Friday, March 20, 2009

Party-On Wayne

This weekend I´m going to Gijón (25 minutes away or so) because there are some major parties going down--sponsored by the Engineering Department of Oviedo. It´s awesome because every department here has its own party every year, and they last a couple days or so. For example in chemistry, they have a 9 day long ¨fiesta¨ where the first day you drink 1 glass of wine with the department, the second 2, etc until the last day you drink 9. Sponsored by the school too. Go figure!
The Engineering Department´s party is taking place in the biggest Discotech (Club, essentially) in Gijón, which is the biggest city in Asturias. So that´ll be good times for sure.
However keep in mind that population-wise, Gijón does not even get close to Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, and the like. Asturias is a rural state in comparison to the rest and it´s population isn´t terribly immense. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Asturias has just over a million residents, whereas Madrid alone has 3.2 Million. Also the city of Oviedo has about 225K residents, Gíjon about 275K and Aviles 83K. Those are the three biggest cities in Asturias. Also I think Valencia has about 800K residents (just a note for comparison for mom!)

Back to fiestas: All the patron saints have fiestas too. so pretty much they are always trying to find reasons to fiesta here in Spain. Today is the patron saint José´s fiesta. and San Mateo´s fiesta is September 21st. That´s a really big fiesta in Oviedo. However San Mateo is not the patron saint of Oviedo, that is San Salvador. Also, there´s added value to a patron saint´s fiesta if you share the name of that saint I might have to come back in September --we´ll see on that.

Next weekend I´m going west to Galicia to visit A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela. I paid 55€ for the trip and it´s a weekend affair, everything included pretty much EF Tours style where they herd you along during the day. Not a problem though because I don´t feel like planning the trip myself. and I don´t have a car.

And the following weekend is Spring break (la Semana Santa)

Classes are going well-- my modern history of asturias class is a drag because I have to write a term paper (science major writing term paper = no dice) in spanish of course. And it needs to be about 20 pages long or so. The upside is there is no final exam... just the paper. Organic chem is becoming easier to understand and Physics is starting to pick up in dificulty finally. Population Geography is getting interesting finally too. We were learning about censuses and stats like that but now we´ve moved on to population density, and the reasons why certain areas of the world are populated the way they are (Like why Europe´s population is primarily urban and areas like Asia, India are typically more heavily populated rural/suburban).

Still haven´t gotten my University ID card... but apparently this isnt a problem. I went and talked with the Chemistry Admin yesterday and they weren´t concerned and told me to check back every couple days. So technically im still not ¨Registered¨ for my classes but once again, not really a problem with the Spaniards. It´s becoming a problem though because I do not have access to the Spanish equivalent of blackboard (online program with course information) and I can´t download things I need for my classes.

-Matt (or Mateo, Matthew, Mathieu, Mateos, Mathias, I currently respond to all of the above)
The English sound -th like in Matthew is foreign to every language, so those who can´t say Matthew typically say Mathieu which is french and is pronounced more like Ma-chew. Mateo is spanish, Mateos is portuguese and Mathias (Ma-tee-us) is german.


  1. I talked with students and the FL department today about the 'th' sound, and the Latin teacher informed me that it comes from the Greek. Apparently, there is a sound in Greek similar to that, and the th was derived, but does not currently sound quite the same as, that sound. My German, Turkish, French students confirmed that it doesn't exist in their languages. However, my Indian student said it does exist for her. Interesting if it all started in Greek - guess that means some Greek elements went to Asian languages, or that the precusor language for Greek is the same as that for India. Have fun at the parties!! Mom

  2. The only similar sound in spanish is the pronunciation of -z. For example alcanzar is pronounced more like alcanzthar.. very hard to write out. It´s not the same but it´s probably the closest sound to -th. I think a lot of the problem with pronouncing Matthew comes from the fact that Mathieu and Mathias are both written -th but pronounced -ch and -t respectively. So my guess is the students are used to saying -ch and -t instead of -th and revert to that normally.