Haha just kidding! They aren’t connected (well sort of).

The title is a bit misleading, I admit. The black out I’m referring to isn’t the partying kind (sorry to disappoint), I’m talking about an electrical black out. Yeah, my house lost power on Tuesday night for some reason, nobody really knows why. And it was only my house, not the street. I came home from classes to find my host mother completely perplexed by the fact that none of the house had power. It had rained that day so she thinks maybe the rain had something to do with it, that or the construction next door. Some of the workers actually came to the house (which was nice of them considering they live about a half hour away in the mountains) to try to fix the problem. We did manage to get power restored to the kitchen and living room, which greatly helped me out finishing my homework (I was literally trying to do homework by a teeny candle my host mother had given me in my bedroom for a good 15 minutes). We got power back by the next evening so everybody is happy again.

As for what the Big Boom was… Other strange occurrences included a military plane flying low over Malaga this morning breaking the sound barrier. I happened to be asleep and taking advantage of the fact that I could sleep in, when a super loud sort of bang woke me up. I honestly had no idea what it was, I’d assumed some door in the house had slammed really loud or some car had backfired in the street since I pretty much woke up as the sound ripped me out of my sleep. I wasn’t interested enough to investigate so I fell back asleep. When I went down around noon to eat breakfast, my host mother asked me if I had heard the sound and when I replied I had, she explained to me that it had been a military plane breaking the sound barrier. Apparently all the neighbors had run out into the streets to find out what was going on since everybody assumed some bomb had gone off. I mean, in this day and age, everybody’s first assumption is terrorism… and well I can’t say I blame anybody. I mean Spain had to deal with the Madrid train bombings in 2003 and just last week, that Basque terrorist group ETA made some building explode and I think there was a fatality. And well, I’m from outside of Manhattan and because of 9/11, everybody jumps to the worst possible conclusion nowadays.

And yes, Wednesday happened to be another girl’s birthday, so a lot of us went out to celebrate. We had dinner at this tapas restaurant called El Pimpi, this restaurant our tutor has been harassing us to go to since we’ve arrived in Spain. I don’t know if pimpi actually means anything in Spanish, but the restaurant’s logo features a cartoonish looking man with a red polka dotted shirt and a top hat hugging a glass of what I assume is yellow colored wine. Needless to say, the restaurant was very nice inside and the food was amazing. I can’t even remember the food we ate… a lot of little sandwiches and these little tomatoes stuck together with cheese, tortillas… the food was excellent as was the white whine (Sauvignon Blanc if I’m not mistaken) that accompanied dinner. Red wine was also served but I didn’t try any and I can’t remember what it was called (sorry Dad). The waiter shamelessly flirted with the birthday girl and commented on how well we spoke Spanish… which our group seems to be getting a lot from tour guides and the like. I’m not sure if they are just being nice or if it’s the truth. I mean it is true that I often translate what my host mother says to the Austrian girls staying in the house into English so they understand better… but then I think I’ve been studying the language longer so it’s not really fair. Oh and yeah it was the first time I had tapas… and it was scrumptious.

Anyways after El Pimpi (which is a must repeat before I leave Spain), we carried our party to a few bars. It was Wednesday after all, so it’s not like people were breaking down the doors to get in. We’ved learned in Spain that if you tell them it’s somebody’s birthday, you get into everywhere and you get free drinks. And so far, it really has been someone’s birthdays when we’ve gone out to celebrate. As per usual, I called it a night early (also I can’t deal with strobe lights in clubs) and was home by 2 AM. Yeah I know, I’m such a party pooper… but I also need my sleep!

In inconsequential news, I had to buy a new monthly bus pass before I really had to because the one I had was slightly cracked in one place and the bus scanners were no longer able to read my it. I went to buy a new card around the corner from my house from a very unfriendly man who seemed really annoyed at me for having a broken card… I didn’t understand why though because he sells the cards anyways so I’m not really sure how that inconvenienced him. Most of all, it inconvenienced me and I did end up paying the 1 euro fare a few times.

There is a possibility I may go to Morocco in December! Rumor has it Manolo, the fountain of Andalusian knowledge, may organize a trip if enough people are interested. I don’t see why anybody would really refuse a chance to go, so I’m hoping this trip actually happens. Most of all because Morocco is on a totally different continent and I can say that during my European year abroad, I was able to squeeze Africa in.

