Strange experience this, writing something on my home computer in Glasgow for the first time since half-heartedly suggesting that the Green Party might do well in the 2007 Scottish elections in a school essay. This blog is a precursor to next week’s special ‘Visit home edition’ which I have decided (partly due to popular demand from literally two people) is a valid enough part of the Erasmus experience to merit a write up, before then though, the last week of this part of the term in Malaga.
University classes are still plodding along, increasingly becoming a chore we have to complete to earn the right to go to the beach – a point of view aided and abetted by a lecturer who puts the three Erasmus students in the class through a strict ten minute regiment of bullying before each class. This week, emboldened by the whine I had at my rugby team, I decided to respond to a swipe he took about how rubbish the conversational Spanish he overheard between myself and an Italian friend during a break between classes was by questioning something he had mumbled smugly to us like the self-serving douchebag he is in a previous class. The effect was something like a Western shootout in which the young pretender lays down the challenge and the old Sheriff is rattled at first, but then instead of accepting the gauntlet thrown down in front of him he just shrugs and wanders into the nearest brothel (if it was a Western movie, in real life he just ducked the question, although I would not have been shocked, there is a sex shop round the corner). Ironically my distaste for this particular professor has motivated me to work harder for this class than any other in an attempt to discredit his every argument…or to start doing so after the holiday.
On Monday I agreed to go with one of my few other British friends, Madi, to a party thrown by a group of English Erasmus students which was, to say the least, an awkward affair. It was not that they were not nice people, there just seems to be an atmosphere in this particular group of pride at how little they had integrated into Spanish society or improved at speaking Spanish, which made me feel uncomfortable as it entirely justified the impression that all the Spanish students have of us, making it harder to laugh at such comedy gems as “Oh my God I literally speak no Spanish and I’ve been here since September.” Cheers for that Michael McIntyre.
Newly grateful for my relatively cosmopolitan social life, I went on Wednesday to play for a composite rugby team organised by a friend from my club against an English secondary school. If my experience against Barcelona was trippy it was nothing compared with playing on a perfect pitch owned by a turf company in the middle of the sprawling, bright-green Spanish countryside without a house in sight. Rumours before the game ranged from the other team having a couple of Lancashire age-grade players, to having six England under-19 internationals, to a centre pairing of Sonny-Bill Williams and Brian O’Driscoll, which simply made me more determined to send them homewards tae think again. It was not to be. Our plucky underdog story lasted about twenty minutes when we went 12-7 up thanks to a wonder-try from yours truly (‘Rugbydump’ fans somewhere between Southwell’s vs Montpellier and Digby’s vs Bulls) but we ended up losing by about thirty points in what was nonetheless another once in a lifetime sporting experience. I am more and more of the opinion that without rugby to fill my week up I would have either gone Patrick Bateman bonkers by now or died of alcohol poisoning, so it is such a relief, made better by the fact that my good form and knowledge of American television shows has allowed me to bond with my teammates (although I have been sucked into a bet to try ‘la teoria del hombre desnudo’ from ‘How I met your Mother’, so there are sacrifices involved.)
Predictably the weekend turned into a rammy of drinking games, beaches and nightclubs, made more interesting by the occasional simultaneous presence of people who only spoke one language – which just meant that after a few I just had to explain to certain individuals that everyone who did not want to go clubbing at three in the morning was a tapette and a maricon as well as what I would normally call them as a group, a sign of how far along the road to being a total pain in the balls in three languages I have come.
Yesterday the ‘Semana Santa’ parades started, which, seeing as they were a whole fifty metres away from the flat, we started watching on public access television before they actually arrived in the square outside. I was prepared for a nice float about Jesus with a pope-like man and some nice Jesus music. What I was not prepared for was two hundred guys dressed exactly like the Ku-Klux-Klan brandishing open torches while a brass band played some dramatic John Williams-esque score in the background. I was on the cusp of calling the police when I found out that in Spain KKK hoods are just something to do with Catholicism (although I know a lot of Rangers fans who would hardly think that was any better!) Seriously though, sectarianism and racism are both bad. Except when I make jokes about the English. Then it’s okay.
Right tune in next week to hear about Scotland for a change.
Efters ya bawbags,