Above and left: My first time seeing Spain.
The first thing I noticed after stepping off the plane: Palm trees and sunshine!
There are probably 50 students in my program.We had orientation and ate a good meal. Then I got my second wind and I hardly slept on Friday night. My luggage got lost on the way here, but finally showed up to the hotel around midnight. I was laying in bed and was thirsty so without thinking, I drank some water from the faucet.. Mistake. The water in Spain is not contaminated by any means, but the instructors suggest that we don't drink it for the first few weeks. It often makes students sick.
My hotel room was much like a hotel in America. I quickly learned that the lights shut off after a few seconds of opening the door if you don't put your key in the little slot! Brilliant!
Friday, we had to get up early and take a placement test. Let me tell you, the result of a few nights of no sleep + homesickness + emotions + drinking water from another country is definitely not a clear mind. I couldn't focus on my test at all. My head was spinning and I just wanted to sleep! We got to meet our host families around lunchtime, which is about 3pm in Spain. My family is better than I could have imagined. They are kind people. At first, I was shy and nervous. My mind was overloaded and I couldn't understand or communicate at all. It is getting better though.
Later, we had a meeting at our school. After the information session, I was heading back to my house and I got lost. Let me tell you, the streets in Seville are NOT parallel. It is extremely hard to follow a map here. Most of the streets are called "Calle ____," "Avienda____" or "Virgen de_______." This makes it hard to remember which ones you have seen, and which ones you are looking for. Plus, there are no street signs. All names are on the buildings. You have to scan each corner to find the sign. I was lost for four hours.. alone (SORRY!). I was around people though, and I didn't feel threatened as long as
I wasn't secluded from people.
(The street sign is on the building. Look at the picture!)
Everything is different here. The streets are so different. Right now, there is una huelga (a strike) going on in the city, so there is trash everywhere.
Check it out (I love this interview): http://vimeo.com/groups/travelhd/videos/58700770
My fellow Americans, you know nada about a foreign car until you've been to a foreign country!
You tell me what these street signs mean!
La Plaza de España
In closing, the people here are very different from what I have seen so far. They all dress very nice. You wouldn't catch a spainard out in sweat pants, like you would most Americans. Lots of women wear heels. Almost all of them do, actually. They walk down cobblestone and brick roads like that all day and night. I don't understand how they do it! No one wears sandals or bright colors. There are hardly any blondes and the majority of people are slender.. You can imagine how hard it is for me to blend in here.