Sunday, 24 February 2013

The one where we get scouted for Hollister

So I've found out that a lot more happens out here in Zaragoza than Paris and I'll have to write a lot more frequently to keep up with all the loco-ness. It's probably mainly because I'm not spending 90% of my life stuck behind a desk being scolded by middle-aged French women.

Our first walk around

My first weekend since flying out (well, second since I went back to Paris for the first one - shhh), I rendezvoused up with the other two lads from Nottingham and we set off on a little tour of our new ciudad. Gazing longingly at each tram that sped by (not knowing how they worked yet), we walked all the way into town in the blazing sunshine. Our first stop was the Plaza del Pilar, apparently the second biggest square in Europe, after the Red Square in Moscow.

This is what followed "Do something funny"

The fiestaaas

Being a student on your year abroad is a lot better for the social side of things than working (en mi opinión anyway). Maybe not so great for your liver though... You get to meet a lot of people from all sorts of exotic places. I mean I've met people from Newcastle, Derby, London. It's crazy really.

The Erasmus network - your key into a world of new people

Anyway at one of these parties, about 10 seconds after walking in we were approached by a moderately attractive young lady who pulled us to one side and revealed that she worked for Hollister and they were looking for handsome, smart young gentlemen to work in a branch at the local shopping mall. (OK maybe she didn't put it exactly like that but I like to think she did). 

I have to be realistic though, it was probably only because I was with two tall white guys. I mean if their target audience is slightly-above-average height brown people, I'm in! But something about all their models tells me it isn't.

Proof - with stylish white sunglasses in the background for effect

The following week we went to the local shopping mall and paid a visit to the Hollister shop in question. As soon as I walked through the door into the dark, dimly lit cave they call a shop, my suspicions were confirmed - not a person of my particular persuasion. 

Oh well my modelling career isn't over, is it boys?

Well that's what's been happening recently (with quite a lot omitted). Until the next time,


Sunday, 10 February 2013

The one where I arrive

Arrrrriba! The second half of my hear abroad has empezado.

At the aeropuerto

After a lot of packing paranoia and ruthless prioritisation (goodbye 20 pairs of socks), we made our way to the airport. Following some heartfelt goodbyes (translation "See ya."), I was forced to down the orange juice I had in my hand luggage ('cos you know, those terrorists at Capri Sun are intent on bringing down the aviation behemoth of Ryanair). Security went off without a hitch after that and I ambled my way down to the gate. I was feeling a bit nervous by this point so when I saw a kilt-clad gent giving out free samples of whisky, a beeline was made straight for him. However, feeling guilty for just using him for his booze (some of you might be able to relate), I made some short conversation about how one could definitely taste the "Spanish oak" in the whisky (one couldn't) and left in high spirits, pun fully intended.

Now, the Spanish aren't exactly Caucasian, and are actually of a fairly dark complexion but I was definitely the darkest one on that plane by a compaña mile! We'll see if this plays out in my favour. ("Hey guys did you hear? There's a brown guy on campus, let's go meet him and buy him lots of drinks!") That's the best case scenario anyway...

Got my map - ready to whip it out in the middle of the road
and look like a tourist

In halls

Once I got to the residencia, the very kind (and aptly-named) Manuel grabbed my suitcase and helped me to my home for the next 5 months. A couple of my new corridor-mates came out to say hola, and although they're all cool I'd be lying if I said I remembered everyone's names.

Javier, Jorge, Juan, Jose...they all tend to blend into one after a while. Am I allowed to say that?

Luckily I got this under my door recently, so I can memorise  everyone's names to impress them (/freak them out)

Me encanta the way they say my name though, with the proper Spanish "R". Makes me feel like a matador every time they call me "Rrrrrraff!", complete with exclamation mark.

The most surreal part had to be landing at the airport. Seeing "Zaragoza" written down in emails everywhere, but now seeing it on the side of the airport suddenly made it all very real. I'm in Spain. And I'm ready to fiesta.