Well, I should’ve blogged more than once since last Friday because I have a lot to catch up on now, but I’ve been on the go!! So busy! Before I even start writing about this week, THERE’S A NEW VLOG! My friend Mary is making these videos of us to capture all the good, the bad, and the ugly of our time abroad. Here is her third vlog, but it’s only of our first week in Seville, (a month ago) not the week that I’m writing about!
So, I’ll try to remember this week all in the order that it happened…So last weekend Mary and I decided to sit down and finalize some travel plans. Ben and Erin may also be joining us for some of these! We also already have some travel plans with the program…so, this is what October is looking like: Morocco and Barcelona! November: Córdoba, France (Paris), and Italy (Rome)! I can’t wait, it’s going to be a crazy next 2 months!
Monday I received TWO care packages unexpectedly, one from The Perkins and one from my grandparents! It put a huge smile on my face… I have such great people in my life! But, at least for now, I am going to advise anyone to not send me anything because Spain has tax on certain things that come from outside of the country and I had to pay a good amount of money just to receive one of the packages, even though it was already paid for! Weird! In one of my pictures, you can see some of the snacks I got in my packages Nutella and Candy Corn is ridiculously good together…Oh, and I offered some Candy Corn to my host family and they loved it! It doesn’t exist in Spain So, Monday I also got an email saying that I was scheduled to meet with the new organization that I’m volunteering with! (The other organization ended up not working out with my class schedule.) This one is very similar. Every Monday, I’ll go to this organization about 10 minutes away by car/bus and I’ll teach a small group of students (around early high school age) basic English! After class, I’m doing one-on-one tutoring for a little while as well. I have to put together a lesson plan each week and I guess I’ll end up doing about 10 weeks of volunteer work at this place! I met another girl from my school (a Spaniard) who also volunteers there, so she’s going to drive me there and back, which is really nice of her! I’m a little nervous for my first day, but I know it’ll be a good experience! Monday I also went on a little run to explore more of the city…and this is going to sound stupid if you are reading this and know Seville at all, but I found the Plaza de España…after a month of living 10 minutes away from it…yeah. So basically this is a HUGE tourist attraction and I can see why. It’s so incredible. There’s a picture on this blog post, it’s the one of the fountain and the pretty sky. So, that’s definitely one of my new running destinations. I’m super lucky that I live so close to something that people travel so far to see!
Some other little things that happened this week: lots of encounters with Spaniards-YES!!! Tuesday, Mary and I had coffee with this guy that we met at an intercambio event a couple of weeks ago. He was really nice and we helped him practice his English! Next time, we’re going to practice our Spanish with him some more! Wednesday, Erin, Ben and I went to the movies here with one of the program coordinators, Antonio, and some students from Switzerland! It was cool. We saw this movie called, “La Gran Familia Española”. If I’m being honest, I understood what was going on in the movie, but mostly because of the visual part The speech is so fast! Self-esteem killer. That really made me want to hang out with Spaniards more so that I can understand the super quick Spanish that people use! Luckily Thursday, we had a chance! Thursday night, we went to a Latino Dance class for 3 euros. This was pretty funny because half of us sucked so bad and the people in the class were so serious about learning it hahaha…good stuff though. We kinda learned how to Salsa and we met some people. After the class, there was a get-together in the outdoor patio of this bar with Spanish people who want to meet Americans and Americans who want to meet Spanish people. I had so many great conversations with random people there and it was just a really good time! We talked with this one guy, David, for a really long time and we ended up walking around the city with him for like 4 hours talking. Just from that…I learned so many new words and phrases. We were all speaking about half English and half Spanish. It was great! Also at this get-together, a group of like 6 or 7 Spaniards approached me and Mary and asked us to hang out with them that night! So, we brought David and all hung out! It’s good to be making more and more connections as we’re living here. We got a true Spanish cultural experience Thursday night by hanging out with them We will definitely spend more time with them next week!
On Friday, Ben, Mary and I did some more exploring in Sevilla. We got ice cream and walked around and found some street dancers!!! They were breakdancing in this open area on the side of the street. We stopped and watched for a while, they were really good! Perks of living in the city, you encounter cool things like that We also found a lot of cool shops. We had all heard good things about this one restaurant called 100 montaditos and we passed by it so we decided to try it out! Well, first of all, 100 montaditos basically means 100 little sandwiches (rough translation), so this restaurant actually sells ONE HUNDRED different types of sandwiches. They are the cutest little sandwiches and they are super yummy! Really cool concept for a restaurant. We’re going back tomorrow because on Sundays and Wednesdays everything on the menu is 1 euro, which is crazy cheap!
Today!!! Mary and I went on a hiking trip through the university to Aracena! It’s a little town in the mountains about an hour and a half away northwest of Seville. We went with a bunch of classmates, 2 Spaniard interns from the international office, and a professor (Mary and I have him for art class and had no idea he was coming on the trip haha!!). The bus ride up was really pretty! First, this crazy nature lady introduced herself and she was our hiking tour guide for part of the trip. We hiked for about an hour and 45 minutes and this lady knew literally everything. She kept picking up plants and telling us what they are used for, like medicinal uses, for cooking, for good smelling purposes, brushing your teeth ??? and even plants we could eat! I ate this one plant and I don’t even know what the heck it was, but it was spicy. Pretty strange! We also saw a bunch of olive trees in this one area and the locals make olive oil out of them (Spain is famous for their olive oil!). Then we hiked up to this castle, the Castle of Aracena, really high up! The views were awesome, you could see the whole town and the mountains in the distance. It was really great! We also found a wild lizard roaming around and I held it hahaha Then we had a couple of hours to chill, so Mary and I took lots of pictures, (as you can see there’s one of me representing my gymnastics background up in the arch of the castle!) There’s also another picture of a pretty creek we found on our hike!! Later on, we took a tour of the “Gruta de las Maravillas” which is a cave that Aracena is famous for!! It was pretty awesome! All in all, it was a really good day. Saw lots of beautiful scenery, met some pretty nice classmates, sucked up to our art professor, etc.
As far as other stuff going on that I haven’t really mentioned…school, is school. I study really hard Sunday-Wednesday and I am learning a lot. I have some favorite classes and some not-so-fun classes. Cough cough-Spanish literature is not fun. I have my first test this week…nothing too special going on there haha. Oh, tomorrow I’m getting a new housemate, I guess you could call it (she won’t be in the same room with me because we have an extra room open!). She’s from Switzerland and she’s only staying for a week, that’s all I know. So that’ll be good/interesting? Oh, another random language thing that I’ve noticed. The people here freakin shorten their phrases and it has taken me a while to figure it all out. For example, when you go into a store or cafe or something, some people will just say “Buenas” or “Buenos” instead of saying “Buenos dias” or “Buenas noches” or “Good morning/Good evening” etc, etc. They will also say something like “Pasa un buen fin” instead of “Pasa un buen fin de semana” …So to me, it sounded like they were saying “Have a good end” instead of “Have a good weekend”…complicated I know! I’m picking it up though, shortened phrases and all! Thanks everyone for reading! If you’re reading from the US, enjoy all of the pumpkin flavored foods and the beautiful fall colors for me!