Empieza el segundo semestre

Miraculously, I made it through finals. They were undoubtedly the hardest/most stressful set of finals I’ve ever had, but the actual tests ended up being better than I expected, and, as of about a week and a half ago, I’m done! The fun (read: not-so-fun) thing about my Spanish university is that, like much of Spain, it’s not really a fan of technology, so instead of the handy method of posting grades online, the professors put up lists of grades (often not even typed but handwritten) which may be found near the classroom or the professor’s office but may also not be in any logical location, so figuring out how you did on your exams, evidently, is more difficult than taking those exams. However, I guess two of my professors are abnormally high-tech, because I found one grade on Campus Virtual (Complutense’s site where some professors post class material, forums, etc.) and another got emailed to me. I’m still trying to hunt down one of my grades, and that happens to be in the class I was most worried about.

But I am pleased to say that I got a sobresaliente (the equivalent of an A) in Psicolingüística and Sintaxis histórica (my Sintaxis histórica professor even emailed me to congratulate me on doing so well in a class that’s difficult even for Spanish students!) and the equivalent of at least an A- (I say “at least” because there’s a rumor EAP will curve some grades, but an A- is perfectly fine) in Comunicación interpersonal, which is very exciting, because I had prepared myself to get C’s since my classes were so hard (mostly just because they’re conducted in Spanish) and grading here is very different.

And now second semester has started up (they really aren’t big on giving us long breaks here), and I had my second day of classes today. I’m still trying to figure out which classes I’ll stick with, but so far I’ve attended Hipertexto y multimedia (Hypertext and Multimedia, basically about how to design user-friendly websites), Diseño y programación en internet (Internet Design and Programming), Psicología aplicada a la comunicación audiovisual (Psychology Applied to Audiovisual Communication), and Nuevas Tecnologías Audiovisuales (New Audiovisual Technologies). I think I’m keeping three of those but will hopefully be replacing Psicología aplicada a la comunicación audiovisual with Antropología de género (Gender Anthropology), depending on how that class goes when it starts this week or the week after (another fun thing about this university: no clear start dates for classes). I’ll probably only have class Thursdays and Fridays, not starting until 1pm, plus maybe one class on Wednesdays at 5pm, which is a very good deal.

Between finals and the start of second semester, my mom and my aunt Valerie came to Madrid to visit me! I showed them the most interesting parts of old Madrid, ate lots of tapas and other good food, went to Toledo, Chinchón, and Alcalá, watched the Olympics, saw a Carnaval parade, visited free museums, and generally had a very lovely time with them here. Having had my dad, Andrea, Ean, Dylan, Sara, Rachel, Michael, my group of Prep friends, my mom, and Valerie visit throughout my time here has been wonderful because it’s great seeing family and friends, of course, and also showing them Madrid makes me appreciate this city even more.

Plaza Zocodover, Toledo, Spain

Plaza Zocodover in Toledo.

Retiro, Madrid

My mom and I in Retiro.

Six months ago today, I was on a plane to Madrid to begin my year abroad. It’s kind of crazy six months have already passed. Before coming, a lot of people had told me that you really start feeling more comfortable around the end of the first semester (which is why I chose to stay for the whole year rather than just a semester), and that’s proving to be true. I’m feeling less homesick and more in love with Spain than ever, and I know my last four and a half months here will be amazing (and will unfortunately fly by way too fast).

For those of you using Internet Explorer, does the comments page look funny (as in it doesn’t fit the rest of the layout but rather is a simple yellow background) to you? Does it allow you to comment? Grr, I always have issues with Internet Explorer. (Edit: Aha! Michael figured it out! It should be fine now.)

One of my “new semester resolutions” is to meet more Spaniards. Another, I’ve just realized, will be to update this thing more often. I still have all my fantastic November and December trips to write about, and I hope to start writing more about everyday life. Love you and miss you all!

5 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kirstie Kate. Thanks for the update – I always look forward to it! It looks great and correctly formats on my iPhone. Love you!

  2. Nana says:

    I just knew you would do well on your exams, although I am sure that the uncertainty as to what they would be like in a foreign university setting (and language) was stressful. Glad you had a good time with your mom and Valerie and that you have had family visit to fill im the times between your arrival and your Christmas in CA and now the time before you leave for home. Any idea how long you will stay when school in finished or are you ready to head home? Looks right now like I won’t be in Oslo this year. Was hoping perhaps to tie it in with a trip to Spain. However, so many folks want to visit Jane and the kids and, with such a short warm season, there just isn’t enough time for everyone. As you know, family always gets first dibs! Love you, Girl! Keep on having fun!

  3. Michael says:

    Glad to hear you got As and that you’re continuing to enjoy Spain!

    And yes, the comments page looks funny on IE, but I think it’s a comment in the comments template (of all things!) that says “” and it’s tripping up IE. Firefox is more forgiving (for once!)

    I find wonderful irony in the fact that a comment saying “irrelevant code” may be causing the entire problem!

    • Michael says:

      And of course they don’t run the comments through htmlspecialchars() so that was supposed to be “<!–irrelevant code–!>” and the end is only supposed to be “–>”

      • Michael says:

        And once more (don’t you love getting comments here?!) — those are double-dashes, not em dashes like the software auto-corrected it to be!

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