¡Bienvenido a España!
Bienvenido a España! I can’t believe I’m finally here! I only just got to my home-stay in Sevilla yesterday, and I’m already in love with the Spanish life. (Admittedly, there are a few things that will take some getting used to, but nothing my roommate and I can’t handle with a laugh).
I’m studying with API —Academic Programs International— and it’s been an incredible experience so far. I’ve been in this country for five days, and I feel like it’s been a month! I get the feeling I’m really going to be jealous of the students that signed up to stay for a year, but for now, I’m just taking it all in and livin’ la vida loca :)
I would list out all the fun excursions we’ve been on so far, from El Museo del Prado, to El Escorial, to La Catedral en Sevilla, but I would go on forever, so I just put together a couple lessons I’ve learned from each city I’ve visited so far…
This is just one example of the beautiful architecture in Madrid, at the Royal Palace!
Toledo Olive oil is technically for the salad (not the bread). Salad dressing in Spain consists exclusively of olive oil and vinegar…bread is meant to be eaten dry, or dipped in whatever salsa comes with dinner. (No, this definitely didn’t stop me from dipping my bread in the olive oil…too delicious to resist!)
Religious toleration isn’t impossible — Toledo is proof! It was the first capital of Spain before Madrid, and Christians, Jews, and Moors lived in harmony for hundreds of years. The architecture around the city is beautiful, and it’s been influenced by so many cultures. The true gem is the Catedral, which is absolutely gorgeous. They say the cathedral in Sevilla may be the biggest, but it is the “box,” whereas Toledo’s cathedral is the “jewel.”
Here’s the beautiful view of the hills in Toledo from one of the parks!
If you’re Spanish and you know it, clap your hands! Last night, we stumbled upon a local flamenco bar in Triana, across the Guadalquivir River, and it was positively alive with locals! It was obvious that we were the only foreigners there, because everyone would jump on the dance floor and start a choreographed traditional flamenco dance when a song called “Son Sevillanas” came on.
We may not have been able to do the dance, but we did learn how to clap our hands! Some Sevillanos taught us to smack our left palm with our right hand to the beat, giving emphasis to certain claps…it took some getting used to, but we had a lot of fun learning. New item for the bucket list: learn the dance moves to that song!
Sevilla and Kansas City are sister cities… So random, I just had to share. It took us a while to figure out that La Calle “Cahn-sahss See-tee” was just a street named Kansas City…who knew?!
Last but not least, the vocab word/phrase of the week is: tener el pavo—it means “to have the giggles.” With that, I’ll say goodbye for now, and welcome to Sevilla! Hasta luego!
Kristie Dickenson is studying abroad with API in Seville, Spain and is a regular contributor to the API Tumblr blog.