It’s Thanksgiving: Week 13

4 Dec

So, Week 13. Been there, done that. I can hardly believe that it is December. Doesn’t it feel like summer just ended? Strangely, to me it does. But, at least I have Christmas in 3 weeks to think about! So yes, I will be home in 16 days. Weird. While I am excited to go home (in case you didn’t get that from my other blog posts), it is strange knowing that this once-in-a-lifetime adventure will soon be over. But, it is also nice knowing that my bed, American food, my family, and Christmas eagerly await my arrival.

Week 13 was quite an interesting one. With everything from interviews to Thanksgiving, you could say it was an eventful week. Granted, as per usual, class was simply class. Although, I did actually have fun in my Writing and Speaking class. Shocker. It was enjoyable, because all we had to do was talk about yourself. I learned that it is always fun to talk about yourself, no matter what language you are speaking in!

My week kicked off with an interview from 1-2:30 am on Tuesday morning. Now that was an experience! I stayed awake by doing homework and having multiple dance parties to One Direction. I feel no shame in telling you that. Luckily, the interview turned out to be the reveal of the Delaware Orientation Leaders for 2014. So yes, yours truly found out about her Orientation Leader position at 2am. And yes, I had another dance party for myself. Then I went to bed.

Last week, I was told that the water in my apartment would be shut off on Monday and Tuesday. Not something you want to hear. But, I assured my host mom that since I survived 5 days without water with the snowstorm of 2011, I would be fine. Well, in typical Spanish fashion, Monday came and went without the water being turned off. So instead, the apartment went without water for 49 hours, from Wednesday to Friday. Pure joy. Believe me when I say that in those 49 hours I only used the restroom twice. (My host mom never showed me how to use the toilet without running water). So, I got very good at strategically drinking: cutting down my water intake and only drinking when necessary. I even went to school early on Thursday morning to use the bathroom. Just doing what it takes.

And of course, on a day where we don’t have water, my host mom decides to have seafood. Don’t get me wrong, I adore all kinds of seafood, but it is rough when your hands smell fishy for 2 hours. I know, I know, study abroad problems. But let me tell you about this soup she made. It was very delicious with clams, calamari, some other unidentifiable creatures and crabs. Yes, in my soup there were fully shelled crabs, eyes and all. It was as if she had just plucked some ghost crabs off the shores of the Outer Banks and plopped them in my soup. Delectable, but strange. As I was consuming the delicious insides of these poor creatures (not gracefully, might I mention), I couldn’t help but think of their relatives running free on the North Carolina shore.

Yes, it was like eating this little guy. Poor Stretch.

And Wednesday: what a strange day. First off, my motivation hit an all-time record low. I had a project due (on Wednesday) that was worth 15% of my grade. I started it on Wednesday. Believe me, I had to bribe myself with chocolate and episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ to get it done (which I did). This project was for my program and in order to present it, we had to meet outside of normal class hours. So, the presentations were given between 8-10:30 pm. So, on Wednesday night, at 10pm, I gave a presentation. Considering it was far past dinnertime and right around bedtime, I was not feeling the love for being there. So, I spoke very fast trying to get it over with. Afterward, I didn’t even remember what I said. But, considering that I got a compliment from the director of my program about my enthusiasm and energy, I guess I did well….although I still have very little idea what I actually said in the presentation. Oh, well. That being said, I did eat dinner at about 11pm on Wednesday night. Far too late. One could say I was not a very happy camper. I cannot wait to get back to my normal eating schedule in 16 days!

After getting over the seafood soup and doing that presentation, it was Thanksgiving time! I love Thanksgiving. So of course I was a little curious as to how the day was going to go without being with my family, running a 5K (didn’t really miss that part), and eating some traditional food. While everyone at home was sleeping in, enjoying the parade, and most likely consuming a delicious homemade breakfast, I was hauling myself out of bed to go to class. Yes, I had six hours of class on Thanksgiving. It was more torturous than usual. By the time I got home after class, some of my siblings at home were still getting some (much needed) beauty rest.

Luckily, my program hosted a very nice Thanksgiving dinner for us. Considering it was cooked by a Spanish chef, it was a very impressive Thanksgiving dinner. It had all of the food necessary to compose a traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, broccoli, cranberry sauce, stuffing, cauliflower, and corn. It was all quite delicious. And, how could I forget, apple and pumpkin pies! But, I learned an important lesson this Thanksgiving: never eat lunch before eating Thanksgiving dinner. I have never been so stuffed in my life! I literally thought my stomach was going to explode. But, in hindsight, it was completely worth it.

