This is less of a blog and more of an update. Just so family and friends are aware that I live and breathe, Spanish air no less.
I call upon friends in times of crisis and so, anyone close to me knows the utter stress and confusion I went through trying to get my Spanish visa in order. Up at 2am on the phone with Californian government offices, running all over Seoul getting documents, attempting to placate the man at the Spanish embassy, who seemed bent on ruining my life, and many times wondering if it was worth it. Well, I am here now (235 euros short, no less. Another headache of travel would be budget airlines who financially rape you for having two suitcases..) and it’s only been a week, but it’s safe to say, IT WAS.
After two weeks of travel through China and Sweden, I was dead tired once I arrived in Santiago de Compostela. I had booked my hostel for seven nights, in order to give myself ample time to find an apartment, but I only ended up staying two nights. Good thing because the shower was out to kill me. Let’s not go into it, but I’ll say the massive bruises on my underarm and knees are goddamn ridiculous. I ended up staying at the first apartment I found! Bright colors in the living room, Warhol and Banksy artwork, a record player, and bright light streaming in the windows had convinced me enough, but when Diego said we had the fastest internet around? Sign me up. Let’s surf. I live with two Spanish guys, Diego and German. Pronounced Hermon with a HARD H. I sound like I am sawing his name in half when I try to say it. They both work in media, television and radio and speak English quite well. Its been understood that sometimes I will have to speak Spanish and I’m trying my best, but they speak extremely fast and I’m unfortunately not there whatsoever yet. Diego has downloaded some Spanish movies for me, they tell me phrases now and then, and I’m hopefully signing up for a class tomorrow. Yet, just being in Spain, in a city where English is rare, has already helped me immensely. It’s slow going, but I’m hopeful!
It should be noted that I live in Santiago de Compostela, which is nothing like how you imagine Spain. First of all, it’s a holy city. We are the end of the Camino de Santiago, a walking pilgrimage. So on my way into town for a cafe con leche, I’m literally walking beside people in fucking hiking gear with massive walking sticks and seashells hanging around their necks. It’s absurd. I’ve been wanting to do the Camino de Santiago but it seems like, what’s the point? I live here! I suppose the point is the trek itself, but still. A pilgrimage that ends at your apartment is strange. Second of all, my city is in Galicia, a region with its own language of Galician/Gallegos and is surrounded by sea and mountains. It rains here constantly. We don’t eat paella or sip sangria. We are not southern Spain. That much is clear. We have the best white wine in the world, our meat is fresh, and people die out on the sea getting us seafood for our tapas. I’ve tried pulpo, or octopus in oil and red pepper, and it was delicious! Not something I could eat a whole plate of, but really lovely tasting. I expected there to be lots of spicy things here, but so far Korea is winning in that category. The spiciest thing I have had so far was patatas bravas, or french fries with a sauce, to put it simply.
Food wise, I’m extremely confused all the time on when I should be eating. My first few days I just wandered around drinking coffee at odd times because all the cafes seemed empty or full of men drinking. I’ve come to see that most Spaniards don’t eat breakfast. They eat lunch around 3pm or so and this can consist of just coffee and beer. Or so I see at the tapas bars. People really get their food on after 9pm when chairs and tables appear all over the streets and the city comes alive with families, students, and tourists eating and drinking for many hours. Bread is always present, as you can’t eat without it. My roommates also are against the “American way” of eating food in front of a computer so I’ve been cooking a lot. Yes, that’s right. Experimental stages, but I’m doing decently. The guys cook for me sometimes, which ends up much better 🙂 I’m also learning the art of appreciating wine and after hitting the town with one of my roommates I now know that one should never try to keep up with Spaniards when they drink. My goodness, talented they are. Wine is cheap as water here though, so I don’t blame them. Besides, it’s absolutely sinful how good booze in Spain is after living in Korea for two years. Soju and Cass, may I never taste you again.
I haven’t started teaching yet, but I head out to my school on Monday. It’s in a tiny village (Geumsan, part two!!) and most people there will speak Galician. So I’m in for a challenge. It’s also an hour commute on a bus! Hopefully I can get some studying and reading done during that time. I don’t go to school until eleven am apparently and will be teaching twelve hours a week. Goodbye, drudgery of Korea! I have orientation soon, so that will be good to meet other teachers, although I’ve met a girl from Scotland, and a girl and a guy from the USA who are all really great. Although Jade, from Scotland, informed me, as we drank the ever-present cafe con leche, that she doesn’t understand what the Beatles are all about and that John Lennon was an ass. This will be good when she comes to my room and finds the John Lennon t-shirt, Beatles t-shirt, Beatles poster, and John Lennon tile on my desk 🙂 Otherwise, she’s awesome and says funny things like, “taking a nosey”.
Well, I’m more than alive as you can see. Future plans include going to see some Galician music tonight, opening a bank account (woohoo!!!), Thursday night out (the big one), and going to see Mary Rosenberry in A Coruna, which is only 40 minutes from me by train.
Life is new and it is good ❤ Miss you all!
A song to see you off 🙂
Marina and the diamonds. Are you satisfied?