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Published: January 28th 2008
The Zuriburi Bridge, which means white bridge in euskera. an example of the modern architecture in the city
Hello Everyone !
After way too much trouble with visas and whatnot, I am finally all settled in Spain 😊 I have been here for about a week and a half and am getting very familiar with Bilbao and Getxo, which is the area outside of Bilbao where I actually live. So far, the people have been very nice and welcoming and school has been relativley easy. I am having an amazing time
The first few days here were hard. The culture shock was alot to deal with along with the jet lag, and the fact that I was behind in the program. I had to learn how to get around, as well as learn other basic things like what hours things were open, how people interact here, and where everything was. The lady I am living with, Asuncion, showed me how to use the metro to get to school. It is alot like bart and really really useful. I also quickly learned about all the other forms of transportation around the city. Me and some friends dedicated a few evenings to just getting lost in Bilbao in order to familiarize ourselves with it. It is a pretty small city
Part of the river running the city
with a river running through it. The architecture is really interesting because of the strong mixture of the old and the very modern like the Guggenheim, which I am learning quickly that many of the locals do not think much of. Another thing we quickly noticed is that EVERY restaurant is a cafe, and EVERY cafe is a bar. and there are lots of restaurants. And it´s usually an older crowd that you will always find in the bars at any hour. The food, however, has not been too impressive. There are ¨bocadillos¨ or sandwhiches everywhere, and everything else seems to be kinda bland. And the culture here does not seem to have a set eating schedule like breakfast, lunch and dinner. People just eat when they feel a bit hungry. People also take their time when they go out to eat. After me and some friends finished a dinner, it took us forever to get the waiter´s attention. Asuncion later told me how a waiter will never ever ask you if you need the check. I think it´s these two very different attitudes towards eating and drinking that have really caught me off gaurd, especially in comparison with the
Some new friends
Some friends from the progam along with some spanish friends who showed us around
United States and what I am used to seeing.
The fact that I am in basque country is also very noticeable. Every sign in the street is in both Castellano and Euskera, the Basque language. You will also see a few political rallies throughout the week dealing with certain political issues from certain Basque groups. Although Basque is a cultural concept, and not really an independent region, there is still a Basque influence in all the Basque provinces (there are 4 in spain and 3 in France). Therefore it is a law that all public signs must be in both languages. It is a very different language using alot of ¨k¨s and ¨z¨s and for the most part, nothing like spanish. I am taking a class on the culture and language, but feel I am learning more from just observing such signs, and talking to people about it and I hope to understand it better with time.
As for where I am living, I am about a 25 minute metro ride outside of Bilbao in the town of Algorta, which is part of Getxo, which I think is more like a county. It is much quieter over here than Bilbao.
right across my school
is the guggenheim museum. A really modern looking building right along the river
In a way it is comparable to the suburbs with lots of families and less big buildings. It is also very close to the beach which I think will be nice once spring rolls around 😊 I have my own room and bathroom and I share a living room and kitchenI live with Asuncion, an older lady maybe in her forties who has two little shih tzus which wake me up every morning. She doesn´t speak any english which has been a good for practicing my spanish. She´s also been really useful with any little questions that I have about life here.
Sorry for the long entry, but I realize how much has happened in the past couple weeks. But I am alive and well and thinking of all of you. I will post another entry soon but until then I miss you all very much!
Agur (goodbye in euskera)
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