Saturday, September 21, 2013

The First Post From Sevilla


Hello! I am here! I just finished a five day crash course orientation and now I'm resting in my hotel room preparing for another five day whirlwind of apartment hunting. In this post I'll recap orientation, post some pictures of pretty places and try to make funny jokes about being an American in Spain.

Day 1:
I arrived. International flights are the best/the worst. I always feel disoriented until I get a full night's sleep after a transatlantic flight. However, I love the flight itself. When you're flying you disconnect from the rest of the world. You have no obligation but to sit and pass time. I love the concept of reading, dozing, listening to music, etc. and having no other obligation because up in the air no one can contact me. I love the forced disconnect. I also used the flight as a way to shake off the emotional release of leaving my home and beginning an entirely new life. 

When we arrived we picked up our bags and were shuttled off to the hotel. We had a quick welcome talk from the directors of the Teach in Spain program and then had dinner. We were split into our different provinces. Believe it or not, there are only 12 of us in Sevilla and not all of us are staying in the city. Don't let that number fool you though. Although there are only 12 of us in Sevilla through CIEE, there are over one hundred teaching assistants in the province of Sevilla through the government program. 

Day 2:
I still felt a little hazy throughout the day. It made the orientation lectures really difficult to sit through. We spent the first half of the day sitting in a classroom as the directors educated us on our TIE's, about Sevilla, the Junta (the government), and more. It was valuable information and I'm glad CIEE gave it to us; I just wish I had been more awake. 

The second half of the day was much better. I got in a nice siesta (nap time is very serious here), and woke up ready to conquer the city. First we took a tour of La Alcázar and Los Jardines de Murillo. La Alcázar is a palace that has been constantly renovated over the centuries. There are traces of many cultures in the architecture. Here's a link with more information about La Alcázar and here is a link to more information about Los Jardines de Murillos. I wish the tour guide would have gone slower because I didn’t have time to set up pictures and simply look at all of the beauty around me. I could have spent a long time just looking at some of the floors in the palace. I definitely plan on going back on my own so that I can explore at my own pace. That being said, the tour guide was a stitch and a half. He spoke Spanglish at us and cracked the funniest jokes. He also knew a lot about La Alcazár and was full of useful information.

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After that we took a quick downtown tour (mostly I just got super turned around) and made our way to dinner. So. Many. Tapas. I always know my stomache is in for some adjusting when I go abroad. But everything is just so good! I ate squid. And not for the first time. I’m that worldly.

Day 3:
Another day of lectures. By this time I was pretty rested and antsy to get started on the practical things of living in a city. The internet was broken in our hotel (it was like the world ended for every participant in the program) so I was ready to get a phone plan set up with some data. After the lectures I had a nice siesta and headed over to a different hotel for some rooftop pool bonding and free wifi. After that came more tapas and a flamenco show. I was surprised by how unexcited I was by the flamenco show. I love music and dance so I was really looking forward to it, but in the end, it didn’t move me as much as I had thought it would. Maybe it was the jet lag and the small, hot room. I plan on seeing more shows in different venues because flamenco is a large part of the southern Spanish culture and I think I will like it more with a change of scenery.

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Day 4:
I got a phone! All was right with the world. That’s all for day 4. But not really. We had some more lectures and then we went and visited a school in the city to see what our teaching positions could potentially be like. That got me really excited and now I can’t wait to get started! After that we had some free time and met up for our farewell meal of…more tapas.

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Day 5:
While most of the program participants left to their respective cities and towns across the south of Spain, I’m still here. The people staying in the city get to stay in the same hotel while we look for apartments. I felt pretty lucky considering some people had to wake up at the crack of dawn to make their buses and trains.
I met my future roommate today too. I will completely admit that the success of my housing in Spain will be due to good luck. She messaged me out of the blue. She is a Teach in Spain Basics participant and was simply reaching out for a roommate. We met, had coffee, and I was thrilled to find out that we had a lot in common and I think we’ll get along great.
Now I’m chilling in my hotel room and unwinding from the craziest of weeks. It’s not over yet though. I am seeing apartments, opening my bank account, getting my foreigner identity card and learning the ropes. This whole starting a life in a new country thing is HARD.

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Monday, September 9, 2013