Friday, October 1, 2010

Back home Sevilla

There is really something to be said about the Spanish lifestyle.

After what seemed like forever, I’ve finally arrived in Spain. Getting here and orientation (if you can even call it that) was a whirlwind. I arrived Monday morning, took the shuttle provided by my program to the hotel and started to absorb the fact that I’m finally back in Sevilla.

I tried to call Antonia (my host mom) and Carmen (my Spanish roommate and former speaking partner,) but to no avail. Briana and I decided we’d try and get settled. Getting settled involved a trip to Vodafone to reactivate our Spanish cell phones. After hours of waiting we found out it was cheaper just to buy new ones. Es la vida española. (That’s the Spanish way for ya.) After getting back to the hotel I found out my new móvil (cellphone) didn’t even work. Oops. We were able to get in touch with Antonia using Briana’s functioning phone. She was a dear and had us over for lunch. It was strange to be back at my old homestay. Nothing, but also everything had changed. I was comforted by the fact that the man who cleans the building recognized me. It made me like it was just yesterday that I left. After lunch Antonia drove us to the hotel to pick up our bags. Bags might be an understatement. Perhaps, enormous, overweight suitcases would be more appropriate. Briana had to sit on my lap so we could squeeze them all in the car.

We were off to our new apartment! It’s really great. We still stayed at the hotel Monday and Tuesday nights, but we wanted to bring our bags over here for safekeeping. I’ll have to take some photos of our piso (apartment) to post. It’s a quaint little 4 bedroom, 1 bathroom place. There are only three of us so we even have a guest bedroom. My room also has a pull out bed. I’m itching for visitors, so please come and visit!

Orientation wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, it was much shorter and less informative. I was expecting a similar hand holding experience from study abroad. I quickly realized this is not study abroad. While CIEE is there to help during emergencies I am really here on my own. That being the case, it’s so comforting to have Antonia, my second mother here. And Carmen and Briana, of course.

Orientation ended Wednesday, which was also conveniently the day of a nation wide strike. Students traveling to other cities had the option to leave Tuesday or wait until Thursday. I don’t know the full extent of it, but many businesses and some of the universities were closed. What affected most people was public transportation, which was pretty much stopped. Thank goodness our apartment is relatively close to the hotel because we had to walk with our giant backpacks. It was great to move into the apartment and to see Carmen. We drew straws for rooms and began to unpack. Well, not really. I just moved my bags into my room and thought about unpacking. Carmen made us lunch and then I took a nice little three hour nap. I’m fully embracing the siesta. When in Spain, right? Carmen also made us dinner that night. She’s a doll. And hell, I don’t mind being cooked for. I struggled at home and now we don’t even have an oven, so I’m kind of lost.

Thursday was even less productive than Wednesday. I wouldn’t have thought it could be possible. I did unpack though. It feels great being in my own space. My goodness, I have my own Spanish apartment. Unbelievable. Briana’s back was hurting thanks to the strike and having to walk 30 minutes across town with our heavy backpacks. That meant I was on my own. Sadly, I didn’t seize the opportunity to explore. I walked to my school for a test run. I thought I knew how to get there and I didn’t want to take my map out. Well, I was wrong. Ended up having to take the map out, ask a few people for directions and walk like an embarrassed American tourist. I followed the map so I could go home in a more direct manner. My school is only about 10-15 minutes away. I really lucked out. With everything.

I didn’t leave the house again until 9:30 when we headed to Los Coloniales for dinner. It’s a famous tapas bar that I never ventured to last time. It was my first time since being here that I saw el centro. We walked past our old school. All of it brought back a lot of memories. My breath was taken away yet again by La Giralda. It’s even more beautiful than I remembered. The tapas were great. Now my stomach just needs to get used to this type of food. Ay, dios mios.

Today I went to my school for the first time. I think I’m really going to like it. I met with Olga, the bilingual coordinator, and Jan, another American girl teaching there. I got my schedule, which completely rocks. I teach Tuesday-Thursday from 9:00am-1:15pm. Did I mention I love my Spanish life?

Today I have to be more productive. My goals are to print out flyers advertising English lessons, look at some gyms and do some errands. Tonight Carmen invited us to go out with her friends. We’re going to go to a local pizzeria and then out to the discotecas (clubs.) I’m looking so forward to seeing Rocío. She was my other speaking partner and is Carmen’s friends. I also can’t wait to meet their other friends. Hopefully, we can speak more Spanish than English. It’s always difficult because they often want to practice their English with us while we want to practice our Spanish. I guess it’s a good dilemma to have.

All in all, I am so happy to be back here. Minus the food, I really do love this country. Sevilla is such a special place.

Besitos a todos.

Hasta pronto,

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