Published: February 3rd 2009January 31st 2009
So this is actually an entry I meant to post last night, but internet access has been terrible so I wrote it out but never got a chance to put it up:
The last few days have been absolutely INSANE. So when I said I was leaving for Malaga on Wednesday, I lied, I actually stayed at a hotel in Madrid with my ISA group for the past two nights, then we are going to be in Toledo for most of the the weekend, and getting to Malaga on Sunday to finally meet our host families.
The hotel is right downtown and its been a ton of fun spending time here, and the nightlife is amazing!. The people from this program are pretty cool and its really easy making friends because we're all in this boat and have a lot of common interests. I'm very excited about that....plus its a small-ish group (17 people) so its a little more tight knit. Wednesday night we took the underground metro to a street called El Sol, which was insanely packed with people...we met some German students who have been studying in Madrid since September, and they took us to a discoteca
and taught us how to dance salsa. We failed pretty miserably but we got better as time went on...I think??....we finally left at 4 in the morning and were able to experience the joys of late night taxi service in Madrid, then breakfast at 8 the next morning! We definitely participated in the traditional 2-5:00 Spanish naptime the next day.
Things are going well so far and visiting places in Spain has been good, but at this point I really just want to get to Malaga. I'm so sick of living out of a suitcase and hopping around from place to place all the time, I just want a place where I can settle in and finally take things in. Soaking up Spanish culture takes a lot more work than I expected, and this week I've been trying really hard to adjust to everything and make sure I'm staying positive. I expected this trip to feel a lot like the time I went to England for the British exchange with my highschool, but it is far from being even remotely similar...when we went there, everything was teacher led, we were told everything we should expect, and students were never
left unattended to figure things out for themselves....well I must say studying abroad is the complete opposite! I'm no longer protected from being exposed to things that may be frustrating to deal with, and I don't have some teacher to consult with 24 hours a day when something new slightly worries me.
When my taxi arrived to the hotel at 2:00 on Wednesday, I received a map of Madrid and was told to meet my ISA group at 6:00...meanwhile I was on my own in a whole new city without knowing where anything was and without knowing a single person there...there were no schedule meal times, it was up to you to find your way to a random cafe or grocery store if you wanted, and we were told absolutely nothing about what to expect. Its the weirdest feeling EVER....especially meeting the students for the first time, and knowing that everyone is a stranger to the entire group.
Part of this week has been a little rough, mainly because I feel like a lot of things are hitting me all at once. When I was staying with Tamara, I wasn't completely exposed to the culture because I spent
so much time with her and other people I already knew, so I was never really forced to go outside of my comfort zone. Now I'm totally on my own and I'm in control of everything....its completely up to me to decide the outcome of this trip based on how I decide I want to embrace it....its sooooo strange and new to me, and combined with the confusion of culture shock, its been a bit overwhelming to take in all at one time. Spaniards are really confusing to deal with sometimes, especially when they know you're a foreigner. Things are so extremely different here, and for some reason I'm just now starting to really observe it...but I know once I get through these first couple weeks of adjustment, it will become one of the best experiences I've ever had I’m keeping a positive attitude because I know things will work out as time goes on. My main focus right now is figuring out which people from this program I get along with best.
I must say though, it is beeeaaaautiful here!! Especially at night...the streets are always lively and buildings light up in the dark so it makes
for some great picture taking. I'm up to 60 some pictures now...YAY...now the fun part is finding the time and reliable internet to post them!!