As I look out the window directly in front of me, I see a crystal blue sky. When I turn my head to the window on my right, it’s pouring rain. Well, that’s Asturias for you, folks! Rain comes and goes as it pleases, which is why I must stress to you that when in doubt, ALWAYS bring your paragua (umbrella)! I opened the coat closet in my house for the first time today, and there were 6 umbrellas. Let me remind you that I live with two other people. One might think that’s a little excessive, but it’s better to be prepared than not, right? When I asked my host mom what the weather was going to be like today, she motioned me to walk out onto the balcony with her and said “this is how you know!” (in Spanish, of course). She doesn’t feel the need to turn on the TV and watch the news to check. Although we live in a society that is consumed by technology, what I am experiencing in my house is the exact opposite. My host parents don’t have a computer, let alone internet, which was a bit of a shock at the beginning of my stay. But now that I have seen how they live day-to-day, they have no need for it and are completely happy with the way they live. In a way, it is sort of refreshing to be surrounded by such a simple ways of living.
This past weekend was a long weekend, and since it was a little last minute, some of my friends and I decided to go to Avilés on Monday. Avilés is only 30 minute bus ride from Oviedo, and the weather looked really promising, right up until we were about ten minutes outside of the city. We made the mistake of getting to there right around ciesta time (between 2 and 4), so a lot of the shops were closed. Lesson learned: schedule my life around ciesta because life takes a pause during this time. It rained pretty much the whole day we were there, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless! We saw beautiful historical buildings and churches, as well as some cute antique-type shops. There was an older part of town that reminded me of Oviedo, and on the opposite side was the more modern and touristy area. We saw Plaza de España with its city hall in the center, as well as the port of Avilés which is a trade that the city is famous for. I am definitely going to go back and see more sites there when it is warmer, and a better time of the day.
Back in Oviedo, there are so many opportunities for me and the other students to improve our Spanish, aside from school and talking with our host families. Of course, school is helpful, and I learn tons of new things from my professors. But, it is nice to be in an informal setting where I don’t have to worry about being grammatically correct all of the time. So today, I met with my tandem, who is basically someone you do some language exchange with. He is a former student from the University of Oviedo, and he wants to improve his English, just like I want to improve my Spanish. By doing this, not only am I practicing my conversation skills, but I’m also getting some helpful advice from a local about what more I can do in Spain! Also,I find it hard to push myself to converse with other Spanish students here because most of the time, Temple students tend to stick together, apart from University of Oviedo students. We are together during our breaks between classes in the school cafeteria, and I really want to try to push myself out of my comfort zone and start talking with them instead of just speaking English. That’s what I’m here to do!!