My first semester in Spain has finally come to a end. And to think, I’m only halfway through! I still have another semester!! At this point, I can’t imagine the thought of leaving. I’m just starting to feel like an actual citizen here. Madrid is becoming my home. I always heard the difference between spending a semester vs. a year in another country is: it takes the first semester to really get adjusted to the lifestyle, then the second semester is where the most learning takes place. I couldn’t agree more. Now more than ever I’m learning Spanish and feeling confident about it. I can only imagine how much more I will improve by spending another semester here.
The past few weeks leading up to the end of the semester have been nothing short of busy and exciting.
First of all, everyone has been studying and working hard in preparation for final exams. I had a final presentation for my Complutense class (Música y Medios Audiovisuales) the first week of January. But once I finished presenting, I was finished with that class and able to focus on my other finals for Reunidas. For my theatre class, we rehearsed for our end of semester “espectáculo” spectacular show to perform as our final exam. I’ve been involved in theatre all my life, but this was the first time I’ve ever had to memorize lines in Spanish. It was difficult and a bit overwhelming at first, but after practicing for hours upon hours, we all got our lines down and put on a spectacular show, if I do say so myself. 🙂 The show consisted of: A Sevillana rap, superhero sketch, and scenes from a few plays written by Federico García Lorca. In the show, I played the character of Supergirl and I also wrote and played background piano music in one of the plays by Lorca. Everyone put on a great show and I’m very proud of our accomplishments.
On the weekend, a group of us went to a food truck festival near the metro Nuevo Minesterios. The event was called MadrEAT and there were dozens of food trucks scattered all over the area with an extensive selection of food and beverages. I liked walking around and looking at all the different designs of the food trucks. My favorite truck was one called the “Cheese truck”. It had so much character! MadrEAT was a great way to sample food from different vendors around the Madrid.
One of the things I miss most about Wisconsin and my hometown Green Bay, is the passionate football culture. Of course, many people in the program are Green Bay Packer fans and have been following them throughout the 2014 season. When the Pack went to the NFC Championship, we knew we had to watch it live. In Madrid, there’s an Irish pub called Dubbliners where they broadcast American football games for people (mostly Americans) to watch. On the night of the NFC Championship, I dressed up in my #80 Packers jersey and went to the pub to watch the game. The place was packed with people (lots of young students) dressed in either Seattle or Packers gear getting ready to watch the big game. It was a fun environment to watch the game and we met some fellow fans and friends as a result. They say you can find a Packer fan wherever you go and I’d have to agree! Packer Nation is a force unlike any other. Sadly, it was a disappointing loss but the overall experience was something I enjoyed very much.
On Tuesday, January 20th I was walking through school and I saw posters advertising that one of my favorite bands, Echosmith, was going to be playing a free concert in Madrid that night. I knew I had to go!
I messaged my friend Jarod and we made arrangements to meet at the venue after my last class of the day. We stood in line for about an hour until they finally let us in. The event was a sponsored event through Samsung as a promotion for their new Samsung Galaxy phone. Apparently you had to have this phone in order to get in. However, we made friends with a boy named Juan Carlos standing in front of us and he agreed to let us tag along with him and be apart of his group (Gracias!!!). Inside the venue, it was essentially a Samsung Galaxy promotion party. There were stations where you could design your own t-shirt, take a picture with the phone in a photo booth, and there were special events on the main stage where you could win the phone by completing a certain activity. All of this was leading up to the headlining event, Echosmith later that evening. Luckily, Jarod and I got really close to the stage and had a prime location to see everything. Finally Echosmith came out and performed an amazing concert! I knew all the songs and sang along to all of them with the band. The band noticed this and we had a few moments where where they would vibe with us (the only ones in the audience who knew every lyric). It was obvious that Jarod and I were the only Americans/ native English speakers at the event.
After the concert finished, we stuck around a bit to see if we could see the band as they left. Unfortunately, security said we had to leave the venue. As a second attempt, we waited with a small group of people outside the venue’s side exit. 20 minutes later, the band came out and we got to meet them and take pictures with them! They were pleasantly surprised that we were from America and we were actually able to have a conversation with them since they couldn’t speak to the Spanish fans because of the language barrier. They were so nice and it was a fantastic end to the evening and something I’ll never forget!
After this amazing experience, it was time to get cracking and study for final exams and writing final papers. I had 2 final papers to write, both 2,000 words each (in Spanish- of course) and 2 written finals to take. Thankfully, I had planned a trip to London after finals so I had that to look forward to once I finished.
In the end, I think my finals went really well and it was a great end to a wonderful first semester. I’m really looking forward to second semester (especially the warmer weather) and all the adventures, experiences, and learning it will bring 🙂