Monday, January 31, 2011
One thing that will get me here if I'm not careful, both with my budget and my jean size…the DESSERTS. Since there's such a big gap between lunch and dinner, people get together at cafes in the afternoon to get coffee/dessert. The picture was taken yesterday, with my friends Bre and Nathalie. In front of me is probably the single highest calorie item I have ever eaten. It is a sugar waffle, covered in thick, rich chocolate syrup, topped with a scoop of ice cream and with a pile of whip cream on the side. And all for three euros (a little less than four bucks). When I saw it on the menu I had to try it. Happy with my decision to try it? Definitely. Ever ordering it again? Absolutely not.
This whole past week I have been sick on and off (hence my flauw-ness in the picture). Super annoying. So I'm planning to kick that this week. I'm starting to figure out good running routes with other people here and hoping to have a pickup futbol session with some guys in the park in a few days. Apparently there are Spaniards who like to get beat by American students. I'll let you know how it goes!
La Primera Semana
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A week ago today I left the states for Seville. This trip so far has been an adventure in itself, and I am excited and curious as to what will come in the next 100 or so days until I return! Just to give you a general information update, I am living in the district of Seville called Triana with my host mom, Mari Carmen. My roommate is named Erica, who is from Azusa Pacific University. Also living with us are Carmen's son, Jose Antonio, his wife, Joanna, and Carmen's daughter, Julia. I started classes on Monday and have sessions every morning from 9:00 - 12:30 with only me and one other girl in the class because there are only two students at the beginning level (talk about a good teacher-student ratio). So far, the first few classes have been great and I am right with the material. Honestly, I learn the most Spanish at mealtimes with my Senora, who is awesome. In this past week, I've learned a few things about Spain:
1. The cold. It might be 45 - 55 degrees here, but that 45 - 55 degrees is FREEZING. Here's why: no heated homes. Yes, you read that correctly. In Chicago I have a massive puffy coat to my knees equipped with a fur lined hood (you Trinity people probably have seen me in it), and I warm up as soon as I come in my dorm room. I couldn't fit that thing in my suitcase to bring here. And in Seville, when you come inside from the cold, you never warm up. You just stay cold. So I've tried little tricks to help myself out. I wear tights under my jeans every day. Double up on socks. Adopted the Brian-Gesch-patented "cocoon" method with my blankets every night so that every iota of body heat is maintained within the covers. I'm coping.
2. The food. Actually, (brace yourself, mom) I am loving my meals. Carmen is a great cook and for some reason I am starting to like stuff I never really liked at home. As a notorious picky-eater, I consider this development a miracle.
3. The schedule. It is COMPLETELY different from home. Breakfast at 8:30. Lunch at 2:30. Supper at 9:30. Not only are the mealtimes different, but siesta closes the entire city down from about 2:30-5:30. How sweet is that?! A culture that blocks off 3 hours for everyone to take a solid nap. My kind of place. Also, nighttime just gets going at 10:00, so everything happens later. I've seen moms pushing strollers in the road at 1:30 a.m. Actually, it is safer for people to be out at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning than it is to be out at 6:00 in the morning.
4. The social life. This is one part I love so far. In one way, it's kind of weird because from what I can tell at this point, nobody has people over to their house. You would never call up your friends, boyfriend, or girlfriend to come over. You always go out to meet at a cafe, restaurant, park, bar, or somewhere else. The socializing all happens in the streets. I love how "out and about" everyone is. It's fun.
Just a few wonderful things that are happening here. I still miss everyone a lot and if I think about it TOO much it's too sad, so I try to stay busy and keep my schedule going with stuff to do. I am meeting a lot of new people and am making some friends, which is cool. Thanks for thinking and praying for me at home from time to time; I definitely think about you guys a lot too! One week down, and many more to go!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Just writing you guys a quick update from the Madrid airport! We landed here at about 7:30 a.m. (about 12:30 a.m. in Chicago time) and have a connecting flight to Seville at 11:30. The flight was pretty uneventful. I sat next to a girl named Chloe who was really nice – got me excited about meeting everyone on the program.
It looks like I beat you all to Wednesday, January 19. It's a great day; I think you all will enjoy it!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Today is the day! My mom is coming in a few hours to pick me up, grab some lunch, and drop me off at O'Hare Airport. I already have that sneaking suspicion that I've forgotten something.
Last night my friends and I went out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings so I could get my last fix of Honey BBQ. When I got back to my room, my Resident Assistant had made a big "We Will Miss You, Anna" sign and made a cake, and the girls all got me little gifts for leaving. So, I'm feeling the love but also sad to say goodbye and miss out with some of my favorite people ever for a whole semester. I will miss you all a LOT.
Even so, I am getting really excited to hit the road and start this thing! Peace out, Chicago.