Saturday, October 24, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Alright, this is pretty late but I was holding off posting anything until I recieved my new camera in the mail since the one I had stopped working just as I arrived. But I still havent recieved it so I thought I would post my experience so far. I currently live in Sevilla which is a good sized city on the southern tip of Spain in the region called Andalucia, for those of you who might not know. Ive never kept any sort of blog or journal at all before, but because talking in English is so rare out here writing this blog will help keep my sanity, and plus all of my friends and family want to know what I am up to and its much easier giving you an update all at once ;)
When I finally arrived in Sevilla my ride (name Antonio) was holding up a sign with my name on it and he spoke zero english. Following him into his car and driving off didnt feel quite right. I suddenly felt very vulnerable and he made no effort to slow down while explaining what sounded like rocket science in spanish. Or maybe for him he was speaking slowly. But while driving through Universidad de Sevilla with all the students partying (it was friday night) I did understand him when he rolled down his window shouting to 3 girls "UUMMM GUAPA. HOLA CHICAS." To be fair they really were. I told him I came out here to study spanish and he sorta chuckled and he basically said that its funny I chose Sevilla because the Spanish is so thick and so fast. The very first thing I noticed is that the party just seemed to be starting and it was passed midnight.
We finally arrived at my address. I live in Los Remedios, a residential area across the river from Santa Cruz, sort of the heart of the city. I was nervious to meet my family because my sentences were going to be extremely basic but they were expecting that. I arrived before my luggage did so the airport had to send the luggage the next day. I should have been tired but I had a lot of energy. The family I live with is Rucio Dominguez, and her three children Patricia (pat-reeth-ia) 13, her twin brother Jose, and Rucio (roo-thee-o) 16. Jose is the coolest kid in the world and wants to study in California when hes 18. When I first met him he knew about as much English as I knew Spanish. He has been my unofficial tutor everyday. If I have any grasp of the language I owe it to him, he has a lot of patience.
One word: Cruzcampo
The flat we live in is very big, and come to find out, there was another student living with us from the UK. Freddie is 20 years old and has British humour bursting out of his ears. He knew about the drinking age in the states and immediately felt inclined to take me out for a beer on my second night. I immediately noticed while walking the streets that bars and 'Cruzcampo' where around every corner-literally. After a few days I finally realized Cruzcampo is Spains infamous beer. Unfortunately I used one of the Cruzcampo signs to help me find my way back home everyday. It didnt really help. Freddie was only with us for two weeks and moved on to Madrid where is mother lives. See ya Freddie! It definately helped having someone explain the basics of the city in English!
About my schooling, I am attending a spanish school called The Giralda Center located in Santa Cruz right by the Cathedral. It really is a brilliant location. My first couple of days attending school did seem a bit surreal. You cant ask for a better environment. There really is so much to describe which is why I will post a lot of pictures once I have my camera. I have one class 4 hours a day-entirely in Spanish. I have never been so challenged in my entire life. When your teacher is expaining grammer to you in spanish and you dont speak spanish, your ears suddenly have to work like they have never worked before. My first week here I was ready to embrace the challenge and take it full speed ahead. I have to confess that after a couple weeks the frustration started to get to me. Sometimes you forget to keep yourself in "spanish compartment" of your brain and asking for something very simple can become stressful. I have found myself instead to figure things out on my own. Its a struggle of breaking that level of shyness and insecurity. The last thing a person should do while trying to learn a new language is retreat into themselves and never talk. Ive been working on that. The teachers and faculty speak only Spanish, and then I come home and they speak only spanish. I have become 100% immersed and so hopefully I will progress quickly!
There is much more to talk about so I will update again soon, and hopefully with pictures.