UVA in Valencia
Three weeks later, I feel fully adjusted to Spain. I realized how lucky I am to have a host mother who truly enjoys my company and loves to enhance my Spanish. I have made friends on the trip who are less fortunate and fell victim to unloving host mother that serves cold food and had set strict rules to follow in the house. My host mother cooks hot meals and sends me to school with buffalo wings, fresh cooked potatoes, and fruit for a delicious snack. When I arrive home after a long day of class, I am alone for a few hours before my housemate, host sister, and host mother return from class or work. During that time, I enjoy the peace and quiet by participating in an afternoon siesta or getting a head start on homework. In the evenings, I watch a gameshow/trivia television series known as “El Boom” with my host mother, Pilar. She knows the answer to almost every question and responds back quicker than the contestant. Meanwhile, I sit there on the couch and try to decipher the question in Spanish. After “El Boom,” Pilar prepares a hot dinner in the kitchen, and we eat between 9 and 10 pm. I am still adjusting to a late dinner, because I get hungry very quickly in between meals and do not have the liberty to “snack” during the daytime. Therefore, I make sure to eat as much food as possible at each meal and hope it holds me over till the next course. The biggest obstacle I have encountered is a lack of breakfast. Spaniards do not eat breakfast, a meal. Americans pride themselves on a hardy breakfast and run campaigns to encourage everyone to eat breakfast. Luckily, I have found a bar near my apartment that serves eggs, ham, and potatoes in the morning. After my morning lift, I walk to the bar and sit down to eat a more formal, American-style breakfast. I typically check my email and skim through social media as I await a hot meal and a cup of “café con leche.” Afterwards, I return to my apartment to shower and get ready for school before catching the bus.
I have embraced the Spanish lifestyle, but have added a few American changes. I enjoy the extended time given to leisure and a feeling that time is irrelevant. In Spain, everyone lives in the moment and takes the time to sit down and share a meal for hours and listen to one another. I am accustomed to the fast-paced lifestyle of America, but I have quickly embraced the laid-back lifestyle and home-cooked meals of Spain.