Spain is incredible. I’ve loved every moment, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this month brings. During my time here, I definitely want to record all of the great memories, so that they can truly be “unforgettable.” After about a week, here is what I have so far:
Mi Primero Vuelto de Ojo Rojo (First Red-Eye Flight): My flight left Newark, NJ at 8:30 p.m. (well, that’s when we should have left), and we got to Madrid, Spain at about 10:15 a.m. (which is 4:15 a.m. in NJ!) Never have I taken a red-eye flight before, but thankfully, I slept the whole time. The sleep, coupled with the excitement that I had, made the first day (Saturday) not too bad. Now, the true adventures could really begin.
Fundación Jose Ortega y Gasset: This my new “home” for the next few weeks! The picture of my room is above - it’s actually pretty nice! Every day, people come by to clean our rooms, which is really sweet of them! Downstairs, we have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the food has been really good. Aside from a bit too much cheese (perhaps I should just force myself to like it again someday…), I’ve loved all the food! One interesting thing to note: dinner stars really late here! We eat lunch around 2 p.m., and then dinner isn’t until 8:30 p.m.!
Discotecas: Dinner isn’t the only thing that starts late. “Discoteca” translates to “club” in English, and “las fiestas” don’t start until 2 a.m.! The first night, a group of us went out, but we went out a bit too early (we learned for next time, though!). Nonetheless, we had some fun - we got to see a cool guy playing a violin to a lot of American songs (which, by the way, are really common in “las discotecas”). Last night, we went to “una discoteca differente.” At first, it was pretty boring, but - of course - by 2 a.m., things were really fun! They even played some Spanish music, and we were able to practice Salsa (which we learned from some Puerto Rican law school students who are also here in Toledo).
La Ciudad de Toledo: It’s beautiful. I can’t stop myself from taking a picture of literally everything - street signs, swings on the playground, candid shots of friends. They’ll be posted on Facebook soon enough! We got a tour of the city this past Sunday, and what I’ve really grown to like about this city is its history. Yesterday, Toledo celebrated a day called, “La Castilla-Mancha;” it’s something unique to Toledo. Curious about what the day means, my friends and I explored the city during the day! Though we didn’t find out what it means, we did find this really sweet place where the river is! Of course, tons of pictures were taken, but we didn’t stay too long because it was really hot and there were a ton of bugs, and (I suppose most importantly) we had to get back for class!
La Divina Pastora: Each week, Morgan Taylor (in the photo above) and I teach English at “un colegio” (which, ironically, doesn’t mean college). A few days ago, we went to just watch a class, to get a feel for what it’s like, and I’ve already fell in love with the kids! We were in a 6th grade class, and the students were so adorable! When introducing myself, I told them that I wanted to be a politician, and the first thing “mi amigo nuevo” Diego said with a big smile was, “¿Como Obama?” I couldn’t help but laugh. :) We then spent about 20 minutes chatting with a few students, learning about their school system, cultures, and personalities. It was great.
Intercambio: Francisco lives in Toledo and is learning English, so we meet up and practice English and Español. He’s really nice, and showed me around the city too! We had a pretty good conversation, and I’ll be meeting up again with him on Sunday!
Clase: While I’m here, I’m taking a Spanish course on Spanish culture and art. Sr. Alberto (mi profesor) is great, and I love his English accent! Learning about art is pretty cool too (I have another professor for that portion). So far, we’ve covered “El Greco” y “Velázquez” - and our teacher is very passionate about her interpretations of the paintings! We’re actually getting ready to go “el Museo de Prado” today (we have class in an art museum each Friday) - so excited to see these paintings up close!
Between sitting in the plaza and losing track of time to wandering around the city, Spain has been everything I’d imagined and more. I’m so glad that I got to come on this trip - and thankfully, it’s only the beginning.