Hola guap@s!

Estoy en Espana. Creo que ese hecho es finalmente golpeandome. (Para las personas que hablan espanol en realidad, por favor, disculpeme y mi uso liberal y fatal de Google Translate). Pero, esta entrada no es para español. Las que siguen, si - porque tengo que practicar. Y ya esta.

Yes. Spain. Southern Spain to be a bit more exact. (I’m debating how paranoid I am and whether or not I want to divulge the city I’m in. But I guess if someone were dedicated enough to stalk me, they probably already know where I am and are currently observing me and my paranoia.) I’m spending the semester in Granada. Doing what? Learning Spanish. Now, I don’t need you to tell me that I’m skyving - the abuelita en mi casa already thinks I don’t go to school and am just wasting my parents money. =D I made the decision a bit late last year and I wasn’t very good about informing people about this decision. (Love you Neens). But estoy aqui and I have the chance to be on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean for a bit. =D

How has Spain been? A lot. In many senses. For me, living in a place where I know that the four year olds can express themselves more elegantly than I can has been disconcerting and exhilarating. If nothing comes out of this trip, I at least know that I made good use of my face, neck and appendages with all the smiling, nodding and gesticulating I’ve done. But poco a poco right? My first meal with my host family, I had no idea what was being said but by the end of the week, I could say, “Yo entiendo” with a bit more confidence. As of now, writing and listening are easier than reading and speaking. I know there’s a part of me that wants to say things perfectly and the trap is that I end up saying nothing at all sometimes. There’s a part of me throwing a tantrum because I want people to know that I’m capable of full sentences - paragraphs even! - in English. But a part of learning a new language and being in a new country is embracing the embarrassing moments. I’m still working on that. I want to be better at laughing at myself by the time I leave.

*Another part of me that I’m working on is doing things that I want to do and not things that I think I should be doing because Mari Angeles from two doors down said it was “muy chullo” and I should try it. Yuh understand wah me a chat bout? Too often I put pressure on myself from who knows which part and forget that I am whole and complete because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. So Jose can say all him wah say but it should be like water off a duck’s back for me.*

But all in all, I cyah complain. Echo de menos al pliegue, a mis amigos, a mi familia pero - that's expected. Thankfully I get to keep in touch because technology is amazing. I have ideas swimming in my head for how I’m going to do posts about Spain. We've done a few trips with the program and I have pictures and notes in my journal so I can write those up. The roommate has asked for recipes so I could do something about that here as well. I’m also doing a “practica” con el Departamento de Botanica y tengo que escribir sobre eso tambien. Pero vamos a ver. I also ned to decide how the language thing will work. Mejor espanol no?

La cancion es "El Mismo Sol" de Alvaro Soler.

Es todo que quiero decir ahora. I hope you’re doing well.

Gracias por leer,

Hola guapas!

I missed last week and this one will be quick. I realized that I've been stalling telling you all that I'm studying away from my university for this semester. I wanted to do so with a bit more finesse rather than dropping the news like a hot patty but things don't always go they way I rehearse them in my head. I also have a bit of a cold so I'm hustling to go to bed soon. But yes. I'm in a different country doing different things and I will soon turn this blog into another (possibly non-acidic) study abroad digital archive.

Leyendo "Una etiqueta olvidada" - a short story for class

Escribiendo Vocabulary lists for my tests coming up this week

Escuchando "Tribes At War" by Nas and Damian Marley featuring K'NAAN

Pensando Your body really knows when to lick you for six by giving you a cold and forcing you to relax yourself

Necesitando To sleep and get over this cold

Sentido Pretty good overall

That's all I'll say for now. I hope you're doing well wherever you are.

Gracias por leer,

Hi everyone,

I have another video this week (I know right?). In my plant bio class last semester we had the option to write a term paper or make animations (or Creature Casts) about a plant that we found interesting. Of course I popped style and decided to the animation. Then I chastised myself because I did not want to be making things frame by frame and spend hours and end up with twelve seconds of animation. I decided to do a whiteboard animation video which still played games with my blood pressure. But I'm here and my arteries are still functioning so all is well.

I chose ackee because I wanted to do something that reminds me of home and that has an interesting story. It doesn't get more interesting than a sometimes poisonous fruit that can only be described as tasting like itself. I had fun preparing the bits for this project - drawing the fruit in the different stages, being told that my ackee and saltfish looked like eggs, rigging my room into a studio, forgetting to record entire bits of the video, running out of space on my camera, trying to compile the video only to have the program (on my computer and the computer's in the school lab) tell me that they can't be uploaded and panicking around 10:30 pm analyzing my entire life and my decisions thus far then doing the rational thing and contacting a friend who comes over and saves everything and my entire existence and made me realize that everyone needs to get themselves someone who can code.

Now that I look back, I can also see how many people had a direct or indirect role in the outcome. From lending my a whiteboard, offering my markers, editing my script, giving real talk that my ackee looked like an omelette, telling me how to use a tripod, advising me to delineate a boundary, being a saint with computer skills - it wouldn't have been the same without them.

Special big ups to my yute EZÉ who produced the soundtrack. I'll say it again: The amazing background music is courtesy of a person I know. Check out his other work at EZÉ Creations.

I uploaded the video to my Facebook page. I hope you enjoy learning about ackee.

Thanks for reading and watching,

P.S. I'm not joking about getting yourself somebody who can code.

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