The past three weekends I have spent in Seville, just hanging out and trying to save a little bit of money for a few bigger trips I have coming up. While I probably did spend more than an appropriate amount of time lying in bed, I did manage to get out and explore a little bit.
Three weekends ago, October 12-13, I went again (and again, and again) to the Feria de las Naciones. It’s basically a festival with arts, crafts, food from all different countries, here in Seville from September until early November. Some of my more adventurous friends tried things like Alligator and Zebra from South Africa, while I enjoyed a nacho or two from Mexico and some cake with coconut. How I missed coconut! I hung out with a few Americans and the host sister of one of my friends here, which was very fun. I always love a good conversation about cultural differences – this time it was smoking, which is definitely more prevalent in Europe. One of the weirdest things I have noticed is that because cigarette prices have risen a ridiculous amount, many people carry around little bags of tobacco and roll their own cigarettes, which is more economically friendly. To me, it sounds like WAY too much work, especially for “pack” a day smokers.
The next day, I wandered around with another classmate, Molly, and two Italian ERASMUS students. In 1992, Sevilla hosted the world expo, and many of the buildings from the expo are still standing. However, now many of the buildings are either slightly run down offices or eerily deserted, making for a good place to explore. Notably, we walked through the official world expo park, apparently in its prime twenty years ago, but now in a state of disarray. My experience with other international students also renewed my excitement to be learning Spanish. I obviously still have my good and bad days, but being with the Italians was awesome- Molly and I don’t speak a word of Italian, I doubt their English is fantastic, and yet we had absolutely no problems communicating through Spanish. I need days like these to reflect upon when it seems like nobody understands me and I’m on the wrong side of a glass culture bubble unable to break in.
On Monday, October 14 I went to see a Peruvian film hosted by Peru’s consulate in Seville. Although they speak the same language, the cultures are so different and I could definitely see that watching the movie and having more experience immersed in Spanish culture. Especially slang-wise, Peruvian Spanish is actually incredibly different than castellano, which I now have an even greater appreciation for.
The next weekend was spent with friends studying abroad in Madrid but visiting Seville. It was fun taking them around and showing them the city. On the other hand, I felt a little hypocritical – I’m hardly a native.
This weekend, I had a lazy day on Saturday, while today (Sunday) was spent on a hike around Santa Ana la Real, a really small village (I’m talking 450 people) near Huelva. The route was fairly easy hike-wise, although a little strange because at times I felt like I was hiking through people’s backyards. The wildlife is beautiful, and part of the time we were walking through farm areas. I tried my first chestnut raw and as fresh as they can be – straight off the ground! Many villagers go into the farm/forest area to collect chestnuts or wild mushrooms. The weather was beautiful and it was refreshing to get out of the city for a while.
I have a fairly busy week up until Thursday, when I leave for a trip to the North of Spain. I’ll make sure to write all about it.