“There are no pomegranates here, only the people of Granada.” For anyone who has spent any amount of time in this city, this local expression rings true. If there is one thing that has been abundantly clear since my arrival it is that granadinos are truly one of a kind, for those that I have met are the most warm-hearted, genuine, and lovingly beautiful people. Los profesores, los estudiantes, las familias… I feel so lucky to have met them and to be here.
Temperatures at this time of year in Granada usually reach the mid 90s (fahrenheit) every day, and wowza what a hot, hot mess of fun this past week and a half has been. All of the information that has been thrown towards me in Spanglish (with a heavy emphasis on Spanish) and all of the faces I have been introduced to and all of the names and words that I have to remember and all of the places I have to find my way back to… I feel quite agobiado, but in a great way. This is the best kind of overwhelmed that I could possible be feeling right now, because already I am sure that my inevitable departure from this wonderful place in less than four months is going to be somber. Estoy enamorado de esta ciudad preciosa.
What makes Granada as special as it is? Well aside from the wonderful granadinos who reside here, let’s start with the food. Of course, tapas are a rather nice perk of being in a Spanish city. My favorite that I have had so far is called patatas bravas; potatoes are chopped up and then fried to perfection and drizzled with spices and a delicious tomato aioli sauce. Meals are usually delivered on a schedule that is quite different than in the states, so while it is about 3pm right now my host mother (Isabel) is probably not going to serve lunch for another half an hour. After being filled up by what I’m sure is going to be another one of her delicious meals, I’m going to gladly take my afternoon siesta, a custom shared by many Spaniards in the later afternoon to rest up after school or work and after having the largest meal of the day. It is not until around 10pm or after that I will go out for tapas or grab a light dinner to eat before I go to bed. While it took a couple days of adjustment, I am a big fan of this eating schedule and I currently feel quite accustomed to my daily routine. Además, it feels like every morning when I walk to school, I’m strolling through my own personal paradise. Seriously, the location and geography of Granada is almost empyrean. “Like, WOW.” (this is my host family's favorite thing to say when mimicking Americans :-)) From where I live it is just 15 minute walk to the IES center, which is at the literal foot of the Alhambra and the Spanish Sierra Nevada mountains. Walking past the urban-setting shops and parks and plazas and PEOPLE, so many people, on the way to school has become an enjoyable and refreshing part of my day. After the school day, I also have enjoyed visiting the river and gardens and parks and neighborhoods where, no matter what, you will enjoy the views you have while walking. The sunsets in Granada… ¡Dios mío!, they do not compare to anything I have seen before.
What more can I say? Last night I spontaneously got my ear pierced and it only cost 5€, and afterwards with friends watched Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados (Living is Easy With Eyes Closed, 2013) on the rooftop patio of our school, with perfect evening weather and a grand view of the dimly lit Alhambra right next to us. Life is good. While sometimes stressful and frustrating, Granada is the kind of place where I feel invigorated to be patient, and to pace myself with the adventure of learning to live in a new culture and to speak a different language. With this mindset, I feel like I can make the most of my time here and appreciate all that I am so lucky to be experiencing.
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into the start of my semester! I will post again sometime later this month - you can read it if you like, but if not no pasa nada. ;)
(insp. for my little obra above, found on a wall in Plaza Nueva)
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<p>Hello! I am the type of person who always likes to keep busy and having fun. I am a Minnesota native and go to school about a 45 minute drive from where I grew up. Recently, my summers have been spent traveling around in the United States; for the last two years, I have spent the entire summer in Vermont working as a camp counselor and as an art teacher. I love being surrounded by wilderness and natural beauty, with quick and easy access to more 'urban' life and culture nearby. I love working with and mentoring kids, particularly having the opportunity to get them interested and invested in visual arts. Aside from these recent happenings in my life, I like dancing and singing in the shower, meeting new people, and making things!</p>