After a chilly week (although I have no room to talk compared to you Northeasterners :P), the weather turned out to be spectacular this weekend! I think this was the most fun weekend I’ve had since I’ve been here. After a little homesick phase, I only had one way to go and that was up :] First of all, Friday was “La Espicha” which is basically just a giant “botellón”/drinking celebration for 16-25 year olds at the Real Oviedo soccer stadium. I heard it was to celebrate the end of finals, these Spaniards will throw a party for literally anything. Not that I’m complaining! They begin drinking at 11am and go until 7, 8, 9pm…or whenever they feel like leaving I guess. My friend Emily and I met my host “cousins” there around 8 pm, just so we could get a glimpse of what it was like. It was crazy! As we were walking there, we saw people leaving so we thought we missed it, but when we showed up the place was still packed! I have to say that I have a feeling once I leave Spain, it will be really hard to find a place that has comparable parties than this place. They’re just a happy, fun population of people :]
On Sunday my host mom and her boyfriend, Marcos, took me, Amy, and Emily to Monte Naranco. On Monte Naranco there are Pre-Roman buildings and a statue of Jesus on top of the mountain that you can climb up to and view Oviedo and the scenery. It was absolutely beautiful! We saw La Iglesia de Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo and the Jesus Statue at the top of the mountain, overlooking Oviedo on one side and the sea on the other. It really was an amazing view, there were snow on the mountains and we were above the clouds! I even was able to point out my apartment building, the cathedral and my university! I hope I go back at least once before leaving!
Today, the weather was so nice you didn’t even need a jacket. Sam and I met up at Parque Invierno (literally, Winter Park) which is right near my house. Later Emily came by also.We talked about something that I have been reflecting a lot on over the past couple weeks, and that’s about how different life is here from life in the U.S.! I didn’t expect it to be so different because Spain is also a developed country like the U.S., but a couple things that have happened over the past few weeks really have made me realize just how different it is. One thing that I have really come to appreciate about Spain is how much more simply they live than we Americans do. I am really starting to realized just how spoiled we are at home!! I mean everyone here lives in apartments, nice apartments. And they all live comfortably! Oviedo is considered a wealthy city, yet I can think of a 100 different places in the U.S. that are more “flashy” and blatantly flowing with money than this place. People here seem to live comfortably, but not excessively, and that’s the main difference between here and the U.S. When I showed my host family my house on googlemaps, they thought it was crazy that I had a “piscina” or pool in mybackyard! A Spanish friend of mine also commented on it and told me that hardly anyone has pools at all, and that if you had a pool it meant you were crazy rich. But at home, about half of my friends have pools, and I’ve never thought twice about that until I came here! My house in the U.S. is a nice home, and its a fairly average size home, nothing that anyone would take a second glance at and comment on its size. But if my house was placed in Oviedo…thats a complete other story. Just thinking about the inside of my house in the U.S. to the size of the apartment I live in now is crazy! I’m perfectly comfortable in this apartment, and it makes me wonder why Americans feel the need to live so excessively in such big houses with big cars on big roads in big neighborhoods etc etc. When you fly in a plane over the U.S., the majority of what you see is completely developed; neighborhoods, cities, parking lots, malls, factories. Here it is all so much more condensed to one cityand there aren’t really many suburban area, so there is plenty of fresh untouched land. I love that about this place. I love how people hang their laundry out to dry, how small our dishwasher is and how rarely it is used, how if anything isn’t being used (lights, tv’s, etc), it is turned completely off, and how I walk EVERYWHERE. I love how my host mom doesn’t waste anything at all and any food she makes or buys will be eaten or incorporated into a meal. Its a great way to live and I’m kinda sad because I don’t think America will ever be like that, its just a different mentality.