I’d like to begin by clarifying that this is my first blog, and I’m not exactly sure what to include and what not to, so I apologize if I discuss anything here that is a typical of bloggers… I’m learning…
I arrived in Granada on Tuesday morning after a long day of traveling that began in Denver on Monday morning. Having never been to Spain I was thrilled to be here, but exhausted from traveling. So I enjoyed the view from the window of the cab to my homestay without taking many photos. I arrived at my hosts home to be greeted by my wonderful host mother, Liberada. My roommate, Alli arrived shortly after me. The day’s events are a bit of a blur that stems from a combination of jet lag, exhaustion, and culture shock. Alli gave me a tour of the city, as she had been here for nearly a week after spending her summer in Salamanca.
On Wednesday we had our program orientation with our program directors Mark and Maria. Our house is close to the Plaza de Toros and I was quick to discover that our classes are about two miles from our house, so I will be getting plenty of exercise in Granada even if I don’t make it to the gym. They gave us our schedules along with some advice to make our homestays more comfortable. It is considered to be of “muy mal educación” or bad manners, to walk around a house without shoes on here (Considering I’m barefoot 90% of the time in the US, this has been a bit of an adjustment for me). We then returned to the house for lunch and another siesta. In the US I have a hard time sleeping during the day, and I thought it would be difficult to adjust to the siesta schedule, but considering the heat and jet lag, I think the siestas have made the transition to the new time zone easier, at least for me.
The best part of this week has been all that I have learned about Granada and Spain. We’ve had two classes about Spain, one that was an overview of the topography of Spain and the basics of the political structure, and the other was about the fiesta lifestyle that Spain is so well known for. While the classes have been interesting, they cannot compare to our walk through the city with our history Professor, Alfonso. As our introduction to his class and to the city, we walked throughout the historic neighborhoods of Granada and learned a little about the history of each. The most important year in Spanish history, according to him, was 1942 for three reasons. There is of course the reason we all know in the US, Christopher Columbus. But for Granada there were two other reasons: It was the year that Isabel and Ferdinand conquered the city of Granada, taking it out of the control of the Muslims, and it was the year that the Christians expelled the Jewish people from the city. I found it very interesting that in the same year that Christopher Columbus was discovering “the New World,” Granada was undergoing dramatic changes making it a new place for him to return to as well.
It has been a full couple of days and I have enjoyed every moment. I will do my best to write more about what I’ve been doing in my free time in my next few posts, but for now I need to get to bed.
Tomorrow we are going to go to Rhonda with our entire group (41 people). I’m excited to see the city and the cliffs that it is so famous for.