*Disclaimer: I went to bed at 6am yesterday morning, and woke up at 4pm. It is 5am on Monday morning and I can’t go back to sleep. I apologize in advance if this is a little jumbled but the past few days have been very hectic, in a good way, and now I have a break and am going to take advantage of it. A lot of things have happened in the past four days, so get ready for a very long blog post. Also, I am changing the way I am blogging. Considering that I haven’t had a lot of time and will probably only get busier, I am going to be posting pictures with captions after this post. I will be happy to expand more upon my experience if you ask via the comments J*…I don’t have wifi all the time so I’m now realizing how hard it might be to keep everyone up to date via this blog. Bare with me though, I will try my best!
After my 18 hours flying from Orange County to Chicago, Chicago to Dublin, and Dublin to Barcelona, I was finally here. I might add that on the way from Dublin, I bought and drank a Guinness at 6am….hope that was socially acceptable… When I was flying into the Barcelona airport, you could see the whole coast and the Mediterranean! I tried putting myself in the mindset that I would be here for four months. It did not hit me then that I was here. After the plane ride, I went to the CIEE Orientation at the Gran Hotel Havana to meet the other students in my program. We were greeted with coffee, orange juice, water, and macaroons…my new obsession. Once the orientation was over, my host father picked me up and moved me into the apartment that I am going to be in for the next 16 weeks. I am living with 7 other people. The family has two parents and 4 kids and I am living with another CIEE student, Sindhu. Sindhu arrived after me because of flight complications but once she was settled, our host mom walked us to the metro and then gave us a tour around downtown Barcelona. Our homestay’s stop is about 20 minutes from downtown but 45 minutes to the CIEE study center, so every day is quite an adventure. We had our host mom leave us downtown so that we could explore on our own and find our way back to the house. After learning the lay of the land, Sindhu and I headed back and were greeted with dinner upon arrival. That night we had pasta and salad.
In my time here, I have noticed several things about Spanish culture already, mostly pertaining to their eating habits, and how their habits differ from those in America.
Spain: consists of a piece of toast, yogurt, or some fruit. Breakfast is more or less a snack.
United States: omelet, cereal, waffles, pancakes, eggs, and a drink.
Spain: the biggest meal of the day. People sit down and take a long time at lunch. In the south of Spain, people typically eat lunch, take a siesta, then go back to work. In the north however, people take a long lunch but go straight to work afterwards.
United States: Lunch is typically a quick meal in the U.S. and is not the biggest meal of the day. A quick sandwich, salad, or Chipotle burrito for example…(seriously craving Chipotle right now).
Spain: This meal is neither the lightest nor the heaviest. It is comparable to a lunch in America. So far I have eaten pasta, arroz con vegetables, pan con hamon y queso, y tapas. Tapas is a traditional Spanish meal consisting of many small plates, the size of appetizers. One night here, we went to an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant and had sangria, octopus, calamari, grilled green peppers, ham, potatoes and olives for our tapas dinner. It was nice sharing with everyone and seeing what the other Americans in my program thought about the food. The overall consensus: fantastic. It’s great that so far everyone is interested in trying new foods and immersing themselves in the culture. I think it’s the best way to go.
United States: Bigger than American breakfast and Lunch. Dinners are composed of some sort of meat/main offering with two sides generally. In America, I typically have fish, chicken, or steak, with some vegetables and a salad.
I need to get used to the Spanish eating habits, which I obviously will because I have four months here, but I think some of their practices are frugal and better for my body. Also, my housemate Sindhu is vegetarian so our host family is cooking that way. I have wanted to be vegetarian for a while so we will see how this goes. Maybe I will come back to the US a vegetarian. Only time will tell.
There is no doubt that I am picking up Spanish eating habits, but I can confidently say that within the 6 days I have been here, I have definitely picked up the partying habits. For three nights in a row, I went out and two out of three nights I have gone to bed at either 6 or 9am and woken up at 4 or 7pm. If I keep this going, I am going to oversleep my whole semester abroad! :O I definitely need to pace myself since the days here are long and the nights seem even longer.
As mentioned before, it has taken me a while to have time to write this post, hence why I am writing it at 5am but below are some photos of the things I have been doing in my time here. From here on out, most of my posts will be in this format.