Thursday, July 28, 2011

El Mate!

7/27-Well today was an exciting and mood-lifting day! I had my first day of orientation for exchange students this morning and it was amazing to see how many people are going to this University for this semester or the year. There are probably a good 30 or so students and I met people from Guatemala, Colombia, Spain, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, and of course the United States. It was amazing! I think the coolest thing about it was that regardless of where we are from we our common language is Spanish, talk about throwing in loads of different accents! It was also funny to see people grouping together who share the same first language; for example, people from France were getting together and talking in French and by the end of the day hardly any one was still speaking in Spanish. It is a struggle sometimes to get the point across when talking with people in Spanish, but its exciting at the same time!
Today was filled with Uruguayan foods/ beverages. After orientation a group of us went out to have lunch and I tried Asado for the first time, which essentially delicious grilled meat. I am not sure exactly what it was, but it was good! Then when I got home Lucia and I made MATE! Mate basically has a world and culture of its own here. So there are a few parts (I am stilll learning but these are the basics) and steps to drinking mate. 1) you need a Mate which is the little round/ brown looking cup you see 2) Yerba is the tea that you put inside. you fill the mate almost completely

full with yerba. 3) Un termo (thermos) is a necessity filled with almost boiling water, some people will take hours to sip on their Mate 4) the silver thing sticking out of the top is a straw/ filter/ spoon looking thing called a bombillo It was definetly very strong and a different tasting drink. I didn't love it, but I would try it again.. I was told its generally not something you like the first time, but gets better with time :)
Then I tried their chocolate milk and this jelly type stuff they put on toast. It was a cultural experience with food this afternoon and quite enjoyable if I do say so myself. I am just glad I walk the 1.8 miles home after school instead of taking el omnibus! ;)

7/28- Day two of orientation and things are looking up. We got information about choosing classes, which is actually harder than I thought it was going to be. Since I have basically taken all of my general education classes, it is hard to find classes offered here that will really count for anything. Right now I am looking at taking: Spanish Language, Uruguayan Literature, Philosophy of Language, the Phenomenon of Religion, Uruguayan Culture, Art 1, History of Uruguay and this Region, and a Community Service class/ project. I am obviously not going to take all of these, but they are my options for now. I have to make a decision for classes to start on Monday but I can change and drop classes until August 10th!
I still need to figure out the timing of el omnibus... yesterday I got there so early I waited for almost 15 minutes. Today I decided I would go out about 5 mins later and I missed that bus and had to wait about 15 minutes again for the next one. So, tomorrow I will go out somewhere in between those two times or try a different bus!
 I am becoming more comfortable getting around now. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am going with people, or I am going with a destination where I will be meeting people. Its comforting to know that someone is expecting me, even though it probably doesn't make a difference.
Tomorrow I have an exam to test my level of Spanish which will decide what level Spanish class I take, and then starts my first weekend with other students actually around! Exciting times ahead :)

Un besito

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