I’m done!! Well, at least until January 6th, when I have two more weeks of classes before finals start. That’s one thing I DEFINITELY miss about the American university system – having the semester finish before Christmas. Despite that, I’m doing as I normally do the first few days of any vacation. I spend way too much time in bed watching way too much trashy TV, which I consider a successful vacation.
Not to say I haven’t been relatively busy, though. I moved into an apartment! I really did like living with my señora, but I started to resent my lack of independence, which extended far beyond just not cooking for myself or doing my own laundry. For example, one morning I wanted to run errands. I woke up early, expecting to be productive, but the errands did not get done. Why? I had to wait for my señora to wake up to serve me breakfast, and so I could ask her to turn on the hot water so I could shower. (First world problems, I know). I just couldn’t exist in a situation of such extreme dependence any longer. I also wasn’t getting as much speaking practice as I would have liked, because while she loves to talk, she has absolutely no interest in listening. I definitely will miss her and plan on visiting, but I am so happy here!
Living on my own is actually also more economical. The money that my organization gave to my host mom they now give to me. It is more than enough for rent, groceries, extras, and travel! Whereas before when I traveled my host mom was getting paid, now I can use that money to pay for travel expenses. I think I will actually end up saving a ton of money, and as an added bonus I don’t have to feel guilty for trying a new restaurant or coffee shop here (whereas before it would have meant skipping out on a free meal at home).
Furthermore, my roommates are wonderful! They all get along with each other very well, are very clean, and tell me rules and expectations upfront instead of being passive aggressive. They are all close to my age, all girls, and all Spaniards! I really could not have gotten a better deal. My apartment is close to everything, cheap, and comfortable. As I continue to reflect on this situation, I really cannot believe how lucky I got! Hopefully nothing takes a turn for the worse.
As far as the past few weeks, I have been enjoying the best of Seville at Christmastime. One thing I love about this country in general is that people really do live on the street. Whereas Orlando at night is absolutely deserted, Seville at night is full of life! Especially now with the holidays, there are so many people walking around at 8 or 9 that it could actually make a claustrophobic person cry. Personally I love it, and it really has helped with the Christmas blues. Yes, I have been a little depressed to not be spending Christmas at home, but I keep reminding myself that it’s only one year, and experiencing Christmas here will be super interesting too. Seville is lit up with Christmas decorations that could put many American cities to shame (I notice that we tend to decorate our own homes, but city areas are a little more sparse). During the holiday season, Seville also has a movie-like projection on the wall of the government building beginning every hour at night and lasting for around 15 minutes. Here’s an excerpt: it was definitely not what I was expecting.
So for now, I am spending my mornings rollerblading around with Shannon (my friend who is also here for a year), afternoons in bed, evenings in bed or watching a movie with my roommates, and just trying to decompress after feeling a little burnt out at the end of last week. I will be spending Christmas with a Spanish friend and her family, and Saturday I leave for Morocco, my next big adventure! I will certainly keep everyone posted. Happy Holidays!