Foood!

Saludos!

So who doesn’t like to talk about food? Now that’s a good question, considering that we LOVE to eat in Spain :). Our schedules are practically run by lunchtime and followed by the famous siesta. Absolutely everything- cafes, pharmacies, and clothing stores- shut down approximately between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. and everyone goes home for a HUGE lunch. In my home-stay, we usually eat around 3:30 or 4:00. I’m always starving by that time, especially since I have many of my classes in the morning.
Typically, breakfast is fairly small and consists of a piece of toast with butter/jam and a glass of milk or orange juice. Later in the morning, some people go to cafes for what’s called descanso. This is when people enjoy a cup of coffee, and maybe churros with chocolate. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, my friends and I go to one of the many delicious panaderías to get pastries. I believe Spain is known for having some of the best.
Chocolate-filled pastry
To an American, lunch and dinner are reversed in Spain. Lunch is a 3-course meal, which is typically a soup for a starter, a meat for the main course, and a fruit for dessert. I frequently go out for tapas for dinner, which are rather small (and I will explain them more later!). Below are some pictures of popular spanish foods that I learned how to make during a cooking class. It was fun! As you will see, carbs are unfortunately a major part of the spanish diet :(.

Salmorejo is a purée similar to gazpacho that is made out of tomatoes, oil, and vinegar. Eaten as a starter!
Salmorejo is a purée similar to gazpacho that is made out of tomatoes, oil, and vinegar. Eaten as a starter!

 

Tortilla Espanola is one of my favorite foods that is made out of eggs, olive oil, and potatoes :)
Tortilla Espanola is one of my favorite foods that is made out of eggs, olive oil, and potatoes 🙂

 

What would a blog post about food be without a picture of paella! Haha.
What would a blog post about food be without a picture of paella! Haha.

 

Natilla is a thick and cold custard. It tastes exactly like pudding and can be served with burnt carmel! Yum.
Natilla is a thick and cold custard. It tastes exactly like pudding and can be served with burnt carmel! Yum.

Granada is known as “the land of free tapas” and here’s how they work: you go to a bar with friends and order drinks and then, you can usually choose two types of tapas per table. The idea is that everyone shares and has a little taste 🙂 .Tapa!
Hey, not bad for a college student budget! 😉

A Family-Filled Weekend

Oh hi again 🙂

I have decided to write another post about my weekend at home in Granada! Carmen and Fabi’s grandkids stayed with us and I spent a lot of time with them. Their names are Cásper, Laurenzo, and Paulita. It was a special weekend because it was Laurenzo’s 8th birthday :). Now, I have had the chance to get to know them more, especially Cásper. Yesterday, I helped him with his multiplication facts, which I was more than happy to do. We had a lot of fun, despite that it was math homework! I succeeded in making him laugh when I asked what 4*100 was. Later, however, he didn’t make me seem like a good tutor when he didn’t know the answers to the facts Carmen asked. I think he was just messing with her though hahahah (a typical boy). Afterwards, I joined Carmen and Fabi when they took the boys to the García Lorca park, where we tried to pose like the people on the random exercise signs. I was sad that I didn’t bring my phone to take any pictures of this! It would have been a great supplement to this post :(. But, not to worry! I have included a lot of photos from Laurenzo’s birthday party, which was earlier this afternoon. Allie and I were lucky enough to receive invitations ;).

Lol apparently, he couldn't contain his excitement to take a picture with us.
Lol apparently, he couldn’t contain his excitement to take a picture with us.

It’s my host family’s tradition to celebrate birthdays on the mountain, San Miguel, in Granada.

As you can see, Allie and I had fun taking pictures.
As you can see, Allie and I had fun taking pictures.

The first thing we did was set up the decorations!

I thought these were SO cute!
I thought these were SO cute!
I figured out that "Cumple" is a colloquial expression for birthday
I figured out that “Cumple” is a colloquial expression for birthday

After sipping sangria and eating paella, it was time to put the snacks for Laurenzo’s friends on the table. Meriendas
Unfortunately, Allie and I left early, so we didn’t get to try the cake (I know, what a bummer!), but it was definitely a neat experience to be part of the birthday festivities with my host family.

The American Girl in Spain

Hey everybody! And of course, Happy Homecoming, Hope!!

Over the past couple weeks, I have noticed that I’m starting to see Granada as my new home. Maybe it’s because I found my new favorite drink for breakfast hahaha (see picture)??

