So. While I am in Spain, I am making it a goal to:
- Be creative. I'm probably going to have tons of time--I want to spend a good chunk of that creating things. I talked about art earlier, but I don't want to restrict myself to that; maybe I'll try photography, maybe I'll write, maybe I'll, I don't know, find a pottery studio and learn how to throw pots.
- Run. I haven't kept up with running the two times I've lived abroad, for various reasons. I'm determined that this time will be different, since Spain appears to be more runner-friendly than the other two countries where I've lived (Portugal and Italy); and as a motivational tool I'll be registering for the Roman Marathon in March.
- Get good at Spanish. I haven't mentioned language before, but I've never taken a Spanish class in my life. I can get by okay, thanks to 1. all the time I've spent with Italian, Portuguese, and French, and 2. the fact that I'm pretty good at learning languages. Some people can build bridges or fly airplanes; I can learn languages. I'm not the best with the miniscule details of advanced grammar (anyone remember function words from the old AP language exams? those were my nemeses), but I'm really good at speaking and comprehension. At this point, I can read just about anything in Spanish, carry on a basic conversation, and understand more advanced conversations as long as people speak slowly.
- Learn about the Spanish educational system and related policy. I've worked in a high school in the US for the last two years. I'm interested in learning how differently Spain tackles some of the same issues. I plan to work in primary or secondary education long-term, but I absolutely believe it's important, and have enjoyed learning more about the policy side of things.
- Eat. I love food. Love, love, love food. I like Spanish food in general, with its emphasis on good-quality, fresh ingredients prepared with a minimum of fuss, but I can't wait to try Galicia-specific foods. My exposure to it is pretty much limited to pulpo a la gallega--but man, do I love octopus and its sea-critter cousins.
- Settle into my place. Even if I wasn't going to have a four-legged, cold-nosed tag-along, I wouldn't be planning on a whole lot of traveling. Honestly, I've been to almost all of the places in Europe that I feel strongly about visiting. There are a few exceptions (Greece *history nerd alert*, Sicily, Bologna, the South of France, the Dordogne); a few places I want to revisit (San Sebastian and Rome); and a few places where I'll visit friends (Paris and Lyon), but other than that, I'm much more interested in diving into Lugo than in jaunting off to Munich for the weekend.
P.S. Gwen's lie is that she is the rarest of beasts--a Siberian that fetches. Not with the single-minded intensity of those slobbery labs or Goldens, mind, but she brings her toys back more often than she doesn't.