La escuela y Parque de Retiro

So first off, I would like make a statement, which I realize may be naive and presumptuous, but I’ll say it anyway: Everything is better in Spain. I know that this is evidence that I am obviously still in the “honeymoon stage” of living in another country, but I’m just saying it like it is. Everything is better here. For example, last night for dinner Blanca made us some delicious grilled ham-and-cheese sandwiches. Of course I have eaten this particular meal many MANY times before (I am a poor college student, after all), but I swear, these were the BEST grilled ham-and-cheese sandwiches I have ever had. Even though Katie informed me that the cheese was fake American cheese, my mind is made up: the best grilled sandwiches are found in Spain, more specifically in Blanca’s kitchen. Another example: each and every building here is a masterpiece. I honestly have not seen an ugly building. Not a single one. These pictures aren’t even of the special buildings (which are especially beautiful), these are just the regular buildings that Katie and I walk past everyday. These are just a few examples of a hundred. Honeymoon stage or not, when you’re in Spain (or any foreign country really) everything automatically seems a million times cooler than it is back home. Okay, there is my spiel about how stupendous Spain is. Now on to the adventures!
All of the buildings are so beautiful to me.

Early morning light hitting the Plaza on our way to school.

Classes officially started last Monday. I know, who knew we would actually be going to school here?! They have been really good so far--I am taking two Spanish classes, grammar and conversation, which are taught by native Spaniards. The first day almost put me in a coma. My grammar teacher spoke at breakneck speed, and I was dumbfounded the entire class. It was a little disheartening at first, because I felt like all the other girls were nodding their heads that they understood, while I sat there with my mouth wide open and a horrified look on my face. Little by little, I’ve gotten more accustomed to the Spanish accent and the “theta” pronunciation (gracias is pronounced grathias, comunicación is comunicathion, etcetera etcetera etthetera:)). My conversation teacher is fantastic...súper fantástica! (She says “súper” at least once per sentence, and just has fabulous words in general). These classes are everyday, and I cannot wait for the day when I understand 100% of what is said in them, as opposed to just 49%. One of my favorite classes is my religion class, which is taught by a general authority for our church and is soooo amazing. It’s all about the history of the LDS church in Spain, which is super interesting and just an incredible story of faith and perseverance. My other classes are a European Studies class (mainly the history of Spain, which is fascinating), a Madrid Walks class (which I think will be more like an educational treasure hunt--we have certain destinations and sites to see in Madrid, and we have to find our own way through the city to get to them), and lastly a Cultural Proofs class (for optimal cultural exposure). These classes won’t exactly be a walk in the park--we already have quite a load of work!--but I’m excited for them nonetheless.

  First day of school!

This is what most mornings look like: Speed-demon Katie fearlessly leading the way with leisurely me following 10 feet behind. :)

One day for our European Studies class, we took the train to Madrid and went to the Archaeological Museum. It is a huge, beautiful building that houses hundreds of artifacts from all of the different civilizations that have existed in and influenced Spain: the Romans, the Celts, the Iberians, etc. There is sooo much fascinating history here, and I learn new historical facts every day. After the museum we went to Retiro Park, which is a gigantic park that includes a lake, a few palaces, tons of statues, and miles of walking paths. Even though it is the winter and everything was mostly dead, it was still a beautiful park and I cannot wait to go back in the spring when everything is in bloom!

The girls in Retiro Park
Beautiful statue and fountain at sunset
Gorgeous lake and monument in the Park

Next post coming up soon, featuring our adventures from a day in........¡TOLEDO! Hold on to your fannies!


Katie said...

I don't know if my fanny can hold out much longer! Toledo is too freaking gorgeous to delay a post!

Sarah said...

SOOOOOOOOOOO cool! all the buildings look gorgeous. being in europe and seeing all the really old stuff makes you think about how young America is compared to the "Old World."

Paul~Melissa said...

great post Megan. We love hearing from you and reading all about your days and activities. It was good to hear about your classes and the subjects you are taking. Who is the GA teaching the religon class? Hope you understand the language better each day. We love you and miss you. Keep having the time of your life! love mom

Danielle said...

Yay!!! So exciting Meg!!! I love reading about your adventures and growth. Sounds like you are learning a ton and really enjoying everything about Spain! Take it all in! I love your passion and energy for history, culture and exploration! Much love, D