“Staring is the Second National Sport of Spain”: Week 2

15 Sep

So, Week 2 has come and gone! It seems crazy to be sitting here and realizing that it was only 2 weeks ago that I was off to JFK to start on my adventure. It feels like forever ago!

As the title of this post indicates, there is a lot of staring that goes down in Spain. There are even hordes of elderly people who sit all day by fountains and stare at people. Especially at the Americans. We get stared at wherever we go, because some how the Spaniards instinctively know that we are Americans. It seems to be some innate American-Radar. And unlike America, where the staring is as subtle as possible, here it is blatantly obvious. Even if you notice them staring, they will continue staring until you look away! From now on though, instead of telling myself that I am being stared at because I am American, I am simply just going to tell myself that all of the looks are because I am just so attractive.

This week has been a busy one. Whenever someone asks me how the trip is going, I never know how to respond. Obviously, I am having a great time, but right now my life consists of class, homework, eating, and sleeping. Believe me, who ever invented the siesta after lunch was a genius. It is the perfect excuse to nap, because I am just experiencing the culture!  But once the intensive Spanish course that I am taking ends, I will have much more time to have fun and try new things.

So this past Wednesday, we traveled to the Alhambra. The Alhambra is the monument that Granada is essentially known for, as it is a huge fortress and palace where the Arabs lived when they ruled Spain. We spent five hours walking through it, because it is incredibly massive. My favorite part was the Patio de la Alberca, because there is a giant pool that has a specific amount of water in to act as a mirror to the tower above. It was absolutely astounding! Plus, there were fish living in the water, which I thought was pretty cool.

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Patio de la Alberca in the Alhambra

On Friday, we took a trip to the Science Museum. Another day where my inner nerd was just loving life. We got to see a birds of prey exhibit, where they had falcons/hawks/owls fly over our heads. I had some sort of falcon less than four inches from my face. Pretty incredible. Then, there was a “walk through the human body exhibit”. Once again, so cool. They had the heart of a fin whale there, and it was absolutely gigantic. It was practically the size of me! I can only imagine that there are really loving creatures…There was also this sensor that showed which parts of the body were the hottest. When I stood before the machine, it showed red and white all over my face (the colors that indicate the hottest area) so therefore, I am taking that to mean that I have a hot face.

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The gigantic heart of a fin whale (note the person standing in the background, which shows how big the heart really is)

On Saturday, we went to La Herradura which is a beach about an hour from Granada. It was a perfect beach day on the Mediterranean! The sun was out and the water was warm and a gorgeous blue. I got to kayak and ride in a catamaran, but my favorite activity of the day, by far, was paddle boarding. Considering that I am the unathletic child in my family, I thought that paddle boarding was going to be a hot mess. However, I was surprisingly good! In 40 minutes of being on the board, I only fell off twice. Unathletic child no more! It was an incredibly fun day and a nice break from studying and doing homework.

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Just a casual paddle-boarding shot.

Overall, this week has been pretty good! The conversations with my host mom are getting increasingly less awkward! So far, we have had 4 meals straight with good conversations. At one of our dinners, my host mom even taught us how to flamenco dance! But she did also make a comment about how Germans are the worst dancers because they are too stiff. So, I guess that explains why I am awkward on the dance floor…

So after two weeks, I have really gotten used to a new way of life, but it has also made me realize what I miss about home (besides for the people, of course, that’s a no brainer). In case you were curious, I miss: giving tours, ice cream, my bed, Grey’s Anatomy, and chicken parmesan. Please, feel free to judge me. But don’t worry, I’ll survive until December!

These last two weeks have been fun and action packed. I have even experienced some of the nightlife here (don’t be too surprised!). I have been out the same amount of times in the last two weeks than I was all of last year (aka 3). And, last week, I even stayed out until 3:30 am. Yes, that is a new record. So for those of you who were worried I wasn’t going to be living it up in Spain, I totally am!

It has been a good week and now it is time (unfortunately) to buckle down and do some homework. But, for anyone out there who is bored or just would rather do anything but study, send me an email or Facebook message. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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