It’s been just over a week here in Granada, and it’s everything I expected it to be: exciting, overwhelming, different, exhausting, delicious, fascinating…the list of adjectives to describe this new home of mine goes on and on. But I’m loving every second of it, and have discovered a few new things about myself, about studying abroad, and about Spain in general that are worthy of noting.
For one, I’ve realized that I love siestas. I mean, I already knew I loved naps before I came to Spain, but it wasn’t until I started living and studying in a city that literally closes its doors for a good three hours every day for a national nap that I realized that a nice meal and rest time is the life for me. Siestas aren’t just for napping, though; here in Spain, the largest (and subsequently longest) meal of the day is lunch. We eat anywhere from 1 to 3 p.m., and here at the residencia (dorm, if you will), we typically have three courses of lunch: soup, then the “main course,” and then an optional “postre” (dessert). It took me a couple days to get used to this later and larger meal, but I think my stomach is starting to adjust. It’s not growling as loudly in class, anyway.
Another realization from my short time here is how fast you make friends abroad. I’ve met some fantastic people both through my program and just at the residencia during meals, and not only from the U.S. Although the language barrier is hard at times, I’ve met some hilarious and welcoming Spaniards, other foreign students from Europe, and American students from different programs and universities. In a communal place like the residencia, it’s hard to go one meal without talking to someone new, in Spanish or otherwise. I’ve also befriended people from my program quickly, bonding over our mutual jetlag and awe of the city. There’s nothing like 10+ hours of travel and being overwhelmed by the hustle of Granada to bring a group of American college students together.
|Some CEA friends on our first tour of the city!|
Finally, I’ve realized that Spain is so much more fascinating than I thought. Before coming here, I of course looked up some things about Granada and Spain, but honestly mostly about food, nightlife, good places to travel, etc. Upon arriving, however, I realized that I breezed over so much in my preliminary research. It just took one visit to the Alhambra, the most visited site in Spain and arguably the most interesting and historic place I’ve ever visited, to realize that Spain is more than just tapas and traveling. Granada especially is dripping with history around every corner from both its Spanish and Arab history, and I’ve only just skimmed the surface in my exploration. I can’t wait to uncover more of this incredible city in the next months.
| One of the oldest courthouses in Andalucia
(the region Granada is in). Every old, stone
building in this city is so intricate!
In short, this past week has been monumental for my personal growth. I’ve had to adjust to everything from the language to the meal times, and I know I’m not done adjusting and adapting to Granada. But for such a different environment, I’m ecstatic that this place is my home until May.
Darby Hennessey is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a junior at the University of Mississippi
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