Today, I want to start out by apologizing to all of you in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas that are being hit by ridiculous amounts of snow. I have feel for you all, but as I sit here in the 21 degrees Celsius weather, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. I can get used to having milder winters like this! Although we got lucky today, this past weekend in Galicia (Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña), it was a different story. Practically the whole weekend was filled with rain, wind, and cold temperatures. The procrastinator I am, I did not finish packing until the morning we left, and it was then that I realized I lost my umbrella…eek! There are no places open that early here, so I basically had no chance of being able to buy one. Nevertheless, it was a great weekend full sightseeing, and even more, meeting new people from all over the world. We left around 7:30am, and the streets of Oviedo were EMPTY. It was like a ghost town, and honestly a little eerie. But I made my way to the bus with some friends, and all 135 of us in the group piled in. A nice girl from Germany sat next to me on the bus, and we had a lot of time to get acquainted since the ride was 4-5 hours long. We ended up rooming together in the hostel on Saturday night and sticking together for most of our time there.
It is so interesting being able to meet people from all different parts of the world who are in Spain to achieve, more or less, the same goals as I am looking to achieve. I spoke with people from many different countries such as France, Italy, and Greece. The students from Italy spoke no English, so it was awesome only conversing in Spanish with them. I was so comfortable speaking with them, and even through my Spanish isn’t the greatest, we had some good conversations! It is so rewarding when challenging things, like speaking Spanish for a decent amount of time, is successful. Another new thing and
exciting thing for me was staying in a hostel. I was surprised at the size of the room because I pictured a room stuffed with two beds, no room to walk, and basically a nightmare for anyone who is even slightly claustrophobic. No, it wasn’t very roomy, but it was so much more different than I expected.
After we checked into the hotel, we had some time to ourselves, so Jana (from Germany) and I went to a café (of course) and I tried
the traditional Asturian cake for the first time! (PICTURE). It was a little too sweet for my taste, but I’m glad I finally got to try it. My favorite part of my time in Santiago de Compostela was seeing the Cathedral. I have been so a handful of cathedrals in Spain so far, but it seems to me that each one has such a different atmosphere.
The next day, we went to A Coruña which I personally enjoyed more because of the beautiful views of the coast. We had a chance to climb up the Torre de Hércules (Tower of Hercules), which is the only functioning Roman lighthouse today. The brutal walk up the endless flights of stairs was completely worth it! The breathtaking views of the water and town from the top of the tower was like nothing I had ever seen before. I felt like the wind was going to carry me away, so we snapped some pictures and quickly made our way back down.
I got home at 11:30pm Sunday, and my host mom was waiting up for me with dinner on the table, and she was excited to hear about my weekend. I wanted to tell her all of the things I did, but I found myself struggling to say what I was thinking. I came to the realization that the later it gets in the day, the harder it is to speak Spanish. When you speak English, it is easy to make converse with minimal effort, for the most part. Usually, not much
focus is needed. I found myself drifting in and out as I was trying to listen to Mariluz, and it’s not that I wasn’t interested in what she was saying, but the amount of focus that is needed when communicating in a foreign language is so much more evident in times like these. In due time, I’m sure it will become easier to focus and follow along. Stay tuned!