“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”

It has almost been a month of my study abroad trip. How is that even possible? And how have I neglected this blog so badly? I apologize for the gap in between everything…lo siento. I have been working on a long blog post for a while, which includes reflection, lessons on Spanish mannerism, fun words I have learned. It has obviously been taking a while. So, I thought meanwhile, I could gift you with a small blog post update.

Classes. What am I taking? Thanks for asking! (Todos en espanol): La lengua espanola aplicado a los medios, La historia de musica, Literatura Contemporanea de Espana y Iberoamerica, y finalmente, La historia contemporanea de Espana. Each of these are dificult in their own way, some more than others…definitely the literature class. Ironic for me being an english lit major. But when everything is in a different language, it is definitely a different playing field. The teachers are not over-accommodating of international students, not to mean that they are in anyway negligible. Every teacher that I have talked to (all of them, in my pathetic broken spanish) have been helpful & nice. I have class M-F, most days starting at 9am and ending at 12:15-2:00pm. I have to say that the commute isn’t that bad; the system is just as convenient and as  clean as Boston’s, which is not to deny my inevitable lost moments. Did I mention that the campus has two cafeterias? And coffee vending machines? It’s great for .55 cents. Really great. Also, all of my classes are in one building which I think is great, except for that first week of school where I was going to the wrong classrooms constantly. Starting over abroad makes you re-live your freshman year at college (or university, as Europeans say); lost, confused, & learning the system. Taking all of my classes in spanish is definitely been stressful, but good. I am reading Spanish more every day than I ever have. I know it will be rewarding, as long as I get a 5 in each class (out of 10) and keep TOPS.

One thing that I haven’t done as much as expected is surprisingly speak in spanish. More than anything else is I am reading and listening more than I ever have. I am quite proud of the fact that I can understand most of my teachers’ lectures. In terms of speaking spanish, is not to say I go through my daily routine without speaking it, but I am trying to make a more conscious efforts to speak it more daily. I will make small changes, like talking in spanish to my roommates (They are great!): Shout out to Sebastian and Amin who regretfully left to continue their amazing travels. As of right now, all girls and all from different countries: Spain, Germany, Iran, Holland. Quite the mezcla. The common language is English, but I would say all of us can speak Spanish,  some obviously fluently. When I wake up at 6:30 am everyday, when I come home, I am greeted with friendly ¿Qué tal?’s. I have noticed no one says Como estas here. Not to mention, every teacher I have ever encountered uses the vosotros form. Thanks education, oh wait… you said I never had to use that. How deceiving. It’s actually pretty easy to catch onto. Everyone’s accent is different especially when they talk rapidly. Sometimes a couple of words becomes one…In class, you can look around and see other exchange students just as confused, so reassuring.

Possible update: Trip to Segovia this weekend! Sorry for those of you who are just as geographically challenged as I am.

Another change in lifestyle here is the way time passes. While Madrid is a very populated and a seemingly, fast paced city, the culture and the people that belong to it have a way of making it feel slower. Never rushing quite the way an American does. Spontaneous. In the moment. Never worrying about being punctual. It’s refreshing. As is the culturally accepted, if not encouraged, siesta. However, head with caution. Get absolutely everything you need to do out of the house done…before siesta. It’s existence is strong, feeling somewhat monumental& oppressive when you for example, need to get your abono transporte, which takes 15-20 days once applied for. Lovely. 

While I am writing this, I have chicken breasts in the oven. Just finished making rosemary sweet potato fries and banana bread. The independence of living in an apartment, the ability to go grocery shopping, and cooking for myself has been such a blessing. As well, it serves as my dose of procrastination. I have a lot of homework to do. Missing class because you’re not feeling well doesn’t help. However, I feel as though things I can control, like cooking or working out have been my process of grasping for structure and stability, while still maintaining my go-with-the-flow attitude. Being here though, in comparison to Spaniards, makes me feel uptight; very strange feeling. I have been cooking every day as much as I can, as well as working out, and here’s a new one..budgeting, calculating money & spending daily. Being an independent adult is wonderful, but as any naive teenager would mistake, it is a lot of work & responsibility. As all things in Spain, it is a process, something that I am adapting to. So far, I love it here. I miss my family & friends but skype & viber are great tools.

Some of the best parts of living in Spain: walking a lot everyday outside, efficiency of the public transportation, hearing beautiful spanish,  learning spanish, being exposed to new culture, being old enough to order & buy alcohol without getting strange looks or ID checked, the possibilities of everything, siestas. Most of all, support from everyone at home.

Worst things: Siestas when you want to get things done, the recent weather (cold & rainy), abono transportes, language barriers, homework (so much), missing everyone, TIME DIFFERENCE.

Apologies for the somewhat generic blog. Insert laughter here….do it. Thank you 🙂 Have to finish cooking dinner and finish homework….maybe squeeze in a 30 min workout (hopefully). Oh, and yes, Dad, you would love this. When on average do I eat dinner? Early? 9. Usually? 10-11! Love y’all. Hasta luego.

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