As my Granada dream comes to a close, I thought I would describe what my life here has looked like the past 3-4ish months. My semester has consisted of three main parts: my first month of an intensive Spanish class, three months of topic-specific classes, and lots of weekend trips! I am staying with my host mom Maria, who is about 70, and my roommate (though we have our own rooms), Ali. Our school is about a 12 minute walk from the apartment and is very small compared to the University of Alabama. The University of Granada is different from UA in the fact that they have facultades (or the different colleges) spread out throughout the city, so my school--Centro de Lenguas Modernas--consists of two buildings in the old Jewish neighborhood. Now that you know the general details, let's dive in!
A typical day in my life in September looked something like this:
7:45am - Wake up, get ready, and eat a piece of toast and a cup of cafe con leche for first breakfast.
8:45am - Walk to school with Ali.
9:00am - First two hours of my Spanish language class with Profesora Ana (she confided in us that she was in the application process to become a sort of foster aunt to an orphan. After a home visit/interview, she was only awaiting a little girl to be assigned to her <3)
10:50am - Time for a 10-minute pausa that got longer and longer as the month went on and my classmates and I became better friends and discovered the best bakery, Conchi (this was also when second breakfast was consumed).
11:10am - Second two hours of class with Profesora Lola, who I've had as a professor for this whole semester.
1:00pm - Walk home, maybe do a little shopping (Zara's is on our way--dangerous!). As soon as I get to my room, I take off my shoes, because in Spain you do not wear outside shoes around the house. Most people have shoe stands by their doors, but we kept our shoes in our rooms.
1:30pm - Time for lunch, aka la comida. Lunch is the largest meal of the day, and when people traditionally eat heavier dishes like paella. Maria, very much the traditional Spanish mother, is constantly concerned over whether or not we are eating enough. Hence, I always eat so much at lunch that the siesta is necessary for digestion. Generally, our lunches last an hour or more because we like to chat. Sobremesa is a really important part of Spanish family life where people sit around the table talking after finishing eating. Also SUPER helpful for practicing Spanish!
2:45-4:30pm - Siesta 🙂 Now, mind you, I do not sleep the entire time, probably just 30 minutes to an hour, but after learning and speaking and thinking in another language for the past 6 hours, one's brain needs a break.
Here's where the variation in the normal routine comes in. Option 1:
5:00-8:00pm - This was basically free time. During this month we tried out a bunch of cafes and did our homework, sometimes I'd meet my friend Gabe for a run, or we'd walk around and shop or just explore the beautiful city.
8:30pm - Dinner, which is supposed to be a small meal, and chatting more with Maria and Ali. Maria always has music playing in her kitchen, and thus, sometimes random dancing or singing or dancing and singing parties occur.
8:00pm - Meet friends for tapas and see where the night takes us 🙂
After that first month, my day-to-day schedule was pretty similar, but there were a few major changes. First of all, I am now taking 5 different classes--3 on Mondays and Wednesdays and 2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (that's right, no Friday classes unless we have to make up for a holiday).
Mondays and Wednesdays went like this:
8:30am - Grammar with Prof. Lola
10:30am - History of Spain with Prof. Cristina
12:30pm - Introduction to Business in Spain with Prof. Emilio
Tuesdays and Thursdays:
10:30am - Spanish Civilization and Culture with Prof. MariCarmen (a hoot and a half, FYI)
12:30pm - Oral and Written Spanish with Prof. Montse
Every class is two hours long and all of them are in Spanish, so my vocabulary is growing pretty quickly.
Another big change was a lot more students started in October, so more new and wonderful friends! Also, I got more settled in Granada and started participating in new activities and volunteering. Every Tuesday night is dance class, and we've been learning lots of salsa and bachata steps. On Wednesday nights, I volunteer with an organization called Solidarios, walking around Granada and giving muffins and juice (or soup now that it's so cold out) to the homeless.
To preface, I truly love my time in Granada, but I have taken advantage of the three-day weekends and a few national holidays to travel around Spain and Europe. I'm super thankful that I've found friends as obsessed with seeing the world as me, and who come along with me for my super long tourist-y days. Here are a couple pictures from some of my weekend (and one week-long) getaways this semester: