Friday, January 21, 2011

Orientation and Beginnings

After a few days in New York, I flew to Madrid via Aer Lingus.  My arrival was accompanied by the invasion of American students to Spain in general.  The Madrid airport was my first test in language skills.  I had to get from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 several miles away on a separate campus.  But, with fellow Americans at my side, I managed.  We waited in Terminal 1 for a few hours before we boarded an all-American-student Iberia flight to Sevilla.

We arrived at the Orientation hotel after getting a CIEE shuttle from the airport.  Lunch awaited: Salmorejo and Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin.  I was late to lunch, so I got to eat with the orientation staff.  This was my second test: holding a conversation at the table with non-English speaking Sevillanos.  But, Estrella, Marta, Pilar, and Eloisa made great company.  I proceeded to spend the entire afternoon talking to them in Spanish.  I am grateful for their patience and eagerness to teach me.  Alvaro, Virginia, los tres Antonios, Jaime, and others joined the group later.  An exciting dinner of Eggplant-wrapped cod followed.  Then, sleep.

Day 2: Lots of breakfast treats including a cheese and charcuterie bar. Pilar and Marta gave me a tour, making the distinction between choped, chorizo, lomo, and other cured meats for me.   After visiting Jaime at the Business School, we toured the tapas scene for lunch.  More tapas followed at night.  Then I witnessed a rapturous Flamenco show.  Plenty of "Oles" and rounds of applause.

Day 3: I met my host family: Montserrat and her 23-year-old daughter, Cecilia.  The 19-year-old son has moved to England to pursue a career as a Futbol trainer.  I now have his single bedroom and bathroom.  Montserrat (name of the Virgin of Catalunya) works in a jewelry store in the area.  She has a great apartment across from the Business School.  The short walk will make the lunch break easy. 

More tapas and Sevilla adventures to come.

Check out photos here:

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