Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Let the games begin

Updated to add - I wrote this as my day was going.  It is unedited and plausibly rambling.  Consider yourself forewarned.

Update two: wifi is really dodgy.  Don’t have enough power to upload photos :(.  Serious fail since they make the story much better.  Will have to add them in later; in the interim, will try and post some to fb.

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I am here!  I am amazed, slightly overwhelmed/terrified, and enjoying every minute of it :)

I managed the customs conversation almost entirely in Spanish (he was v patient given that I’m quite certain he’s at least moderately fluent in English) and the drive to the school...  oh let me tell you, small talk is a whole new degree of painful when you don’t really speak the language!   Lol Eduardo (my driver both for today and tomorrow’s adventure) speaks no English beyond “hello” but he was incredibly patient w my attempts at Spanish and spoke very slowly so I could follow, which was awesome.

The drive was terrifying - there’s a festival in San Jose this wknd so traffic was insane.  Picture Toronto traffic at it’s worst, then take away all lanes (standard seems to be “if I fit, I go”) and any adherence to street signs (like stop ;).   Eduardo was totally fine w it other than telling me usually that’s not normal Saturday traffic but omg.

Got to campus - which is entirely secured, which is nice.  It’s also fairly stunning :).  Was shown to my cottage and my room, and managed to ask how to find food (greeter also seems to have very little English - yeah immersion).  So now I have directions, more keys than I have to my own house along w the code to the gate, cash, and hunger as a driving force to go exploring.

There are signs I’ll have a cottage mate but she’s not here now.  Sooo. Off I go!

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Walk in was no problem.  Have to admit the first several streets I crossed I found another pedestrian and tagged along behind them ;). Lol I have no idea where cars are coming from! Getting more confident as I go but was pretty dodgy the first few times.

So now I’m sitting in the town park being glared at by the impressive town church, enjoying a random festival that seems to be going on.  Very high energy, singers and dancers.  Tamborines seem to be a big part of this.  Random dude selling balloons.  Kids on bikes goofing around.  I just grabbed a seat and settled in.   It’s bright, sunny, and warm - but drizzling ever so slightly.  Odd but amazing.   I’ve also located but not yet entered grocery store, bread store, and street meat. 

The sidewalks are in questionable condition which makes it more of a hike than the same walk at home would be, and traffic is crazy so not walking on the road.  The walk back is straight uphill - like the kind of hill I lived on in Fredericton.  So groceries will be limited.  But that’s for future Lauren - now enjoying the music and not having anywhere to be.

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I have now successfully ordered and paid for food in Spanish :).  And continually meeting people who are exceptionally patient w my efforts.  Now - if the food that arrives is actually what I think I’ve ordered, we’ll deem it a win :)

Also - background music is now Queen?!?!   Lol yet somehow it works...

So I took my dinner back to the park and was so close...   lol somehow I got two burgers instead of one - which to be fair is how it looked on the menu but since that made no sense to me I assumed I misunderstood.  Alas no.  Also fries came drenched in ketchup and mayonnaise, which is not really my ideal - for future reference ;).  But really didn’t need them w the extra burger!   And coke tastes v different but still good.

Also - dogs speak a universal language:). Met a v sweet German shepherd.

Very much want to stay but the sun is setting and I feel like it would be a good idea to find groceries and get home before dark.

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Right - groceries were a bit of a fail.  I found bread but no butter or jam.  Eggs - but only in like 30 packs, which is more than a little excessive for one person for one week so I left those behind.  Came home w bread, apples, coke, and absolutely no idea about how much money I’ve spent today.  Lol I have zero concept of the currency here.   I was buying things in local stores though so I feel like prices were probably reasonable.

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The walk back was about 15 min from the edge of town at a solid march.  Spent nearly 7h on a plane today and still got my 10k steps :)

I felt safe walking around the town, and police presence was very visible throughout.  Given that all the homes seem to have security gates I’m sure there’s something there, but certainly for wander around populated areas and find food it was no problem.

I’ve met my roommate, Sophie, from Germany.  Apparently there’s another girl too but she’s away for the wknd.  It looks like I’m in a class by myself next week?!?  Not too sure about that - also know that I test higher in reading and writing than I can actually speak, so maybe when I actually talk to them they’ll bump me back down and I’ll get a group.  But we’ll see...  And apparently our fridge doesn’t work.  Fail.

Have a v early start tomorrow.  Jet lag works in my favour going this way, I’m kinda dreading the reverse when I come home.

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