As you all crawl out of your Sunday stupors from this weekend, I’m preparing to head back to sleep in Sevilla, Spain, where we are six hours ahead of you. My first week has come to a close and can be summarized by a combination of soaking in years of history and famous landmarks, attempting not to biff my Spanish or get lost (totally did both), trying not to get hit by cars on the narrow and uneven streets, being serenaded by Spanish guitar music, joining a late night excursion to Cadíz, and ah, yes, taking my beloved siestas.
There’s so much to take in during the first week, but here are some basic observations and anecdotes to paint a picture of these last seven days.
Upon my arrival, my wonderful host mom and sister greeted me. The minute I gave them their dos besos — two kisses, the standard greeting in Spain — we jumped right into chatting and clicked. I won’t say I’ve been speaking the language in the most eloquent manner, but I have my Spanish dictionary ready on-hand for conversations with my sister and have thoroughly enjoyed explaining my actual family’s tradition of Mickey Waffles for breakfast, teaching my sister, who is my age, American slang and bonding with them through Imagine Dragons lyrics and Norah Jones.
The pace of daily life here and how I’ve adapted to it have surprised me. During the school year in Bloomington, I feel like I’m doing something every minute of the day.
Class, homework, rehearsal, going for a run, covering a story, homework, shower, repeat. I feel like I’ve learned so much here already but in a much more relaxed way, as that is what the culture calls for.
Because people tend to live in smaller houses or apartments, social gatherings almost always take place outside of the home. Children run around playing soccer in the streets, coffee and beers are always being consumed at corner cafés, dogs roam the plazas, and you can find people of all ages engaging in the social scene well into the wee hours of the morning. The city is surrounded by rich colors, from the building walls to the clothes people wear.
There is definitely a big American influence in modern Europe, as almost every store or club we enter is blaring old hits from this summer. American brands are available in the central shopping area. My family and I even watched the VMAs, dubbed over in Spanish, during my first night at dinner.
In Spain, it is common to have tapas, or several appetizer-size plates, for an evening meal. Think of this column as a tapas bar, or your little sampling of Spanish life. As I delve into my classes tomorrow, I am curious to see how life as a student in Sevilla will parallel a semester as a Hoosier.
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