I talked one of my bartenders into coming over to my house and cutting my hair. She did a terrible job, but I'm not sure what else I can expect from an amateur cutting my hair for free using only my spanglish directions. I took her out for a couple of beers afterwards and then ran home to fix my hair after I dropped her off at her place.
The people here have been very welcoming. I've made a ton of new friends who have all been very helpful with learning spanish. The culture of men here is so different than the United States. Men are much more physically affectionate with one another than with women. It is not uncommon for one of my male friends to reach over and place his hand on the back of my neck or touch my stomach as we talk. It makes me think a lot about my own transition to male in the United States and how I have been much more aware of personal space and affection with other men. But here, all I have learned about being a man in the United States is being thrown out the window. I prefer it here -- the closeness I feel and comraderie is so different.
Another interesting fact: my name is pronounced much differently here. In Spain, my name is pronounced Elias or Iliya. Mi profesora told me that it is an honor in Spain to be named Elias and it feels nice to be walking down in the square and hear one of my new friends yell out, "Elias, Elias!"
School is going well, but there was some drama with the group and the school. Some people were upset about the scheduling and other things. I felt a little embarassed by some of my classmates. I'm not sure if everyone is adjusting well to the cultural differences and understanding that this country is very, very different than the one we come from. The United States is extremely individualistic compared to Spain. The cultural here is much more about sharing everything and looking outside of yourself and recognizing group needs rather than individual needs. It is one of the things I value most about this place. It makes me ashamed of my own culture and the wastefulness that happens there.
Okay, I've rambled enough and should probably go prepare for the evening's events. Hope everyone is well.