The GoGlobal Blog

Making myself at home

Making myself at home

This room is nicer than mine back in the states…

Besides the violent wind, it was perfect.

The host family’s dog

Lovin’ those palm trees and walk ways

Some homes on the way to the Castle

The view from my classroom windows everyday

Well, I have officially been in Alicante for two whole weeks, and they have been incredible! The city is absolutely beautiful, with warm colored buildings, palm trees everywhere, and an amazing beach that looks like a picture out of a vacation pamphlet. I was instantly in love with the tropical atmosphere of the city. I found it rather funny though that the people walking the streets of Alicante are bundled up in large winter jackets and boots, even though it is about 65 degrees. My director Luis said that 65 degrees is cold for the people here, which is a great indication of how warm the spring and summer will be :D. I will have to learn some self-control and discipline when it comes to doing my homework instead of going to the beach every day.

I met my host family the first day I arrived, which was rather nerve wrecking at first. All of the USAC students were waiting in a large group in the main city plaza, our names being called one by one to be matched with our host family. It was so exciting to hear my name called and see my host family walk over to me, greeting me with several “Holas!” and  kisses on the cheek The kiss greetings will definitely take me some time to get used to that. My host family consists of Ana, the middle aged mother, Olga, the 28 year old daughter, and Idoya, the 23 year old daughter who goes to the same University as me.  Oh and of course, their miniature labra-doodle named Bisbi. From the beginning of our first interaction, I could tell they did not know much English, so I had to brush up on my Spanish skills, and fast. We returned to their home, and I was shown my room. The room is wonderful and cozy, with a large bed, roomy closet, and even a picture of Rome in one of the corners- made me a little nostalgic, but also comforted me. I quickly unpacked and joined them for the late afternoon dinner, called “la comida.” They made a delicious welcome dish of paella, which is rice mixed with various vegetables and meats and seafood. It was delicious and easy to clean my entire plate. The conversation was fun and light, them asking me various questions about myself and America, and me trying my hardest to remember every vocab list I had to memorize during high school Spanish classes. The jet lag kicked in right after lunch, and I spent the rest of the day, and night, sleeping.

The next day the USAC group met for a walking tour of the city. We were shown the main plazas, the town hall, the beach, the popular restaurants and bar areas, and of course, the shopping strip. Alicante is significantly smaller than Chicago, with the buildings less than ten stories tall (except some hotels), and we were able to see most of the central area in just a couple of hours. Surprisingly, I don’t think I will get bored here, and my desire to travel every weekend is not nearly as strong as it was while I was in Rome- probably has something to do with the beach and ridiculously wonderful weather.

Later that day we all climbed up to the Santa Barbara, which is situated on top of a huge hill in the middle of Alicante. It took about half an hour and a lot of groaning to get to the top, but the scene was worth it. We could see all of Alicante from the top, as well as the sea and the mountains that surround the city and county side. It was one of the most beautiful scenes ever, and we all “ooed” and “awed” at the scene for almost on hour on top of that Castle. I plan to go up there numerous times again to take in the scene, but definitely taking the elevator next time.

The following day we were taken to the Universidad de Alicante, where I am taking my classes. The campus used to be an old army base in the 50s, but it has since been renovated and modernized, with clean white buildings and palm trees, decorative fountains, and orange trees everywhere.  I am taking several Spanish classes to improve my speaking and grammar skills, as well as some culture and gender studies classes. The teachers are so sweet and easy to understand.\, and the homework is light, which allows me to do a lot of things after class. There is a gym nearby my hose that I plan on joining, as well as a school intramural soccer team, which will help me stay in shape, especially considering the Spaniards eat five meals a day that consist of a lot of carbs… yet somehow they are still super skinny… still don’t understand  that one. I love it all so far, except the long bus ride to and from school and having to wake up at 7 am for school, but it’s all worth it. Everyone in my classes and program are very sweet and fun, and these first two weeks have been a blast. I am really excited to be living here for the next five months!  I really need to update more often so these entries aren’t so long… Hahaha.

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