I have been in Spain for exactly a week. It has been a crazy, inspiring, hard, chaotic, and relaxing week.
After a hectic week, some of my new friends and I were able to relax at Salobreña beach, about an hour south of Granada. The day was spent laughing, tanning (more like burning), exploring, and just enjoy conversations and company. While at the beach I had some great time to just sit and reflect over the past week.
Last Sunday, orientation started and I felt like an anxious freshman. I had feelings of uncertainty. I was unsure of my roommate, host family and if I would make friends. I quickly found out that Alicia and I were roommates and we met our new host mommy, Ana. Though Ana is like another grandmother for me, she can be the life of the party. On Saturday night when we went to bed, she was still out. I found out that she is the same host mother that many of my friends had in the past, including my friends Patsy and Justine. She makes yummy food, my favorite is her paella, and tells us about all the best places in Granada. I am so thankful for my roommate and host family.
I met up with some friends for tapas on Sunday evening and Alicia and I found a beautiful park, Parque de Francis Garcia Lorca, which is close and is a great park for running. I also think its gonna be the perfect park for morning devotions. While running there, we have met a lot of other Americans who are studying abroad in this city.
On Monday, we officially started orientation learning about the culture and geography of Granada as well as taking a Spanish placement test. Veronica, our program director, is absolutely fabulous. She knows how to make us all laugh, and is teaching us so much. This week we got to go on excursions around the city, the Hammon, Albaycin, and La Alhambra (more details to come).
My Program at Albaycin
We also started our review classes. I placed in Level 4 with 6 other girls. We have so much fun in that class and are learning so much. It is amazing how much different Spaniards teach, but they are teaching us so many cultural things about the language that my U.S. teachers were never able to teach me. I though that having Spanish class for three hours each evening would be hard, however my group knows how to make it enjoyable. Hopefully by the end of our review classes I can place in level 5.
Each day I am falling more and more in love with this beautiful city. It is a big city, but is small enough that you can walk to almost everything. It is a modern city, but has thousand of years of culture. It is a Spanish city, but full of Islamic studies. This summer my goal was to hit all the cities & counties on my bucket list during this semester. However, Veronica’s advice to us for every 1 week/weekend of international travel we should spend 1 week traveling within Spain and 1 week in Granada. As I am falling in love with this city, I understand her advice. Don’t get me wrong I am excited to travel, but I am more excited to explore my new city and my new country. One of my top goals this semester is to learn and experience the culture of Granada, including going to the Arabic baths and taking a Flamenco dance class, and finding my favorite café and becoming a regular there. Alicia and I have already found our favorite heladería, Los Italianos, and recommendit to any one we meet.
Well it’s bed time here and ready to start another week. Hasta Luego.