Halfway There: Week 8

28 Oct

The coming and going of Week 8 marks the halfway point in my adventures in Spain. In 8 weeks from now, I will be settling back in at home and probably sitting on the couch watching the Giants lose another football game (sorry, Chris). But, I still have much to accomplish in the 7 weeks and 4 days that I still have in Granada!

Once again, this school week was nothing special. I went to class, did some homework, slept, and ate. I do participate in a volunteering program, where I go into a Spanish school once a week and talk to some of the students in English. Normally, my lessons do not go over too well (aka it involves me asking questions and getting one word answers, usually the word football, in response), but this past Monday, it was a success because I received full sentences as answers. Finally. I treated myself to some dark chocolate as a reward. However, this experience has reinforced my belief that I do not want to be a teacher. I simply do not have the patience.

The most exciting event of my week was visiting a monastery on Friday (what does that tell you about my week?). But, it was incredibly beautiful and I enjoyed the experience. Perhaps the coolest part was the fact that on all of the floors there are commemorative plaques that tell you which monk is buried under that spot on the floor. Once again, it skeeved many people out, but I thought it was really fascinating. (Are you seeing a European theme here of letting tourists visit places with dead bodies and me really enjoying it?)

View of the Monastery

View of the Monastery

One of the gravestones (just in case you were dying to see what I was talking about)

One of the gravestones (just in case you were dying to see what I was talking about)

But since my week wasn’t that exciting, I thought I would share with you my reflections of my 8 weeks in Spain so far.

Things I have discovered:

1. I will never understand the being that is the Spanish host mother. While I really like my host mom and she is a great cook, she is just chock full of contradictions. For instance, she is now on a diet because her dance teacher told her that she is not in “dancing shape”. Yet,  she is incredibly thin (much thinner than yours truly) and she still piles the food onto my plate. So, I guess it is okay for me to be fat, but not for her to be? And then, perhaps my favorite contradiction- she refuses to buy salmon because it is too fatty. However, all of the white fish that she buys, she fries. Don’t you think baked salmon would be less fatty than fried white fish? And, she still thinks that bread has lots of protein. If only. I have yet to understand and I don’t think I ever will.

2. I am, really and truly, proud to be an American. While I had always cheered on the US in the Olympics and proudly donned red, white, and blue, after these 8 weeks, I know that I am a diehard American. Some people, while studying abroad, fall in love with their host country, but being in Spain has only made me miss America. I miss the meal times, the food, only getting stared at subtly, the ability to easily eavesdrop on the conversations of others, dogs on leashes, and much more. I even miss some fast food places (Dunkin Donuts) and my reality TV shows (Four Weddings!). That right there proves that I am truly American. While I of course will enjoy my remaining time here in Spain, I will be an excited hot mess in the airport in December. Dad, get ready!

3. I am so not a city person. I actually quite despise living in one. First, I don’t like how there are so many people. There are just people everywhere all the time. I mean, sometimes, a girl just wants to walk without getting stared at or having to dodge in between groups of people. I won’t even get into the dog feces in the streets. I also am not a huge fan of the smells. I get smoke blown in my face at least once a day (this drives me absolutely crazy) and everyone I walk by seems to have a very pungent odor. Essentially, I just long for the crisp air of Hunterdon County and a nice, peaceful walk around my quiet block. Apartment living is also not my style. I mean, when I can hear the kid next door playing “Ode to Joy” on the xylophone at 7 o’clock in the morning, that is when we have a problem. So in case you were curious, I will not be living in a city after graduation. It’s the suburban/rural life for me.

4. (I apologize in advance for the cliche-ness of this one.) The fact that in life, the little things really are the important ones. Like, when the outside door to my apartment building is open so I don’t have to struggle and embarrass myself in an attempt to open it. Yes, I am halfway done with my time here and I still can’t open the doors. Judge me. Or, last week when I got to video chat with my grandparents for 40 minutes. Sure, not a huge deal, but it really made my day. So, while I might have a rough day, I always just have to remember the little things (like nice weather or getting to video chat with the fam) to make the day better.

5. I really like fall and I miss it an incredible amount. Thanks to all of the fall foliage/apple-picking/pumpkin-picking/Halloween pictures I have been privy to, I have learned how much I love fall and miss it. I miss the fall activities, the leaves changing color, and the crisp air. For instance, it was 80 degrees today. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy warm weather, but considering that it is almost November, it is no longer acceptable to be sweating when I walk outside. I also miss Halloween and the candy too. It is quite sad, but I am 20 years old and all I want to do is dress up and go trick or treating. Go ahead, judge me. But I could really use some Snickers/Peanut M&Ms…

6. It is not that hard to make your bed. I would just like to take a second to let you all know that I have made my bed every single day (and sometimes twice a day) since I have been here. Mother, I hope you are proud. However, I don’t anticipate it continuing past December 20th. Sorry.

So, while I have been doing pretty well here in Spain, I have learned a lot and am missing a lot. I am not ashamed to admit that I cannot wait to return to the United States, give everyone huge hugs, and enjoy some chicken parm, chocolately desserts, and my nice comfy bed. As sad as it is, I have even started requesting DVDs online from the library, so that I will have plenty of chick flicks to watch over winter break. So yes, I am very excited about returning to the United States. But, these next 7 weeks and 5 days will be busy, as I will be traveling to at least 5 other cities (including London to meet my future husband: Prince Harry or a One Direction member) and taking midterms and finals.

And as it is Halloween week, I hope you are all having fun, dressing up and staying safe. Please, enjoy some Halloween candy for me! Plus, as a bonus for making it to the end, I have included some pictures from Halloween 4 years ago. I can’t believe the past 4 years have gone by so fast.

This gem speaks for itself

This gem speaks for itself

Alvin and the Chipmunks!

Alvin and the Chipmunks!

Easily my favorite of the bunch!

Easily my favorite of the bunch!

Happy Halloween to all and to all a Good Night (or day, whenever you are reading this)!





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