Sunday, September 20, 2015

It ain't all good baby but it's all right: Real life

In front of the cathedral of Sevilla
I’ve come to love Sundays in Seville, it’s kind of like camp! I’m back at Café de Indias this week, I was going to go to this place with waffles but the pastries was just calling me in. Cappuccino carmelo and a chocolate pastry, Sundays are for treating myself…I should actually uphold that though because I eat wayyy to much gelato during the week!

More than anything, this felt like my first week actually living in Seville. I still had that “honeymoon feeling” but things are becoming a bit more “real-life” than vacation. Now, what do I mean by that? Several things actually. For starters, I’m beginning to realize that some comforts of home I just can’t find here. For example, earlier this week I had the worst stomach ache, probably from eating something with too much egg. I wanted to go find some ginger ale to calm it down. I must have gone to 6 different stores and I couldn’t find one that had it. I settled for a 7-Up and pretended that it was the same. In reality I might have been successful at El Corte Ingles (a huge department store) but the closest one is over a half hour walk and it was like 10pm. I was also really craving an iced coffee from Dunkin one day and finally broke down and went to “Dunkin Coffee”, which is basically the Spanish version of DD. They had lots of good looking doughnuts but the iced coffee was one of the saddest iced coffees that I’ve ever had, complete with a bunch of caramel syrup sitting at the bottom. Not worth it. Finally, I haven’t been very successful in watching any of my TV shows, because Spain. Not to be totally negative-I did find an illegal version of the new Cinderella online and loved watching that, along with a recording of the GOP debate.  Also this week my host mother has made the Spanish versions of both grilled cheese and mac and cheese.
Cathedral in Cadiz

Another more “real-life” experience has been signing up for things. I signed up for flamenco classes at the start of last week and went to my first one on Tuesday. I loved it! There are only three of us in the class at the moment. It’s fun to take a class in something that is at the very beginning level. I think as a dancer I expect (and others expect) that because I have dance experience that I’ll pick things up faster, or be more rhythmic/flexible/not a real beginner. As a perfectionist, this expectation can literally ruin a new experience. It was a blast to do something where I wasn’t expected to be any good, and believe me…I wasn’t! It was also interesting because the whole class was given in Spanish (obviously). I was really proud of how much I understood. I also had a conversation with one of the other people in my class before, so that was exciting. I am missing ballet, but the studio that I’m taking flamenco at does not have ballet classes at a time that I can take them. I also joined a gym this week. Signing up for that was more of a struggle as far as language goes, but you win some you lose some. It’s always frustrating when people resort to their bad English because your Spanish is just that terrible. I’m excited for the gym though, I took a Zumba class on Friday which was great, and the energy was amazing. Oh also, I’ve discovered why people where make-up to the gym. It’s a whole other world from the gym at SBC! I’m going to restart my “Kayla” workouts (I took a break after camp ended) tomorrow and I’m also signing up for a 10k at the end of next month. This is super exciting because when I don’t have a workout schedule I tend to get stressed because I’m not active enough (working out is my “me time”). I’ve been on some runs but I like to have a routine. You know somewhere is becoming home when you make a workout schedule!

This week I’ve come to terms with what I want out of myself in a social aspect too. Since I’ve been here, I’ve felt as though I wasn’t “taking advantage” of my time if I didn’t go out every night-nightlife is big here if you didn’t know. Since that’s not the type of person I am at home, I spent several nights over the past few weeks sitting in my bed, exhausted and stressed that I was being “lame”. I do enjoy going out, but once or so a week is good for me. I realized that just because I’m in another country does not mean I need to totally change my socializing habits. I went on Friday and had a great time (woooo free sangria!) but was perfectly happy staying in last night and watching the ballet Carmen.

So what else, besides experiencing “real-life”? Well I start classes tomorrow and I am SO EXCITED. [I just flipped through my journal and pretty much every day this week I’ve written about how excited I am to start school] I have been in love with school since I was five and this has been the longest summer of my life. I don’t care how nerdy it sounds; I’m pumped for class tomorrow. Speaking of which, I need to go buy some notebooks today.
Museum in Cadiz
Earlier this week one of the students that my host family hosted 6 years ago came to visit. It was so cool to meet her and see how much the family loved her. She’s done some pretty awesome things too. I hope when I come back to visit they’ll be just as excited to see me!

