Today is September 27. It’s been three and a half weeks since I began the process of immersing myself into a brand new culture. I can still say, that despite my greater efforts, I have not yet fully adjusted to the lifestyle here in Spain. I still dream about the large breakfasts that I used to have everyday in the US, and even though tapas are free here in Granada, I miss eating full meals for dinner as well. Sleep wise, I’m going to bed earlier than my two-year-old host brother, and language wise, he and I are on about the same skill level.
Despite these lifestyle differences, there’s something familiar about Granada that I’ve felt from the start. I did little to no research on Spain at all before coming here, and yet, from the moment the plane landed in the south of the country, it’s felt oddly like I’ve been here before. Maybe it’s how the desert landscape is so reminiscent of my hometown in Phoenix, Arizona, or how the fusion of European and Spanish culture reminds me of growing up in the Polish and Mexican neighborhoods of Chicago. Or maybe, despite their reputation as being some of the most bad tempered citizens in Spain, the people I’ve encountered here in the Granada have been some of the friendliest and welcoming ones I’ve met in my life.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit two other cities in Southern Spain, Seville and Ronda. Ronda was a tiny town. It balanced in the middle of rocky mountains with amazing views everywhere you looked, while Seville, in contrast to both Ronda and Granada, was a much larger, with wide streets, enormous parks, and fast food options on every street. Though we didn’t get to spend much time in either city, I still found myself glad after 48 hours of travelling when we boarded our bus back to Granada
When we arrived at the city limits, I felt a sense of relaxation, the same as I do everytime I return to my home in the States after being away. I’m happy to discover that though it’s only been three and half weeks, returning back to Granada feels like coming home.
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Nicole Von Wilczur
My name is Nicole von Wilczur, from Phoenix, Arizona. I'm a rising college junior attending Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. When I'm not studying, I enjoy fighting for social justice, being outdoors, photography, and learning to recite the lyrics to 90's and early 2000's rap songs. I've never traveled outside of the US, so I am very excited for the opportunity to be studying abroad in Granada, Spain, and sharing my experiences with you!