Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Una sonrisa grande!

It's been a week, so sorry! It's definitely been a busy week and I wouldn't have it any other way.

This weekend was amazing.

On Friday, my friends and I went out to Sopelana. We got Chinese food and had a really good dinner. We were going to go out that night, but it started to rain instead. We decided to get some snacks and watch a movie. We watched a 'Bug's Life' in Spanish.

We wanted to go somewhere on Saturday instead of staying in Bilbao. We were trying to find something close and cheap. We decided to go to Santander, which is a big city in Navarra. We woke up really early and took a bus to Santander at 930. We walked around the city for awhile, shopped, and ate some delicious Italian food. There was a festival going on in the city, so it was full of people with so much energy! Later that night, there was a bull fight. It was the first night of the series of bull fights these next couple weeks. I do not agree with the bull fighting idea, however, I am glad that we experienced it, because it is a highly integral part of Spanish culture.

And Sunday -- oh, where to begin. It was probably one of my favorite days in Spain so far.

One of my friends, Emily, lives with a host mom who invited Alissa and I to spend the day with them. Ninez, Emily's host mom, and her boyfriend (Reime), took the three of us to see more of the city that we haven't had a chance to see. We drove out to San Juan. It was beautiful; mountains and ocean water stretching for miles and miles. We looked out and saw a church on the other side of the mountain. Ninez pointed to it and said something about it; and none of really made anything of it. We thought she was just pointing it out. We had some waters at the restaurant and walked around a bit afterwards. Ninez and Reime stopped in the middle of the road and we looked over and saw a path. She said "Venga venga" meaning "Go, go" and we were confused. She said the path led all the way to the church that was just a tiny little dot on the other side of the mountain. She told us to ring the bell on the church when we got there and meet them back here after we got back.

So, we started walking... as we went, the cement ended and it was rocky and curvy. We had to go down one mountain, across a bridge, and up another one. It was breath-taking once we hit the other mountain. The steps were all different sizes [Dad, they were definitely not up to code :) ], so me and my klutzy nature, spent most of the time making sure I wasn't going to trip. The church was from the 1300's and still totally intact and standing. We rang the bell and took lots of pictures. The walk back, mostly uphill, was challenging, because we hadn't eaten in a long time.

Reime and Ninez took us around the rest of the town once we got back from our little journey. We drove to Bakio, a GORGEOUS beach town, to have dinner.

It was so cool to listen and speak Spanish all day. Ninez and Reime asked us why we wanted to learn Spanish and stuff about home and our families. I felt so accomplished being able to, not only understand, but to be understood. I am so certain that no matter what I do with my life, I know I want to continue on with Spanish. I stop and listen to people on the streets (and then realize that I should probably move). It's just so intriguing to me and so thrilling to be a PART of this language. To have this opportunity to clarify my goals is beyond anything I could ask for. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

I am very much looking forward to going home to my family and friends (and food), but leaving this home of 5 weeks, will be extremely difficult. I have experienced a lot of new things (even things I said I wouldn't try), experienced a different way of life, and realized more about my own culture.

Path on the mountain that we took

Miss you all. Abrazos!

P.S. - Thanks for the food, Mom :)