Hola from… my room! Being the lucky individual I am, I somehow managed to get tonsillitis! So I’ve been stuck in my lovely room at Nati’s house for the past few days. Fortunately, I’ve had some good books to read on my Nook and my sister’s Netflix & Hulu accounts to hack into for some American television shows. Tonsillitis also granted me the opportunity to experience my first doctor’s appointment in a foreign language – thrilling! Luckily our site director, Marian, came with me to the doctor and to the pharmacy to get my antibiotics.
Onto more fun things that happened before my glands decided to resemble golfballs… intercambios! Monday night we had our first conversation exchange program at (where else?) the sangria bar, Oso Blanco. We met with a group of Spaniards who are trying to learn English. So we spent half the time talking in English so they could practice and half the time talking in Spanish so we could practice. The whole situation largely resembled what I imagine speed dating is like. It was fun nonetheless, and it gave us a great opportunity to meet some locals and practice more of a conversational Spanish. We’ll probably be getting together with the people we talked to on Monday sometime again soon for more intercambios practice.
Segovia’s Festival Week is wrapping up now… Wednesday we had off of school to celebrate the patron saint of Segovia (San Pedro). A lot of people went to a bull fight yesterday evening, and from the pictures I’ve seen so far, maybe it’s a good thing I had to miss all of the blood! Yikes. There have been a lot of concerts in the plaza mayor all week, and last night there were fireworks as well.
I turned in my first paper today… it turns out it’s rather hard to find the motivation to do homework while in a foreign country! Our assignment was to write about some of the differences we’ve noticed between Spain & the United States, so I thought it might be interesting to include some in here:
- Schedule: In Spain they eat breakfast around the same time as us, but lunch is around 2-3 in the afternoon, and dinner is around 10 pm. Lunch is considered the biggest meal of the day, as opposed to dinner for us at home. Not only are the meals different times, but everyone here goes to bed extremely late. Nati usually doesn’t go to bed until 1:30 or 2 am. It’s not uncommon to see school-aged children out in the streets until at least that late. I was shocked the other night at Nati’s birthday dinner when her great-granddaughter (15 months) was still up at midnight and not fussing at all! The changes in schedule are largely due to the siesta that everyone takes midday (around 2-5), where the entire town basically shuts down.
- Interactions: Americans like their personal space. Spaniards, on the other hand, find it unthinkable to not greet a perfect stranger with “dos besos” (a kiss on each cheek). Couples and friends alike walk down the street arm and arm. Spaniards are definitely very touchy people!
- Home etiquette: While back in the United States, my family loves to entertain in our home, the Spaniards think of the home as more private and only for family. In the US my friends and I walk in and out of each others’ homes without thinking anything of it, but here they wouldn’t even “hang out” at a friend’s home. They always go out – streets, parks, restaurants, etc.
Next week I will be starting my internship (1 hour a day, 3 days a week) with la Fundación don Juan Borboun. They organize a music festival in Segovia at the end of July. Next weekend (July 8-10), I’m flying to Barcelona with some of my friends from the program. I’m really excited to see the city… should be an awesome weekend! That’s all for now… I’ll be sure to post some pictures once I’ve done something more exciting than sleep all day 🙂