First Contact!!

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I have arrived in Leon, Spain!

After a few hours of nervous waiting on a train, I finally stepped off and into the delicious warmth of the sun setting. All around me families and friends were being reunited, kissing and hugging. With each step towards the exit and the outside world I was getting more and more nervous. It finally dawned on me that I was actually in Leon now. There was no more traveling that kept my thought occupied. Stray panicked thoughts ran through my head like,

“I don’t speak Spanish how am I going to talk?!”

“What if my family is terrible?”

“whatamidoingohmygawshnoooooo”

And all the rest. However, all my nervousness was for nothing because when I finally met my parents, they were absolutely lovely. Outgoing, always laughing, and talk slow enough so that I can distinguish their “b” from the “t”. My Spanish might be more Portuguese than anything, but hey, at least I’ve got some sort of base! And what am I doing? Well, I hope I never stop asking myself that. It keeps it interesting to say the least.

Today was our one free day before school starts tomorrow at the terrible hour of 9:00 am. We met up at the center where we will be spending a lot of our summer, and from there just wandered the streets! It was about 90 degrees and sunny today, so we began our intensive tanning program just walking around. The old streets of Leon are beautiful, with a huge Roman influence. All the shops and restaurants are on the bottom on the low-rise buildings, with apartments up top. It is extremely picturesque. With “Tapas” signs below and wrought-iron balconies above, the narrow cobbled streets just draw you in. We eventually ended up at an ice cream shop, and the cold invigorated us for more extensive walking around. Eventually at around 8, we headed our separate ways back to our host families for dinner. It’s almost 10 as I am writing this, and my mom is just finishing up making dinner (tortilla de batatas). It’s kind of funny getting used to when meals are going to be. 1, because they’re much later than I’m used to. and 2, because in college I make myself food whenever I’m hungry, now I’m at the whim of another person. But I’m going to love it, especially because my mom is some sort of master chef.

In terms of culture shock, I’m doing okay. I’ve been backpacking for the last 3 weeks in Portugal, so I don’t have to deal with being jet lagged or anything. But, I will say it’s weird waking up at any time you want without a free breakfast time constraint. It’s also different to just have a slow relaxing morning, I’ve gotten so used to getting up early and moving non-stop throughout the day. So when I left the house finally at 2, it was such a strange revelation. There was no place I had to rush to see – I will be here 6 weeks and will explore it all and more.

First day of Spain in one word: Tranquilo