Today marks the two month anniversary of my arrival in Spain, and, in some ways, it feels like I’ve been here forever, while in other ways, it seems like I’ve been here no time. The second month was, for the most part, much better than the first, I would say. The weather is significantly better (some might argue that sun > rain, but I argue that cool temperatures > ridiculous heat, so the current weather wins by a landslide), I’m much more comfortable with my surroundings, I’m living on my own instead of in the colegio mayor (which also means my food is way better than the awful stuff they had in the dining hall), I prefer my regular university classes to our ILP classes, and did some excellent traveling, including my trips to Portugal and Ireland and day trips to nearby cities Segovia and Aranjuez.
I still definitely feel like a foreigner, but I suppose it takes more than two months to get past that (especially since we were kind of isolated at the colegio mayor the first month). Before coming, I expected all the Spanish I ever knew to come back to me after the first week or so and then to have no problems communicating, but there are still definite language barriers. I mean, I can communicate well enough to get everything I need done, but I still feel like I have to ask people to repeat themselves a lot, and it’s a bit difficult having all my classes in Spanish. I understand most of what the professors say, but you know how when you’re listening to people speak your native language you can kind of zone out for a few seconds and still get what they’re saying? Yeah, I can’t do that with Spanish, and it’s hard to stay 100% focused for a monotonous hour and a half lecture. And it’s a bit scary knowing that I’m surrounded by native speakers who catch everything the professors say, especially because, from what I hear, a lot of grades are curved. It’s also a bit difficult taking classes about Spanish linguistics when those classes require in depth knowledge of the language, but they’re interesting, so I think it’s worth it. And my Spanish will improve the more I’m here, so classes will get easier. I just really need to start finding more people to talk to in Spanish, because I honestly don’t really use it as much as I should be on a daily basis.
I’m really loving living on my own. Well, not on my own exactly because I have roommates, but you know what I mean. I love having my own schedule, making my own food just how I like it, and generally feeling independent. Living in college dorms isn’t quite the same as fending for yourself (and, okay, I guess I’m still not totally fending for myself since I don’t have to work to get by), so this is a very fun experience. And if I can do it just fine in a foreign country, it’s going to seem super easy back in the U.S. Actually, that’s kind of a theme that runs through everything I do here. Going back to the U.S. will make so many things seem so much easier.
Speaking of going back to the U.S., I’m really excited that I’ll be going home for two weeks over Christmas break. I’m not homesick, but I still really look forward to seeing everyone and experiencing the things I’m missing out on like certain places and restaurants. I’ve already started making a list of things I have to do while I’m back. But I’ve also started realizing how much I’m going to miss Spain when I leave here at the end of June. I know, I still have eight months left, so I don’t need to worry about it now, but if I was that nostalgic for Spain after going in 2006, it’s going to be out-of-control this time around. But, yeah, we’ll worry about that much later. My time here has barely started.
Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts on having been here for two months. ¡Hasta luego!