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I have become a Spaniard.

Posted by David Mccollum on May 25, 2010 in Thoughts

I have become a Spaniard; I am officially lost in this country. This place is so amazing that we have started saying that this is not real life, that this is all make believe. The cathedrals we have visited really inspires one to look at the beauty that surrounds us. The detail and the effort put into building these churches are truly amazing. They were attempting to make something that was so beautiful that it would seem that God had made it himself. They came pretty close in my opinion.

Last night felt like late autumn, just the right temp not to cold but not too hot. We all decided to walk up to the top of the aqueduct to study, drink coffee, socialize, and to take in the scenery at night. This city is bonito during the daylight but at night with the lights is another spectacle in itself. I will be posting pictures soon I promise, but right now my host mom is yelling at me. Its time for lunch and then a siesta!

 
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First day in class and our first excursion

Posted by David Mccollum on May 20, 2010 in Free time fun, Thoughts

The first day of school!!! This day can only be one of two things, a bad day or a good one. It usually all starts with a restless night before and normally ends with gum in your hair. Well at least in my case I have a shaved head so one is already an improbable. Actually though last night i couldn’t sleep. I woke up around 3:50 am our time and just laid there. I decided to not fight the beast and play solitaire.  After hours of slowly watching my over 50% winning percentage drop to an all time low of 23% i decided i could have better used the time to study Spanish.  An hour and a half later I couldn’t handle it anymore and decided physical exercise was in order. I threw on the IPOD and went to doing my push ups and crunches. Now the funny thing that happens when you are doing isometric workouts with headphones on you get in the zone and never hear the door open. Needless to say my host mother didn’t know what i was doing. I honestly think that when she saw me doing Front planks (push up position but with your weight resting on your forearms), that she thought I was praying!

After all that exercise i went into the kitchen where we had warm milk with instant coffee mix. She only put on scoop in mine. Now having served in the military i know how to make a coffee with instant mix. You need at least three scoops. She thought i was crazy. We dipped these little wafers into the coffee and whispered to each other over the dinning room table (so not to wake her daughter) about what i was going to do today. The conversation went like this. “something in Spanish” Me :”nodding, Smiling, and saying Si alot”. I honestly have no clue what was said. Hey I am learning everyday and i can honestly say my Spanish has improved quite tremendously while my English writing skills are diminishing.

The first day class was a review, after the review we went to the Royal Palace of LaGranja De San Ildefonso. It was amazing. I will be uploading pictures as soon as i can. Really though it blew my mind with its extravagance. The garden behind the palace had the biggest fountains i have ever seen and they were numbered in the 50s. We spent roughly three hours there and had a blast. My host mother made me a lunch which i inhaled because it was so tasty. It was a brochette (sp?) bread with a soaked green pepper so that it becomes soft and lays flat, covered in cheese, and on top of that TUNA!!!!!. The real kicker is that she made me two of them. She most have gotten a talk from my mother because thats what she did for her growing boy. The second sandwhich was a squash patatoe flour mix with queso. Never had it before but its something I am asking her to teach me how to make.

We have now made it home, I am heading out for a run, then dinner with la familia at nine, meeting up with a few classmates for some sangria at 10pm then off to bed because we are going to a castle. I still cant get over the amount of history that surrounds this place. I am going to go running along side a roman aquducte!!! can you believe it! I promise all of you that i am not taking this for granted.

Until then Hasta leugo!

Mac McCollum

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Segovia here we are!

Posted by David Mccollum on May 19, 2010 in Thoughts

Day one in Segovia Spain, needless to say it has been an eventful trip before we ever arrived. Many of us drove to Nashville a little over a week ago to find out that our flights had been cancelled due to an ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland. After waiting it out for one whole week we finally reached our destination. The trip had us leaving from Nashville, connecting in Atlanta, and then making a mad dash to the international terminal to catch our flight to Madrid. By the time we had disembarked in Atlanta our other flight had started loading.

No one start to worry this isn’t about to turn into a travel horror story. Every one made the flight and we landed safely in Madrid with all of our baggage. My fellow classmates and I have been blown away by the sheer beauty of this city just as we were pulling in. It’s like looking at living history. We arrived at the bus station where we were auctioned off like cattle…..I kid I kid. They called out your name and then the name of your host family. I am getting along with my host mother pretty well even though there is a language barrier. She is making me dinner and from what I can understand her daughter is coming over to eat with us, but I could be wrong.

I asked her about connecting to the internet and then she spoke about something that I really couldn’t understand. I eventually pulled the page up where it asks for the security code and handed her my computer. She handed it right back I think something may have gotten lost in the translation of hand signals!

All in all I am so thrilled to be here. I thought I was going to have to go on a jog to loosen up my legs and lower back from sitting down for so long but now that I am on this bed in this quaint little apartment in an ancient city, I feel sleep coming on fast. I could probably fall asleep hungry. For those of you that know me we know that I love food almost as much as sleep. Well ladies and gentlemen sleep is winning the battle.

Tomorrow I am going to wake up at 7:45 and at 9 we have our orientation, then our first day of class, followed by an excursion I believe. I really hope we get this internet issue resolved so that I can post this to my blog and let my family and friends know that I am okay as well as keep them abreast on my comings and goings here in Spain!

Until next time Hasta luego!

P.S. Just had dinner and her daughter did show up at the time I thought she said. It turns out her daughter is the one who had the password written down in a notebook for the Internet. She was at a class and that’s why my host mother kept on saying Estella. I thought that was the password!

 
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Hello world!

Posted by David Mccollum on Feb 17, 2010 in Thoughts

Hello guys, I am really excited about my trip to Spain. A little about myself. I am 27 years old and spent 8 years in the Marines. I am currently on my last semester here. I plan on attending UT next fall with long term goals of becoming an FBI agent.

I cant wait to tell you all about my trip and experience in Spain.
Thanks Guys

Mac McCollum

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