March in Andalusia Is Fantastic

It’s 80 degrees and sunny today! I just had another flamenco dancing class – well, technically sevillanas, which is a bit more specific -which was really fun. This past weekend was great, and today was only slightly Monday-ish. Friday night Leah, Margot*, Brianna*, and I took our 7-year-old host sister out for dinner at a tapas bar. She was so excited, she’d never been out without her parents before and we were the first students to invite her (it was Margot’s idea). She wore her Sunday clothes and her mom braided her hair for her. She even ate everything we ordered for her, which is surprising because normally she’s a very picky eater. We took her out for ice cream afterwards, too.

On Saturday, Leah and I went exploring through the neighborhood of La Macarena, which is farther north than where we live. That’s where part of the old town wall still stands. It was constructed in the middle ages and is gone in most parts of Seville. We also went to the little convent of Santa Paula. It opened about 500 years ago, and ever since, there has been a community of nuns living there. There are 26 right now. The nuns sell homemade marmelade to earn money, and both Leah and I got some (mine is apple-melon). We had to find the little door on the outside of the building and ring the bell. The nun who let us in was really friendly and talked to us for a long time about America and college. She was surprised that American college students often have jobs as well! After lunch, Leah and I made cookies with the chocolate chips that my mom sent, which turned out great. We watched the movie Chocolat that night, too.

On Sunday, Margot, Leah, and I went to the parque Maria Luisa after lunch. It was sunny and lovely, and there were families and pets everywhere, and people on bicycles. We met two of Margot’s friends from school and sat on the grass for a while and talked. It turns out Margot is actually blind in one eye, and her other retina could collapse at any time. I had no idea. She also told us about how she volunteers every year to organize a group trip to the seaside for people with disabilities, which didn’t surprise me much because it’s very in character for her – in some cases “she’s nice” is just a throwaway compliment that doesn’t mean much, but it Margot’s case, her kindness and thoughtfulness is a huge part of who she is and it impacts everyone around her. It was nice to hang out in the park for a few hours.

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