Well today I decided it is time to share some of my story since being Europe..what I've been up to, what I've been feeling, some of the things I've seeing and experiencing here in Spain! I will try to recap the last month as best and efficiently as possible!
I have been living in Seville now for over a month. It is my new home (and yes, it still feels new even though I've been here now for about 5-6 weeks. This is crazy to me because I was in Bolivia for 7 weeks about and my time here feels like 1/10 of the time I had in Bolivia, yet Bolivia felt like it went so fast as well! Time just really flies and it is hard to keep track of it. I have been living with a lovely older lady who we call our "senora" here in Spain with my roommate Michelle. I absolutely adore Rosa. She is sweet, funny, and she is constantly doting on us and wanting us to feel completely at home in her tiny apartment. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. I have never lived so "on top of" other people in my life. It has taken some getting used to--living with a completely new roommate, in a tiny room with a bunk bed, and sharing one tiny bathroom among the three of us. I will definitely be happy to have my own space again when I'm back in the States! It has really been going well though, and I'm thankful for that. Rosa is also an amazing cook, which is great!
The second weekend we were here, a large group of us went to the beach in Cadiz. It was a couple hour bus ride, and it was well worth the trip! I laid on the beach for 8 hours, got fried (& didn't even care!), and had a relaxing time. It was great after our first full week of classes. Classes have been going great. I have class from 9:55 until 1:30 with one break in the middle. I only have three classes daily, which is nice. I made it through my first round of tests, which went well also! School feels a little bit like I'm back in high school-- going to the same classes every day, etc. But I generally enjoy my classes and my professors especially.
We have taken two school excursions as well since I've been here! One of the first weeks we went to Cordoba! We had a day trip where we were able to visit the Mezquita which we had been learning about in my art class. We also were able to have free time and walk around the city and across a bridge that was built in the 1st century! The history here is amazing, and I love it!
This past weekend we had our only school excursion that was overnight. We took a bus to Toledo, which was about 6 hours away. We stopped on the way and saw the windmills from the famous Spanish literature piece "Don Quijote". Some people were quite thrilled with the windmills!- me: "I've seen a few windmills in my day.." ha We stayed overnight in a hotel, which was amazing! We were all thrilled to be sleeping in comfy hotel beds and to be able to take an actual shower with a showerhead attached to the wall! (Yep, our showerhead at our house is not attached to the wall) Oh the little things. In Toledo we walked around the tiny, winding streets and explored the many shops. Toledo is known for all of the swords and weapons they make (Toledo was actually where all of the swords and things were made for Lord of the Rings!). As a class we visited the large cathedral there and spent a lot of time admiring the architecture we have learned about in art class. We also took in an amazing view of the city from a spot outside of the city.
From Toledo, a group of me and 7 other friends traveled by train to Madrid. We spent the weekend in Madrid at a hostel. It was my first train and first hostel experience, and it was a blast! We took in tons of amazing art at the Reina Sofia and El Prado art museums. Paintings by Picasso, Dali, and El Greco we really enjoyed. It was cool to see some famous works of art that for many years I've only heard about in school or in books actually in person! We also visited the Palacio Real (a royal palace) where kings and queens of Spain have lived. It was very ornately decorated, and I really enjoyed it! We had a great time exploring the city. When the rest of the group went to the soccer game, I was able to wander around the large Buen Retiro Park and some of the city near our hostel some more.
This past month has been crazy. I have gone through a large range of emotions. I have had really good weeks, and I have had some not so good weeks. Overall, I'm having a great time, enjoying this city, and the experience. But also overall things have been hard (harder than expected). Some things haven't been so easy for me--finding my place, making new friends, etc. and that can make the experience difficult, confusing, and overwhelming. I have had some definite days of homesickness in the past here. That was very hard as I have never dealt with that before-- I was never homesick in Bolivia! It made me miss Iowa (and even Bolivia a lot), and it has made the experience a difficult and overwhelming one in many ways. But I'm trying to trust in my God who knows why I'm here and that I'm meant to be here, and I'm learning to take it day by day and find the good in each day. I have been working to make the absolute best out of my experience. Pray that I can continue to do just that each and every day! More updates to come.. I promise. :)
Adios y vaya con Dios,