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Mi Alma: The Little Things in Seville

I don’t know why I chose Seville. It sounds sad now, but I cannot remember how I landed on this city. What made me say, “I am going to study abroad in Seville?” It always seemed an obvious choice, clearly I was going to Spain and obviously Seville would be the right city. Forget the fact that I knew nothing about Andalucía and that I had never been to Spain before. None of that mattered to me; I was determined to live and study in this ancient, beautiful, wondrous city.

I would like to say that some subconscious part of my mind knew how great of a decision it would be. The second I landed in the warm, sunny province, I felt like I belonged. With every passing day I feel more connected to this city, it is my home away from home. When I travel to other areas in and around Spain I am homesick for Seville. It is the little things in this city that give me comfort, that make me fall more and more in love.

5 Things I Fell in Love With:

1. “Mi Alma”

Pronounced “mi arma,” this term is strictly Sevillano and it means “my soul.” According to a Sevillano I spoke to, “my alma” is used in Seville when talking to friends or loved ones. While I don’t know all of its uses, “mi alma” feels personal. I would use it about a person, a place or an object – something that is important to me.

 Seville's motto

2. NO8DO

This insignia is all over the city. Once you know about the logo, you will see it everywhere you look. In Spanish it stands for “No me ha dejado” or “It (Seville) has not abandoned me.” Given to the city by King Alfonso X in the 13th century, this patriotic symbol was a reward for Seville’s loyalty during the Reconquest. The logo is now the city’s motto and it is stamped and printed on signs, poles, tiles – you name it. The motto brings comfort every time I walk through the narrow streets or along the main pedestrian path. When I came to Seville, I found a second home, a place of beauty, security and vitality. The city will always be with me, it will never abandon me.

 Café con Leche

3. Café con Leche

In the early mornings, in between class or even after siesta, a café con leche will always hit the spot. This warm, creamy drink is perfect anytime of day or night. Strong, dark espresso blends with steamed milk to create an aromatic and delicious pick-me up. Espresso in Spain is on a whole other tier compared to anywhere else I have been. I tried café con leche within the first day I arrived and have been hooked ever since.

 Walking to class in the morning

4. View on my way to school

Back home, I consider myself a morning person, however in Seville the term takes on a completely different meaning. Waking up for class is difficult, especially since it is still pretty dark out. At 8:45am, on my way to class, the sun is just beginning to light up the sky. The streets are shaded and cool while a breeze blows through the narrow streets. Stores along the main shopping center are starting to open their doors and the plaza in front of the cathedral is mainly void of people. My morning walks are what truly get me ready to start the day. They are a source of peacefulness and beauty.

5. Contrast of old and new

Seville can be traced back to the 8th century B.C.E. While the buildings and architecture today aren’t that old, it is still an awe-inspiring moment as you stand in front of the Catedral de Seville while a tram passes by. The cathedral, built 600 years ago, is an odd yet beautiful contrast to the seven-year-old, electric tram. Seville is made up of buildings hundreds of years old and brand new constructions right next door. Looking out across the city, is a hodgepodge of modern mixed with classic and ancient.

Everyday I learn something new about this magical city. My list grows longer as I discover hidden gems, try delicious foods and connect to a place I once knew nothing about.

Kaleigh Shufeldt is the Fall 2014 CEA Mojo in Seville, Spain. She is currently a senior at the University of Arizona.



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