So far, my time in this wonderful city has been nothing short of amazing. In the two weeks that I have been here, I have had the pleasure of experiencing a lot for the first time. My favorite by far is la Plaza de España which is one of Spain’s largest and most beautiful attractions in the city. The immense size of it alone will blow you away. But every square inch of that place has been painted and designed with such intricate detail. The colors and pictures painted so delicately were amazing. There have also been many new friends made, and lessons learned. Speaking Spanish is getting easier, day by day.
I remember my first day meeting all of the women in Isabel’s (my host mother) community – el barrio – and somehow being able to avoid the awkward language barrier. They were waiting for me on a balcony and were all speaking, and shouting at me all at once. I was able to throw in a couple jokes, which to my good fortune they all thought were hilarious. It is safe to say I survived the encounter. But now, my Spanish is much better. Isabel and almost everyone else in the city have been very patient with me. I feel as though I’m not just surviving anymore. At lunch and dinner, I can actually carry very good conversations, and give in great input as well as listen effectively.
Our Intensive Spanish class has begun as well. This is, in a way, a preamble to the rest of our semester. We have one class a day, for 3 hours. After two weeks, we start our real courses. I am one week in, and it is fairly straightforward with business vocabulary and grammar review. The school itself is beautiful, but freezing cold (as most buildings here are). With just a 20-minute speed walk from the house and 5 stories of stairs, you can settle into your classroom shamefully out of shape and ready to learn.
I have also started my internship process. It was intimidating to conduct six interviews in Spanish with various employers from around the city. However, I feel as though they went fairly well, and I am still waiting on their response.
Overall, these first couple of weeks have gone fairly well. I am now oriented with the city and have met some amazing people. The only speed bumps have been the five-day long rainstorm (accompanied by cold weather), and me contracting Spain’s version of the seasonal flu. But with luck, I can shake off this sickness in a few days, and the sun can shine again.