Saturday, June 25, 2016

Optional activities galore!

A relatively quick update - the past week has been full of activity! Of course, academic classes are well underway, as are the afternoon activities. The students are finding their routines and their comfort zones as they get become better acquainted each day with their host families and with León. They've already found their favorite places for café con leche, ice cream, churros, and tapas, but we encourage them to continue exploring - León is nothing if not a city of secret treasures, and there are always more discoveries to be made here!

Last Sunday was a very full day. We offered a number of optional activities which a number of students decided to take advantage of. In the morning right by the University of León campus was the annual Color Run - a super fun event where brightly colored powders are thrown, dropped, and fired out of cannons in order to tie-dye every participating runner from head to toe. The word "stained" sounds very harsh in this context, so we prefer to say that some students will be returning to the US with clothes full of colorful memories (that sounds nicer, right?):
Before (already pretty colorful)
After (good luck recognizing anyone)
 The Color Run was loads of fun, but we wrapped it up in the early afternoon in order to give everyone time to recover in time for the Melendi concert that night - another optional activity, but nearly every student decided to go (of course, accompanied by the four instructors). If you - the families, friends, and fans - are not familiar with Melendi's music, please do spend an hour or so on youtube exploring. The concert took place in León's Plaza de Toros (the local bullfighting stadium), and it was absolutely amazing - not a single student who went left without dancing and singing along.



It was a day full of fun, and in recognition of this, we started classes a bit late the following day (a good decision, because a number of students were still recovering their voices in the morning). The week went smoothly, if a bit warm and humid. Classes, afternoon activities, sports, and time with the families are all continuing beautifully, and the only shocking detail is how quickly the time is passing us by this summer!

This evening we'll be offering another optional activity to the students (which about half have chosen to attend) - a bull fight in León's Plaza de Toros. It's a particularly interesting activity in Spain currently, because many continue to see it as an important sport with historical and cultural significance, while other Spaniards see it as an outdated, barbaric act of animal cruelty. My personal sense is that both sides are valid, and indeed each year some students find the bull fight to be upsetting while others are fascinated by it. We'll see how it goes this year! Photos and stories to follow.

Hasta la próxima,
Mark (and Sarah, Megan, and Isra)

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