The last week has been pretty low-key. After staying up so late for the Super Bowl, the cold that I had been getting over came back with renewed fury and quite possibly a case of bronchitis, so I’ve been mostly taking it easy in my bed with my Netflix subscription instead of going out at night. I’ve tried to make the best of the time I am actually out and about so, in addition to visiting the Prado again with Paco’s class, I did some other exploring with some friends when they dragged me out of the house. I’m glad I decided to abstain from drinking though, because I might be slowly getting better!
Anyway, our journalism class on Wednesday was pretty fun because we finally went outside on a little field trip and started filming a real news segment. For our first piece, we are covering the proposed remodel of the Santiago Bernabéu, the stadium Real Madrid plays at that’s only a few blocks away from where our AU classes are held. We all — well, the four of us in the class — had different roles for the first of our many practical assignments to come: Annie worked the camera, Sarah did the introduction or entradilla, Hyunjin gave the rest of the information on the voice-over, and I did the interviews of individual people. We all had to prepare a little for homework, then we worked on tweaking things together in class, and after we were pretty satisfied with what we had we walked to the stadium to take some stock video clips and record Sarah doing her introduction. Fortunately, the camera ran out of battery after we finished with Sarah and I didn’t have to interview real people this time around. We went back to school and I was able to interview Paco and Elena, two people who work for our abroad program. Elena took a lot of convincing to let us get her on video, but she and Paco both did amazingly. We are going to review the footage and start putting it together next class, so we’ll see how it turns out!
Wednesday got even better after that because my International Marketing class got canceled and my day ended at 1:30pm, letting me take a much needed nap. 😉
There was no paseo on Friday, but luckily my friend Carson convinced Sarah, Max, and I to explore Madrid on our own by checking out the Reina Sofía, which is the modern art museum with pieces from the 20th century. (Side note: the state museums in Madrid, like in most of Europe, are free for students under a certain age with proof that they’re students. This is part of the reason that the Reina Sofía and Prado are such good spots to explore — they don’t cost any extra money!)
Our main reason for going there, other than to experience another one of Madrid’s famous museums, was to see Pablo Picasso‘s Guernica. We had just learned about this in Paco’s Spain Seminar this Thursday when we talked about País Vasco, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities roughly equivalent to states or provinces. The Basque Country is known for being very independent and proud of its own identity, being the home to the armed terrorist organization ETA that killed, injured, and kidnapped many people over its fifty year history before it declared a ceasefire in 2011, though talks of secession and independence are still common today. Picasso’s very famous painting depicts the suffering and tragedy many felt when Franco, with the help of German Nazi air support, bombed the Basque town of Guernica and killed and injured many people during the Spanish Civil War. This is another very often taught painting, and one with a large political significance, that we wanted to see in person. It’s actually a very huge work, about 12 feet by 25 feet (3.5 meters by 7.75 meters), and constantly guarded by two Reina Sofía staff members. Unfortunately, due to safety reasons, no photos were allowed, but it was definitely very cool to actually see it in person!
We explored a few other exhibits in the museum before making our way to Guernica. Though I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of most modern art, it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways people find to express themselves and how many different forms of art there are. The different exhibits we saw included anything from photos, films, and paintings to shadows on the wall, random sticks and rocks in different arrangements representing mothers and fathers, and live birds from Brazil. I also thought it was interesting how many pieces of Spanish modern art have Franco’s oppression, or the counterculture revival after his death, as main themes. While it was good to explore, we can’t wait to go back to the museum with Paco so we can actually learn all the context.
After lots more sleep, Carson had another brilliant idea for Saturday: finally go to the movie theater in Spain. We decided to start off easy for our first movie theater trip, so we only saw El Lobo de Wall Street, or The Wolf of Wall Street. Dubbed movies are pretty common in Spain, but we saw it in V.O., which stands for versión original or “original version”. Well, to be more specific, it was listed as V.O.S. al castellano, which basically means “original version subtitled in Spanish”. If you’re ever trying to watch a movie in a foreign country, definitely look out for those letters on the schedule, so you at least now what you’re getting yourself into. Another interesting thing: though our seating wasn’t, many of the theaters in Spain have assigned seats like at a musical or sporting event. As for the movie itself, let’s just say it was definitely an interesting experience if only a little crazy.
This weekend turned out to be a pretty good one to take it easy. We had a lot of people from our program traveling outside of Madrid, with people in London, Grenada, Rome, and Marrakesh, so the number of people still in the city was much smaller than normal. I also have two weekends of travel coming up for me: next weekend I’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day in Amsterdam and the weekend after that I’ll be in Andalucía and Lisbon, Portugal with the Iberian Experience kids, so I could use a little rest beforehand.
Oh, and it turns out we’ve been in Madrid for a full month by now. Our phones and our Metro passes were actually the ones to let us know: they stopped working on Friday and we had to pay quite a bit to renew them, €20 and €35 respectively. Being the two things that we probably use most often in day-to-day life, they’re definitely worth that money though, and I guess they were nice enough to point out that we’re about a fifth of the way through our study abroad experience. Anyway, here’s hoping that all this tea and water I’ve been drinking works and I’m better by next week.