Tuesday from 11 to 1 I had my País Vasco culture class. I really like the teacher and since non-Spanish speakers dropped the class, she is able to speak more quickly.
For past 2 weekends, the Regata has been here, a boat race, like crew. Its a Basque sport and it began before the industrialization of the Basque Country (País Vasco). When the fishermen were fishing, they would often catch whales and would need to make it back to shore quickly to beat the other fishermen and to get the best price for their catch. This "race" to get back to shore turned into the sport, although now women participate too. In the afternoon from 3 to 5, I had my Spanish class. The teacher is a bit nutty and looks like a cross between Robert De Niro and Danny Devito...but about 60 years old. All week we went over irregular verbs-I'm not sure why since I mastered those in high school. I have to tune-out so I don't get confused with his explanations of irregular verbs or "Verbos Goofy" as he calls them. Tuesday night a bar held a welcome party for all the Erasmus/foreign students. It was fun but crowded and I didn't stay out too late.
Wednesday, I had the País Vasco class again and then another class in the afternoon. Not much happened but we all got together and cooked dinner.
Its so nice not having class on Fridays...I think its the first time my schedule has been so lucky. I decided that I would choose and cook the dinner that night so we had steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a salad
. Yum! I had a feeling we had forgotten something when we left to go cook at Sandy's (SCU student) apartment and when making the mashed potatoes we didn't have any milk! They were still really tasty though, more like smashed potatoes instead of whipped. Everyone else had their steak medium/medium well/well done...and they thought it was gross that my rare/medium rare steak was so red! Of course, we indulged in our favorite white wine (Its a semi-sweet wine that sells for about a dollar!) A student from the Netherlands, Sjoerd (pronounced Shoe-rd) had his 20th birthday Friday so he had a party at his apartment. After a while and after all the snacks/alcohol had been consumed, we left (about 50 of us) for Parte Vieja (Old Part of town) to hit the bars. After about 4 weeks of the bars in Parte Vieja, its starting to get a little old (ha, pun intended) so Friday was an early night too..by early I mean 3am. The biggest club in San Sebastian doesn't even open until 3am and closes at 7am usually makes for a long night but its expensive to get in (about $15) unless we have "passes" that we can get at school.
I slept in until 1pm Saturday (oops) and then a bunch of us had surfing lessons at 3:30. The school set them up for us and it was only 12 euro, about $17. There were 30 of us with 4 instructors so it was crowded and made me nervous because of all the waves and so many people everywhere, and very inexperienced surfers too
. Surfing is SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult than skiing or snowboarding...I have good balance but it was hard so just sit on the board. I caught a few waves...I got up to my knees and then fell over. It is really exhausting especially because once you start on a wave it can take you pretty far towards the beach and then you have to pass all the waves that are breaking and they crash on top of you. The salt water in the eyes/mouth doesn't make it super enjoyable. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and we had wetsuits so I didn't get burnt which made it just that much better! Saturday night we got some pintxos quickly and then went to the soccer game at 10pm. The stadium is about 2 miles away and during the entire walk there were drunk locals in their blue and white striped jerseys chanting and singing. We had AMAZING seats...they better have been amazing for 70 euro each (you do the math...ouch!) We were 2nd row right in the middle of the field! The San Sebastian team, Real Sociedad, played Real Madrid and unfortunately, we lost 2-1 but it was a good game. Everyone knows that Europe loves their futbol but you can't really understand until you're in a stadium with 32,000 cheering and drunk Spaniards. The game ended around midnight and it took about 30 minutes for us to walk back. I was tired and didn't want to "start" my night at the bars at 1am so I just went to bed.
Saturday officially started the showing of movies for the 58th San Sebastian Film Festival
. Julia Roberts is here but I haven't seen her yet (and likely won't =( ). On the way to surfing, we passed by Kursaal (the location for the film festival, although films for the festival are shown in theaters throughout the city) and there were hundreds of people lined up to get in for their Saturday afternoon movie. Some guy got rushed by a bunch of people asking for autographs. I didn't recognize him and he's probably a Spanish director. On Wednesday night we'll be seeing Eat, Pray, Love, the Julia Roberts movie. By the time we got out act together to buy tickets for other movies, they were already sold out...all the movies had sold out just a few days after tickets went on sale but at least we're seeing one.
Today, Sunday, I'm just relaxing and my friends are heading to the beach. I'm not much of a beach/sun person (I get burnt really easily) but I'm going to join them for about an hour and a half before the next event on our agenda. My friend Coco has some friends who know some people who live in San Sebastian so she is meeting them today. They invited her for a lunch event because they belong to a Gastronomic Society club. These clubs started in San Sebastian in 1870. They consists of a group of friends from 15 people to sometimes 200 people who gather occasionally to cook meals. They use a large hall, shop and cook their own food. Its kind of a cooking club
. The people are from all classes and initially only included men but women have been allowed to join in recent years.
Later today, around 6pm we're all meeting to go to the spa. For 6 euro (about $8/$9 for 2 hours) our school gives us passes to the spa. A few people have already gone and its more like a swim spa-they have get pools and heated water beds and shower tunnels with colorful lights illuminating the water. It should be interesting and relaxing!
I think I'm going to try to plan a weekend trip to a nearby city (only a few hours away by bus) so maybe Zaragoza, Pamplona, Burgos, etc. I'd love to see Burgos because it used to be Spain's capital in the 15th century (I think) when the Moors invaded.
As you can see from all the futbol pictures, I've been enjoying my new camera/early birthday present. It has a fantastic zoom and I was playing with the shutter speed/lighting settings to get the close-up/action shots. Thanks mom and dad, everyone is jealous of my pictures...
Monday began the first full week of classes; classes don't officially start until Thursday the 23rd but the past week and a half have been "trial classes" in which you can sit in on classes and try them out. From 11 to 1 I had my Spanish Art History class. It started a little slow, discussing warm/cool shades and themes but since the class is all in Spanish its really helpful to brush up on vocabulary and to start to establish a more complex/descriptive art vocabulary. From 3 to 5 I had my second class, "Profile of the Postmodern Man." Its only 1 day a week but it sounds like an interesting class. Its semi-religion, semi-sociology and we'll be learning about the societal impacts of poverty.