I finally arrived at my house late Monday night. My new Spanish host family warmly greeted me. The parents, Antonio and Mawy, are both architects, and they have a 5- year-old daughter, Olga. They couldn’t be sweeter! They’re so patient with my lack of Spanish skills, and they are constantly making sure I’m happy. I brought the parents gifts that represent Minnesota so they would have something to remember me, and I gave Olga a groovy-girl and a few art projects. When she opened them, she held them in the air and screamed with excitement! It was adorable and a great way to break the ice.
We live in a 4-story house in el Centro part of Seville. I have my own floor with a giant bedroom and bathroom, which is both lucky and unheard of for most abroad students. With the struggling economy in Spain, most families live in very small, confined apartments.
For the past week, Antonio’s mother stayed with my host family and me. I didn’t understand what she was doing here, but I enjoyed having someone around the house, because normally the parents are working and Olga is at school. Antonio’s grandma actually reminded me of my own grandmother back in the States. When I would walk upstairs she would always say, “¡Hola!” and motion for me to sit next to her on the couch. She would knit while I attempted to understand the Spanish television. If I thought it was hard understanding the rest of the family, the grandma was by far the hardest, so we communicated solely with smiles and charades. She has made my adjustment process easier.
The first week of my program was orientation. I quickly made friends with my orientation group from all over the States. They grouped us by location, so I am very lucky my new friends all live within a 10-minute walk! We attended meetings, toured the city, and saw the beautiful Plaza de España and la Alcázar. I was stunned by the beauty of this city. I am confident I made the right decision and will only fall more in love with this place.