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March 23rd 2009
Published: March 23rd 2009
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After the weekend in Leon, we were all absolutely shattered, and the weather meant we spent a lot of long, lazy days sunbathing in the park, broken only by the odd lecture. It really did feel like we were on holiday, only with lectures! We didn't even have a night out, which is very unusual, but which suited me down to the ground. Instead, we spent Friday and Saturday evening at Jo and Sarah's; on Friday we got chinese, and on Saturday we made fajitas. It was really lovely, just to sit, chat, watch films and pig out! It does mean I'm trying to eat healthily this week, but luckily the continuing good weather means i'm happy to munch on fruit and veg.

We're all feeling a little skint at the moment, which may also have contributed to the quiet week we had; we're all hoping and praying that Mr. Erasmus will come and leave us some money soon! Instead, we've been adventuring vicariously, planning trips around Spain and Portugal for after Easter. It feels like I've only been here two seconds, but I'm going home next Wednesday for the easter hols! It's crazy. But I can't wait to see everyone, it's my friend's 21st when I'm home so I'm so glad I can be there, and of course see my family and cats! I think Jakey is almost fully grown now; it doesn't seem two minutes since we got her! So after two weeks at home, and hopefully with the financial backing of the erasmus grant, we'll be visiting Madrid, Barcelona/Valencia, and Portugal, either continuing on to Lisbon from Madrid or road-tripping from Oviedo to northern Portugal. I don't know when we're going to do all these things, but if we at least get to do one or two that will be brilliant. I'd like a chance to practise my very basic Portuguese!

After sitting in the park for so much time, we are beginning to wonder whether anyone has actually committed suicide because of Oviedo's bells. They are really something quite special, and madness-inducing; every quarter of an hour you get a different tune that goes on for at least a minute, but feels like ten. In fact, by the time you've heard them all, especially the O'clock one, which is seriously over the top, you feel like there's barely a moment of silence between dinging bells. Why the citizens of Oviedo need such frequent time checks in such an extravagant way I cannot begin to understand. However, it's pretty much my only complaint of Oviedo - them and the lottery ticket sellers on street corners, who take advantage of any moment free from bells to shout 'para hoy' in a lilting way that, after a while, cannot really be much distinguished from the bells. That's when you start feeling like you're going a little mad.

I did have one adventure this week - exploring Spain's healthcare system. I woke up on Saturday morning unable to open one of my eyes because my eyelashes were glued together. When I managed to prise them apart, I looked in the mirror to find that my right eye had shrunk to about a quarter of its usual size, was red and weeping. So, suspecting conjunctivitis, Rosy and I went to a pharmacy to try and get some advice. They said that I needed to see a doctor, and as I'm not registered with a GP here, that meant a visit to the hospital. Luckily it wasn't far from our house, and after being issued with various sheets of paper, I had to follow a green line to another waiting room. They have what seems like a pretty good system whereby they assign you a colour when you arrive; red, orange, yellow, green or blue. Red is pretty much if your head's hanging off or something, and blue is why are you even here, you time-waster. So I was in the 'you're not quite wasting our time but you may be waiting for several hours' category. My heart sank when I entered a full waiting room of defeated-looking people, some of whom looked like they may have been there for days, and I wondered whether to try and get out and chance my luck, or whether to wait. I decided to wait for a bit, and within 20 mintues, I was in an optician's room, being examined by an optician and a doctor. Trying to explain my medical history in Spanish was a challenge, but they were patient, and the doctor was eager to try out her english, as well as her optical examination skills, it would seem. So I sat patiently while they flashed lights of various colours into my eye, put orange drops in it so that the world became orange for a while, and finally confirmed that it was nothing more than conjunctivitis. They prescribed me some drops and cream which I picked up for just over a euro (compared to £7 in Britain!) I'm now waiting to see if a bill comes from the hospital, in which case I expect there will be a tiresome reclaim process. But at least we now have the system figured out, so we know what to expect should anyone else need a doctor!

I should be revising at this precise moment, our Erasmus language course - the bane of my life - is nearly at an end! Unfortunately that means an exam on all things joyful such as the use of the imperfect subjunctive in relative suboordinate clauses. But tomorrow it will all be over, and never again will I have to go to a class from 7-9 in the evening! Maybe I should go and do some revision now, after I've hung out the washing and cleaned the flat and done every other possible job I can do...!

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