2014 Spring Ani Soghomonian Temple in Spain

Last Group Dinner in Oviedo

It has been a while since I wrote, but that’s because there has been so many exciting things going on these past two weeks! The most recent Temple group activity was the Jaime dinner, and after that we went our separate ways for Semana Santa. Let me first tell you about the amazing time IImage had at our group dinner. When I first walked into Tierra Astur, the oldest sidrería in the WORLD (!!) the place was packed with people. Well, with that reputation, why wouldn’t it be? The air was filled with the smell of sidra. When we walked in, there were huge barrels on the right, and enclosed were seating areas for people to eat. This was unlike anything I had ever seen. Further back, there were long tables without seats. At first, I thought that they just needed to set up, but as we were standing around the table, they put some bread (so much bread always). That is when I realized that we would be eating standing up. “Ok, this is something different, but it might be cool,” I thought to myself. We all disbursed within two of these long tables and stood, waiting to see what we were supposed to do next. Luckily, I was standing next to a group of older, very friendly people who seemed to know what they were doing. We followed their lead and started distributing the plates that were stacked in front of us. Soon after, the food and vino started flowing out and it was an awesome time!

Lucas, Vivian, Sophie and I

The atmosphere of the restaurant was fun and energetic, and the food was good as well! I later found out that this dining style is called “espicha.” This restaurant is known for giving the 40 cheeses of Asturias, so it was basically a dream for the cheese-fanatics of the group. We had bread, chorizo, and other assorted plates that were shared by all. Famous for their huge barrel of sidra (you can tell the theme, right!?!), we had the chance to have as much as we wanted that night. I am not a huge fan of sidra, but it was better there than anywhere else. Instead of pouring it from high above like you’d see here on calle Gasgona in Oviedo, it shot out of the barrel. I even got to try to do it myself! It takes some coordination, which, apparently I lack, because half of it ended up on my hand that was holding the cup. But I’m happy I got the chance to try!

Mmmm cheese!

Meanwhile at school, there were some protests happening that I need to tell you about. There are often students walking around, asking others to sign a petition about one thing or another. But one day, I saw the front table full of pamphlets that informed us that there would be a protest about the price of tuition. To an American like me who pays an arm and a leg for college, I thought to myself, how could they possibly be complaining about the cost of college here? For one year, they are paying the equivalent to about half of the cost of ONE of my classes at Temple. But to them, this is a lot. Today with the economic crisis in Spain, it is very difficult for college students (and people in general) to find a job. So, I can definitely see where they are coming from with their hopes to decrease tuition. My host parents told me it is rare for a young person like me to have a job. This is one thing I take for granted. Being in the process of looking for a summer job now, I have confidence that I will be able to find one, while it is a different story for the jovenes here. We can only hope things will go up from here for them.

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