I'm nearing the end of my second week in Salamanca. I am in the full swing of classes and have established a routine. I have 3 classes every day which include a 2 hour grammar class, a 1 hour conversation and writing class and a 1 hour oral language practice class. The last class is my favorite which is essentially a lot games, discussions and debates. There are 9 Chinese people, 3 Japanese people and myself and one other American. I'm learning a lot about China! Their accents when speaking Spanish is super hard for me to understand though. Sonia is the teacher in this class and I like her style. She's laid back and creates a fun learning environment. Here's a picture of her.
Sonia/Oral Language Class
One thing I have learned through my travels, past and present is that I will encounter situations that may cause some frustration and that I will make mistakes. This weeks blunder involved the bus. I'm living in a house that is about an hour walk to the city center and University. One of my housemates told me (in Spanish) that I can get a bus card for the month and I could save a little money per trip. Great! I'm always looking for ways to save money. Sounded easy enough. I asked the bus driver where I could get the card and he told me at the "kiosko". Which kiosko I didn't catch in his fast Spanish. I asked a lady at the supermarket in town where I could get the bus card and she also said at the kiosko and she explained where and I understood enough to figure it out. So the next morning I got off the bus and went to the kiosk and asked the lady if they sold bus cards. She rambled something super fast and then started helping the person behind me. Um, hmmm, not sure what just happened. Maybe they don't sell bus cards. Gave up for the moment and went to class. A girl in my class said she knew where I could get the bus card so we walked to an office on the same street where I get off my bus. I figured I would need approximately 40 trips on the card, so I paid 25 Euro ($32) for the card to have 40 trips. I was super excited that I finally had my card and I would save some money! I walked across the street, got on the bus and tried to swipe it. No beep. The bus driver chuckled and said that was not the card for this bus. What!? My heart sank and I was so angry! The card I bought was for the city routes and I ride one that goes outside the city. Crap! I just wasted $32! I sat in my seat fuming the whole ride home. I knew they wouldn't return the card, but I tried anyway. No go! :-( I went back to that other kiosk the next morning and bought the correct card with no problem. Sometimes, the most basic things can be so challenging when you don't speak the language fluently. I have recovered from that blunder and will be much more careful next time and be prepared to ask more questions.
One of the many plazas to hang out in and to the right is the famous cathedral where there is a frog hidden within the details. Tourists always looking for the frog!