The day has finally arrived that I am writing this from Cáceres! After a long day of flying and layovers followed by a bus ride, it was nice to finally sit down, relax, and try to remember all of the Spanish that I have been studying for that last eight years. Most of the conversations consist of a never ending string of “Sí” coming from my end as I try to decipher the Spanish lisp despite jet lag. I was surprised after an hour, though, how well I managed to understand what I was listening to!
For a quick summary of this semester: thirteen of us from Iowa State are using this program to either achieve a minor in Spanish, or continue classes for a Spanish major. I will be working towards a major in the language. We will be taking classes at the Universidad de Extremadura which is about a 3 mile walk from where we live. We have decided to walk this for daily exercise to burn off the excessive amounts of food we know we will be fed by our dear host parents.
I am really looking forward to this semester, not only because I am in Europe for it, but because I am taking a breezy 12 credits, with no class on Fridays, giving us more time to travel!
As this is my first time back in Spain since 2010, I was very excited to pick up some of my favorite foods at the airport as a treat to myself:
So far, there are a few things I have learned about this trip:
1. My Spanish is much better than I expected it to be.
2. Madrid is an enormous city and I am really excited to explore it.
3. The tap water in Madrid is apparently the purest in Europe. Who’d have thunk.
4. The region of Spain that I am studying in, Extremadura, has a regional dance called El Redoble and I hope to learn a little of it.
5. Right now, the stores are having massive sales on their merchandise to lower inventory and fill it up with spring items. I think I am going to take advantage of those sales…
After a quick walking tour of the oldest parts of the city (see the top photo from easyvoyage.com for a quick view), we have a tour of the entire city tomorrow. Everyone is so happy and kind here, it makes being an American in Spain much more manageable. Looking forward to more exploring tomorrow, but until then, Buenas Noches!