Blog Entry #2
Thursday, May 26, 2011
One of the most amusing aspects of life here in Seville is the walking and talking Castilian. I read in The Root and the Flower that almost all Spaniards are fantastic at conversing and extremely engaged in their discussions. Walking from my host mom´s house, which is just down the street and a block away from the TTU center, I take my time in order to observe the people. Every time I see a dyad or group conversing they use emphatic hand gestures, clear and varied facial expressions, and a resounding timbre of voice. Though there are some words I can’t understand, the emotion is always conveyed clearly, as the Spaniards have a way of carrying themselves wherever they walk, and when they are in pairs it’s common to see them walking very close together, almost intimately. It’s rare to hear anyone shouting, though, and on the bus I’ve noticed that many will frown upon us if we’re travelling in a large group and talking loudly. On more than one occasion, someone has gotten up from their seat and moved to the back of the bus to avoid hearing us talk, a scowl on their face. I just smile. Sea como fuera.
I’m really enjoying my living arrangements too. My host mother, Modesta, is talkative and good humored. She is also a fine cook, and I have yet to have a single meal that I didn’t like (although I was wary of the sardines she served us for lunch yesterday). Modesta is in her mid-sixties and talks often of her children and her past jobs as a waitress in different bars. She usually doesn’t trust in the government, and believes that the system fell into disrepute a long time ago when, according to her, the “politicians stopped counting votes and started pocketing money instead.” But that distrust doesn’t stop her from leading a happy life, and I can tell she enjoys being a host mom.
I feel especially fortunate because I also have a really cool roommate. Alfonso and I get along as well as roommates who have lived with each other for years. Not a single major issue has come up between us; we turn off our lights, respect each other’s space, and talk easily over each meal. He’s a history major from El Paso, and I’m a psychology major from Odessa. With as many things as we have in common, it’s almost miraculous that we were paired together. Having a good roommate whom you can get along with is essential to having the best experience possible while studying abroad. That’s our adage.
I’ve really enjoyed the first week of classes. My professor is Dr. Idoia Elola, whom I’ve seen around campus on a couple of occasions, and she teaches both Spanish 4346 (Spanish Life and Culture) and 4343 (Advanced Language Skills). Our first day of classes was last Thursday, and I managed to get up with no problem and arrive at the center by 8:59. For the first two days, I would stop by a fruit store and buy an apple or a pear before class, so that I could have something to eat during our fifteen minute break in between classes. Unfortunately, we had to change buildings and now have class in a middle school, which is even closer to our house. Though I can’t buy my fruit anymore, there are other small stores that sell peanuts, cookies, etc. Here, I feel like everything is convenient and readily available, and for that I’m grateful.
Also, there’s this girl…