I left Madrid last Saturday. Saying goodbye was much harder than I thought it was going to be, and now every once and a while I feel like somethings missing.
At least I'm having a lot of fun here in Lisbon with Rita and her family, and it's the perfect distraction.
We went downtown for the first time yesterday, so here are some of the pictures.
Fun fact: I only learned 2 words during the whole week. One word in Hungarian, and one word in Czech.
In Hungarian I learned "utca" which means "street" and I only learned it because it was on every single street sign.
In Czech I learned "pivo" which means "beer" and I learned this one because...well...you know... :)
I finished school on June 7th, but today I finally got my final grades. I'm so glad to be done. The whole Spanish school thing- been there, done that, not gonna do it again. But I do have good some good memories from it. So that's good.
I passed all of my classes except for Philosophy, but I always knew I wasn't going to pass it. Long story, and that's for another time. But it's the first class I've ever failed in my life! I feel like that's a life experience I always needed, so I'm gonna take it in a good way :)
So, here are my grades (just like before, they're on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the best)
- English - 10
- Economics - 10
- Technology - 10
- P.E. - 10
- Spanish Language & Literature - 8
- Contemporary World History - 6
- Science - 5
- Math - 5
- Philosophy - 1
On a normal day, it's packed with tourists taking in the sights, street performers, and a handful of people dressed up as Mickey Mouse or Spongebob selling balloons and getting money for pictures.
But not recently, and not right now. For the last few weeks, Sol has been overtaken by Spaniards, unhappy with the economic situation, the unemployment rate, the government, and the outlook of their futures.
It started with a protests that marched Madrid's main streets on May 15th, and it turned in to a full out camp-out in Sol, and it's been there steadily since then.
Here's what it looks like now:
The thousands that have been in Sol over the last few weeks are protesting quite a few things: their government, which they claim isn't a "real democracy", the unemployment rate, which is now at 21.3%, and an astonishing 43.5% among the youth, and women's rights, among other things. It's made up mostly of younger people, who want change so they can live a better future, because Spain's current situation won't make the cut.
And it's not just in Madrid, either. Since the movement started on May 15th, protests and camp-outs have sprung up in over 50 other Spanish cities. And I've been able to see the two main ones- the ones in Madrid and Barcelona.
It's incredible being in Sol right now, seeing the energy, the will, and above all, the organization of the people. I never would've thought it could've been so organized. It's not just a bunch of people in tents hanging around, but it's a movement.
A good part of the plaza is tarped up, and divided into rooms, and you can find everything from recycling centers to a library, from a first-aid tent to a childcare center, and from legal help to a garden.
In almost all of the other cities, they've taken down their camps, or been forced out by the government. But Madrid's stands strong, although they have decided to leave Sol this Sunday, June 12th after one last big protest.
Here are some of the pictures I've taken of the protests in Sol:
|Without a job, without a house, without a future, without fear.|
|List of items in need|
|The library. It's even organized in sections. For example French Literature, Economics, etc.|
|Legal information center|
|Playing chess in the library. It honestly could pass for a Starbucks- comfy chairs, wifi, people on their laptops, playing chess, reading...|
|Do you want to stop playing with the world?|
One of the other things that really amazed me when I was in Sol for the first time, was the amount of activities that are planned. Every day is full of activities: from classes in vegan cooking, to meditation, to an outdoor movie theater, to having a mime for the kids in the daycare center.
There are boards all over the plaza with daily schedules of all the activities. There were also boards set up with daily schedules for volunteers to pick up and collect garbage, help keep traffic flowing around the plaza, etc.
|Entertainment for the kids|
|Movie theater, every day at 10:30pm|
And my personal favorite out of all the signs I read that are posted all over the plaza:
|Sex once every four years isn't a sex life. Elections every four years isn't democracy.|