New Cultures and Big Sculptures

Days away from spring break and just moments away from my first exam here ever! School has been pretty interesting this past week; from strikes to finding out I was enrolled in a class that I didn’t register in.

My university, UC3M, had a strike organized by students because of the recently approved “3+2” system. The government wants to reduce four-year degrees to three years with two years of masters (which is more expensive than undergrad). So if students don’t have money for those two years of masters then their three-year degrees are going to be basically worthless compared to those who have four-year degrees.

DCIM100GOPROTo make the day even more interesting I found out I was enrolled in a class that I didn’t know about and so haven’t gone to the whole semester. At the beginning of the semester I requested to be in the class since I wasn’t able to get into it during registration but was told they couldn’t do anything because all spots were taken. I guess spots opened up and I was placed in the class but was never notified! The first thing that went thru my mind was that I was either going to fail or have to withdraw from the class. Lets just say I was pretty much freaking out. But after talking to the international coordinator and emailing SDSU coordinators they were able to drop the class for me.

Bucket list, the urban dictionary defines it as a list of things to do before you die but I say its just a collection of things you dream of doing during some point in your life. As I rode a camel along the Tangier coast in Morocco, where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, I mentally crossed one item of my list. Visiting Morocco was such an amazing experience, the culture shock was on another level. First of all I couldn’t believe I was actually physically in Africa! After I wrapped my head around that, I was in for a weekend full of diverse customs, food, and languages. To my surprise most Moroccans spoke French and little to no English or Spanish. This made communicating pretty hard and most of the time I found myself pointing at things or using my hands to try and describe what I was trying to say.

IMG_6528As a Muslim country, Morocco has different standards for the way women are to dress. Although I wore long sleeved shirts and loose bottoms, trying to not stand out as a foreigner was nearly impossible. On the second day of my trip we visited a small town about two hours northeast of Morocco called Chefchaouen (aka the Blue City). This small town was just breathtaking, the houses and shops throughout the whole city were all painted blue. The doors to people’s homes were so detailed and the streets with shops and children running reminded me of something straight out of a magazine. But after three short days I was headed back to Madrid on a twelve-hour ferry/bus journey.

IMG_6544I obviously enjoy sitting in buses for hours and hours, not actually, so three days later I was back on a bus headed to the second biggest event in Spain. La Crèma de las Fallas de Valencia is a huge festival in which they burn down the Fallas, large figures made out of styrofoam, that they have spent all year building. The beauty and size of these sculptures is something I have never seen before. It made me so sad to see how they burned them down at the end of the night. Some of the Fallas cost up to 900,000 Euros! But the burning of them is a tradition that marks the beginning of spring. After 12 hours of walking and exploring the city of Valencia, I decided it was my second most favorite city in Spain, after Madrid of course! The city just had some type of indescribable charm to it. To end the night in Valencia, I experienced the best firework show of my life on the city’s main square, Fourth of July has nothing on Valencia! I literally had ash all over me from all the intense fireworks, which they refer to as “the earthquake” event.

Back in Madrid, I was just looking at the weather for the next week and for the first time since I have been here there will be weather hitting the upper 70s! For you guys over in San Diego this is no big deal, but this news has me way too excited. But my spring break plans will take me back into the mid sixties next week as I make my way to the “Eternal City”! Until next time, Ciao!

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