I can’t believe this is only my third day! We’ve been so busy, it’s hard to keep track what happened when… even though it was less than twelve hours ago.
Yesterday, after our short break, we were taken into the heart of Alicante. The school is just outside the city. The bus is the best way in and out of the city. Our trip wasn’t too long, just crowded! In Spain however, it’s best to leave your fear of personal space in America.
Once in the city, we separated into our two groups with our teachers and were told to navigate throughout the city with the help of a map. This tactic very smart. Because the groups are traveling around “on our own,” everyone pays attention where we’re going. I have a good idea where to find things in the city. At least the central market, the train station, the main shopping street, the port and El Barrio. I like the size of the city, it’s not as large as Barcelona but it’s not a small town either. It’s a city of contrasts; both historic and new, city and nature, mountains and beach. I can’t wait to see it in the day time.
Last night was also a language wake up call. Our teacher only spoke to us in Spanish. Also, when we went to dinner with three Spanish students, they didn’t speak English as well as some others we’ve had. We were required to pay much more attention and give a better effort to communicate. The food was great again! We went to a Turkish kabob restaurant. Because we ate such a big lunch, I shared the chicken plate with a new friend. It’s a good thing too because our Spanish students ordered fried cheese (mozzarella sticks), chips (french fries), some kind of empanada (so good!), and an eggplant dish for starters. The Spanish really know how to eat.
After dinner, everyone met up once again and caught the bus back to The Via (dorms). We arrived around 10:30, turned right around and went back to Alicante after midnight… Despite our lack of sleep, everyone puts on a brave face. Because after all, we’re in Spain. A country where it’s strange to come home before four in the morning on the weekends. I’m so glad we went. The Barrio is the area where all the pubs and discoteches are located. For most of the night, we just sat outside and talked. Only when the pub closed, we went looking for a new scenery. At the pier, there’s a rather busy (and completely out of place) Casino. After a little dancing, a friend and I decided four o’clock was late enough. We found a taxi quite easily because they line up late at night. And the price was rather cheap.
This morning was however very difficult. After some very informative sessions, we had another great lunch, this time at an Italian restaurant. I had a fresh mozzarella salad and pizza with brie and Spanish ham. Not the most authentic but so good!
But the big moment of the day was meeting my host family. I was so nervous and for good reason. The families speak zero English. But honestly, it hasn’t been too difficult. I may not understand what they’re saying but they’re very patient with me and want me to learn. Sometimes I say things that are so wrong, and I get mad at myself but they don’t care at all. I know it will get easier and I just stay positive. My host family is an older woman named Må Isabel and her children and their children. However, I’m only living with Må Isabel (pronounced Ma). We live in an three bedroom, two bath apartment. It could definitely be smaller so I consider myself lucky.
The atmosphere is very relaxed. We’ve just sat on the couch and watch tv. After this weekend, it’s just what I needed. Besides the tiny shower, the most difficult thing to get used to is the meal schedule. I’m just used to having a larger dinner I think. Eating after nine is very different.