Monday, October 17, 2011

The Chronicles of Salamanca: Run-on Sentences and Sensibility on Tap

Well, here we are once again. I've noticed more and more how distinguishable the foreigners are. I learned a new phrase, "Guiry." It essentially is the same as "Gringo" as it describes foreigners that are clearly out of place, either by clothing or action. So, I've made it clear that my objective for this semester abroad is to be able to blend in seamlessly with the locals. I'll let you know how that goes.
But, the culture here is a specific one, as are all cultures. I'm compiling a list of universal cultural nuances; things that I thought only existed in the United States but are proving themselves universal. I'm excited about the completion of this list, and I'll post it as soon as I have it together.
But, on my list of things to accomplish this semester are a) make good enough friends with people from major cities in Europe, (i.e. Paris, Milan, Munich, Amsterdam, etc.) so that I might be able to stay with them in future travels. Utilitarian, I know. But, necessity and a settling reality that my school schedule will make extensive travel within europe difficult on this trip have driven me to extremes of Utilitarianism, I suppose. Also on said list is to find myself an affordable pair of boots of Spanish leather, throwing my fear of being cliche to the wind. Truth be told, I think that Bob Dylan was a major reason that I decided to come to Spain, though making that into a sensible argument might take some time.
But, let's see. Ah yes, I've begun to play soccer regularly with a group of European exchange students from France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, you name it. It's proving a difficult task to make friends with Spaniards, as most of them are perfectly content in their already-established lifestyles and communities. It is we foreigners that are putting forth the effort to establish relationship on some meaningful level. Almost all of the folks that I hang out with out here are not Spanish. They are Portuguese, Brazillian, Argentinian, Italian and Japanese. While the cultural as well as linguistic diversity are some of my most favorite elements of my community out here, it is a bit of a shame that it's a such a challenge to experience Spanish culture from the inside. Challenges, eh?
Perhaps I should make conclusion from this chaos. Ah, here's a thing to chew on:
"If I understand the Gospel, it tells us that we are to spread the Good News to all four corners of the world, not limiting the giving of light to people who already have seen the light. If my stories are incomprehensible to Jews or Muslims or Taoists, then I have failed as a Christian writer. We do not Draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it."
- Madeleine L'Engle "Walking on Water."

So there it is, for now. Salamanca is beautiful if not beginning to feel somewhat claustrophobic. Soon we shall all see the light. Thank you for your prayers and love. Go Cards.

Listening: "We Are the Tide" by Blind Pilot (in which the lead singer uses the word "spake" as lyric.)
Reading: "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art" by Madeleine L'Engle

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