I decided to start this blog for all the folks at home who may want to hear about my awkward spanish life as I like to call it. I've been in Granada for a little over a week and I am really loving it. I moved in with my family last Saturday. Rosa and her son Marco have been extremely welcoming and have made me feel comfortable and welcome in this foreign country. Despite my never-been-tested spanish conversation skills and my tendency to be awkward in every situation, they haven't kicked me out yet! That's good, right?
I finished my first week of classes, which include spanish law taught by an interesting and slightly egotistic (in a funny way) lawyer, spanish art history that includes weekly excursions to witness the variety of historical artifacts scattered throughout the city, cultures of spain which thus far has been a class where we discuss the differences in spanish culture and basic spanish history, and, lastly, a literature class taught by the same profesora as the culture class and has complemented the culture class (and only have five students). I am taking twelve credits, which allows me to only have class in the morning or evening depending on the day, a schedule that I could easily become accustomed to.
So far, we have tried our fair share of tapas bars, a custom which I believe should be brought back to the states. With every drink, a free small dish comes along, ranging from fish with eyes in-tact (which we had the first night) to mini-burgers from last night. The majority of my meals here have consisted of some combination of potatoes, fruit, olive oil, and bread. Of course, there are many additives but those are the four main ingredients to every good spanish meal. I tried my first ham the other day, sliced right off the pig leg that sits on our kitchen counter, hoof in-tact. Overall, I have been eating much healthier and I really like the fruit for dessert thing--it really makes me feel less bad about continuing to eat when I'm full.
The language barrier has been the most interesting aspect of being here. I already feel like I can understand the rapid pace of the Andalucian Spanish spoken here, although my responses are never as clear. Instead, I end up sounding slightly like a babbling idiot, but many have assured me that this will lessen with practice. One of my favorite language-barrier moments was when my host-brother asked me if I used What's App. Now for those of you who are not very up-to-date on your iPhone apps, it is an app that allows you to message internationally for free. Seeing as it was my first day, I thought he asked me if I used wassup, as in the phrase I used when I got my first cell phone to ask my tween friends if they wanted to get to the mall. I told him I hadn't used that in years and he was probably extremely confused as to how I could have used an app that didn't exist years ago. Someday, I should clarify that I was mistaken. (but probably not.)
I've met some really great people here so far. Unfortunately, I haven't met many spaniards, but I'm sure that will come with time. The universtiy (CEGRI) is an American branch of a Spanish university so there are only students from U of I, Wisconsin and Michigan. I have signed up for an intercambio, which matches you with a Spanish student, with whom you can practice Spanish and they can practice English. Most of my friends are actually from UW which is awesome because then it will be easy to keep in touch with them after we return. We're already planning excursions, like hiking in the mountains tomorrow, Ireland for our first break, and Morocco for a weekend. I can't believe how blessed I am to have such an opportunity and to have met such amazing people, with whom I felt comfortable so quickly. I know it's really early to know who will be in "my group," but I'm really enjoying the one that is forming right now! For only knowing one person coming into the program, it was surprisingly easy to feel at home with the people I spend my time with.
Well adios mis amigos. I'll try to keep you updated on my awkward spanish life and the weird moments I am sure to bring myself into. :)