So this past week I started to have my first feelings of being homesick!! It hit me hard on Monday, I think because I was sick and just a series of bad “Spanish speaking” experiences. Learning the language is not coming to me as easily as I hoped it would and I’ve been getting really frustrated with that lately. I think I’m more frustrated with the fact that it’s mostly my fault because I have been doing a lot of the things that I promised myself I wouldn’t when I came here. First example is that I hangout with Americans all the time and we pretty much always speak in English :/ It’s hard to avoid though because we really have an awesome group of Temple students, and I can see myself being friends with these people after study abroad. Also, even the people who live here and speak Spanish as their native language are always tempted to speak English to us Americans. Our group jokes around that we all wear a scarlet letter “A”, people can tell we are American pretty quickly (or at least speak English).
This is experience is certainly a roller coaster ride, and I don’t want to sound like a complete downer in this post, because I’m still having an amazingly eye-opening experience! But it is still necessary to talk about the struggles of course :] My host mom has been really great though, and I think she can sense when I’m feeling homesick because she always does something that makes me feel better. This past Monday when I was feeling the saddest she had over her mom and all of her mom’s friends for merienda which is like a snack time(ish) between lunch and dinner, although I still have yet to get a clear description from any español (this is my own formulated definiton :] ). There were 3 Carmens, 2 Lucias, and 2 Isabellas in one room! They were all so adorable and one of the Carmens who arrived super early was great practice for me because she forgot things really easily so she asked me the same questions about 5 times each about my family and where I was from. My responses were perfect by the 5th time haha:] But they were all so incredibly friendly and warm, and it made me feel a lot less homesick being in a room full of Spanish-speaking grandmas. Even though I couldn’t understand most of the conversations, just the vibe in the room and the happiness they all seemed to have while being reunited with one another and sharing jokes made me feel much better.
Tonight was fun too! My host mom took me to her brother’s house to meet him, his wife, and their two kids Gonzalez and Paula. They’re 23 and 27 and were so incredibly friendly! The whole family was so nice and welcoming and asked me all kinds of questions about myself and life in the U.S.. I showed them my house on google maps and it was really nice to see how genuinely interested they were in talking to me and making me feel welcome here. They said I can stop by anytime and I definitely plan on doing that.
Meeting my host mom’s family has been the best opportunities I’ve had to practice Spanish, which have made me feel less disappointed in my lack of progress. I probably shouldn’t say lack of progress, because I’ve learned an insane amount here, but I feel like my Spanish could really sky rocket if I stopped being so self-conscious about it. That’s my new goal for this week, be confident :]