Well I’m here! I’m not mathematical enough to figure out my time traveling (rereading this, I feel that I should clarify — “time spent traveling,” not actually “time traveling” — although it did feel like that), but I left around 3:30am on Tuesday and arrived in Sevilla four flights and a nine-hour layover later on Wednesday night. It is overwhelmingly beautiful here; there’s so much to see. The whole city is like walking around a giant museum, or jumping into a painting (Blues Clues-style).
You get the idea. I live with Rebecca, and our Señora, Rosa. The houses are designed to retain cold because it’s so hot for most of the year, so the first night we both literally slept in our pajamas, coats, mittens, scarves, and slippers. After working up the nerve to ask for more blankets, we are now down to pajamas, sweatshirts, and a couple pairs of socks. Progress. Note: The stuffed animals hanging on the walls for decoration were here when we arrived.
The living situation is probably the most challenging point of adjustment for me. She prepares every meal for us, so we have to be home by certain times. We eat breakfast before school, lunch at 2:30, and dinner at 9:30. The plates are prepared as well, so a good percentage of the time I have no idea what I’m eating. Some of you may remember that adventurous eating is not my forte, but I’m working on it and I have tried everything she’s made so far. The only things I haven’t been able to eat more than a couple bites of are huge piles of cooked green vegetables — literally half a plate of fried spinach or green beans. I lovingly blame my outright aversion to these dishes, and also any kind of sketchy meat, on my mother. I have become very adept at hiding food in my napkin so it looks like I’ve eaten something (a skill that I’m sure will prove useful for the rest of my life).
Another skill that I’m learning is how to read a map. Katrina, you can’t read a map? No. I occasionally find myself using my iPhone to get around Newberg. It may seem unbelievable, but I kid you not, Rebecca is even worse. Therefore, we are an unstoppable team. The very first afternoon we decided to wander the city (“Yay, we’re in Sevilla, we’ll find our way back!”) No. We live in a neighborhood called Triana, and we were IN Triana, and we HAD a map, but could not find our house. I asked at least ten people where our street was – outgoing by necessity, if nothing else. We tried to take a taxi, but he couldn’t find our street on his map either. Turns out that our “street” is really just the name of the courtyard where our apartment building is located, but it was the only address we knew. The director of the program had to call our Señora to come rescue us because we didn’t have her number yet. Also, the streets are not really on a grid. They’re circular. As seen below. Does not help my extremely limited sense of direction.
The first Saturday we did a scavenger hunt, all over the city – somewhere around 15 miles. I really tried to hide my competitive nature, but was not overly successful…it just kept coming out! I have also found that I walk abnormally fast compared to everyone else. I feel bad for my poor roommate, as well as my scavenger hunt team (seen below).
Mark Skovorodko took this picture. He was on my scavenger hunt team, and I plan on often stealing his pictures. I told him he can shoot my wedding one day. Someday. Assuming I don’t become an old spinster with 72 cats.
The people in the program are great. There are forty-some of us, but we all get along surprisingly well. These two (Caprice on the left and Kayla on the right) have to deal with me particularly often:
As do our roommates (Rebecca, Jessica, and Stephanie):
I did place into advanced, after literally a year of spewing anxiety about it to anyone who would listen. I looked so relieved when they told me that the two professors doing the placement started laughing out loud. Speaking of the professors, they’re awesome. Classes are only 5-12 people, so I can’t hide if I don’t understand – they make me understand. And talk. My Spanish classmates at home probably don’t even know what my voice sounds like, so it’s really valuable practice.
This is how I get around, if I don’t feel like walking. Sevici (mix of Sevilla and bici — clever) is a bike rental system; there are stations like this all over the city. Sometimes there won’t be a spot to park it when you get there, which is unfortunate, but most of the time it’s pretty convenient.
Photo credit: Mark Skovorodko
Overall, I love it here. The atmosphere is completely different from anything I know, as is my schedule, the people, the classes, the food – it’s challenging, but in a good way (as trite as that may sound).
I eat oranges. Every single day. There are orange trees everywhere. You don’t actually eat the oranges off the trees though, because they’re bitter oranges that taste vaguely like lemons.
Photo Credit: Mark Skovorodko
I also cross el Río Guadalquivir every day; the Torre del Oro (on the right) is really close to Acento de Trinity (the school). It’s great because if/when I get lost I can use it as a landmark.
Photo Credit: Mark Skovorodko
Anyway, I’m not much of a blogger, so this has taken an obscene amount of time to write and insert pictures and such. Plus I have flamenco class tonight. Yes, you heard me right. AND I went to a discoteca a few nights ago. Yes, I am willingly dancing, in public, TWICE in one week.
Now you really think I’m lying.
But when in Sevilla….
Which reminds me that I have also booked a trip to Italy, a trip to Ireland, and a trip to the Canary Islands during our breaks from school. And Sarah is coming to visit in April!
I really have to go. I keep getting distracted. Rebecca needs me to get her medicine, but there are tons more pictures and stories that will just have to wait. I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats.
(That’s why I waited ten days to post this. To build the anticipation.)