On Location Spanish – 14 May 2013

130514-iain¡Hola y bienvenidos a mi blog! Once again, it’s Iain here in Salamanca with an update on my year abroad learning Spanish.

Salamanca has gone fiesta crazy since my last update, with the celebrations of Semana Santa (“Holy Week”, culminating in Easter Sunday) followed closely by the local festival of Lunes de Aguas (literally “Waters Monday”, however I’ll explain more of this in a moment) and El Día de Castilla y León (“Castilla y León Day”, a region-wide holiday in this part of Spain).

Lunes de Aguas is unique to Salamanca, and especially the University students. It’s a slightly bizarre festival in which the vast majority of the student population head down to the banks of the River Tormes for a day-long party to celebrate the end of the Holy Week and the lifting of the prohibitions that this used to bring. The festival has its roots in centuries past, and is marked by the consumption of Hornazo, a delicious meat pie filled with pork loin, chorizo sausage and hard-boiled eggs. The University shuts for the day to allow the students to take part; to me, it shows that Salamanca’s fun side is just as well-developed as its studious side!

As the exams and deadlines roll ever closer, I’ve been spending time working in various groups for assignments. It’s an excellent way to learn some colloquial Spanish. For example, when I asked one of my classmates if he was ready for a presentation, he replied:

estoy preparado a tope (“I’m prepared to the maximum”)

A tope comes from the English “top”, and is one of the many words that the Spanish call préstamos (“borrowings”) from other languages.

Another phrase I’ve been hearing a lot of lately is:

es la leche (literally “it’s the milk”)

This cropped up in conversation with some friends, and I was stumped – I had to ask for an explanation. It transpires that the phrase can be used much like groups of younger people at home would use phrases like “it’s cool” to describe something positively.

As I’ve mentioned, the exams are looming for me, and afterwards my time in Salamanca is unfortunately at an end – which also means that this is my last OnLocation Spanish update. It’s been an absolutely incredible journey, and I can’t quite believe how quickly the year has passed. I hope you have enjoyed my blog as much as I have enjoyed sharing my experiences with you!

¡Gracias a todos, y adiós!

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