Greetings from España! I’ve been here since last Monday, but recently realized that I haven’t provided any updates (besides Facebook pictures and Snapchat stories!)
So I shall start from the beginning. Monday night I stayed in a hotel, and then Tuesday morning I went to my homestay! My homestay is an apartment in an apartment complex (complete with a gorgeous, shared courtyard in the middle). I have my own (tiny) bedroom and bathroom. I realized that this is the first time since I’ve been “at” Harvard that I’ve never had a roommate (i.e. I’ve had roommates during both school years and both summers that I’ve been at school, but they’ve been some pretty great girls, so I’m not complaining!)
My host mom’s name is Antonia (and she has a boyfriend named Antonio!) She also has two sons. Alvaro is still living with her now since he’s still on summer vacation, and José Alberto is living and working a few hours away as a lifeguard. Alvaro is leaving to study abroad for a year in Poland on Sept. 22nd and Jose Alberto will return to the house right around then. Antonia also has a cat, Oliver, who unlike my cat Shamu, really actually seems to like me.
Most of this past week was spent doing orientation-y things (which mainly consisted of walking around Sevilla, getting a tour of the Universidad de Sevilla, seeing CIEE’s study center, attending health and safety meetings, getting a Spanish cell phone, etc.)
Spaniards speak incredibly quickly, and I’m learning that there is a steep learning curve for this! However, I’m so lucky that I have Antonia to talk to when I come home. To be honest, I was trying to speak 100% in Spanish from the moment I stepped off the plane in Sevilla. When my fellow American students started speaking in English, at first I was quite bummed. However, I now realize that I think that speaking (at times) in English really helped us bond as a group. We are now starting to speak more in Spanish, and it’s a lot easier now that we know each other so well.
One of the best parts about my homestay is that I get three home-cooked meals a day! The food here is (carb)-heavy, but delicious! The meal times, however, have taken some getting used to. I’m essentially on a 9-3-9 schedule (breakfast around 9 am, lunch around 3pm and dinner around 9pm). This is probably the hardest adjustment (besides the language, obliviously!) that I’ve had to make while I’ve been over here, but slowly but surely I’m making progress. Also, shout out to Luna Bars, which have become my saving grace here.
This past Monday, I started my intensive advanced grammar course (3 straight hours of Spanish grammar, 5 days a week – what fun!) It is actually incredibly useful (especially since my English spelling/grammar isn’t the best!)
Other than the orientation, the other really exciting thing that happened in the past week was going to a beach called Matalascañas on Saturday. As you may be aware, the beach is quite literally my favorite place in the world, and I had a blast swimming and just enjoying the sunshine. On Sunday I visited Alcazar, a breathtaking palace and garden in the heart of central Sevilla.
TGT (I guess I’ll do “three good things” from this past week!) 1) Going to the beach 2) tapas at the top of the Metropol building 3) making new friends in Sevilla
Hasta la pasta,