Home for the Weekend.

I love, love, love to travel, but I’m always relieved and excited when I get to stay home for the weekend. Yes, that’s what I’m calling Salamanca these days.

The only thing that I love more than Salamanca is Salamanca when it’s 70 degrees outside. The warm weather usually means that everyone heads to the río (river) for the afternoon, and Thursday was one of those days. It’s impossible not to love life when you’re sitting by the river with friends, soaking up the sun and not going to class. Calm down, I didn’t skip class, I don’t have class on Thursday afternoons. Afternoons spent down by the river are  reminiscent of spring time on the parade grounds at LSU with my best friends. Miss you guys.

Almost everyone stayed in Salamanca last weekend which made for an ISA reunion at Paniagua. I spent the night out with my friends writing #yosoa (you only study abroad once) on everyone’s hand, laughing hysterically, running from one side of Salamanca to the other, and just having the time of my life. After all, you only study abroad once. Am I right, or am I right?

Lily flashing her "#yosao"

ISA hosts volleyball and soccer games on alternating Fridays, and this week was volleyball’s turn. We headed out to the beach volleyball court by the river around 5:00 pm. Sofía, one of the ISA directors, had to kick some people off the court because we had it reserved until 6:30. They stayed to watch us play, and we could totally feel the judgement and hate in their eyes the whole time. They were a lot better than us, and were obviously bitter about having to leave their court so the Americans could play. Sorry about it, Spaniards (Not sorry). Besides this little setback, we had a ton of fun and laughed more than we actually hit the ball. Our team name was the “Pepsi Colas” (after Lily’s desperate attempts to make “Hola, pepsi cola” happen), and I can’t remember the other team’s name, but I’m sure it wasn’t as cool. We didn’t keep score, but we all know that the Pepsi Colas dominated. The next morning I woke up with sore arms. That’s what I get for completely ignoring exercise for the past three months.

Voleibol with ISA


My dad seems to think that I don’t actually go to school. Au contraire father, I go to school four days a week, but I don’t write about it because who wants to hear about school? However, last Saturday was centered around school. Saturday!  You hear that, people? I do homework on weekends in Spain! Okay, you caught me. That was the first time that I’ve spent a Saturday or Sunday doing homework. My life is soooo rough. I had to work on a presentation for my Monday morning literature class, so I spent the afternoon working with my group preparing for our presentation on Cristina Peri Rossi, a Uruguayan writer.

See how boring that was? I promise to never subject you guys to that kind of boredom ever again. 

Every year when I return home from LSU for the summer, I always spend the first few days at home wrapped in a blanket, watching tv, sleeping, not being productive in order to recover from finals week. My dad calls this phase of mine “being a blob”. He likes to walk upstairs, peek in my room and say, “What are you doing? Oh. Being a blob today? Why haven’t you moved?!” (Sidenote: my dad has never been a blob in his entire life. Every second of every single day he is doing something productive. I don’t get this lifestyle. Seems hard and not fun).
Well, Sunday was definitely a “blob day”.
I finally caught up on sleep, watched some tv shows, took some siestas, and then went to Mass on Sunday night (A glimpse of productivity!) On my way, I ran across one of the Holy Week processions in Salamanca. I couldn’t come up with an accurate way to describe them, so I found this:

“Each procession counts with an extensive entourage of figures. Rows upon rows of hooded penitents (“nazarenos”) carry crosses and candles while young men- called “costaleros”- carry the elaborate floats upon their shoulders, moving to the beat of the soulful music played by brass and percussion bands. Upon the floats, which themselves are flower-laden marvels, are expressive figures of the Virgin, of Christ, and of entire scenes of the Passion. While the tradition has taken on a more festive tone in much of Spain, Salamanca’s Semana Santa maintains an unique atmosphere of austeriy and meditation which makes for an extremely moving experience”.

It was definitely an interesting cultural experience. Salamanca never ceases to amaze me. Since then, I’ve seen two other processions. They are everywhere!

Semana Santa Procession

We have a ten day break off of school for Semana Santa and I’m headed somewhere very exciting. Can’t wait to tell you all about it when I return!


5 thoughts on “Home for the Weekend.

    • Oh I know! We couldn’t get over it at first, and I wasn’t sure whether or not I should address it in the blog, but here is what I found regarding the similar costumes:

      “One of the most striking, and perhaps most eerie, spectacles of the festival are the Nazarenos (based on the people of Nazareth, as the name suggests) in their tall, pointy hats and matching robes with their faces completely covered, apart from their eyes. The sight of hundreds of slow-moving unidentifiable figures in these ghostly, alarming costumes can be a little unsettling, and they are frequently compared to the Ku Klux Klan.

      One can be forgiven for believing the Ku Klux Klan and the Semana Santa parades were borne of the same idea, since the costumes of both are practically identical. Despite this, there appears to be no connection whatsoever between the two, although the Nazarenos came first. The Ku Klux Klan used their costumes for disguise, for the Christian connotations and perhaps the fact they were usually white had a racial significance. Although there is the possibility that there were members of the Klan who had witnessed Semana Santa parades and took their inspiration from these, there is no defined link at all.

      As for why the costumes are used in Semana Santa celebrations, the origins remain a mystery but the purpose is simple – their faces are covered in mourning, and also as a sign of shame for the sins they have committed throughout the year. Somehow, though, they manage to soften the blow for spectators not in the know by the Nike trainers they wear with their costumes and the can of Amstel and half-smoked Ducado they are often seen carrying – a reminder that Semana Santa is, essentially, simply a fun festival.”

      • Thanks for the history lesson. The “sign of shame for the sins they have committed” seems especially appropriate for the KKK. Am enjoying your blogs – keep em coming!

  1. I know I’ve already said this a million times, but reading your blog literally makes my heart ache. I miss it so much. I am so jealous of you. You’re beautiful and you have a great writing voice. We are becoming professional travelers for a career. Seriously. Soak up those last few weeks, Bee. #YOSAO

    • Thanks, Em! Every time I think about going home, I want to cry! I’m going to miss it so much. Time seriously flies. Can’t wait for our lives as professional travelers!! #yosao


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