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Journals from Spain 2010-2011

2010-09-22 The journey begins

 

I can hardly believe it has only been almost three weeks that I have been here in Sevilla, I feel like I've been here at least twice that time. The small differences between life in Spain and life in the United States are rather interesting to note and I feel as though right now I am a cultural sponge. I have a mother and a father and they are both incredibly helpful and caring. When I arrived after a somewhat hectic and stressful 24 hours of traveling, my host mom insisted that I sit down and drink some water and rest. The initial kindness she showed made me feel at home almost instantly. My host mom has been housing students for over 13 years and so she has the whole process down to a fine art. As far as the language goes, there is a pretty noticeable Andalucian  accent here but it is very understandable when people talk more slowly. Mostly, they take the s sound off the end of their words, replacing it with an aspirated h (estás sounds like estáh). They also have the tendency to not pronounce consonants in the middle of words (viajado sounds liek viajao). Thankfully, my host parents go out of their way to talk at a rate that I can understand. They tell me that it is slower than they would talk amongst themselves but that they are going to challange me by slowly increasing the speed and adding more vocabulary into discussion. I had worried about communication before arriving but now that I am here I feel that I can communicate almost anything I need to and any vocab I need to acquire is only a small chat away. Food was also something I had worried about. Despite the fact I am a somewhat picky eater I have found the cuisine here to be rather delicious. The main difference I see in the diet here is the abundance of seafood and soups. I have noticed that there really aren't many overweight people in Sevilla and I suspect it may have something to do with the diet, although some of it may be from all the walking Sevillanos do. Classes are going well and the intensive, language-specific period is coming to an end this week. Looking back on how much vocab and how many phrases and structures I've learned in just a few weeks, I am really glad they have this period here. And having only one class a week has simplified these first few busy and stressful weeks. Although the city is beautiful and I am enjoying it immensely, it is weird not to be able to share in the experience with my friends and family from back home. Now that I am mostly set up here I hope to write more often. If this post has come off a bit choppy it is because I have written it in three sessions; I am so busy right now it is unbelievable. Hasta Luego, Nick.

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