Saturday, April 3, 2010

And just like that...It's APRIL!

[Outside of Lagos, Portugal at the most southwest point of Portugal]

Luckily, there are a few things that hold true in the US in April, that aren’t true here.

1.) April showers bring May flowers.

Luckily, we had 2 months of showers in January and February, so the flowers are here now. And along with those flowers we have thousands of orange trees that line the streets. And while they’re bitter oranges on the trees (used for marmalades) that doesn’t stop them from making the air smell incredibly sweet every time you walk outside.

2.) April time at Michigan means exam time.

I’ve turned in one piece of homework at the University of Sevilla so far. I take three classes at the University and two at our program center. The two at the program center are run like American University classes, meaning readings and homework every class. But the European University courses are more lecture based with a large exam or project at the end. So far I’ve begun a project about journalism and one about Frank Lloyd Wright. And I mean begun in the way the Spanish use the word, meaning, I’ve considered thinking about it, but haven’t gotten to the actual thinking part yet.

3.) When the snow melts in Michigan in April it means one thing…time to fix the roads that the snow and ice ruined.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of construction here, but by April it’s about finished. And the construction here is very different: they don’t believe in taking precautionary safety measures. Sure, they might throw out a few orange cones or fences around a bulldozer or a chainsaw but the men that use the equipment don’t wear safety goggles, face masks, gloves or anything to protect their ears.

But what April really means for Spain is TWO WEEKS OF VACATION! The last part of March/the beginning of April is Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Sevilla and one of the last weeks is La Feria, meaning I have less than 12 days of class in April, because we get vacation time for both Semana Santa and Feria. So to take advantage of these breaks I will be doing some traveling.

Last weekend, six friends and I headed over to Lagos, Portugal (a 5 hour bus ride) to soak up some sun on the beach. We stayed in the old section of the city, which is surrounded by a giant wall. You can walk from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes. It was beautiful and the food was great. There was a farmer’s market (there are few things I love more than farmer's markets) on Saturday, so we all bought fresh fruits, vegetables and hummus for our lunches and dinners.

[Amanda and me, exploring the beaches in Lagos]

The city was quaint and everybody knows everybody. Literally, by the fifth day we were running in to people who knew who we were (the Americans) and people that we recognized from the day before.

But beyond that trip I also head to Barcelona next Wednesday and Paris the Thursday after. In Barcelona I’ll be staying with a few friends from Michigan and in Paris I’ll be spending a week with one of my childhood au pairs, Aisha!

Somewhere in there I’ll make it to class, write a bit about Frank Lloyd Wright and keep speakin’ my espaƱol.

And then, just like that, it’ll be May.

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