Friday, July 15, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, Day 2 of classes

The word for this day is "chubasco."  It really means "downpoor," but in actuality it was just cloudy and drizzly all day.  We know that tomorrow we go to Pamplona to see the famous "running of the bulls" known to locals as the "sanfermines."  Therefore, knowing we have to awake at 4:00 a.m. to catch the 4:50 a.m. bus, we plan. 

But first we go to class and learn about the rest of the university, its history and key sites not to be missed on campus, beginning with the most loved "portero," or gatekeeper of the University (picture to the right).  We discuss the meaning of "grammar."  Yawnnnnnnnnn!  It's a good thing Begonia is an entertaining teacher who knows her stuff, as it were.  We also had a guest speaker, Natalia Gomez, who is actually working in Michigan at Grand Valley State Universtiy.  She recently received a grant from our government to help tackle the difficult problem of children of migrant workers in the US who are picking our produce instead of going to a proper school.  She is looking for our help to find websites that might help her work with these children.  Isn't it amazing how connected we all are?  Francisco is our teacher for using outside resources in our classrooms.  He taught us the expression "se me ha ido el santo al cielo" because we constantly veer off track on interesting tangents during on discussions. During our culture class, our teacher, Ana, gave us an introduction to San Sebastian, the other nearby city where we will stop for lunch after Pamplona tomorrow. 

During the afternoon on this rainy day,we went to the "tienda de los chinos" to buy "chubasqueros," rain ponchos.   Since rain is forecasted for tomorrow we want to be prepared.  Remember, Ernest Hemingway made Pamplona famous for his visits to this storied city during the first half of last century.  Get this:  from 1923 to 1959 Hemingway participated nine times in the fiestas de San Fermin in Pamplona.  The main plaza in town has a beautiful cafe called "cafe iruna," with Hemingway's name on its enormous awning.  This one man is a legend in Pamplona and is dearly remembered with a cement statue in his likeness outside the bull ring and historical markers around town.  Hemingway is often considered a man's man, the type of guy who exudes machismo, lives life dangerously, talks rough, drinks plenty and values the honor and valor that come from physical and mental challenges found only in battle, struggle and, in this town, bullfighting.  But we are getting ahead of ourselves, because today we are only planning our visit to Pamplona.  Hemingway would never waste his time writing about planning to do something so therefore, I need to stop writing NOW!

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