Oh and wow I completely forgot to mention the cultural experience of the week… Wednesday morning we all went to the Picasso Museum for our art class. I think I may have mentioned that Malaga is the birthplace of Picasso. Even though he didn’t really spend much time here before hightailing it to France, the museum has many Picasso works of art which were donated by Picasso’s family members. I wasn’t able to take any pictures, but I’m sure you have all seen some Picasso work of art at one time or another. The museum wasn’t very big, but the collection did have some very interesting pieces. I’ll be honest when I’ll say I’ve never been a huge fan of Picasso’s art. His distorted (or rather deformed) naked women never really appealed to me, I’m more of a Claude Monet fan. However, I also know Picasso got into all that abstract stuff later in his life and actually painted in a somewhat classic style (meaning I can understand what is going on in the painting instead of trying to decipher the shape of a guitar/person where I don’t actually see one). In fact, the only thing that really tipped me off in the abstract paintings as to what was going on in them were the titles. If it weren’t for the titles, I would have probably amounted the painting to a bunch of clumpy shapes that I could probably paint myself. I still don’t understand why Picasso is hailed as an artistic genius. Didn’t lots of artists paint in an abstract way during his time? I mean, I’ve never taken an art history class before so again, what do I know. I can barely draw a stick figure as it is, even though I did take art classes at one time… but that’s another story.

Besides Picasso’s paintings, there’s this temporary exhibit which features some of Max Ernst’s artwork, a German artist who, curiously enough, also ended up moving to France. And while I enjoyed the exhibit because I found that a lot of the work made me think, instead of just feeling like there was a huge question mark over my head following me wherever I went, a lot of the artwork was disturbing. Ernst teamed up with this French author named Paul Eluard (no I’ve never neard of him until now) and provided some really weird illustrations for some of the really weird books Eluard wrote. There was a whole glass case which showed some of the text and illustrations that were in some of the books. And while I was really the only one in the group who understood the French text underneath the drawings, I can say with certainty that both the text and the drawings were incredibly bizarre and made very little sense. Some of my classmates asked me to translate, which was kind of hard when I didn’t really understand the text myself. Also Ernst had some really weird fascination in transplanting bird heads on top of human bodies in his drawings. Apparently it had something to do with the fact his pet bird died at the same time his baby sister was born… and he forever had a grudge against his sister for “causing” his bird’s death. I’m not sure this is true, but it was still incredibly surreal.

After we left the Ernst’s exhibit all thoroughly disturbed, we took an elevator down into the basement of the museum to view some Phoenician ruins. However, a lot of us didn’t realize they were Phoenician ruins at first and got scared that this was some continuation of the Ernst exhibit. I think the museum was actually built on top of the ruins… I can’t imagine how they could have been moved there. Anyways, it was interesting to see since Picasso’s artwork is fairly recent, and the ruins are definitely ancient. So it was a mix of two very different time periods in one building which was pretty fabulous to experience.

As for today, I just relaxed… and wondered what the other Dickinson kids thought about the bullfight they were watching. There was a bullfight today in Torremolinos, but I didn’t go because I’d already seen one in Sevilla four years ago when I did the Rassias program in high school. I honestly didn’t care to see another one… even though Manolo claims it is a cultural masterpiece of art. While I do find some of the traditions really interesting, I didn’t think I could survive another bullfight. There is a lot of blood and a lot of screeching… and I didn’t really enjoy watching an animal bleed to death. Also, before I went to the bullfight in Sevilla, nobody warned me that the norm in bullfights is 6 separate bullfights. I had to watch 6 different bulls die… and after the second one, I was like “Ok I’m ready to leave!” I understand though that the other students had never had the chance to see one and if I hadn’t already seen one, I would definitely have gone.

And I’m happy to report that my host mother and I get along really, really well and we actually have conversations. I was afraid that my Spanish would be so limited that I would be limited to “Si” “Gracias” and “Muchas Gracias.” But no, I’ve discovered that my comprehension has gotten pretty good when the speaker speaks slowly enough. This week we’ve mostly talked about her dogs because one of them is in heat and keeps trying to run away because she “wants to find herself a boyfriend” as my host mother puts it. The other day, Mora escaped into the street and I found her on my way to the bus stop hanging out in front of some other house. I had to carry her back to my house and when I came back from class, she was in the street again but this time she had gained 2 admirers. If my host mother doesn’t watch it, she’s gonna end up with a litter of puppies on her hands.

I can’t believe I’ve been here almost a month. Time really does fly when you are having fun. However, I do find myself thinking about my family a lot and wondering what my friends are up to, Dickinson and non-Dickinson alike. I love Spain, but I miss each and everyone of you and think about all the people I miss each and every day. I just want to let you all know that being in Spain is making me realize how much I value my family ties and the friendships I’ve made over the years. And now I’m being an emotional sap, sorry guys!

I wish my parents a safe trip up to the north country this weekend and let me know when you have gotten safely back home. I worry about you guys too, you know.

Love,
Amelie