I am finally settled in my new home in Valencia, Spain!! I arrived in Madrid a few days ago with the group and made so many new friends from all over the country. I started to practice my spanish in the city! Madrid is huge and the girls from NY and New Jersey said it is very similar to NY city! We stayed in a very nice hotel and enjoyed lots of tapas (free food when you order drinks) and also went to a seven story club called El Capital where the Spaniards party until seven en la manaña!!! I ran by myself in Madrid and felt very safe en El Parque de Retiro, which was beautiful and full of people walking, running, playing futbol, ext. We also visited two museums, El Museo Nacional del Prado, where we saw lots of paintings from different artists including Grecco and El Museo Nacional Centro de Arte de Reina Sofia, which was my favorite. There were lots of paintings and sculptures from Picasso and Dali too.
Yesterday we went to Toledo which is a beautiful old town that has una castilla (castle) and beautiful old cobblestone streets which reminded me a lot of Rapallo, Italy! We had a nice tour of the city and stayed the night there before heading to Valencia. At dinner I attempted to order a vegetarian sandwich that had tuna on it and accidently asked for a sandwich sin pescadoras (fishermen) instead of pescada (fish) haha I foresee many mistakes such as this in my future.. the language is difficult to speak A. because of nerves and B. because it is hard to remember what is what but I think I am already getting better!
Today we had a four hour bus ride to Valencia which was nice to see the country side and talk with my new amigos! When we arrived the families were all outside the bus and our group leader said he would call our names off to introduce us one by one and guess who was the very first one.. ME! I was so nervous I was shaking a little, but my sweet VEGAN roomate, Caitlin, came with mi madre de España, Amparro, and they both are so amazing! After dropping off my luggage the three of us walked to a store near by where I got some champú, conditioner, dark chocolate, and some oat milk (which I have never tried). Valencia is very big and I have a feeling I will probably get lost a few times before I am comfortable but it is absolutely beautiful with palm tress lining the streets, I am literally in heaven here!
When we got back from our walk I unpacked and Amparro made us dinner. So far the food in Spain has just been so-so but tonight was AMAZING! We had a huge salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, black olives ( the olives are sooo good here) and then we had couscous that she cooked with thyme topped with this mixture of beans (they are called aluvias not frijoles here) onions, peppers, and I don't even know what else but it was sooo good! Then for dessert she had chirimoyas, which I had asked her about on our walk and then she happened to have them so we got try them today (she is the best). They look like an avocado on the outside and then when you cut them open they are white with lots of hard black seeds. They taste like a sweeter version of a mango so basically I was in heaven!
Also we have two Italian women living with us for the week who I think are taking class or something not really sure but they were so talkative and funny. At dinner all we talked about food so I was muy contento! The Italian women gave Caitlin and I these mini pears they got at the market because they kept going on about how they were so delicious and had better sabor (flavor) then the big pears (which I think the regular pears are delicious so I can't wait to try the mini one). Then Caitlin and I had some vino tinto (red wine) and I finished unpacking. Our room is so small but very cute and has a huge window overlooking the futbol field of my school, University de Valencia! Im hoping to post pictures but I haven't taken many or uploaded them to my computer yet! Oh and everything in Europe just makes more sense.. for example when taking a picture you don't say cheese you say patata (potatoe) because you are making a smile during ta-ta opposed to an awkward face on chhhesse! Plus me gusta patatas y no como queso jaja!
Tomorrow I have my placement test and get to choose my classes for the semester and plan on going for a run with one of my friends to explore the city! If any wants to skype me while I am here we have wifi at our house (pronounced wefe here haha) and my name is natalie050490 and also if you can get apps I have heytell and a great one called whatsapp that is free texting on wifi that only cost 99 cents for the app and it works great (but if you get i have a spanish phone number so I will have to know you have it and send you an invite so let me know) also if you want my international number I can imessage and ichat for free on wifi and if you want to pay international rates I get free incoming texts and calls (not sure how much it would cost you). So far I feel like I have been very well connected to America and I am so excited for tomorrow to explore mi nueva ciudad! I miss and love you all!
una besa grande,