Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ready to run?

I've been in Spain for three weeks now and have spent the last two weeks living in a Spanish homestay consisting of a 31 year woman, Isa, and her father, Joaquin. Not the traditional family, but they are wonderful, and I really shouldn't have much to complain about. I get three meals a day here, which for the most part are great.

(Side story about food: Their idea of a "salad" is chopped up lettuce tossed in a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise. Eww, I know. Isa noticed that I don't eat much of the salad when she makes it, so she thought she would solve the problem, which she thought was a scarcity of sauce. So last night the salad was lettuce absolutely drenched in ketchup and mayonnaise. I just couldn't stomach it. She was so proud of herself and really thought I would like the new version. I felt bad telling her it was actually worse. Moral of the story: communication, communication, communication. End story)

Like I was saying, my home here is great. Isa even took me to meet her mom the other day, who is equally sweet, called me guapa, and insisted on taking a picture of Isa and me. Living with Spaniards is helping my Spanish more than any classroom ever could. Isa is fantastic about explaining things in as many ways as possible until I understand. We watch Desperate Housewives (Mujeres Desperadas) together every day during lunch and comment on the latest drama on Wisteria Lane. Joaquin tends to forget that he needs to speak more slowly in order for me to understand, but it's getting easier.

So yes, the homestay situation is great. But at times it is frustrating. I just reread my blog entry from when I was in New York, Falling Into Place. I was extremely content in my independence, and somehow, amidst all the moving around that my life is currently characterized by, I felt "in place." That is definitely not the case now, and I feel like I've regressed. Living in a homestay has in some ways taken away my ability to act like an adult. I know I'll probably be eating these words in the future, but I can't wait to do my own dishes and laundry again, and to be the one who stops by the store after work to pick up milk and bread. The whole "being taken care of" things does get old, and apparently for me it takes two weeks to get tired of it.

Additionally, the lack of permanency in my life is starting to get to me. To recap, since mid July my life has consisted of:
  • 4 weeks in a sublet in New York
  • 1 week at home in California
  • 1 week in a hotel in in Sevilla
  • 4 weeks in a homestay in Sevilla
  • Finally, on September 25, my own place in Málaga for 8 months
I know I know, this is the opportunity of a lifetime and I should stop crying about it. But I find myself craving for something very strange, which I have deduced could be one of two things. (1) Maybe I'm done with Sevilla. Three weeks has been more than enough to see what it has to offer, and I'm not digging much deeper than that because I know it's only a temporary home. I've done my best to fill up the last two weekends with excursions away from the city. I'm ready to move on. Or (2) I'm craving something that is a foreign concept to me: to be settled. I want to unpack my suitcase, put it away, and not think about packing it again for a long long time. (Hence the question mark at the end of the title. Awesome points to who ever can name the artist of the song) I want to start a life somewhere, to start a daily, weekly, monthly rountine. My next stay, although still technically temporary, will be counted in months rather than weeks or days, so hopefully I will be able to accomplish that goal.

I paid the deposit for my apartment in Málaga today and I can't be more excited to have done so. Somewhere in a city that I've never been to, there's a bedroom, a kitchen, a living room that I can now officially call mine. It's a step in the direction I want to go.

I'll end with some pictures from the last few weeks at the beach (Matalascañas), Roman ruins in Italica, and one of the oldest cities in all of Spain, where bull fighting originated, Ronda.

The oldest bull fighting ring in Spain, built in 1785
Puente Nuevo in Ronda
Amphitheater in Italica, the 3rd largest city in the world at the height of the Roman Empire
Amazing mosaic in Italica of the gods who represent the seven days of the week

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A tribute to Saint Anthony

I went to Sevilla's cathedral the other day (which is the biggest one in the world, they have the certificate to prove it).

Besides being amazingly beautiful and full of fascinating bits of history, it proved to be of great service to me. I went with a group of other Language and Culture Assistants, and with our lovely student ID cards admission was free (a fantastic perk considering our less than fabulous stipend and the fact that we don't get paid for over a month). Unfortunately, I couldn't find my card. I dug through my purse and finally concluded that I had to have lost it at some point. So I reluctantly paid the 8€ admission. I was pretty bummed about having to do this, but forgot about it as soon as we walked into the cathedral. It's one of those places that draws a very authentic jaw dropping reaction; I looked from the floor up to the ceiling 42 meters above my head and had to turn in a couple circles before being able to say anything but "Wow."

 We spent the next couple hours wandering from chapel to chapel, climbing to the top of the 90 meter Giralda, discussing whether el Mausoleo de Cristobal Colón actually holds Columbus' remain or not, and enjoying Rick Steve's often comical descriptions of what we were seeing.
Columbus' tomb

 After exhausting the strength of our legs, we found ourselves sitting in front of the chapel where baptisms take place.

Looking over this chapel is St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. People pray to St. Anthony to help them find such things as faith, missing family members, a husband, or lost car keys. So I'm sitting in a pew in front if this chapel, with Anthony looking down at me, and I open my purse to get my water bottle out. I reach into my purse, and my hand comes out with my "lost" student ID card, no longer missing. How's that for creepy? Thanks, Anthony!