A Never-Ending Story

Today is the three monthiversary of when I left the United States. I can’t believe I have already whiled away half of my time in Spain!! That means that there are only three months until I leave for Australia! I just sent the medical part of the visa application to the Australian consulate in Madrid. Hopefully it will be accepted and hopefully I’ll have my visa soon enough. It’s a never-ending, often painful process of paperwork and asking for permission to do things. I must admit that I have not been very stress-free over the past couple of weeks while I have been  running around like a chicken without a head. Meanwhile my passport has not been stamped since I entered France in January. There isn’t even a record of my having been in Spain. I guess that’s the European Union for you. I wish I did have a passport stamp from Italy and Spain though. It’d be nice to have my passport to show where I have been. I think the doctor who administered the visa medical exam said it best. He was shaking his head over some of the questions on the visa papers because he said “Sometimes it makes me sick. Politicians make all these nice little laws to make sure everyone is healthy, but then none of it has any practical application.” It’s all done now though. All I can do is sit and wait. At least I’m no longer homeless in Australia–I was accepted to Union College which is a residential institution kind of like a dormitory, but more similar to the Colegio Mayores here in Spain. These are residential buildings that include everything a student needs to live at university–a computer room, a gym, a cafeteria, meeting/lounging spaces etc. I’m pretty excited about it.

It was a beautiful day here in Valencia. I had several excellent conversations in Spanish and I really have nothing bad to say now that all the visa stuff is out of my hands. My room mate Ana is actually staying in the apartment this weekend…which is a big deal. The kids that live in my Colegio Mayor are, for the most part, younger students, usually first years, and so they go home on the weekends to see their families and pets. It’s the same at Rutgers. Most people who go to the University of Valencia are actually from Valencia or very near to it. No one lives too far away except a few “out-of-staters.” There were tentative plans to go to Bilbao this weekend, but they were canceled because Ana is staying here. That’s how big a deal this is.

This week my main activity was academic…for a change. There was a conference that I was required to attend on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for my Women in Antiquity class. The title of the conference was Mujer y vestimenta: Aspectos de la identidad femenina en el imperio romano y sus provincias. That translates to “Women and Dress: Aspects of Feminine Identity in the Roman Empire and its Provinces. There were a few lectures in English which ended up being good because the presentations in Spanish were almost impossible for me to follow. The Spanish kids complained about the lectures in English because they couldn’t understand them, so the professor (who is amazingly, awesomely cool and living in Princeton, NJ for a while) asked me to team up with the Swiss boy who also speaks English to write a summary of the lectures in Spanish. I think I might be on my own with this one because all the Swiss kid did was email me his notes that are in English. So that is what I am procrastinating from right now. I was going to write up the English lectures in English and the Spanish lectures in Spanish because it seemed easier that way. Maybe my professor will give me credit for translating too. Who knows? She’s nice. She might do it.

Nothing much else has been happening. I’ve been sending a lot of emails trying to get everything set up for next semester. I found a person who has a “synagogue” of sorts set up in her house and she is selling matzah, so I might be able to get some. I can’t believe Passover is next weekend…and I’m going to be in Toledo! That will probably be the next blog entry. Then the next week Melanie is coming to visit me from France! I have to start planning for that a little bit too on top of studying for class. Class? Do I ever have class?

Oh yeah. One last thing. I got my hair cut. Check out the photos. 🙂

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