Amanda Bennett: A Year in Zaragoza, Spain

Fin de Fiestas October 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — psychohistoria @ 9:01 am

Quite a bit has come to pass since Los Pilares ended on Sunday, but the photos are too beautiful to not include:

A model of the basilica del Pilar....in chocolate!!!

A model of the basilica del Pilar....in chocolate!!!

The fireworks that terminated the festivals with a bang!

The fireworks that terminated the festivals with a bang!

More fireworks, which we watched from our terrace, of course.

More fireworks, which we watched from our terrace, of course.

The finale was a burst of white.

The finale was a burst of white.

After the fiestas, we returned to classes and lots of quizzes and tests. We have finished Song of Solomon in English class and are preparing our essays, whilst my political science class is arriving at Machiavelli and in history, the Arabs have just arrived to the southern coast of Spain. However, in Art History, the Romans are the ruling empire.
On Tuesday morning, I noticed a small ad for Aragonés classes. Aragonés is the local language of Aragón, developed simultaneously with Castilian but in isolated towns in the north. It is similar to Castilian (the Spanish taught in school and spoken in South America and the majority of Spain), similar enough that I can understand it. During a free period, I went to sign up, and was happy to meet amiable people excited that an American wanted to learn their dying language. What intrigued me was the linguistics: I figured that comparing Aragonés and Castilian would be an interesting exercise.
I walked into the class, and suddenly realized that it was an immersion class, that the next youngest student was 26, and that half of the people had been studying Aragonés for at least 3 years.
Although everyone was amiable and very nice, I’m thinking that after one more class, I will drop the activity simply because I feel as though I’m a bit out of place there! Also, I found an art class on the same day of the week.
On Wednesday, however, I was also busy. The school has purchased a season pass to the Auditorio de Zaragoza (the classical music performance center), so a friend and I were able to attend a concert for free. Our evening began with restaurant lauded for their brava sauce – they only serve sandwiches, and only with this Spanish sauce. We got our bocadillos to go and walked to the Auditorio, only about a 30 minute walk. We arrived to a gorgeous building bustling with nicely dressed concert-goers. Our seats were fantastic, offering a great view of the orchestra. The music was wonderful as well – Debussy, Saint-Saëns, and Berlioz, played by the Symphonic Orchestra of the Leipzig Radio, from Germany. The Saint-Saëns piece, possibly my favorite, was a cello concierto featuring a wonderful cello soloist. A lovely evening, despite the fact that I arrived home at 11:00! (Not much time to study for my vocabulary test!)

Every Thursday, I have Joven Erasmus, an extra-curricular class composed of 8 Spanish students and 8 SYA students. This week we discussed the differences in the school systems of each country, which made me slightly homesick because I had to talk about Deerfield but was also really interesting. However, I have decided that without a doubt the American system is better (or at least the Deerfield system, which I suppose is actually very different from the experience of the vast majority of American students).

Today, I’m running home after school to pack for the overnight trip to the Pyrenees, an optional trip organized by the school. We’re spending Friday night in a hostel in Jaca and on Saturday, we’ll be hiking in the Pyrenees! I’m slightly dubious that it will match the wonderfulness of an Elements trip, but I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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