Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Spanish Things I've Done:

*Found an apartment! I'll be living with three other American girls who have the same job as me. I wasn't sure about this because I was really excited to live with people from different countries, but everything with this apartment (and the girl who is renting it out) just seemed to click, so I'm okay with it. It's bigger than I imagined and cheaper than I budgeted, so those are pluses too.

*Bought a cell phone! I felt like I was 16 years old again and getting my first one. We took turns scrolling through ring tones, exchanging phone numbers, figuring out the texting setup, playing with extra features like a flashlight and game similar to Snake. It's pretty expensive, so it's been almost comical watching everyone (including me) weigh the importance of phone calls and text messages.

*Saw my school. I've been lost a few times since being in Spain (naturally, since I tend to get lost back home where all the signs and help come in English), but finding my way to this school was the most difficult journey so far. I got so close but then couldn't quite understand the last few directions and so just stood, defeated, outside of some old hotel. My bilingual director said, "Don't move! I'll find you!" Her name is Maria and she is fabulous. We hammered out my class schedule, and I get to see pretty much every age group (3-8 year olds), and I have a conversation hour with the teachers! I have no idea what I'm expected to do when I walk in tomorrow morning, but I'm excited. And I think I even know how to get there.

*Garnered attention from old Spanish men. Some of them haven't been so old, but my favorite stories so far come from my encounters with various, cute, and sometimes kind of creepy geezers. They all have dogs, and they all want to give me advice and take me to their homes. So I pet their dogs and make small talk, and avoid almost all personal details on my whereabouts while here in Almeria. One that sticks out is a man whose advice had to do with boys. "Whatever you do, stay away from those Muslim boys. They're dangerous!" He went on to urge me to find a Spanish boyfriend, but to always be very, very cautious in my endeavors. I wasn't sure how to respond to his prejudice because when I asked him if all the North Africans were bad, he just nodded and went on to try and explain the Iraqi war "we all" are fighting and link everything together. Mostly I think I'll just take away his words of balanced caution and adventure. Have fun, be safe.

And: I've done a lot of walking. I love it! I just need to find some better shoes.

Off to the beach. (That's another thing: my first sight of the Mediterranean. It was rainy and pretty cloud, but it was still beautiful. Pictures soon.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And so it begins.

I've never crossed that many time zones before. And to be honest, I kind of thought "jet lag" was an overused sort of cop out for extra nap time upon arrival.

It isn't. I'm exhausted. This is nuts. In less than twenty-four hours time (I'm not going to do the math on time zone crossing versus "real" time, as though it exists...) I have crossed half the country, an ocean, and entered a new continent. It's surreal to say the least.

So far there's been a lot of English. That's fine with me, transitionally. Also okay with me is that parts of Sevilla I've seen at this point remind me of Guadalajara. It may seem like I'm stereotyping and clumping all Spanish-speaking cities together. I'm not! But maybe I am... either way, it makes it feel a little less foreign. That's a terrible pun, but you know what I mean.

Also so far: pretty dang smooth sailing. I'm impressed. God definitely wants me here; or that's what I'm taking on-time flights, easy luggage retrieval, meeting some neat people already, an email from a potential roommate for the year, and etc. to mean. All that said, I'm overwhelmed. But I'm okay with that; it's part of the teach abroad for a year deal I think.

Anyway, I'm here. I made it. The adventure begins!