Friday, February 27, 2009

and the tides change

before i talk about my experiance at Carnival in Cadiz last weekend. I have exciting news to share!

yesterday i had my first real conversation in spanish. during my grammer class the topic of women´s rights came up and i was able to articulate my opinions and explain the experances of women in the middle east. we DISCUSSED the topic for about half an hour. -sigh- it felt so good to move beyond surface topics.

also i had my first dream in spanish. it was very strange. i was in a void place with no distinguisable features talking with a void entity. -shrug-

Here are some photos from carnival in Cadiz and a sildeshow at the end. Carnival was crazy. more people than i have ever seen, which is saying alot. we were sholder to sholder for about 12 hours, whether we were in plazas or on streets. it felt like being at a concert except no one was dancing and every one was drinking heavily. before everything got crazy i got to see a little bit of Cadiz and the sun set on the atlantic from the other side, which was cool. it was fun to see all the costumes and interesting to see how the days before lent are utilized, but i would not do it again. by about 3 am the streets were wet, as if it had rained, with piss, vomit and spilled beverage. there was incredable amounts of trash and broken glass. i managed to miss the musical groups, except the one i have a photo of from 5 am. it was just too hard to move around and we were so unfamilar with the city and festival itnerary. ah well. this past weekend, so yesterday, Ronda had a small Carnival and i enjoyed it very much. it was definatly a festival for the locals.

eating sea urchin!

And i am peter pan again!

also i made a costume for my host mom´s grandson. it was nice to contribute to the family since currently i am probibited from cooking or cleaning.

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Friday, February 20, 2009


the complexity of a simple thing

gravity, water and stone.

Arabic fountian in Ronda
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Arabic fountian in Granada
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con un gato

Sunday, February 15, 2009

las puertas

the doors in ronda are wonderfull. i have started a collection of images that i will continue to update.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

¡hace sol!

the sun came out and all was good in the world.

for the last two days the weather has been ideal. light breeze, tons of sun, moderate temps. thus, my sun light intake has increased. hooray! i feel much better.

truthfully, monday marked a nice change in my disposition. i started laughing at my mistakes instead of being frustrated by them. now i talk more than i talk. eh.

i have not set up an intercambios yet. purely procrastination. it is at the top of the list everyday... instead i have been walking and sitting around boone and looking. i drew a person playing the accordion today. we attracted a crowd of locals, who all wanted to see my drawing and compliment the accordion player. el acordionista toca muy buena. fyi i dont think acordionistia is a real Spanish word. i also met some German travelers, we might meet up later tonight.

i ended up hiking the gorge again and this time found a new path all the way down to the river. when it is swimming weather i have found my spot. it is very reminiscent of hebron but with more moss and unfortunately more thorns.

my ability to understand Spanish has increased as long as the person speaks slow. speaking is coming poco y poco (little by little). in general class has improved because now i can figure out what the teacher is trying to tell me and ask useful questions.

i am very grateful that i have an awesome host family. they talk to me all the time and seem genuinely intersted in what i am about even if they cant really figure out what im saying. my host father caught me drawing the oil container and was so excited that i could draw. he is very cute. oh, i just found out he has a motorcycle! i am going to see if he will take me for a ride. my host mother cooks incredible food for every meal. and believe it or not, more than i could ever finish. ha. i really couldnt ask for more.

until the next time...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

a fragment of the hike

many hours and a few euros later. i give you this meger slideshow of a hike i went on. i got to climb on and in all the ruins!

unfortuantly i have run out of time at the internet cafe. so until next time. enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

just a tease...

unfortuanlty the computers i have access to for free are very old and have a slow internet connection. Thus, i have had trouble uploading photos. here is one to wet your appetite.

two waterfalls! i only knew of one. what a nice suprise.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

prideful indigestion

with my first week in Ronda near completion, i will admit my frustrations. i understand that my current emotional state will improve with time. none the less, they are a valid part of my experience.

i debated posting about this because i resist exposing my vulnerability, so i am specifically requesting a refrain from consoling me.

-i have discovered that i hold a bit too much pride in my ability to communicate. at the end of class each day this week my body was twisted with frustration, anger and embarrassment. the anger is my means of suspending the saline from exposing my embarrassment. i can not communicate in Spanish. i only understand half of what half of my professors are saying and they understand less of what i attempt to say. coming here i knew this was going to happen and i was sure i could just roll with it until i made it over the learning curve. with my host family, i am doing well about not stressing over my limited communication. in school it is a different story; in my class i am the only new student, so all of the other students can communicate. i guess i am more prideful than i realized. i am embarrassed to appear unintelligent. i am frustrated that there is a limit as to how much my brain can process.

-we all know that i dont know how to relax. well, the current state of stress that i have subjected my body to has reignited my pinched sciatic nerve. this time it is both legs. so to add to my embarrassment i need to stand up at least twice during out two hour classes, because if i try to grin and bear it i cant concentrate enough to understand anything.

so... as a step toward relaxing, i joined a Tai Chi class. hee. it is full of middle aged women, none of whom speak english. they are all very nice and we exchange minimal, but friendly conversation. i enjoy observing them communicate with each other, it like a silent movie of sassy women in sweat pants moving in slow motion.

this weekend i am going to contact some locals for an "intercambios" basically, two people spend time together and help each other improve communication in a forgien language, so i will be helping some one improve their english one day and they will help me with my spanish the next. i am hoping it will feel more equal and less frustrating for me. plus i want to find some art enthusiasts to go to this art exhibition with me. i will let you know how it goes.

muchos amor!

Monday, February 2, 2009

clever is an understatment

HA! in order to update this blog i had to enable cookies for the blogger website, which i managed to do with all the computer´s menus in spanish.

i feel a bit crazy. the good kind, where you feel like your head has expanded past the know limit of your skull. the beauty is that past the know limit is only infinite possibilities.

Ronda is incredible. the town has about 35,000 people and is the size of downtown ashville or ferndale. it has two parts. the old town dates back to the 11th century, which monuments, fortresses, arabic bathes, mosques and bridges circa 13th and 14th century before the reconquesta. there are also churches circa 1700´s. today we had a tour of some of these places in spanish. i can tell you about them because i understood most of what was said. granted the tour guide was catering to us, a group only of students from my school with poor spanish.

the new part is still about 200 hundred years old. my family lives in the new part of ronda in a large apartment. however, there is no heat! instead they have heaters under the living room and kitchen tables with long thick table clothes to warm your feet and legs. currently the temperature ranges from 7-12 C degrees, so it is chilly all the time. the school also has no heat and no cozy tables. i´m very glad that i brought my coat, hat and scarf.

i can not really tell but i think my english is coming out strange. i feel like my sentences are shorter and simplified and i have to keep correcting my word order. this post is the most english i have interacted with in two days.

i will not have any pictures for a bit because i need to find the right cord to charge my camera. however, when i do you will be floored. ronda sits on a gorge and is surrounded by mountains. the two bridges i choose between, to go to school span that gorge. my view from school is distant farms, hills with sheep and mountains. my school is in an old moorish palace, so it has plazas, columns, roof top patios, a clay roof and tons of narrow steep stair cases.

here is my address:
Kegan Refalo
c/ Marques de Salvatierra, 8
P.O. Box 332
Ronda (Málaga)

i am figuring out all of my skype options. for now i can skype with video from 1:30- 2:30 est and i might be able to skype with only audio later in the day. fyi there is a six hour time difference here. email me your skype name and if you are available at that time. if not i have more time on weekends and we can schedule a time.

i hope all is well with all of you where ever you are.

miss you.