Friday was sort of a convocation at the University. All of the American students, from all the various programs met to listen to information about the different services and stuff that US (U of Seville, confusing I know) has to offer. It was a bit frustrating because everything was translated into English. Many of the other programs don’t have as high of a Spanish requirement as we do. It was cool to see the people who would be in my classes though. We got some cafe and pastries after and a chance to walk around the university and look for our classrooms. Afterward, Chris (the other year student) and I had to go to the police to apply for our TIE (Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero) cards. We were coached the day before by María in exactly what we needed to do, and the student assistant Sydney was taking us there so I wasn’t really worried. We got to the police in the Plaza de España and we got our appointment to get fingerprinted (because having to get it done in the states is obviously not enough). Easy-peasy. Then we just had to go to the bank and pay the 15 or so euros and get a stamp on the paper. This was so much easier than driving 11 hours to get my visa! Jokes. We went to the bank that we were supposed to (without Sydney), and after waiting first for a truck that was backing into the bank (only in Sevilla) and then waiting in line, we were told we needed to fill out the paperwork first (we were originally told that the bank would tell us how to do it/what we needed to put). So after doing that we waited in line again only to be told that since we only had a passport and not an NIF or other identification, they couldn’t process it-even though the paperwork was to apply for another form of identification! We went to another bank down the street and luckily they were able to do exactly what we needed, but the whole experience was very frustrating and that was exacerbated by the heat and the fact that I was wearing boots and pants. But we got it done, and so as they say in Spain “no pasa nada”. We’ll see how fingerprinting goes in November!

Cadiz (with an authentic fisherman)
On Saturday (yesterday) we took a trip to Cadiz. In the past this has been a weekend trip, but for some reason it was just a day trip this year. It was exciting to travel out of Sevilla for the first time, and I was actually excited to sit on a bus (after walking so much it’s nice to be able to sit and watch the scenery). Cadiz is only like an hour and a half away but it was cool to see the landscape-I was surprised how arid it is though. I can’t wait to go up to northern Spain and see some green! We did a walking tour and my favorite part was the museum, for two reasons. The first is that they had this really great collection of maps of the city from back in the day and the second is that they have a full, to scale model of the city (also from back in the day). It was pretty amazing. After the tour we went to the beach and I ate my bocadilla. I didn’t go swimming but Madeline and I waded in the water. It was a cute little beach and so relaxing. I love the ocean, I can’t imagine not living near it. We went to go find a snack (gelato) and ended up at this cute little French pastry shop (mostly because everything was closed for siesta). It was yummy, I got my usual mint chocolate chip gelato (I really need to cut back, this is where all my money is going). One of the most exciting parts of the day was when we were talking in Spanish trying to figure out where the beach was and this lady across the street overheard us and gave us directions, in Spanish! This is a big deal because 1. She understood what we were saying and 2. Figured that we could understand what she was going to tell us. It’s the little things. The trip also made me very excited to start traveling on the weekends!

French Heladeria in Cadiz
Some difficult things this week: in a few conversations I’ve had with fellow JYS students I’ve just started to realize that I will indeed be missing an entire year of college. I’m not normally one to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), but explaining traditions like Junior Week has been rough. I miss SBC! Note: I should be writing a “Why you need to go to Sweet Briar” post soon, since it is application season! Also I’ve been very self-conscious about being blonde this week, especially when we went to the Spanish club on Friday. While it was a lot of fun and the music was 100x better than the other clubs I’ve been too I felt like I was sticking out a lot. I’m sure most of it is in my head, but some most definitely is real.

I’ve also been thinking about what I want to do with my life after college because a lot of the other students are starting to apply for summer internships already. I’ve got nothing. My current game plan is to apply to a bunch of different things and see where I get accepted. Not very concrete but I’m kind of hoping for an epiphany or something. I’m working on setting up some internships/volunteer work here, so maybe that will point me in a direction? Let’s be honest, I’d be happy dropping everything to stay here (or go anywhere) and teach children ballet for the rest of my life.

I start my traveling this weekend! I might write a blog post before I leave and then a separate one for the trip. We’ll see how the week goes though, but hopefully I have a lot to write about! Recommendations on music? I’m about to spend a long time sitting on a bus!

To end: I love seeing t-shirts written in English. So far I’ve seen things like “T-shirt” and “Friday made me do it” (of course I can’t think of any others right now) but hands down my favorite has been a 40 or so year old woman with one that said “Let’s make out!”

I think that’s everything, talk to y’all soon!!

Love and lollies,

PS: Mom and Dad-did I write enough “new stuff” for you?

1 comment:

  1. Yes Holly you did, thank you. Dad says nice writing and keep up with the stories, have a great week at school and in Portugal. Love you. Mom