Today was my freest day in Havana so far, but I didn't really do much. This morning we ate breakfast later than usual and then I went to Old Havana. Shortly after I got off the maquina near Parque Central, a guy started talking to me and when he found out I was from the US, he showed me a newspaper article from today that said there were US senators visiting Cuba, and they were staying in one of the hotels in Old Havana. Everyone is pretty excited about the new relationship between the US and Cuba here.
Today we went to Varadero. It took two and a half hours in the van, but I slept on Madison's leg and it was very comfortable. We went to a house with beach access where we could leave our things. The owner of the house was really nice and I was happy that we went there to swim because I think we had a less tourist-y experience.
I just finished walking back from Glamour, a bar and restaurant really close to Madison's house, and I sweated so much that it's disgusting. I'm trying to feel cool and fresh again but so far it's not happening.
Anyways, today was the last day of class so we took an exam. It evaluated auditory and reading comprehension and oral and written expression. It wasn't very hard, and everyone got certificates. It was a little sad to leave, and I got the email addresses of Virginia, Lisa and Irene Yoon. Lisa told me that if I am in China I should look her up. :) Yoon asked how long I'd been studying Spanish and said I was very good and spoke fluidly, which was a nice compliment.
Today was a really good day. Class was just a review for the exam tomorrow, so it was more or less the last day of class.
Pepe went to tell us that the excursion today was no longer cancelled and we had to go. Nobody was happy about that news...
Madison and I went to a restaurant called El Burrito Habanero. I would describe it as Mexican-Cuban food. I really enjoyed my chicken quesadilla, my melon juice and the limes on the table, and the whole thing only cost me 65 pesos MN (< $3 USD).
In class today we were in teams, and mine included Cristina, Lauren, Mauricio (from Angola), a girl from Austria, and me. Lauren and I talked a lot to Cristina. She's from Sweden and has a Cuban boyfriend here. She also met Duane the first day and was not impressed, so we told her a bit more about him and his expulsion from the program. Mauricio (one of the Angolan guys) was super angry today and has to be right all the time, and he didn't want Lauren, Cristina and I speaking English at all. She studied at Columbia and another university in the US so she has almost no accent in English. We had fun talking to her. I guess the first day in her classes she wanted to switch to a different ones because there were some asshole Americans who didn't know that Angola and Estonia were countries. It makes us sad sometimes... we are trying to represent our country the best we can while we are here!
Today I realized that I only have one more week here. Class was okay but I wish that we could have a week here without classes and conferences. Today we practiced the antefuturo form--for example, "Next summer I will have graduated from college".
Madison and I went to the Cadeca today during lunch and then we ate at La Rampa and used the internet. I said a happy (belated) Father's Day to my dad and a happy (early) birthday to my brother, and sent a message to Ryan.
The conference today was about religion in Cuba and it interested me a lot. The professor told us different stories about the warrior gods and the story about why coconuts are white inside and not outside. She also told us that Ochosi is the oricha with the bow and arrow symbol, and the sculpture that I saw symbolized him.
Well it turned out that the excursion this weekend was really fun and interesting. We visited more than just Santa Clara--also Sancti Espiritus, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.