July 30, 2008
Another countdown?I have about a week until I am back on campus... Crazy!! I move in on August 7 with the other Resident Assistants. I didn't realize how soon this all was... I haven't even thought about packing yet, and I'll be in Chicago until Monday at Lollapalooza... that leaves me about 2 days to pack. Yikes =/ It doesn't help that I left a bunch of stuff in storage and don't remember what I left. Note to self: write it down next year.
June 27, 2008
Last day in BCN
I can´t believe that 5 weeks have gone by already! Today is my last day in Spain... A few days into the trip I remember thinking, `How am I going to do this??´ Obviously, I made it. And I had a blast and learned a LOT in such a short amount of time. My Spanish professor was really impressed with the oral part of my exam, which either means I did really well or my midterm oral part was just that bad. I´d like to think it´s the former, but who really knows. But for never taking Spanish before, ever, I even impressed myself. I learned a lot in my photography class, too, though not what you might expect. I learned the technical aspects, though a lot of that was review for me, and I developed and printed my own pictures in a darkroom, which was such a satisfying experience for me. But our photography professor isn´t a local, he´s only been here for 5 years, so he was really on our level in terms of being confused by the culture here. It was really nice to have someone you could go to when you saw something on the street you didn´t understand or needed a good place to eat that had comfort foods. Experiencing the people and places here firsthand and then having someone who was willing to sort of explain things to you made dealing with the culture shock here a lot easier, I think.
I really did some amazing things here, though. I was constantly surrounded by art, which I loved. I met really interesting people from all over the world. I stayed up all night on the beach during one of the biggest holidays in Spain. I learned how to speak (horrible, broken) Spanish. I saw all the tourist attractions and ate some awesome food. Some things I can´t even put into words. I´m just so happy I came, though.
But it will be nice to go back to the states. I´ve been struggling to figure out how I´m getting from the airport to my friend´s apartment in NYC, and I keep forgetting that when I get to the airport, I´ll have my cell phone and all the attendants and employees will speak English. I think it´s going to be really weird to land in London and see everything in English and be spoken to in English. It will be a nice change, but I will definitely be more sympathetic whenever anyone from another country tries to talk to me! I realize now how difficult it is to be in a place where everything is foreign and you can´t even ask for help. And my cell phone..! Yeah, I am very excited to have that back! I miss texting random things to friends or calling my sister just to see how her weekend was. I feel so out of the loop with American news and everything back home. And Seton Hill! So much is happening and I feel like I´m missing it or something. Katie Fritsch, my good friend from SHU, sent me a letter here with a list at the end of what she misses from school and she also included a copy of the Forward magazine. It was so nice to have a little piece of home, of school, and that made me realize how much I miss it all and how far away from it I really am. I would never complain about my time abroad, but I´m also not complaining about going home!
Well... congratulations if you made it through that entire entry =) Time to prepare for our going away party... I hope no one cries... Myself included!
June 17, 2008
LECOM at Seton Hill + New Performing Arts Center = RenaissanceYesterday, the press conference officially announcing the details of LECOM at Seton Hill was held at the University. How exciting this is! The nation's largest medical school has partnered with SHU! This means we will be seeing Seton Hill evolving in many exciting ways. I have lived in the Greensburg area all my life. I remember shopping "Downtown Greensburg" at Troutman's and Royer's with my Grandmother. Since those days,businesses would close one by one as the malls and other large developments would draw business away from town. It was only about 10 years ago that I walked through town and unless you were an attorney or working at the courthouse; downtown was pretty much a ghost town. Recently, under the vision of Barb Ciampini, Greensburg City Planning Director, Karl Eisaman, Mayor , Steve Gifford of GCDC (click to read Steve's vision for Greensburg) and other city officials and committees, there has been a major upswing. A little over a year ago, I looked around at the beginning transformation of the city and predicted that someday soon it would be a extraordinary cultural and arts center. Already home to DV8 Espress Bar and Gallery, Stage Right School and Theater Company, Westmoreland Museum of American Art , Pottery Playhouse, St. Clair Concerts in the Park, and so much more. In addition, the new $21 Million Seton Hill Performing Arts Center will be opening 2009 right in the heart of the Greensburg Cultural District. Due to the increased enrollment in Seton Hill's outstanding art program, Seton Hill will house the art department's painting studio in the Troutman's building. So...this all leads to a renaissance of Downtown Greensburg and Seton Hill University. Who knows...maybe someday, we will refer to "Upper Campus" and "Lower Campus" as we grow and are widely recognized for our exemplary medical programs with our Physician's Assistant Program and LECOM's Medical School, as well as our paramount performing and visual arts programs!
June 16, 2008
Halfway done =(
For those of you reading this, be honored. I am updating you all on my life rather than being at the beach!
Barcelona is still wonderful as ever, but I took a weekend vacation (ha!) to San Sebastian in northwest Spain. The bus ride there was pretty brutal (7 hours...) but it was way cheaper than flying and traveling with friends always makes the trip easier! The city was a big change from Barcelona, though. San Sebastian is primarily a resort town where all the rich Spaniards come to vacation during August, which is so hot in Spain that most everything shuts down for the month and everyone goes to the beach. It´s early still in summer so we weren´t there during peak travel season but there were still quite a bit of people there. It was odd though because in the mornings only the older people were out and about, during midday and dinner time (which is later than you might think.. 2-5:00 is lunchtime, 8-11:00 is dinner) there are lots of families out shopping and eating, and at night the town is overrun with college-aged students. The first day we were in San Sebastian we were a little put off in the morning because it looked like the median age was around 75...! As the day went on we figured out how the cycle went though! Overall it was a VERY fun weekend though I spent way too much money... =( It was worth it though; San Sebastian is the center for tapas (or pintxos when you´re in northwest Spain) and my 4 friends and I basically ate them nonstop for the two days we were there!
Another weird thing about San Sebastian (and Spain in general...) was the language there. Spain actually has four official languages (FYI: the US has NO official language!): Spanish, Catalan (which is what they speak in Barcelona), Basque, and Galician. In northwest Spain and in San Sebastian, they speak Basque and I was NOT expecting it to sound like it did... Spanish and Catalan are such smooth languages, but then we got to Basque country and their words have so many more Ks, TZs.. all these really hard sounds. And when they speak it all sounds slurred together... It was very shocking when we arrived! It´s very interesting, though, that they have FOUR languages in Spain... and I only know English!
Well, now that I´m back in Barcelona that means I´m back to doing schoolwork... We have one more full week of classes and next week is our last week, so we´re really putting our butts into gear now. Next week I won´t have class on Tuesday, though, for the holiday of San Juan. From what I hear, the entire city pretty much shuts down Monday night (except for the nightlife) and the goal of the evening is to stay up until the sun rises in honor of the summer solstice and to soak up as much sun as possible on the lightest day of the year! I´ll make sure to let you know how that goes =)
I´m off now to do some homework (aka walk around the city and take pictures!) and send off some postcards. Hope all is well back in the states!