This past weekend was by far the best one I've I had in Granada. It was filled with beautiful weather, good friends, and adventures into the city I now call home. Having every Friday is a luxury that I could easily become accustomed to. I usually spend most of it relaxing around the house, seeing as I have few responsibilities. It still is very strange to not have a million things to do a day. I am used to having a job, classes, clubs, family, friends.....Here I am slowly adding more to my plate, but usually it involves classes, travel, friends, and soon volunteering. For two of my classes, part of the grade involves working somewhere in Granada to get better acquainted with real Spaniards and real life here. I'm thinking of working with children in some capacity, probably tutoring or something similar. More to come on that….
Back to this weekend. Saturday was perfect. It was warm enough to wear a t-shirt and after a week filled with semi-depressing rain, the sun was very welcomed. Two of my new amigas, Kristin and Rachel, joined me as we explored the outskirts of the city. While we originally planned to walk throughout the city, we ended hiking through the hills, past the city limits to el campo (the countryside). Houses built into hills, mountains capped with snow in the distance, never-ending green fields--we spent the afternoon outside of the busy city, away from cars, congestion and people. The sun warmed us as we spent hours and hours alternating from hiking higher and relaxing on the top of steep hills. Although exhausting, it was my favorite day by far.
Sunday was less eventful, but still memorable. I attended my first mass in the cathedral. It turned out to be said by the Archbishop. Luckily, the Catholic mass is the same around the world, so although I did not understand the majority of the homily, I was able to follow along in English in my head. At the end of mass, the Archbishop switched to English, saying how he recognized that many people seemed to not speak Spanish. He welcomed us into the church, in English, reminding us that we are all Catholic and always welcome in any church in the world. It was one of those moments where I was reminded that I'm supposed to be here, that this is the right place for me. I was honored that he called us out at the end of the mass and wanted to make us feel like we were home. I finished Sunday when my host mom's brother coming (my host uncle?) with his three kids, all under the age of seven, came over for the afternoon. They were ADORABLE and I realized how much I miss the craziness of having kids around. I'm always amazed by the strange ability of small children to act completely aloof and shy at one moment and hanging on you an hour later. I was interviewed by the seven-year-old about my life: names of my family members, my favorite sports/foods/animals, my hometown/country. The look on his face when I told him my immediate family's names was priceless: Conor does not translate into Spanish. After that, I decided it was easier to translate their names into Spanish: Louise=Luisa, Patrick=Patricio. It was also funny watching his confusion when I did not understand what he was saying, and his aunt had to remind him to speak slow and articulate. That didn't last long, but I guess it will help me understand Spanish more….
This coming week will be full of planning my trip to Ireland (in two weeks, Yikes!) and anticipating my weekend trip to Morocco this coming weekend! I can't wait to see what else awaits me: who I may meet and what I will encounter. So far, I am truly loving this experience.