ColaCao- The spanish version of chocolate milk :)
ColaCao- The spanish version of chocolate milk 🙂

Or that I found a solid group of girl friends, who encourage me to be more adventurous? When I visited Barcelona, I was sad to leave Granada just for the weekend. I thought if I’m feeling like this now, how about when I have to leave in December? That’s when I realized I am growing attached to this city. I have a pretty good idea of where things are and thus, I rarely have to ask for directions when I need to go somewhere…Yayayy! However, it’s more than just the small things that have been adding to my experience.
For one, I am taking a class at the Universidad de Granada about how to teach spanish :). So far, this has helped make my semester abroad more of an immersion.The class is full of native speakers, but there are a few girls who have been very welcoming.They always invite me to sit by them, clarify things if I don’t understand and are genuinely interested in hearing about life in the States! It’s been fun for me because for the first time ever, I am the popular girl! Also, I have started to dress up on a daily basis like other young Spanish women. There is not one woman on the street wearing athletic attire, which has been a cultural shock for me because I love my gym shoes! Even if I do put together an outfit, I still feel like I don’t quite fit in because my clothes are from American brands. So, I bought a skirt and bracelet from the street market, La Rambla in Barcelona.

Modeling my new skirt ;)
Modeling my new skirt 😉

I must talk about the Spanish brand Mango a lot because Fabi came home the other day with a catalog from the store for me… It was super sweet. We also bonded over my American magazine with Shakira on the cover and discussed how she is married to FC Barcelona player, Gerald Piqué and how she sings that song about “calderas”. Hahaha.
My host family continues to play a major part in my cultural immersion by teaching me what it’s like to live in a Spanish household. Unlike when I live with my parents, I feel more obligated to spend a certain amount of time at home and responsible for keeping my room clean (Carmen lectured me on the first day before I unpacked about this!).
Just yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to get my nails done. She asked me where and how much it cost. After I told her, she INSISTED that her daughter knew a better place and for me to bring her my cell phone so she could call and cancel my appointment. Lol the joke of the day became that I was “a baby” and couldn’t call myself! She is also very obsessed with my hair because she calls me “pelo lindo” or “pretty hair” everyday… the compliment is always welcome 🙂

Finally.. My First Post!!

I can’t believe I have been in Granada for almost two weeks already!! My journey started in Chicago on September 2nd, where I sat on a seven hour flight directly to Madrid. Surprisingly, I wasn’t sad about leaving my family or friends back home and I sat in my seat smiling. I was counting down the hours until we landed and thinking about what I was about to experience. After a four-hour layover in Madrid, I flew to Málaga, where I met up with the rest of my program. We stayed in a hotel overnight and I had a chance to meet my roommate, Allie, who has been my new amiga from the second I met her! I’m VERY sorry that I haven’t had the chance to blog yet because I have been recovering from jet lag, but now I have so many things to share with everyone that I don’t know where to start. It’s a good problem, right? 🙂
My first couple weeks in Granada were filled with various orientation activities, mostly in a classroom setting but we did take some walks in order to explore the city.

A view of the famous Alhambra from a plaza in the Albayzin neighborhood, which is the best place that we walked to during orientation. I hope to take a tour of the Alhambra at some point!
A view of the famous Alhambra from a plaza in the Albayzin neighborhood, which is the best place that we walked to during orientation. I hope to take a tour of the Alhambra at some point!

It was an intensive introduction to the culture in Granada and one topic that we discussed was the differences between here and the U.S. One major difference is that everything in Spain has a purpose. For example, when greeting someone you give them two kisses or “besos” on the cheek, which shows that you are genuinely happy to see that person. Also, meals, specifically lunch, are not rushed like they can be in the States. The average time it takes for my family to eat lunch is an hour. It’s all about conversation and stopping to enjoy life.
A highlight of the past two weeks has definitely been my homestay. Allie and I live with an older couple named Carmen and Fabian (referred to as Fabi from now on). They are very funny, sweet, and a little overprotective! In our casa, I’m known as Conchi because Carmen and Fabi cannot pronounce “Courtney” to save their lives.
To finish off, I have a funny story. One day in my orientation class, the teacher passed out different scenarios to each student and we had to go in front of the class and act it out with words. My scenario was that my boyfriend broke up with me and I wasn’t too bothered by it, so I go in front of the class and say: “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. There are many ‘chicos calientes’ in my gym.” WELL, come to find out afterwards from my teacher that caliente in Spanish does not mean “hot or sexy” but something PG-13 rated.. I will leave this for you to figure out!
Just a heads up! I’m heading to Barcelona this weekend, so expect another post on either Sunday night or Monday 🙂