a cold war

cold war window

There’s a miniature cold war going on between one of my housemates and me. I open the hallway window. Someone closes it. I open the window. Someone closes it. It’s right outside my door, but I never hear them in the act. So I open it again, because I believe reasons are logical. I open the window to remedy stuffiness, to welcome the warmer outside air into the icebox apartment, and to attempt to rid the hallway of the lingering and acrid smell of cigarette smoke that filters under the closed door of the girl who smokes – “But only in her room!” said my landlord, as if smoke were an animal that could be easily caged.

I still haven’t interacted with either of the two potential window-slamming transgressors, my housemates, for more than 15 seconds a piece, as they stay in their rooms with their doors closed during the day – whether they’re actually there I’m never sure until they briefly exit to use the bathroom or walk out the front door – and only venture out past 10:00pm to eat or watch tv, at which point I’m already in bed or nearly there. Oddly enough, the other three housemates that should supposedly live here don’t seem to have arrived yet. The first week of classes will soon be over; but for all I know, it could be normal in Spain to skip the first week of classes.

My schedule has finally solidified. And, man, is it horrendous. I’m more or less pleased with my classes, but the timing of them all couldn’t be much worse. They start at 8:00am every day but Wednesday, when they start at 9:00, and my last class ends no earlier than 5:25 every day but Friday. Thankfully I’m not in class that entire time, and I live close to home so I can return for lunch or to do homework, but I have hours-long breaks in between classes. Quite annoying. All told, I’m taking Beginner Chinese, (pseudo-)Advanced Spanish Conversation, Direct (English to Spanish) Translation, Europe in the World, and Panorama of Spanish Literature. The only class that interests me is Chinese, but that’s what I get for putting off odious classes I’m required to take until my very last semester of college.

As I mentioned yesterday, Direct Translation is certainly proving to be a challenge. I have never been more painfully aware than I am now of the frequency with which we use idioms in writing and speaking English and how few of them I know in Spanish. This weekend I have to translate a movie review from Rolling Stone, which is a joy to read in English. That, I’m coming to realize, means a text will be a nightmare to translate into Spanish.

Bilbao from above clouds

This evening after class ended some of my classmates and I took a funicular up a hill to see the view. Unfortunately, during the afternoon the brilliant sun from the morning had turned to thick, low clouds, so the view was less than spectacular. I suspect it was, however, a more typical view of the city than sunshine would’ve been, and it was still neat to have the city spread out below us and to pick out the Guggenheim and other landmarks. The photo above is just the northern third or so of the city. On the way there we also happened upon a massive mural under a bridge. There is art in every corner of this city.

red bridge mural

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