Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Family is Coming! The Family is Coming! (Well, they already came)

Okay people, here’s the deal: I’m about to leave for almost a week in Paris, followed by Semana Santa, a bunch of trips, Feria, and then more trips. Then ya está. That’s it. I don’t want to behind on blogging anymore so the three biggest things that have happened in the last month are going to get done rapid fire (I hope). They are being written now and that’s that.

As you probably know, or maybe not, my family came to visit me here in Sevilla almost a month ago. It was super exciting especially because I had been bugging them about it since before I even got here. There were some points when I was sure that they weren’t actually going to come but luckily everything worked out and they did! Per usual, the lead up was one of the most exciting parts of the visit. For several weeks before I would walk to tutoring from the university a different way than usual and go right by the place they would be staying. I imagined all of the things I would tell them about as we walked down the main drag of the city for the first time. I imagined us basking in the sunny Sevillan weather all week taking in the sights that I’ve had the opportunity to walk by every day. Spoiler alert: the weather was kind of crappy.

I picked them up at the airport and they were (obviously) super tired. We hopped on the bus to the center of the city and I brought them to their home for the week. I felt bad that the weather wasn’t great, but we still sat on the rooftop terrace eating the pastries and drinking the OJ I bought the day before.

Over the course of the week that they were here we got to pretty much every tourist spot as well as some of my favorite non-touristy places. We did a lot of wandering down random streets which is one of my favorite hobbies. I have a pretty good command of the city and even if I don’t know exactly where we are I know which general direction to walk in. That means we can get lost enough to find hidden bars in hidden plazas but not so lost that they ever had to worry about not being able to get back. The kids (aka my sisters) weren’t as into the historical things but I had a great time giving my mom and dad a tour of the Alcázar. We also spent a lot of time shopping and Hannah even got her prom dress.

One of the things I loved was eating out. Since I live with my host family I usually eat en casa but while the fam was here I got to enjoy a lot of different restaurants. We usually had tapas for dinner which was great. A plus side to going out with a group is that you can get a bunch of tapas and share. That’s a lot harder when you go out alone or with only one other person. I think the US really needs to embrace tapa culture. Easting a little bit of a lot of things is definitely the way to go. Oh, and red wine should be required! I did have a bit of a problem trying to translate the different types of meat for my family; I obviously never order meat so I just kind of ignore that part of the menu! My favorite dinner was at a restaurant we went to in Alameda. I got an apple and nut salad instead of tapas but I kept with the Spanish thing by getting us a jar (10 or so servings) of sangria for the table. I also introduced the family to picos, which are mini, hard breadsticks. It rained a bit but luckily they put up an umbrella for us (we were eating outside as that’s the norm here). We had lots of fun telling stories and joking around…maybe it was the sangria but it was the best time.
I’m used to lunch being my biggest meal but since the family wasn’t going to completely adjust to Spanish time in just a week, we usually had smaller lunches. On their last day here we went to a cute little tienda on a side street by the apartment and I ordered bocadillos for me and my parents and muffins for my sisters. We bought a bunch of snacks and headed down to the river to enjoy the sun (it finally came out on the last day). We spent hours sitting and doing nothing. It was great.
Since I’m going backwards, let’s talk about breakfast. My youngest sister, Emily is obsessed with croissants. She’s into everything French and has always loved them but let’s be honest, they’re on a whole different level here. I even got her to order and ask for the check in Spanish which was exciting. My dad did too sometimes. The typical Andalucían breakfast is a tostada with something on it (it varies depending on the person) and a café (solo or con leche). My parents aren’t big breakfast eaters so they usually just enjoyed their cafes but Hannah understands and appreciates the amazingness of bread. Breakfast is my favorite meal/time of day and I took the family to three of my favorite cafes while they were here. The swanky La Baronesa, my go-to blogging spot Café de Indias and the home of my favorite coffee Christina & Co.
Last bit on food. They were here over Saint Valentine’s Day and I gifted my parents a dinner at the Río Grande, a restaurant that overlooks the Guadalquivir and I took my sister out to the new Italian place on Calle Betis with Caroline. Oh, and of course we got churros con chocolate at the churro stand at the end of Puente de Triana!
It was great to have the family here but I was super tired by the time they left…it’s hard being a tour guide and still going to class! It was fun to show off use my Spanish skills, one time we went into this store that sold antique tiles and I talked to the owner for a while and he told me all about the history behind them and how to tell the old ones from the newer ones. It was a bit frustrating though because there were certain people who would insist on talking to me in English even if I stated the conversation in and exclusively used Spanish. It may have happened more because my family was there but it’s something I constantly have to deal with.

I wish I had time to take them on a day trip or something, but then again Sevilla has so much to offer! I’m also hoping that now that they’ve seen the city they’ll be more understanding if I decide to move here full time J

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