It´s been an age and my avatar has been nothing more than a square filled with black. I can´t say much for that except that I have been lazy, surfing, and on and off sick. Sounds like an unlikely combination but it´s true. Oh yeah, that and I haven´t had internet access over the Easter holidays.
Not sure where to start having been off the horse for this long… Some good news. San Sebastián has finally started to see sun! It´s quite crazy how much a little light can makeover a place.
What else…. hmm, I think I´ll explain what motivated my relatively long stay here.
I chose to come to San Sebastián because I wanted to be able to learn Spanish and surf at the same time. I wonder if that would work, language lessons on the water… My mum informed me that International House, a master operator of language schools around the world, had a really good reputation, and once I´d checked out the website for the Lacunza school here in Sn Sn I had no doubts that this was where I wanted to come. I´m coming on my last week of a month of Spanish classes, running from 9:30am to 1pm daily, and just last week I was strongly tempted to take on a week or two more of classes because I was so impressed with the progress that we had made. The teachers are very well-prepared, quick-thinking and fun, and the administrative staff are so helpful and thorough in their assistance that you might as well take them for a sort of concierge. Every week they post up activities that you can participate in, including film sessions, bar outings, intercambio (language exchange) with native speakers and dance lessons. One week I took on salsa with a couple of others from my class and from that will always keep the memory of a man calling out in a Count Von Count from Sesame Street type accent ¨Vuelta! Vuelta!¨, not to mention the original composition he taught us at the end that involved finger pointing, pelvic thrusting and shoulder shimmying. All in all, rave reviews for the school. If you´re at all wondering why I opted to not extend my studies, the answer is because the combined cost of accommodation and classes is pretty high, and while I could afford it my preference at this moment is to have the freedom to move around, more than to keep up a settled life in one place, as lovely and as easy as it is.
It has been completely worth it though. I´ve mentioned the school but I´ve not yet mentioned my accommodation. When you enrol for a course you also have the option to find accommodation through the school as well. Most people in my class are living in apartments with other students from the school. This is a cheaper option, affords you perhaps a little more autonomy and is another way of getting to meet foreigners doing what you´re doing. I decided to go for the homestay because I wanted more of an ¨in¨ to the culture, I wanted to get to know what life was really like for people living in this region. I was surprised to learn that my homestay consisted of a young woman, living in her own apartment. It was a nice surprise, because while I was always looking forward to living with a family, it was nice to learn that I´d be living with someone who I might have more in common with.
I took a semester of Spanish 103 one year at university, and some of the clips from the DVD that accompanied the textbook showed the two female characters sharing an apartment together. Uncannily, Elisa´s apartment reminds me of their apartment. With the walls of individual rooms painted all in one colour, such as light blue and pale green for the bedrooms, and lilac for the bathroom. I think the living room/bedroom is a warm yellow colour… Colourful bedspreads, shuttered windows that overlook a church and its plaza. A throw over the couch, ample desks and cupboards in each bedroom, and a general feel of casual funkiness that comes from the extra-wide glasses and coffee cups, rounded square plates, and photos and little language notes stuck up on the walls.
What´s best is that the openness and vivacity of the apartment is very much a reflection of its owner. She is the ideal host for foreign students: engaging, intelligent, funny, non-judgemental and supportive. And cute, *wink wink nudge nudge*. She goes above and beyond, and the opportunity to live with her has become the newest addition to my list entitled ¨Encounters of Fantastic Luck on my Travels¨. I know I´m churning out the sweet stuff, but disturbingly enough I´m not exaggerating. Aside from the general accolades I´ve just given out, what´s been good about living with her is that I get to find out a little more about Basque – the people, the language, and the troubles. I hope to write about the very little that I know about this subject at a later date. Accompanied by some photos.
Speaking of which… the photos will come when they are ready, mum 🙂