Wednesday the 7th of September marked exactly seven days since we first arrived in Seville. When my friends and I realized that little fact yesterday, we couldn’t really believe it. In some ways, it feels like we have been here for a month… at this point, I can’t quite figure out if that’s a good or bad thing. In the grand scheme of things, we have barely begun our semester abroad. On the other hand, our hearts need to be focused on the present instead of the future; today instead of the three months ahead of us in Seville. (True for all of us, yes? See James 4:13-17.) Overall, this first week has been hard to fit into words… literally. Neither in English or Spanish can one truly capture the emotional experience of being thrust into another culture like this. At the end of the day, sometimes our brains are so exhausted that we can barely communicate in English. Nevertheless, we keep truckin’ along, fully confident that although there will be difficult days, it will only get easier. Acostumbrarse (to grow accustomed to) has become one of my most-used verbs here, always preceded by “Necesito que…” (I need to). For me, adjusting to a new culture means being OK with not being comfortable all the time. Being OK with new things (Kirsten + spontaneity = challenge). Keeping an open-handed mindset every minute of every day.
That said, today we finished our first week of classes– which we have heard always feels like the longest, despite its length of only four days due to tomorrow’s excursion to Córdoba! I love love love my classes, mostly for my professors… though they are sufficiently challenging me. I’m so eager to keep learning and improving not only my Spanish but also my knowledge of the subject areas. I’m in a class called Tres Culturas (Spain of Three Cultures), Grámatica Avanzada (Advanced Grammar), Literatura Hispanoamericana (Latin American Literature), and Romanticismo (Romanticism). Our professors here are fantastic native Spaniards with a passion for this school, their students, and the improvement of our Spanish. I can’t say enough great things about them.
So… I thought I’d give you a glimpse into a typical day for me here in Seville, granted it’s only been a week so my idea of “typical” is somewhat of a fluid concept right now.
7:15am. Rise and shine, get dressed & ready for the day. Morning temperatures are wonderfully pleasant. Afternoons are hot, hot, hot. In the evening, as the sun sets, it returns to tolerable temperature once again.
8:15am. Head downstairs to the kitchen where my Señora, Mari Carmen, is preparing breakfast. We sit down at the table and she serves us our café con leche (stronger coffee for me, less strong for Jenna), and toasted baguettes, which we then spread with a little butter, peach jam, or Nutella. She will, without fail, make us eat more than one piece, but it’s all in love and not to engordarnos (fatten us).
8:40am. Walk to school.
9:00am. Classes begin. I go to four of them, right in a row.
12:30pm. Classes are done. Chill with friends in our lounge, begin homework, check facebook/email.
2:00pm. School closes for siesta. We all walk home for lunch.
2:30pm/3:00pm. Lunchtime! Pretty hungry at this point. Lunch here is the biggest meal of the day. I’ll write more about the food in a different entry, but we typically have a soup, salad or some other lighter food as a first course, then some sort of meat as a second course. There is always bread on the table. “Dessert” is either yogurt, flan, or fruit. We are learning to try new foods each day even if they are mariscos (seafood) with eyes or body parts! For the most part everything our Señora cooks is delicious. Mari Carmen is always trying to get us to have a second or third helping of our meal. The others in the family make fun of her for trying to get us all to eat so much (this I love– the family element overseas is the same as America. Make fun of Mom.) After we eat, we usually sit around and chat for a little bit before we start to yawn, then it’s time for our favorite part of the day…
3:30pm. Jenna and I go to our rooms to take a little siesta/work on homework. Pretty much everything in the city is closed from 2-5pm, except the cafes and bars, for siestaaaaaaa (a tradition that we should probably have back in the U.S.).
5:30/6:00pm. There’s probably something going on, whether it’s just meeting up with some friends at a café, or an organized activity with our SIS classmates, or just bummin’ around. On certain days of the week we will have particular activities built into our schedules, but other than that it’s more or less our “free time.”
9:30pm. Jenna and I return home for dinner. We usually just eat by ourselves at night, but the dinner is a much lighter meal than lunch, consisting of just one course. My favorite so far was a plate of mixed vegetables like green beans, potatoes and onions, with two fried eggs within it. Yum! Mari Carmen, again, tries to get us to eat more, but we insist that we are stuffed.
Sometimes if we tell Mari Carmen in advance, we go out for tapas/drinks with our friends instead of coming home for dinner, in which case we’re out longer at night.)
10:30pm. We go to our rooms to finish up homework/study, catch up on our friends/family back home, or just relax a little before going to bed.
So that’s it. A typical day in Seville. Weekends are obviously a little different and will often consist of travel for me and my friends, but everyone follows more or less the same eating schedule when we hang around Seville!
Tomorrow is our day trip to Córdoba. Saturday we’re heading to a playa (beach). Sunday will be church, homework, and rest. This weekend should be refreshing before another week of classes begins. God is good, all the time, and while I am here I will continue to be challenged to delight myself in Him before anything else.