This blog post is a bit different than our usual reports on weekly happenings. It features writing by Matt about time, creative writing by Sadie as she people watches in Madrid, and three videos (thank you Ethney!) from our adventures over the past several weeks!
As part of Introduction to Spanish History class, students visit Spanish civil war bunkers and trenches in the Guadarrama mountain range that separates Segovia province and Madrid.
Time has usually been an enemy of mine. Maybe it's because I'm usually an over thinker that I see time as too fast. It has been a thief, it has sometimes never waited for me, and in general has been too fast for me. I used to have a paranoia with time, mostly thinking that I never had time to do anything, but the more I have matured the more I have come to realize that I have plenty of time ahead. Sure, time can go by quickly but that is only if you think about it a lot. During my study in Spain, I’ve come to appreciate every moment here, so it feels like I'm not losing out on any experience at all. It's a bit of a juggle, you have to not focus on how much time you have yet you still need to remember how much time you have left. You also can't overthink how much you can do in a day, you have to roll with whatever punches come your way. I know it sounds a bit strange but that's the best way to approach it. Life is too short to be worrying about such a thing like time.
- Matt Arruda
Pinos de Valsaín. Pine trees on our hike to the bunkers!
Students dance the jota, a traditional Segovian dance step, in the Plaza Mayor.
Mario Jr., Emily’s host brother, shows Proctor students how it is done!
Clap, clap, wooh. Roar, roar, growl. The Palacio Real Madrid plaza is full of tourists. People pile in like there is no other place to hide. The Palacio yard looks like a human petting zoo. They are enclosed and they can never get out. One big yard. But it is also a maze. They run, laugh, and walk this yard. It seems like they are trying to get somewhere, but its like a maze. More art, furniture, walls, cobblestones, and people. To the left, right, and all around, one, two, and three people. Large and small groups gather together, they move more like snakes. Waves of words come out. Some people stand next to them. Eyes widen. A different language is overheard. Words you try to remember if you ever spent more than two hours in a high school language class: hola, adios, bien y tu, and guapa. French: Bonjour and more. English: hi, how are you, and goodbye. Chinese and a few other languages go in my ear and out the other. Couples pose hand in hand in the alleyways. They also stop for the occasional "kiss" photo. Others also stop. Many photos are taken judging by the constant click and swish sounds. Then, as the sun starts to disappear, so do the people and it will all start up again tomorrow.
Madrid's Palacio Real (Royal Palace)
Ever heard of the expression “home sweet home” when you were a little kid? Well, in my house, it was “home sweet neighborhood.” I do admit that sounds funny, but it was true. People who lived next to me saw and continue to see me grow up. I see their kids also growing or now grown up. I thought of this as I sat in a Madrid neighborhood.
Little apartments in colorful and dull, large buildings are all I can see. I hear yells and shrieks, running and thumping sounds from little kids on hardwood floors. The floors shake and furniture moves as feet swish by. As the kitchen lights turn on and a nice dinner is put out ready to be devoured. The table shakes as limbs throw themselves across the table and into the china bowls. Outside kids are playing and shrieking in the street. Parents call out, “be careful this is a city,” all en español. Soccer balls fly through the air like birds for three fast seconds. Parents exchange hugs in the middle of the street and they have a quick two minute conversation.
Parents stand on their balconies as the sun goes down and call to their children. “Kids dinner is ready.” And, one by one, they run through their doors. “Adioses” are exchanged as the children run home or into their houses for a nice family dinner. As the children open their house doors, the mothers close the balcony wooden doors. Everyone is home and everything is great.
~ Sadie Slattery
Afternoon activity photography trip to Philip II's El Escorial palace.
And to the town of Valsaín to photograph horses.
Hasta pronto! Next up, tales from our final excursion to Andalucía by Sadie and Emily.