Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Quiet

... until tomorrow, of course. This afternoon has been completely comprised of reading, sleeping, writing in my journal, and listening to music. (Incidentally... I write in my journal a lot. Or at least I have during this trip. I started a new one the day I arrived, just over three weeks ago, and I started out with 144 blank pages. Of those 144, 10 and a half are left to me.) 

This is to exemplify "all quiet" and happens to be from the collection of images in my final Photography 1 project

Why is everything quiet until tomorrow, you ask? Tomorrow the group is leaving at 8:30 AM to Colonia del Sacramento in the west of Uruguay. We will be in Colonia most of the day, and from there depart to a large ranch in el departamento de San Jose. And what do you think we will do there?

No, we will not lounge about in bathing suits all day, like we did in Salto last week. We will be riding horses. Riding horses! Purebred Criollos, to be exact. And we will be riding at least twice this weekend. 

I am so. Unspeakably. Excited. Obviously I'll have my camera and new lens out (thanks again, Daddy!) but more, I want to just enjoy my horsey time. The only downer, which I'm not sure even is one, is that we're not riding in any style I've previously practiced. It was very unrealistic to expect Western saddles, I now realize--that seems ridiculous now I think about it. But I'm not so sure that riding the South American way will really be my cup of tea. If I didn't know that I'd probably fall off cantering cross-country and bareback (not to mention having a really painful ride depending on how bony my mount is), I'd ask to be allowed to go bareback! 

In any case, I think I'm going to have a lot of fun. And even if I'm totally turned around by the new riding style, at least I get to be around, ride, and photograph some very pretty horses. 

Oh, and I think I'm going to look for a new journal, too. Those ten pages aren't going to last very long!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Uruguay 2012

After seventh grade I took a two-week trip to Queretaro, Mexico, during which I lived with a Mexican family and two of my classmates. I left having learned everything that would be taught to me during my eighth-grade Spanish class. I had such a good experience with the trip that I chose to take another language immersion trip this summer. The differences are numerous--for instance, I'm staying with a family and no other students from my school, it lasts five and a half weeks instead of two, and it is in Uruguay. But the end goal is the same: learning Spanish.

Puerta, Punta del Este

I have been in Uruguay for about two-and-a-half or three weeks so far, and although our actual classes aren't nearly as intense or focused as they were during my trip to Mexico, I'm still learning a lot of Spanish. My host family thinks I speak very well and since Spanish is their first language I feel obligated to take their word for it, I still think structured learning in a classroom to help with grammatical concepts would be helpful. So far I haven't learned any grammar in class that I didn't already know; I'd guess this is because our teachers didn't divide the class into two sections based on level of ability.

Stray kitty in Maldonado

Outside of class, we have taken several trips. Our first weekend trip took us to Punta del Este, a very popular beach city. It felt practically abandoned now that it's winter in the southern hemisphere: its winter population is around 7000 while the summer population rests at somewhere around 150,000. Those people are hosted in many hotels that vary in quality but are all expensive. Without them the city felt very empty.

Most of the photos I took are still sitting in the folder I imported them into, waiting as RAW files before I go through the long and tedious process of clicking every. single. one. open into Photoshop. That's something I really hate about using Windows--unless I get Adobe Bridge or something similar I won't be able to view thumbnails of all my RAW files. Those photos will come eventually!