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Journals from Sevilla, Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies

2010-12-14 One semester down... 5.5 months to go.

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Hayley, Pati, and me at the Thanksgiving lunch

My first semester studying abroad in Seville is over. It’s hard to believe. This semester has absolutely flown by. Everyone told me before I left that I should enjoy my time in Spain because it would pass very quickly and before I knew it I’d be back in rainy Oregon slaving away on my two theses. Although I believed them, I didn’t really understand what they meant. I have been in Spain for 3.5 months now; I have a 1.5 month-long break during which I will be travelling through a good portion of Europe, and then 4 months of spring semester.

My first major American holiday, Thanksgiving, came and went without too much homesickness. For Thanksgiving we had the day off and the center hosted a Thanksgiving lunch at an Irish pub in the center of Seville. We had a pumpkin/squash soup which was fantastic and then a huge plate filled with mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy, cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, stuffing and green beans, then apple pie with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream for dessert. Something cool/very annoying at the same time was that a camera crew from a national Spanish news station was there filming it as a segment on how American students studying in Seville celebrate Thanksgiving. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT4Wjs8ucG0&feature=player_embedded .

Classes are finally over for me, and my mind is stuffed chock full of Spanish history and literature. I took my last final exam this morning and was very relieved to be done with my classes of this semester. I enjoyed them and certainly learned a lot, but I’m ready for some new ones.

Spain has gotten colder. True, today was bright, sunny, and warm enough to walk around the city in a t-shirt, but a week ago it was cold, lightning, thunder, wind, and flooding rain. I underestimated how cold it would get here, not believing my señora when she told me how cold it would get. She was right.

Living with my host family has long since settled down to a quiet routine. Mostly we interact during meals which I eat with them and then usually sit with them for a half hour or more afterwards watching the news (Spaniards do NOT watch the news quietly. They comment on everything… “Que miedo” and “oh, que fea” are very common) it’s pretty funny sometimes. I understand nearly everything they say because I’ve gotten so used to their mannerisms and accents (although when their brothers/sisters come to visit I have a really hard time – especially since they all seem to talk at the same time… loudly and FAST!). I am sad to say goodbye to them tonight, but also looking forward to new adventures living in the student residences.

It’s going to be strange not to be home for Christmas for the first time ever. I mean, not being there for Thanksgiving was strange enough, but being gone for Christmas… yikes. No progies, no tree decorating, no drastic measures to keep the cat from climbing the tree or the dog from unwrapping the presents, and no Christmas dinners with either side of the family. But being in Europe makes up for all of that. Honestly, I have absolutely no regrets about being here for the entire academic year. Listening to the majority of the other students at CC-CS talking about their plans for when they get home and excitement to see their families has been hard, but seeing my family in June will be all the more exciting for being gone so long.

As cheesy as it probably sounds, this is an opportunity that I would have been crazy to have missed out on. Sure, I’ve had three complete meltdowns in Spain due to stress or homesickness, I’ve gotten completely sick of potaje (a stew that my señora made at least once a week), and there have been times when all I want is to be in an English-speaking country, but Seville is amazing.

So until the next semester begins, adios!

-Rachelle Agosti

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