¡Hola! The summer is really flying by now. I’m writing at the end of week four but it feels like I’ve been here my whole life. I have definitely gotten over any initial culture shocks that I felt when I first got here. My sleep schedule and eating schedule, the two things I struggled with most, are now completely adapted to Spanish life. This makes all the other cultural aspects easier to handle because it’s much more fun to try and speak another language when you’re not falling asleep in the middle of the day.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about the Spanish language is how to apply synonyms to different situations. For example, the words “rincón” and “esquina” both mean corner. However, “rincón” refers more to a nook while “esquina” usually refers to street corners. There are many examples of Spanish words literally translating to the same thing in English but are actually used in different ways. This is what I find so valuable about studying abroad. Learning these sorts of differences is very hard from a dictionary or textbook. Immersing myself in the language allows me to pick up the differences every day. In the example I gave above, I figured out the distinction between the two words when I heard my mama use “rincón” a few times around the house. These interactions are vital to truly learning a language.
In my travel plans, I spent the last weekend in the amazing city of Barcelona. I took a flight over on Thursday afternoon and met my friend from high school for a great weekend. Friday was absolutely packed with activities as we had to hit every major landmark in a day and a half. On Friday, we started in the aquarium which boasts an 80-meter tunnel you can walk through with fish swimming all around you. After that, we had lunch in a 250-year-old restaurant and finished up the afternoon by spending a few hours relaxing on the beach. Later, we had dinner in an old bullring and watched the show at the Magic Fountain, an incredible water display in front of the National Art Museum. Finally, we ended our night by going to a bar on the beach that was made completely of ice! Talk about a cool experience.
On Saturday, we got up early to make our way over to Parque Guell, a park with glorious views of the city and the Mediterranean. It also houses an architecture park constructed by Gaudí himself. After that, we meandered to the Sagrada Familia, which has to be the most unique church I have ever seen. There are literally bowls of fruit on top of its spires. Why? I have no idea but it looks amazing. It was then finally time to go home. It was an absolute whirlwind of a weekend but definitely worth it. I’d go back for a whole week if I could. Now, it’s time to get ready for my last two weeks. Until next time, ¡Hasta luego!