Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hodge Podge Hooliganaeity


Blurbs on life...

+September 11th in Spain. We got two days off from school this week because September 11th is Dia Nacional de Catalunya. You would drop dead in slumber if I attempted to explain the history of Catalunya and the significance of this particular holiday, but what a day it was. Sierra, our friend Shirley from UCSD, her roommate Margaret, and I went off in search of a certain palace open only a few times are year per suggestion of my culture teacher. A wild goose chase never actually led us to El Fossar de les Moreres, BUT we did get caught in an intense youth demonstration/riot in Placa de Santa Maria. The place was packed out with people sporting signs emblazoned with political slogans, exuberantly waving Catalunya flags, bellowing independence songs, chanting cheers in unison, and handing out pamphlets declaring Catalan as the official and only language of Catalunya. Not exactly a crowd I would willingly choose to fight my way through, but inevitability forced us into the mush pot of bodies and body odor. UGH. Certainly a cultural experience...demonstrating alongside adamant Catalan advocates in their never-ending quest for the successful succession of Catalunya. I mean, I don't think La Jolla affords such, uh, exciting privileges.

+Wo zai MEI GUO lai de. I recently learned in my conversation class that Chinese are the worst viewed group in Spain right now. Great. I definitely felt the stigma in Cadiz, but I thought it was simply a small-town thing, and was rather relieved to see many more Asians upon my arrival in metropolitan Barcelona. Yet despite the misleading facade of a larger population and copious Chinese restaurants all over the city, being Asian is seemingly worse here in Barcelona. On several occasions, I've had to ask random people on the street for directions, and more than one person has taken to look at the ground and mumble something about their inability to speak Chinese while attempting to make a quick getaway. Um, I was speaking in SPANISH, thank you. Then when we were stuck in the youth demonstration mob, the lady behind me kept pushing me. I thought it was because everyone was supremely crowded and unavoidably squished together. I turned around for the twentieth time to make sure I wasn't being pick-pocketed, and she snapped, "You stupid Chinese. Go back to your country. You don't belong here. This is Catalunya, we don't accept your kind." If I wasn't afraid of the whole Catalan crowd turning on me, I might have punched her in the face. Talk about mal rollo.

+Ee ele peh. In happier, more pleasant news though, WE ARE FINISHED! We took three finals (the culture one was like a mellow revisit to our nightmarish MMW days--oiy!) this morning to cap off our four-week Intensive Language Program (ILP). Hurrah. No longer shall we be having six consecutive hours of class a day. We are celebrating tonight with wine and...packing. No, seriously, we are THAT excited about packing. The next entry shall detail the reasons for our elation. But before I clock out to commence the celebratory activities, I'd like to give a quick shout out to IKEA for saving our lives. And our parents' wallets. 1) IKEA brought us back from the brink of starvation with their bargain meal of a Swedish hot dog, drink, and ice cream for only 2 euros. 2) After a depressingly fruitless search in town for blankets (twin-size comforters were about 200 euros at all stores!), IKEA blessed us with fluffy down blankets for a steal of 15 euros! Oh, United States of IKEA, we pledge our eternal allegiance to you.

Now for some picture catch-up:

The walk home from the metro station
and outside Colegio Mayor Sant Jordi.
Platja de Barceloneta
University of Barcelona
"Cocktail Acid," Twix, and an apple for dinner...
Weekends bring special treats.
Cafe Zurich in Placa Catalunya
Arc de Triomf, Barcelona-style
Os echamos de menos.

1 comment:

grace said...

felicitaciones en su apartamento!

pues... el año de escuela esta viniendo.. AAAAAAAHHHHHHH