My very fancy place setting

My very fancy place setting

Super cute place card

Super cute place card

Thanksgiving dinner: Spanish style

Thanksgiving dinner: Spanish style

So, dinner was tasty and it was nice to have a semi-taste of home. But, my favorite part of Thanksgiving? Getting to see all of my family members back home. All of my siblings were at home, so it was incredibly fun to get to video chat with them all. Granted, I got insulted a little more than usual, but hey, that is just sibling love at its finest! Then, I was able to video call into the Jaeger family Thanksgiving dinner- and see more of the Jaeger clan! Thanks to my little sister for being my guide and carrying me around to see everyone. Yes, even the dogs. From the look on her face, I know that Abby has missed me very much. And on Saturday, I got to video chat with my family while they were baking cookies at my Oma’s house. So, while I could not be in the US to participate in some of my favorite American traditions, it was a close second that I could video chat with everyone while they were doing some of my favorite things. Ah, the beauty of technology. Unfortunately though, I will have to wait a few more weeks for my mom’s stuffing and some cookie dough. But don’t worry, I will manage.

So although Thanksgiving was different this year, I still reflected upon what I am thankful for (get ready, it is a really profound list): my family and friends, opportunities, central heating, and running water. After this experience, I will never, ever complain about how low the heat is kept in my house. Some times, it is nice to feel your hands. But overall, I am thankful for this study abroad experience and for all of the people who I can’t wait to see in 16 days.

On Friday, I took a trip to the Plaza del Toros (bullring) in Granada. Considering that the closest I have ever been to a bullring is seeing one in a photo shoot on America’s Next Top Model, it was a fun and interesting trip!  While walking over the dirt that covers the ring, I couldn’t help but think of all of the dried bull’s blood that I was walking over. Very creepy. I also decided that I could never be a matador. Could you imagine me with a large bull running toward me in front of thousands of people? I would easily die in my first exhibition. So, I guess I can cross that one off my potential career list.

Field of Death: the bullring

Field of Death: the bullring

Matador Style

Matador Style

You know a door is small when it is Rebecca-size

You know a door is small when it is Rebecca-size

The rest of my weekend was very peaceful and calm. Thank goodness. After traveling for 4 straight weekends, it was nice to have 3 entire days to do whatever I wanted. So yes, lots of sleeping, studying, and cleaning. Sounds fun, right? I also finally bought my University of Granada sweatshirt. I remember saying to my mom last year that all I wanted from Spain was a sweatshirt with the school’s crest on it. Well, as of Friday, that goal was achieved.

On Saturday, I went to a Spanish flea market with my host sister, Victoria. After going to Rice’s Flea Market multiple times, I thought I was prepared for this. No, I wasn’t. It was a madhouse! Vendors shouting, people pushing, dogs, strollers. It was crazy. And let me tell you, little old Spanish ladies are incredibly aggressive. I have seen it in church, when they go up for Communions and it also applies at flea markets. Elbows out, determination in their eyes, they were pushing and shoving to make sure that they got their goods. As you can imagine, it was a very intense morning!

That afternoon, my host mom’s grandchildren came over. They are two of the cutest little girls ever! And, surprisingly, they liked me! Normally, little kids are not a fan of me (nor I, them), but Victoria and Jimena loved me. They were bouncing on my bed and were fascinated by the apple that glows on my Mac. I was even showing them pictures of my family. I am not sure what the biggest surprise of the day was: that little kids actually liked me or learning that I have very few normal pictures of my family on my computer. Either way, it was a very fun afternoon! And Sunday was just another typical Sunday: studying, church, napping, TV. Very peaceful and much needed. The grandkids visited again. And guess what? They still loved me. So, it was not a fluke!

And so, with another week down, I only have 2.5 to go. I am in the home stretch! I cannot get over how fast time is flying and I know that before I know it I will be at home, rocking my penguin bathrobe and watching my favorite Christmas specials (and cheesy Christmas romance movies) with my favorite people.

For all of you college kids out there, good luck with the last days of classes and good luck on finals! May the odds be ever in your favor!

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One Response to “It’s Thanksgiving: Week 13”

  1. Kristin December 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Home stretch – very exciting!

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