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4 posts from June 2012

06/26/2012

Más acerca de Mi Casa, by Rhonda Crittle, CIEE Palma de Mallorca

I'm in the midst of a four day weekend, being very productive of course! Below are photos of my Señora's apartment. I love the décor, so quaint.




Yes, stairs leading up to the "throne!"


It is customary for the washing machine to be located in the kitchen here, just like the dish washer there, an efficient use of space.


I proudly made myself dinner.


Outside on the balcony.


The street below. By the way, between the yellow line and the wall is the "sidewalk." I walk out of the front door, and I'm in the middle of the street!


On the roof.


Lounge area, but its not really the season.


Notice all the satellite dishes and antennas.


El jardín de mi Señora.


I did a little laundry, four loads of clothes, and hung them on the clothes line to dry.

06/19/2012

The Cherry on Top, by Rhonda Crittle, CIEE Palma de Mallorca

Having most of my syllabi and meeting all of my professors for the semester, I am pleased with my curriculum. It will be an interesting semester, jammed packed with all sorts of assignments, activities, and a few surprises. I know I can manage it all, just need to get organized. This brings me to the highlight of my week!

HOT and HANDY study abroad TIP: Don't be shy, bring ALL of your favorite school supplies from home.

I didn't bring any notebooks, folders, or any of my leftover supplies from the spring. I can't tell you how many note cards and pens I have in storage in D.C. Yet, I have been hanging on to the same Lufthansa Airlines pen and Hotel Jaime III notepad, just so I could survive my classes this week. By Wednesday, I was at the end of my wits and spoke to Antonia and Susan about places to purchase supplies for a reasonable price. Of course, everything on campus and in central Palma is expensive. I had to find a better alternative.

They directed me to a SUPER center called Carrefour. Antonia could see by the expression on my face that I was a little apprehensive to find this place on my own. However my mood changed quickly when she said, "Its like Wal-Mart." I carefully took their directions and made plans to see this place for myself.

Carrefour is on the bus route from UIB to home. I decided that today I must get all my supplies in order to be ready for next week. No excuses. Because I had a backpack and gym bag with me, I incurred some problems with security upon walking in the door. I just had to put my stuff in a locker until I finished my shopping. After all that, I was a little frazzled; however, I had a mission to complete. I crossed the security wall, took one look around, and realized that I had arrived! Admittedly, it is not as big of a building as an average Wal-Mart but more similar to a Targét. Either way, I was beaming with delight. I know its wrong for me to want to shop at the store that reminds me of a domestic store, but I love it! It has all that I need at affordable prices, and even better, its easily accessible. What more can I ask for?!

Any who, getting to my point, I found the "back to school" section near the front of the store, "SCORE!" I thought to myself. Looking at the spirals, just as I was warned, I realized that ALL the notebooks, in Mallorca and Spain actually, contain what we call "graph paper" only. Lined paper simply does not exists. Wide ruled, college ruled, loose leaf, I used to take it for granted, such a simple luxury. Still, I had to get what they had. I bought some notebooks, Post-it notes, pens, and substitute folders. I don't think pocket folders exist either, so we'll see how these fair.

So after I surveyed the school supplies, I wanted to see the rest of the store, especially the grocery section. The most mind blowing moment occurred when I saw the seafood section. No, not prepackaged items, but fresh, straight out the net from the boat cruising the Mediterranean, sea food of ALL types, from snapping lobsters to octopus legs to 5 different types of shrimp to porterhouse size tuna steaks. I was in awe. I just couldn't believe that it was all right there, waiting to be purchased, cooked, and enjoyed.

After I closed my mouth, I walked around some more, surveying the brands. I nearly teared when I saw Colgate and Dove in the hygiene section. Last week, I went to the local pharmacy to purchase some body wash. I found some, but it was pricey. Moreover, I am pretty sure that I bought a body wash with a hint of men's cologne. I plan to use it all, but now I know where to go as soon as I run out!

