On Tuesday I got to move in to the home where I will be living during my time here in Barcelona. I live a bit further from the school than the other students, so I’m still figuring out buses, but I can get to and from school very easily. I am just trying to figure out a bus that runs at night for when I meet up with the other students.
The family is very, very nice. The Señora speaks English and many other languages, but of course, I speak to her mostly in Spanish. Her daughter is 11 and really only speaks Spanish. She loves to paint her nails and watch the Disney channel (in Spanish, of course). I painted her nails last night. There is also a babysitter that lives in the apartment, but she went home to Poland for a week. She is closer to my age, and she speaks English, so when she gets back we will definitely hang out sometimes as well. I am very happy with everything!
There are, of course, many differences between the United States and Spain. Similarly to the U.S., there is a financial crisis going on, so people are very careful with their money. But in addition, electricity and water are very expensive compared to the U.S. so people have to use them very wisely. There is also a scarcity of water. I have to be very careful to turn off a light as soon as I leave a room. There is natural lighting in some rooms, as well. The directors at the school explained this to all of us, and also told us to take “Spanish style” showers which is when you keep turning the water off and on. Although many people shower every day, many do not wash their hair everyday. Also, at the apartment I am staying, there is no shower hanging on the wall, but rather a bath tub with a shower hose. It’s hard to imagine, I will have to take a picture. There is also no shower curtain. However, I did hear from the other students they have different showers more similar to the showers we had in the hotel. But, even those are different than the ones in the U.S., similarly to other things like the toilet and washing machine.
The washing machine is actually in the kitchen and there is no clothes dryer. Everything is hung on a clothes rack on the outside balconies. From the window, you can see all of the other apartment balconies with clothes hanging outside to dry. I wonder what would happen if something fell, you would have no way to get it!
My classes are very interesting, and I can’t wait to start taking photos for my photography class. I don’t have a lot of photos right now. I am trying to blend in and not look like a tourist. However, as much as I try to only speak Spanish and not stand out, I know that I do sometimes get funny looks at a bus stop or walking around (I had to use a map for the first day or two, that didn’t help!).
The food has been really great so far. The Señora likes to cook food from a variety of different cultures, and a lot of things are vegetarian. I am going to have to try some fish soon, because it is so common. Though I am not sure I will like any kind of fish! Since we have a lunch break at school, we have all been going to a small place near school that is inexpensive. We bought a fan club card for 3 Euros and now we get discounts on almost everything. And the food is pretty good, a lot of it you heat up yourself in their microwaves. But a lunch for less than 4 Euros sounds good to me! I have also tried some tapas and pinchos, as well as sangria (okay, I already knew I liked sangria). But I really do love Spanish food and Spanish coffee and, of course, Spanish wine. So despite having class four days a week, I am in a small slice of paradise!
I can’t wait to explore more neighborhoods of Barcelona and go to the beach. Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain this weekend so the beach might not be an option. But, there are a lot of festivals going on so I hope to find something fun to do!