So it’s not really another galaxy…but here I am, in Segovia, Spain…for a whole semester…without my friends or family. I’m sitting here in my bedroom in my host (grand)mother’s apartment and thinking how crazy this all is. It still hasn’t sunk in that this is where I will be for the next three and a half months. I know so many college students get to do this now, but it’s still so incredible to me. I have taken myself way out of my comfort zone to experience and be a part of an entirely new culture.
I haven’t really had the mental breakdown I thought I would. Days before I left, I couldn’t fathom why I was getting all my important paperwork together or packing my things. Even now it hasn’t set in that this is my reality, at least for now. It might have been a repression technique because I was very sad to have to leave home.
I said goodbye to my family and boyfriend at the airport with hardly any choking up at all. It was much more calm, cool, and collected than I thought it would’ve been. Not even my mother shed a tear, at least in my presence. And then I was on my merry way to a brand new continent. The trip itself was rather grueling. There is nothing worse than being unable to sleep on a red eye plane and arriving in your new country seven hours ahead of your home and the time zone you had been used to. Luckily however, the Spanish take siestas every day after their midday meal, which I enjoyed tremendously.
I wrote the above paragraphs on the day that I arrived in Segovia, yesterday. I have now spent one night here in my host mother’s beautifully, quaint apartment. To be completely honest, it was a rough night. I hardly slept because of that wonderful siesta I took during the afternoon (from now on I’ll have to limit myself to an hour at most), and it finally set in that I will be here for three months.
The biggest challenge apart from being away from my family and friends will be learning the language. Right now I think I understand the majority of what my host mother is saying, but I’m still working on having the confidence to speak back to her with more than a few short answers. Obviously, I need to get over this because I won’t learn unless I speak it myself.
I have so much adjusting to do. Luckily though, I will have much to keep me busy and immersed in the culture and life here. Classes start on Monday and I will also be participating in a Service Learning or internship experience. Hopefully that means I won’t have time to miss home too much.
There’s not a whole lot say so far in this experience. I barely know my fellow students in the program, though we are a small group and I hope we will be close, and I have only glimpsed the surface of this beautiful city. This morning we went to the aqueduct. It’s ancient and beautiful like most of the city. I can’t wait to explore more later on this afternoon and in the coming months. The program that I am a part of has many wonderful excursions planned for us that take us all around Spain so that we might see more than our immediate surroundings.
It is 3 in the afternoon and my host mother is calling me for lunch or “la comida,” the biggest meal of the day. After that I will enjoy another siesta. I am sure that my posts will get longer, but just yet I have only scratched the surface of this place and this experience.