes. I think I had roughly three this week, two with nutella and banana, and one with nutella and strawberry. Absolutely delicious. It's a good thing that it was only here for a week, because I don't need that temptation walking to and home from class every day, haha. Oh, on Tuesday, our classes were cancelled as was work for almost everyone in Alcalá so they could enjoy the day of Cervantes' baptism, so el mercado was literally packed with people. Well, there are tons of performed in costume, dressed as different medieval characters, complete with a Don Quijote and Sancho Panzo, who ride down the streets on a horse and donkey respectively every couple of hours. So, obviously, I was taking tons of pictures. Well, one of the performers, dressed as a centaur got really close to me as I was taking his picture with my iPhone, and my literal thought was, "Oh, how cool! I can take a really neat pic of him now!" when he promptly snatched my iPhone from my hand and set off running down the street. I didn't even pause for a second, I set off running after him and grabbed the back of his little centaur outfit, and said, in very angry spanish, "give me my phone, now." He gave it back to me, and it was only when I returned to where my friends where that I realized it was just a joke he was pulling on lots of people at el mercado as part of his little performance, but it made me mad, because our resident director is always telling us to be careful with our phones because someone will literally snatch them from your hands. On the bright side, I'm pretty proud of my quick reaction, haha mythical creature or not, I was about to take that centaur down.
The other big news of this week is that yesterday I finally broke down and bought a hair straightener and blow dryer. I cannot tell you how happy this purchase as made me, haha. I brought my hair straightener with me, but after being warned multiple times I could blow out my straightener even with a plug adaptor, I tried it once and when it didn't warm up, was too afraid to wait anymore and unplugged it immediately. So, instead, I told myself for the last month and a half that I don't need to straightener my hair, I'm perfectly fine with my hair curly, it's good for my hair not to straighten it every day, it looks more spanish curly, etc. etc. until last week I finally broke down, haha. It's not so much that I really hated my hair curly, I think there was something oddly psychological satisfying about being able to straighten my hair, something I usually do almost every day in the States and haven't been able to do here. Plus, my host mom absolutely loves it, and that always makes me happy, haha. I guess it definitely is the little "normal" things that make the difference when you are studying abroad.
On that note, I can't believe it's been a month and a half since I've been here. On Saturday, it'll be two months until I go home, I'm almost at the halfway point. These last couple of weeks have really flown by, and I have a feeling October will continue in that method. But, on the downside, almost halfway means that I have midterms the week after this, and I am rather nervous about them. I've been working hard in all my classes, but in most of them, my only grades are my midterm and my final, which really freaks me out. And, whoever told me before I came to Spain that classes abroad where pretty easy, was totally lying. I'm not saying they are hard, they honestly aren't as hard as Wofford, but they are in another language which definitely adds another degree of difficulty. My spanish classes at Wofford are obviously all in Spanish, but here it's different to have all of your classes, all five of them, 15 hours a week, and all of your work totally in Spanish. I'm honestly amazed at how used to it I am at this point, but I feel like it actually will be weird going home and not having to take notes in Spanish in my english class, or writing down my homework in spanish in my planner.
Tuesday of this week, I'm going to see el Rey Leon (the Lion King) the musical in Madrid!! I can't wait, I bought my ticket three or four weeks ago, so I'm super excited to finally be going, I know it's going to be so amazing! The only bad thing is I have my english classes with the kids on Tuesday, so I'm going to be going from classes, to tutoring with kids, to Madrid to see el Rey Leon, and roughly home around midnight, haha. But, it's definitely going to be work it, and I'm planning on buying a really awesome el Rey Leon shirt to wear around and make people jealous.
So, that's basically what's been going on this week for me, no crazy Rome stories, just normal Alcalá stories, which I definitely like. Besos y abrazos.