Sunday, July 5, 2009

You know it's a good day when you bring sand home from the beach with you...and I have had a very good weekend.

On Friday, we visited the Guggenheim museum which is a staple of the Bilbao community. The importance of that museum is far greater than I had realized. There was an economic crisis in Bilbao in the '70s and '80s and the Guggenheim foundation generated funds to build the museum and therefore, attract tourists and re-fuel the economy. During our tour, our director told us that without the Guggenheim, we ultimately would not be studying in Bilbao right now. I am not a history person at all - but I am grateful for this kind of history. The museum was extremely cool and most of the exhibits were largely interactive. I enjoy interacting with art instead of merely looking at it.

Our directors planned a concert for our group later that night. We left the Guggenheim, returned to the dorms quickly, and left for downtown Bilbao. We stopped at Burger King (we are REALLY good at finding American food) beforehand. The concert was great and a large majority of our group was there. It was fun because we got to talk to a lot of Spanish people and practice our Spanish again.

Saturday :: 4th of July :: we were all homesick for 'fuegos artificiales' (fireworks), hamburgers, and a celebration. We started the day off at the mall because it was raining. Someone told us about an American pub that was really close to the Universidad. We decided that there was no better day to go than on 4th of July. We were thrilled to find burgers and fries on the menu - so the four of us got a side of fries and a burger. The waitress was kind of snickering throughout our order and we just thought it was because we were trying (and apparently not succeeding) at ordering in Spanish. She came back with four HUGE plates of fries...and we started to realize that she was laughing because we ordered a ton of food without knowing it. Our burgers were probably 12 inches in diameter- we had to move our drinks and the ketchup off to fit all of the plates on the table. In the end, I think the waitress had more of a laugh about it than we did, but it was a good meal :)

Today, we all slept in late and ate lunch separately. We met up at a Metro stop in Nerugi which is a suburb of Bilbao. We walked about a mile to the beach. Nothing is open on Sunday in Spain, so people either go to the beach or stay in. The beaches and the boats were gorgeous. We are planning on going back in the near future. Two of my friends live in Sopelana, which is another suburb that is known for their beaches. After we stopped in Nerugi, we visited Sopelana and their beaches. It is surrounded by mountains and it was a perfect night for a walk on the beach. I definitely think I walked off that burger from last night ;)

I am thoroughly enjoying it here. I am drawn to new things and exploring all these new cities and places is thrilling to me. We got lost a couple times, but every wrong turn is just an opportunity to see new things.

Tomorrow is the first day of classes para mi. Wish me luck!

Paz y amor, Lana