I paid for my items, had a nice conversation with the cashier, and got my bags from the locker. I witnessed another amazing moment in the store when I saw this the young boy be reprimanded by his father. Actually, the whole front of the store stopped to watch him yell at the boy. I was scared for him and didn't move a muscle until the father was done yelling. I love seeing these natural expressions of emotion in the Mallorquin culture. I've seen this same situation at home before, but this was that much more intense in español!

It was fun to get out and find Carrefour by myself after such an intense first week of classes. Furthermore, I need to get focused and organized tonight. I have a big weekend ahead of me. More to come soon!

06/12/2012

The HIGHLY anticipated first day of classes in Palma de Mallorca, CIEE, by Rhonda Crittle

I swear, last night, I felt like I was 10 years old again, restlessly laying in bed, anxious to begin the 5th grade. Except, this morning, I was eagerly waiting to begin the 15th grade;-) Yes, I enjoyed a very long summer, but today was the day. For anyone who may not know, this program is (balls to the walls) full Spanish immersion. My professors speak very little to no English, but I have a really interesting course load. My classes include a Hotel Management and Tourism course, Spanish for Business and Tourism writing and negotiating, Globalization, Human Migration, and Tourism using the Balearic Islands as a case study, a history course on Palma in the Mediterranean, and finally, a course that explores Spanish Politics and Society. I'm enthusiastic about the material and all that I will learn.

Today, I had three classes, well not really. The Hotel Management class, my only course in the number one nationally ranked Escola d' Hoteleria (http://www.ehib.es), did not begin today. I need to dress up in my mandatory uniform, black pants with a white blouse.
 
Next was the Globalization and Human Migration course. This, like my other four classes, is a CIEE course, which means that only CIEE students have enrolled. This fall, we are a quaint group of eight students, and as a result, my classes are small too. Four of us are taking the Globalization course. For this class especially, I am grateful for the small class size because I have a final project due for the term. It is so intense that we will need to meet individually with the professor biweekly as well as email him for help, not a T.A. He seems like a really nice and fair guy. I just need to organize the course material and focus on a topic as soon as possible.

My last class of the day at 3:30 was Palma in the Mediterranean. It is a class of only three students. This professor has a very active syllabus with field trips and a midterm. I am going to enjoy this course in particular because I have never learned about the history of the Mediterranean empire and its geography. We got rolling right away today, and I have already picked up a few interesting facts. Did you know that there was an invisible line separating the occidental and oriental halves of Europe and Northern Africa, mandated by the Romans? Also, call me geography challenged, but I never realized the the very southern tip of Spain is so close to the most northernness part of Africa, Morocco! It's like traveling from Miami to Cuba. Yes, the Straight of Gibraltar! I've heard of it, just couldn't tell you where it was located.

In conclusion, the first day was insightful and a success. One down!

06/05/2012

Mi Primera Clase de "Spinning" en ESPAÑOL in Palma de Mallorca, by Rhonda Crittle, CIEE

It is so fun to burn calories and learn new vocabulary words while exercising with others! Today, I went to the UIB gimnasio and had a sweat fest! (Sorry for the visual) It was so awesome. The facilities are top of the line, and the class schedule is INTENSE. I can't wait to join some more. If all the other instructors are half as demanding as this guy I met tonight, then I will be in good shape, literally. He yelled things like, "¡Sube Medio!" and "¡Arriba!" En inglés, "Up the resistance!" and "Get up (out the saddle)!" It was great, and the music was hot too! The only songs I recognized were Rehab and Apologize during the cool down. He was serious about stretching, which I appreciated so much. We cooled down for nearly 15 minutes, but I KNOW that I will still feel this tomorrow.

Cross Cultural Note of the Day: To my knowledge, all buses stop at a certain bus stop for a "break," or whatever it is they really do! I took the bus home from campus tonight. When the bus finally arrived, he drove for about 3 minutes to another stop and stood there for more than 10 minutes. He was reading or talking on the phone. YES, this happens almost everywhere, from Detroit to D.C. to Palma de Mallorca. I was flabbergasted!