I could go on forever and ever about how much I love my host family. But I will try to stay on point so this doesn't get too boring.
I was greeted at the hotel by Teti (María José). When she saw me, she hugged me, kissed me on both cheeks, grabbed my chin, and said "guapa" (attractive). I knew we'd be fine. I live in a house near Parque Guell. It's built right into the hill. It's one of two houses. I'm the only person in my group to live in an actual house, everyone else lives in apartments. I'll have pictures of where I live up soon. Suffice it to say, there's a pool, balcony, a beautiful view, and I basically have my own bathroom. Not what I was expecting at all. When I got to the house I was greeted by Carmen, Teti's sister. Teti is definitely the more talkative of the two. And she talks FAST. Keeping up with her was difficult at first, but now I can understand pretty much everything that she says. Carmen is much quieter. I often find her sitting on the balcony reading a book. She can finish a whole book in about two days. She also knows Barcelona's public transportation by heart. They are so easy to talk to. It's only been been five days and I already feel very comfortable in their home. They're so welcoming and kind. But hosting a nervous American isn't new to them.
Teti and Carmen have been hosting study abroad students for about forty years. They know how to make anyone from any culture feel at home. The first day I was there they pulled out a photo album filled with pictures of students that they hosted in previous years. It was beautiful to see how much they care about every student, and in return, how much their students care about them. Next to some of the pictures from the past are more current pictures that their students sent them in order to update them on their lives. There are even pictures of some of my Knox friends who studied abroad last year and years before that. Their house is an eclectic mish mosh of gifts that students have given to them over the years.
I love talking with Carmen and Teti every day when I get home. I tell them about how my day is and we love to gossip together. They love to talk about boys, fashion, or shopping. One of the first questions they asked me was if I had a boyfriend. Then they wanted to know what kind of guy I prefer. Teti loves keeping up with fashion. Every morning she'll tell me how wonderful I look and how the boys don't stand a chance. One time when I got home she said that she had seen my magazine while she was straightening my room and had sat down to read it. She said she hoped I didn't mind. Of course I didn't! I was just sorry it featured Miley Cyrus.
It is really important to Carmen and Teti that I am as comfortable as possible. They keep telling me, when I'm home it's like I'm on vacation. At school is where I should work hard as a student. They don't let me help clean or with food or anything. They've got everything down to a science.
The last thing I'll talk about is the food. In Barcelona, it's rude not to finish your food, so every time I go to dinner I have to psyche myself up because the portions are huge. As the days have gone by Carmen has started to understand the kind of portions I eat and I've been very communicative about my likes and dislikes. Carmen is also a big fan of dessert. So far, I'v had ice cream every night. I can't say no! Carmen's face just falls when I do. But I figure it's okay because it's the only dessert I eat all day.
So that's the short version of how much I love Carmen and Teti. I'll have pictures up of where I live soon.