Archive for the ‘winter’ tag

¡Feliz Fiesta!

without comments

I must admit I have been rather lax (or should that be lazy?) in keeping this blog up-to-date.  The idea was for it to be my communication channel back home, and also for my own benefit to keep a record of what’s happening to me this year.

Right now November is almost out and winter has arrived.  I say winter, the coldest it’s been here that I’ve noticed has been 7ºC, which can’t exactly be described as freezing.  It certainly feels it though.  Does that mean I’ve adapted to the warmer climes and when I step off that aeroplane at Gatwick in three weeks’ time I will turn to a block of ice?

The other thing telling us winter is upon us is the arrival of festive themes in Mercadona.  The ceilings are swathed with tinsel, the carrier bags wish us “Feliz Fiesta” and the legs of jamon serrano are out in stacks.  It’s an odd sight the huge containers full of legs of ham, the skin with a subtle gleam and the dozens of trotters waving us a jolly merry Christmas.  I would’ve taken a photo, but who takes photographs in the middle of a crowded supermarket?

Not my photo, but you get the idea.  JAMON.

Not my photo, but you get the idea. JAMON.

The other thing I’ve been meaning to make comment on is the language thing.  Obviously that’s a big part of the experience of moving to another country, so it should get a mention!  My own experience of it is that there’s always a background feeling of frustration: conversations never seem to get any easier.  This I put down to the fact that the more vocabulary and structures you learn (or become comfortable using), the more complex conversations become and the more you have to learn again.  In essence, the more “conversational doors” you open, the more the scope broadens and the complexity increases.  It really is a case of practice makes perfect.

After a long day of lectures and practical sessions, often my head is swimming with all the hard work it’s done.  As it goes, I’m a bad one for learning from lectures as I zone out most of the time, so here I have to try twice as hard to be on the ball.  The juggling of listening to the other language and learning new concepts at the same time is exhausting.  At the same time it is pleasing to realise that it is possible and that I can do it, if not 100% of the time.

With friends, the problem is one of the speed of conversation and the use of slang: obviously, the way you chat in a bar is far removed from the language of laboratory notes!  Again it is rewarding realising you do understand after all, especially when you comprehend a joke, or better, crack one of your own.

This week I head off on a trip to Madrid for a few days, so that should mean photos and more stories very shortly.  I never make promises, but I’ll make an effort to get something written.

Written by Benjamin

November 29th, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Erasmus, Valencia, general

Tagged with , , ,