Monday, August 31, 2009

Culture shock

It's 11:00pm here in Granada, just got back from a great dinner and finally the internet is working but it is very very slow. Hopefully in the next week I will have the time to upload some pics. If there was one word to describe today it would be OVERWHELMING!. After 2 hours of sleep we (the AIFS students) made our way by bus too the Gatwick Airport. There was intense fog and everyone was very very tired (except some girls in the front who kept everyone awake with their renditions of rap and pop songs). After boarding the plane a long while later (8:30) we made our way to Malaga. The plane ride was okay but by the time we were getting ready to leave the plane the jet lag and lack of sleep caught up with me. The 95 DEGREE weather didn't help much.
I slept most of the way on the two hour drive from Malaga to Granada. The landscape is vastly different here, Mountains fill the entire vista. We arrived in Granada around 2:00pm and then (my group) the resident students made their way up to our residence "Hostel Jardines" while the other home stay students went off with their respective families.
The rooms are nice here, and the ten of us AIFS students that live here share the place with 60 Spanish students. Our residence directer showed us around and I felt the culture shock begin. I bought a few meals today and some groceries and managed to get by with simple Spanish but I'm still adjusting and it will be a few days before I get into deep conversations with any of the Spaniards here.

For now thats all, its late and I am very tired. We have tests tomorrow at 8:30 and hopefully my Spanish will somehow find its way out of the cobwebs of my mind. I'll post pics and write some more detailed stories later this week!!!!

Snapshot of London

There is limited internet ability over here in Granada so I had to throw together a quick snapshot of my weekend. Here it is!
London August 29th,
After a 8 hour flight we arrived at Heathrow Airport at about 9 am. From there we made our way out to the bus and to our hotel in South Kinsington (however that is spelled). There are about 11 of us from Minnesota. There are several people who were originally scheduled to study abroad in Argentina but due to a swine flu outbreak there they were moved to the Granada group. Everything in London was interesting. I found myself chatting with a few London natives in the plane and while they were speaking English I found it hard to follow.
                We left the hotel in a large group like tourists which I wasn’t a fan of but it was nice to explore and get some fresh air. I was surprised how tired I was, jet lag really took its toll on me. It felt like I had been awake for days. After wandering aimlessly around for a while we found a pub and stopped to eat. I had a chance to sit down and absorb the British culture.  It was at that point that I realized how stupid we must have looked looking the wrong way at crossings and such. Throughout our entire stay in London I found myself running into small differences in the culture. From the double decker busses to architectural age of the buildings, around every corner was a new experience.
                At the pub most of us got the fish and chips and a becks beer. I was super excited that a football (soccer) game was on! We split up from the group and made our way back to the hotel. We only managed to get lost once on the way back which I thought was really good considering we couldn’t locate any street signs (they’re all on fences or buildings). With some help if a passing resident of South Kensington we were able to locate the hotel again. When we got back we received our room assignments, Yuri was my roommate for our time in London. We talked for a bit and then after a bit of a rest we headed out to explore a nearby park (Hyde Park). I seriously wish there were parks in the States like the ones in London. It was such an amazing place. We even saw where the Peter Pan stories originated in the nearby area (I guess the author used to take walks in there while writing the story). I feel asleep laying next to a pond, the weather was wonderful!!!
                A welcome drink at 6 brought everyone together and we got to see all of the AIFS students going to Granada and Salamanca. That night we grabbed some pub passports and went out in search of some food and drinks. There was a great cafĂ© next to some nearby pubs where I ate that night.
London August 30th
                An early wake up on Sunday and it was off to the Coach tour! We had a fantastic guide and there are lots of pictures that you can find by clicking on the link above. Big Ben, Museums, a naked man in a square, art galleries, palaces, celeb hotels, and much more! Where to begin everything went by so fast! The bus dropped us off at Covent Gardens near the City of London (capital C means the center). From there everyone split up and went off to explore some more. It was a long, long walk back. On the way back I stopped at the science museum and then back to the hotel for some rest before heading back out to dinner. I went to bed at 12:00 am and woke up at 2:30 am this morning, Yikes. 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Here is the link to my photos

They will be organized by place

Granada Spain: Coming Soon

I leave Friday August 28th for London and then on to Granada! Look for blogs and posts!