At the end of next week, I am officially halfway through my program. How is that possible? I feel like I have only begun to experience Spain and am only starting to understand the language. At the same time, I feel like another 10 weeks seems like an awfully long time before I can go home. It seems to be a constant battle- having the time of my life in a place so different and beautiful while at the same time aching to see my friends and family. This last week was definitely a struggle because my cousin’s wedding is quickly approaching and I really want to be there to celebrate with my cousin and his fiance. I even found myself looking at flights home! But then I talked to my roommate and she suggested that I need to redirect my energy. I need to appreciate that I am in Spain every day, rather than following a mundane routine. So I did. I take a new route to school every day so that I am finding new plazas and cathedrals and adorable children’s stores. I started an exercise class, so I am fighting the equivalent of the Freshman 15 for Study Abroad and learning new Spanish lingo in the process. Today, I watched a procession walk through the streets of Granada in celebration of Los Reyes Catolicos Isabel and Ferdinand and yesterday I went to the beach and swam in the Mediterranean. And last weekend, our entire program went on a hike, which was beautiful! All of these things are making me so glad to be in this wonderful place, learning and experiencing new things every day.
Another wonderful thing happened this week that made me glad that I have another 10 weeks before I go home. I spoke Spanish. I know that sounds silly, but actually it isn’t that easy for me to have a chance to have long conversations in Spanish. Most of my classes are lecture based, so we give our responses in Spanish but we don’t converse in the language very much. And when we are talking with our host mom, my roommate does a lot of the talking. But my host mom’s brother came to visit on Thursday, and he did not allow me to just sit and listen. During dinner, he began interrogating me about Seattle and what is so great about it. I was nervous to be put on the spot at first, but then I really began to enjoy having this conversation with him. It gave me more confidence in my speaking abilities and I have opened up a lot more since then. I have a long way to go before I will become fluent but this was definitely a good step!
I also started working with my intercambio last week, a student my age who is learning English. We spend a half hour speaking Spanish and a half hour speaking English. It is really helpful because we talk about things we both know and understand, and she can explain which phrases are conversational and which are more formal. I am learning a lot from my interactions with her!
That’s my life in Spain!