Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Living in Ibagué

Today is the World Womans Day and I never knew how important this day is until now. You must know, I had an exam today at night and so I sat on the balcony - my favourite place in the flat - almost the whole day to study. There I saw so many men passing below with flowers in their hands I already wondered what's up with them today. And when I entered university there were people selling flowers at the doors and guys walking through the classes handing out sweets to women. I really got envious, I mean why don't we have that habit in Austria as well? It would really please us women!

I already learned to play this mexican game for children which is like Bingo with pictures and spanish words - just that they use it for partying. And I learned some new rules for Uno which I am already looking forward to explain to my friends for the next game of Uno in Austria! But I must really confess that the sweets from mexico are quite strange. They are not really sweets, because they are all kind of hot. I have no idea how they can live with this kind of sweets. Needless to say they LOVE all the sweets I brought with me and gave them to taste - especially the Kinder Schokobons but Haribo as well. Because, well, they are real sweets that are actually sweet.

Like I wrote, today I had this exam at university which was, of course, in spanish. I might have panicked a little when I realized I need a translator for almost half the words and I will never be able to remember them all so I started writing out everything in easier phrases and still felt completely unprepared - the topic was actually quite easy but explaining negociacion strategies in another language makes it quite hard. Fortunately I could discover that the exam was mostly multiple choice, so no sentences to write, just marking which answer is right. The only difficulty was understanding the question but they were almost the same words as in the texts we needed to lern. I guess I never had such an easy exam. I wonder why all the natives here even bothered to study at all.

But then there is another difference in the grading system. In Colombia, 5 is the best mark and 1 the worst, and there is no percentage scheme like you need 50 percent to get a 1. They just take the average of marks (sometimes weighted) and thats how your grade is made. And in the other class, there are no exams, just short group works that are graded, and we got a 3 on one of our group works and all my group members were like "a 3? How can that be? Why?" and now I am wondering if they might also have a different understanding on what's good and what's bad. I might need to figure that out as well.

What I am really missing is some kind of park where I can go when I feel like nature or just some place where we can sit all together where we don't have to pay - which would be a park in Europe, but surprisingly there are no parks here even if the weather would be perfect for the park everyday. And there are no cakes here! I mean, you can buy some fancy decorated tortes at the supermarket but when I looked I couldn't even find cake pans to bake something myself. It is as if they do not bake at home at all. Kind of a disturbing thought, isn't it?

Also strange for me was that here kind of everyone is in a relationship. Maybe I am a victim to selective perception because at home I kind of surrounded myself with single people and here I might have just met those in relationships. But all the time I am asked if I have a boyfriend of course I ask back and they are like "yes, of course". As if it was a bad thing not to be in a relationship. Also, I got the impression that the relationships are not so serious here (except for my host family of course). Might be the age - most of them are younger than me - but they never talk about their partner and it seems they don't even really spend time with her/him. Strange enough for me, but I will find out the reason for that too.

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