Sparkle in Sevilla

First, some pictures over the river, taken while walking around tonight.

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Recognise that structure on the right? Turns out we were only about a 10 minute walk from my neighbourhood the entire time we were walking around on Monday!

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So today consisted of orientation at la Universidad de Pablo Olavide which is in the furthest reaches of Sevilla’s outskirts. It took about a 10 minute walk to the metro station, a 25 minute metro ride, and then a 10 minute walk from the metro at Pablo Olavide to get to our “aula” (classroom) for the day.

Basically we got our daily exercise in by about 10 a.m.

A lot of us were still super jet lagged (*raises hand*) and didn’t sleep well so it was difficult to concentrate on the presentations in Spanish. Lucky for us our program director sent us the powerpoint later in the afternoon.

One of the assistant directors talked to us about health and safety. That lecture was in English, which was good because my brain was completely not able to keep up with Spanish any longer without a break.

Morgan was hilarious while telling us all the terrible things that could potentially happen if we weren’t careful.

She is not very complimentary of Barcelona.

“There is theft everywhere. Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona…I’m not saying that everyone who goes to Barcelona has some sort of incident, but most of the incidents we’ve had have happened in Barcelona.”

I still plan on going because what’s a trip to Spain without going to a game of fútbol? However, I’m definitely more wary of it.

We also had our “entrevistas” (interviews) so that CIEE could tell where we stood on our Spanish-speaking abilities. The professor who interviewed me just had me talk about IUPUI, my degree program, why I chose it etc. (Campus Visits training has officially paid off internationally!)

We then returned very late to our homestays for lunch (I returned around 3:30). My host mom was very gracious as she had had to keep my lunch warming in the oven for me.

I took yet another afternoon nap. I didn’t mean to. It just kind of happened. But it was much shorter than the one from Tuesday and based on my exhaustion, I don’t think it’s going to interfere with my sleep tonight.

Later in the evening we met up as a group and Pablo showed us around the neighbourhood.

Fun fact #1: Pharmacies in Spain are actual pharmacies. You can’t buy extraneous stuff there like greeting cards and nail polish. Pablo told us that the people who work there have to go to school for four years in order to get their jobs and will be able to help us find medicine only based on our symptoms. Cool stuff.

After touring the neighbourhood, we went to a very nice restaurant for tapas.

Tapas are this really stellar Spanish invention whereupon you eat small portions of many things instead of large portions of one thing. Our group shared croquetas (fried potato things that happen to be what I ate on Tuesday for those of you who were wondering about my vagueness), assorted seafood, and some sort of pork and french fry dish. It was all amazing.

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Croquetas
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Seafood! Scallops, something like calamari, and other various unknown but delicious items.

Fun fact #2: Some of the group ordered “cerveza” (beer) but the rest of us ordered something Pablo recommended called “tinto.” Tinto is this other marvellous Spanish invention that consists of what is essentially wine soda in glass bottles (think vintage coca cola). As I mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of wine but I could drink this stuff all day every day.

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We sat for several hours talking in Spanglish (We talked in Spanish until we got too frustrated, as it’s difficult to tell stories well in your second language, and then switched to English. And then back to Spanish. And then a mix of the two as we have limited vocabularies. Hilarity ensued).

After awhile, our group split up, a few people went to the centro. The rest of us were joined by two guys from another CIEE group and just started walking towards la Calle Betis, which is a really popular street for Americans to congregate, according to Pablo. He also told us where the Spaniards congregate but we figured that was more Level 10 type Sevilla and decided not to try that our second night here.

(If you can’t tell, we talk to Pablo a lot, obviously since he’s our guide for orientation. We really are completely dependent on him until we get to know the city better. It’s nice to have a guide but it’s also double-edged sword because we are completely screwed if he decides at some point this week that he doesn’t like us).

Fun fact #3: There’s a bar about ten minutes walk from my homestay that will be showing both the Packers/Seahawks game AND the Patriots/Colts game on Sunday. As there are several Wisconsin students in our group, we are all very excited.

We wandered around for a bit down Betis before realising that we were out relatively early for Sevilla (about 10:45) and many of the bars weren’t open. We continued walking for awhile and found

SPARKLES.

I almost forgot the entire point of the title of this post. (#JetLag. How much longer can I use that as an excuse??)

So while walking, we eventually ran into la Triana, the neighbourhood adjacent to los Remedios. La Triana seems to be slightly older and also has the distinct advantage of having this:

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It is a grocery store. A grocery store covered with sparkling lights.

Those who know me well know that I’m basically a human magpie and gravitate towards all things sparkly. This place was basically me if I were to turn into a grocery store one day (stay with me).

We finally just returned to one of the bars we had found on Betis. A round of mojitos later (Strawberry-flavoured. Super good), we decided to call it a night and agreed to meet up Thursday night after our official group welcome dinner/cocktails at CIEE.

I’m so grateful that our group of 12, but particularly the 8 girls who went out tonight get along so well. This experience, especially these two weeks of orientation and intensive Spanish classes, would be a lot harder and more draining if we didn’t get along.

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One thought on “Sparkle in Sevilla

  1. Sarah Whittenburg

    As long as you post these wonderful, varied pics you can use any excuse you want…In fact the pics of food make me so hungry and I have to settle for oreo cookies..thanks Becky for keeping us all learning and appreciating Spain in a different way.

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