I'm a newbie but I managed to buy some ether a few days ago via bitcoin using shapeshift.io. I confirmed the arrival of the ether in my ethereum wallet (mist?). But I notice when I tried to look into the wallet today it's taking a few hours to get in (still in progress) to get in...panel says ethereal node needs to sync, please wait...downloading block 1505596 of 1535475. It's been stuck for the last few hours.
I guess my question is this...is this normal and will I always have to endure this every time I want to access my wallet? What are these blocks being downloaded? Why can't I just login into a website to see the wallet?
Thank you for helping.