Wednesday, November 23, 2011

6 Spaniards, 3 Germans, 3 Turks, a Swede, and an American walk into a bar...

Last weekend I signed up for a library card at the public library here in Teruel. One of my teacher friends helped me pick out several films to watch in order to familiarize myself with some of the best Spanish films. I watched four out of the five films in the first two days, partially out of boredom but also because they were good films:

Los Girasoles Ciegos
Silencio Roto
La Lengua de las Mariposas
Mar Adentro

I also have Salvador, a film about the last man in Spain to be executed by Franco. I haven't watched it yet because I've been too busy.

The school in Albarracin is working on an international project with teachers from Sweden, Germany, and Turkey. Their aim is to encourage students to be more interested in science and technology and to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to actual projects of their own. The kids will eventually invent their own machine of some sort. That's about as much as I got from what they are doing. I was more interested in hanging out with the other teachers. There are three sarcastic German women who speak English fairly well, three Turkish men, only one of which speaks any English, and then there is the Swedish man, who showed up almost two days late. His English seems to be excellent, though I don't know for sure because I only talked to him for a few seconds before I had to leave. In conjunction with the Spaniards, they make for an interesting bunch. I've been hanging out with them outside of their meetings to help translate and to learn a bit about their respective cultures. I can now say "thank you" in a ridiculous amount of languages. Don't ask me how to spell them.

We went to some of the local sites in Albarracin to show the foreign teachers around. We got to meet the mayor of the town and he gave us a personal tour of the town hall, which I'm pretty sure was older than time. The Turkish men sat in the old-timey mayor's desk upstairs and took pictures. So many pictures. After lunch, we had a tour of the bishop's palace and the cathedral. I got to explain some of the things I learned in Austria last year in Spanish about Baroque architecture. One of the teachers didn't believe me when I told them most of the pretty Catholic decor was probably just wood painted to look nicer. I asked the tour guide how old the decorations were and he confirmed my suspicions. I told the teacher to go knock on the decorations and, sure enough, it was wooden. Though I was proud that I could recognize it, it's sad that that is one of the few architectural tricks I know.

I also found the coat of arms interesting. I took the following with my phone because I didn't have my camera with me:

Last night we had an awesome international dinner with food from all of the different countries. My favorite food is still from Teruel, though. You can't beat their ham. I ate some kind of rice wrapped in grape leaves from Turkey. I couldn't eat the Germans' dessert because, as always, they fill it with nuts. I don't understand peoples' obsession with putting nuts in everything. Either they don't want me to enjoy chocolate or they want me to die. I'm not sure there is much of a difference between those two options. That dinner is probably the closest I will get to a Thanksgiving dinner this year. I suppose it was a decent replacement, though not nearly as warm and fuzzy as a meal at home in ol' Cantuck. It was fun to speak in two different languages and learn some words in two or three more, though. I don't think my grandparents are capable of teaching me Turkish or carrying on a conversation in Spanish. I suppose I can make Christmas dinner in Kentucky a lot more interesting now.

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