So I’ve been in Sevilla for a little over a week now, and it’s been a jam packed week thus far, but I’m loving it. I moved into my home stay last Monday and spent the day unpacking and setting up the room that I’ll be living in until December. I must admit, at some point on Monday afternoon I suffered a large bout of loneliness as I sat in my bright pink room too shy to talk much with my host mom. However, all that has changed since then and I am súper happy. My house mother is such a sweet lady, and it’s clear that she loves having me around. We get along really well and she treats me similar to the way I’m treated by my own parents when I’m at home, so it’s been an easy adjustment. Although, there is one thing that I have had issues with here, and that is our contract with our study abroad program. Under contract our house mothers are obligated to cook us 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, clean our rooms, do our laundry, and basically any other chore we may need done. It’s as if they don’t understand that most of us, by this point, have spent some period of time living on our own, and are completely capable of performing such chores. I feel extremely uncomfortable sitting at the kitchen table as my house mother runs to and from the kitchen bringing out things to set the table, but each time I attempt to help, I’m shut down and told to sit and wait. The program told us that we’re to be treated as we would be at home, but I know my own mother would sure be having me help her set the table. Other than chores, though, all is good in my home. Each morning we watch the news together, something I rarely did in the states, while having breakfast, and every night at dinner she teaches me 10 or so words that she thinks I wouldn’t have otherwise learned. I’ve heard from other classmates that they’re jealous how cool and laid back my house mom is, too.
This week has been full of activities as well. Every day our group of 11 students, a combination of 4 students from Miami and 7 from Pitzer College in SoCal, have orientation from 9:30-1:30, which is comprised of four classes; conversation, grammar, culture and literature. It’s more or less just like school and rather boring, but we are learning quite a bit and it’s giving us all a chance to make some friends. At 1:30 we all return to our houses for lunch and, after that, a quick siesta, which I’m quickly growing to love. Between 5 and 6 or so everyone in the city comes back to life again and out of hiding, shops open back up, and we have the night to explore. We’ve spent the past week more or less aimlessly walking the city streets, and in doing so, have stumbled upon more than a few really cool buildings and places. We’ll also meet up at bars for a 6:00 pm snack of crepes or waffles or tapas, and always sangria or wine and beers. Dinner is around 9 or 9:30, where we once again return to our homes to eat with our families, which is a huge part of the culture here. Meal times are significantly longer than those in the US and nobody eats on-the-go. An emphasis is placed on sitting together and socializing about anything and everything. At night we might go out to a bar or club, but the nights rage on until 6 or 7 am here, and to be honest, that’s a bit too much for me to handle, so I usually find myself meandering home between 3 and 4. I really enjoy the social aspect of going out here, as opposed to going out back in Miami and dancing with strangers, like plenty of people I know enjoy doing.
This past weekend we were lucky enough to have a day off, which a small group of us to advantage of and spent exploring the city and roaming its beautiful, old European streets. Then, on Sunday, we had a group tour of La Italica, the first city founded by the Roman empire in Spain, and in which were born two emperors, the only two ever born outside of the empire. The city was created as a sort of resort, featuring bath houses and a theater (pictured below) which could hold 25,000 spectators for gladiator fights, although only 10,000 people resided there. After our tour, we headed to the city center for a more formal version of the exploring we had done the day before.
Today we had our language placement exam at our university and are currently awaiting the results, which we can pick up tomorrow evening with our class schedules. School starts on Wednesday. I’ll keep you all posted with adventures to come, and thanks for reading!