It's May! Can you believe it? I feel like this year has flown by. May has started off well, though I was sick for the first week. I've spent the past two weekends in Bilbao. The first weekend I went to take my HSK 3 (B1/low intermediate ) Mandarin test. I was sick as a dog and barely could keep from coughing for the listening section, but I finished and only had about 9 questions I doubted myself on (out of 80). So overall I feel I did well.
Results should be out at the end of June/early July, so I’ll be waiting for a bit. Several people have asked why I decided to take the exam, and my answer is still the same— because I wanted to test my skills. Plus, it’s something that “proves” you have a certain level, which is helpful for the resume/CV and applying for scholarships/programs. I’m still looking to teach english in China, but it may be a few years from now— grad school may come first, who knows?
This past weekend I went back to Bilbao to do some sight seeing with my friend (and fellow Hawkeye) Anya, who has been on a Fulbright research grant in Barcelona this year. It was so great to see her and we had a blast (even though we were both coming off being sick) exploring Bilbao and meeting new people. We met two gals at the hostel, one was a photography/film student from Zaragoza and the other a cancer treatment researcher from England. The rain couldn’t stop us from exploring and eating way too many pintxos. ;) Anya and I also took a day and went to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, which is a really cool land formation jutting out into the ocean with a little hermitage dating back to 10th century on the top. It was also where Game of Thrones filmed the “Dragonstone” scenes, which has made it a popular tourist stop in recent years. It was 3.5 mile hike in total, since we hiked from the small town of Bakio nearby up some very steep hills. We beat the rain for half the trip before it started pouring right when we reached Gaztelugatxe. By pouring I mean defying gravity-sideways-parallel to the ground, rain that completely drenched us from head to toe. We still had fun and got some awesome photos. We kept telling ourselves that for Basque country, this was the authentic experience (it rains a lot here).
We also went to the Guggenheim since Anya had never been. We both really enjoyed the Jenny Holzer exhibit and of course the permanent Richard Serra "The Matter of Time" installation. Overall it was an awesome weekend and I was reminded how much I love Pais Vasco and it's mountains, green landscape and rain. It reminds me of Colorado and Iowa combined in some ways, just with some randomly planted palm trees and the Atlantic ocean a walk away. ;)
An aspiring polyglot and globetrotter, an avid reader, and a lover of good food. :)