I guess the biggest thing that has happened here is that I have been able to conquer in the past two weeks any fears of not being able to speak Spanish, of figuring out what I’m supposed to be doing in Seville, and of finding a place for myself.
Really I haven’t answered any of those big questions, but I have found that I’m much calmer about simply letting things be and exploring/experiencing everything I can. I’ve started to work on some writing exercises to get me back into the story-writing mode, and I may or may not post them :o)
I’m very much excited about real classes starting next week. I think it’s going to be a challenging semester for me, since I hope to take at least one class at the Universidad with other Spanish students, and I will also hopefully be fulfilling my general distribution requirements for art history, religion and international political science. Which means that I’ll have almost all of those done (except for one) by the time I get back, and I’ll be able to concentrate on my English and Journalism majors. I’ll also be taking a class about the morphology and syntax of the Spanish language, which is a seminar (classes for just Sweet Briar program kids). The professor is my current grammar professor and I absolutely adore her. I’m hoping to also audit a class on the influence and role of flamenco in Spanish history and culture.
Between those four / five classes, and dance classes (Sevillana classes MWF, and other stuff on all the other days I hope) I think I’m going to be quite happy.
I’ve yet to do some really “Spanish” things here, like stay up until 8 am clubbing (although I made it till 5 am once on a school night ;o) and see a bullfight, I still have time for those :o) I’m making some really good friends within the program who I know I will keep when the program ends, and I just feel like I’m finding my place here…even if my place is floating around in the space between tourist and resident.
I’m looking forward to going many different places in Spain. There is so much to see here, and I know I won’t have time to get around to all of it. Fortunately the program has planned a few trips for us – we’ve already gone to Italica, Carmona and Córdoba, and there are upcoming excursions to Granada, Ronda and Toledo. I haven’t quite figured out the other places I want to go yet, but I know Madrid, Barcelona, Balboa and Segovia are on the list.
My Spanish is definitely improving – I find the best way to get better is to not be afraid to talk. Other than all those things, I’m trying to live simply: to enjoy things like the way the sun shines through the leaves, the way the morning air makes the city feel new everyday, a bird in flight, people walking hand in hand, the easy way life rolls along. It seems so silly to be stressed out about anything when the world is this beautiful!
I’m sending out postcards to people, slowly. I’m sorry if I haven’t written you one yet. If not, the reason is that I either do not have your address, or I simply haven’t found a postcard from the right place yet. Oh and also, if there’s anything you want me to bring back from Spain, just send me an e-mail and let me know – I’ve got plenty of luggage space to haul back whatever.
I think of both Northwestern and Los Altos often and with nostalgia. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like I’m so far away from everyone…life here is filled with all the same basic emotions as it is on the other side of the world.
I’ve been sick for a couple of days but I think it’s going away now which is really good. Tomorrow we’re going to take some university exam that doesn’t count for anything and then get on the bus and go to Portugal for three days. I’m going to be super tan from the beach and hopefully maybe know how to surf when I get back :o) Till then, ¡buena suerte con sus clases, y adios!