I think it is safe to say I am officially settled into my daily routine here in Oviedo. I’m no longer just a tourist, I live here! I would be lying though if I said it was difficult to adjust to life in Oviedo. I adapt easily to begin with when it comes to new environments, but this town, culture and lifestyle just makes it that much more easier. The city is such a unique blend of new and old, fun and quaint, charming and bustling….just the perfect mix! No wonder it is such a desirable place for people to live in Spain. I can honestly say I haven’t had the slighted drop of wanting to come home. Not that I don’t miss anyone, I miss my family a lot. But it isn’t a sad kind of missing, it’s a happy thing because being away from my life back in the U.S. has allowed me to grow as a person in ways I never even realized. Being out of my comfort zone completely has revealed me to more of who I am than I ever think I could have discovered had I stayed in Philadelphia for all 4 years of my college career. I feel like my eyes have been opened to a never-ending amount of life opportunities that are more within my reach than I thought! La vida es una cosa maravillosa :]
I think a lot of people in our Temple+1 Ursinus group feel the same way too. It was a little difficult at first for some people, but from what I can see, we are all having the time of our lives :] Every day we all learn so incredibly much, whether it be about ourselves, the language, the culture, or simply become more familiar with the city. Which, by the way, is an incredibly hard thing to do! I consider myself someone with a pretty good sense of direction, but going from the checker-board layout of NYC and Philly, to a city that is hundreds of years older than your native country with winding cobble stone streets and ambiguous street signs is bound to send you on a couple “adventures” (in other words, I’ve gotten insanely lost quite a few times, and it took me about 20 minutes of walking to even realize I was lost). BUT! Our group is now starting to learn our way around, and we can now say “meet me at La Gorda/Catedral/Favorit/Train Station” and for the most part, know what someone is talking about :] (Don’t worry Marvin, you’ll get there).
So here is a quick little update of what I’ve done in the past week:
A week ago was my birthday, had a fun time celebrating and doing some Salsa :] which by the way is NOT from Spain, just so we’re clear haha. Also we went on an excursion to another big Asturian city called Gijon which was so cute! Gijon is right on the Cantabrian Sea. It had a slightly different feel to it than Oviedo, I think a little more relaxed, but I have to spend more time there to actually know :] The weekend was a relaxing one, just hungout with friends for the most part and Sunday I went to the beach with Kiersten and her host mom, Cruz, and her boyfriend, Tino, and their dog. It was such a fun day! The beach probably isn’t what you’re picturing. Although it was nice out, it wasn’t close to being warm enough for a bathing suit. We went to a beach in Asturias close to Aviles. There were cliffs and islas and amazing scenery! We hiked a little bit around there and spent the day exchanging Spanish vocab for English vocab with Tino and Cruz. It was so much fun! We would point to things and ask eachother what it the words were. Although It took me and Kiersten an embarrassingly long amount of time to figure out that Tino wanted to know the word for “wood” when he kept pointing to log posts and sticks on the ground saying “Cortar un árbol…qué es?”. Language is such an amusing thing :]
The rest of this week we had classes at La Casa de Las Lenguas on Universidad de Oviedo’s Milan campus. The teachers are all really helpful and nice. I learn SO much every single day its crazy. I write down all of the new phrases and words I learn in a little elephant notebook that I bought, and I have to look over them each night because there are so many, and there is no way I could remember them all! Its so fantastic though. My host mom has already told me that my Spanish has improved since I got here a week and half ago!! How exciting is that?! Just think how good it will be 5 months from now. I am starting to become really good at understanding Spanish when people speak it, although speaking it myself will definitely take more time. Me and the group went to see a movie called “También, La Lluvia” for Fatim’s birthday, and all of us were so proud/surprised at how much we could understand! I’m even starting to notice that I can pick up a lot more of people’s conversations when passing by. Yay for eavesdropping! 😛
Tonight we are going out to dinner with Jaime Durán, our professor from Temple and basically our lifeline during our transition. I can’t wait to catch up with everyone! By the way the eating schedule in Spain is way different than the U.S! Tonight we aren’t eating dinner until 9:30!
Well it is about 5:34 pm España time and I’m well over due for my siesta! Hasta Luego!