Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Chronicles of Salamanca, Early-late Mornings and a Pocket Full of Euros
Alright, let's get some more details out to the folks back home. It's 9 am here in Salamanca, Spain. The pace of this place is what gets me the most. Well, the pace and how beautiful the Spanish people are. Now, I don't mean that in the abstract way that I believe that everyone is beautiful. What I mean is that these people are physically gorgeous. Intimidatingly so, even. Regardless, though. The pace and schedule of this city are more foreign than the language. I woke up at 8 am this morning, after a grateful 8 consecutive (more or less) hours of sleep. I threw on some clothes and took to the street to try and find a bakery that I had heard about nearby. At 8:15 am, there was no one on the street besides delivery men. No stores were open, and only a couple restaurants had opened by that time. That's so crazy to me, as I remember distinctly how in Tegucigalpa or Belmopan, Belize, or San Jose, Costa Rica the city was alive at 7. Even in the U.S. if I am in a productive span of my life, and I wake up at 8 am, I'm behind most of what's going on around me. A lot of that here has to do with the siesta concept. It's a real thing, as all the stores and restaurants close down from 2-4 pm for lunch or naps or whatever, then reopen until 9 or 10 pm. People stay up and stay out much later, and then compensate by not starting their days until after 9 am. So, it's an entirely different schedule, and one that I can get used to considering how much I hate mornings.
Now I think that I should talk about this city itself. I don't know a lot of the history of Salamanca, but I do know from walking around that it's probably as old as civilization itself. The architecture is stunning; ancient brick and mortar, giant cathedrals (yes, plural), brick-paved streets, etc. There is apparently a bridge across the Tormes River that is Roman. Like, "was built by patrons of the Roman Empire," Roman. A friend said that she's heard that Salamanca is the most beautiful city in Spain. So far, I have to agree that it is at least the most beautiful city I have ever seen. All of the cliche European distinctions that come to mind for me exist readily here; the cafes with wire chairs and patios, the tiny cups of coffee, the well-dressed attractive people, etc. It's a beautiful place. I think that I should always have my camera on me, as there always seems to be some bit of architecture that is unlike any I have ever seen first-hand. This place is great.
So, as far as making friends and meeting people and all of those other terrors of being in a foreign country, things are progressing. After being here for three days, I've met a few folks and have some names and faces down. School starts on Monday with a Spanish language placement test, then assignment into the classes themselves. And, once I can track down some pick-up soccer to get into (which is harder than you might think here in Spain,) the ball will be rolling; literally and figuratively. I'm not worried about it, people excite me and I'm looking forward to making those connections. The Lord has carved out this time and this place for me to exist and to pursue Him, and it's going to be an incredible experience. So, I'll continue to keep the updates coming, feel free to send me stuff in the mail. Dr. Pepper and a scarf are my two biggest needs. I'll put my address below, with a heart full of wishful thinking. Anyway, take care of yourselves anonymous readers. Things here are going to be fine.
Calle de Placentinos 3 Bajo
37008 Salamanca, Spain