So I have successfully completed week number 1 in Spain! Hey, doing better than I thought already. I think that one of the largest blessings that I have received as a result of travelling over here has been receiving a new found appreciation for virtually everything. So many details of life become heightened as a result of encountering them in a different language in a different land. For example…food shopping! There is nothing particularly exciting about a grocery store, but it´s a completely different scenario when you are surrounded by a set-up that is *almost* identical to what you experience in the United States. So much of the event is typical: you´ve got all the basic commodities that we survive and thrive on in the United States, but how about that alcohol section that you would never find in New Jersey? Or the generic brands not being at all the generic brands you´ve grown to expect? Or even a good chunk of name brands for that matter? American culture has inevitably infiltrated a lot of Spain; I can get Starbucks, McDonald´s, Burger King, etc here with no problem (is culture the right word for these things?), and I have probably heard more American pop music than I had in the States. But there is SO, SO much that distinguishes the two countries, and it´s exciting to pick up on it. I´m enjoying observing the political scene here (the national election is in November), listening to intensive fùtbol conversations at lunch time between teachers, using public transportation, striking up random conversations with others, orienting myself with a different keyboard, and I´m now an established resident of Arroyomolinos, the town where I live, and this grants me the ability to vote in local elections. How´s that for a random fun fact? There is a lot that I will have to report on as the year moves by!!
The exhaustion of the first week has definitely hit me. Working with young students is a LOT of fun, but it takes a LOT of energy. I made a point to take full advantage of siestas these past two days, and it is my plan to export this concept to the United States. It does WONDERS for the body, mind, and soul. Really not quite sure how I was living before without it! I am also loving my coffee here and some nice wines. I love the small towns that you can discover, and I love sitting out on a terraza with a cup of coffee just reading the newspaper (part of my Spanish language education!). Moving forward I hope to continue to put as much into my job as possible, continue to meet many new people, and start to get out and really see this country (and continent)! This is a good life.
UPDATE: I have added some interesting links to my school, apartment, and Spanish newspapers. I will continue to update this over time, and photos will be coming very, very shortly!