So today was the big day to meet my family! I was picked up at the hotel at 10:15 A.M. by my host mom Antonia (Toni) and her brother-in-law who is also hosting another student! Together we drove about 10 minutes to their "chalet" and I began my next big adventure.
When I walked in the front door the first three things I noticed were 1: The granite stairs 2. The beautiful yellow walls. 3. My host sister had some bunny slippers on? The Spaniards love their slippers, so good thing I brought a pair of moccasins. Immediately I was greeted by my host sister Christina and my host dad Santiago. I still haven't met my other sister and have no clue where she is but her name is Laura too. I guess it's a very popular name in Spain? Christina gave me a tour of the house and it's quite large for a Spanish home. It has three floors, the main floor has a large kitchen and living room and small bathroom. The second floor has four bedrooms and another bathroom and the third floor is a large lounging area I guess kind of like a loft? There's also a lower level that attaches to the garage where my unpacked suitcases are now safely stowed.
So my room. It's a pretty green color and I have a huge closet! Not a walk in but kind of like the one I had in Dykstra and all of my stuff fits well. I have a small desk and a cork board that I plan to put pictures on. I have a small twin bed and two bookshelves. The bonus feature to the room: I have my own little deck attached to my room so once it gets warm I can do my homework out there. It's a very nice room with small glow and the dark stars on the ceiling. Presh. Another great feature that I wasn't expecting was my family has wi-fi! That's not very common for Spanish families so I feel so so blessed to be able to have internet in my room, which is better than I do at my house!
I ate two meals with my family today and they were both delicious! Lunch consisted of a salad with a vinegar dressing, soap kind of like Mrs. Grass' only better, and chicken soaked in olive oil because that's just the way Spaniards do their cooking. And of course the bread and vino but I passed on the vino. Dessert consisted of a mandarin orange which was good too. And of course after the meal was the siesta, my new favorite part of this culture. The second meal was at about 9, and I wasn't really expecting it and had to cut off the g-chat conversation with three friends. I had a two pieces of pork and a bunch or brussel sprouts. Norm, I know what you're thinking that I don't eat brussel sprouts when you make them but I decided to be open-minded, since after all they were already on my plate, and they were actually pretty good. For dessert I had an apple. The Spanish sure know who to do meals right! After the meal I was quizzed on my Spanish kitchen vocab? I didn't know much but what's new. I feel like the family doesn't understand me very well because my Spanish is so so poor but with time it will get better. I had a good conversation with my host dad since we were the only ones at dinner and my Spanish improved since lunch, so I guess that's a good sign.
Now to the second best part of the day. We were allowed to go to the mall for awhile to see what the mall was like, mainly the supermarket. Important note: Wine is so much cheaper than water here. A bottle of wine can cause under $2 dollars here...CRAZY! I bought a couple of exciting things and I will list them in order of importance: Q-tips, granola bars, and shower gel. However, my sister Christina told me that I didn't need to buy the gel because all of that kind of stuff will be taken care of. I lucked out again. But after those great purchases I walked around with some friends and looked at all the cool Spanish stores and discovered a new favorite. The store is called Zara and there's actually one coming to Chicago in October! Wonderful news! It's kind of like J. Crew/Banana but a little more edgy or European? Either way, I had the hardest time not buying a single thing even though there were signs everywhere that said "Rebajas" and if you know me, I do love a good SALE! There was a lilac cardigan there but I resisted and feel a little "not buyer's remorse" but I'll be ok. The second item that I really wanted was a bunny rabbit for $30 Euros at the pet store but I decided my family might not be pleased if I brought him home. But he was so perfect and fluffy! I'll post a pic and it's lame that my first pic in Spain was of a bunny but I feel like such a tourist taking pictures (not that walking around in a huge group of American students doesn't automatically indicate that I'm foreign). But all in all it was good to see a Spanish mall and walk around a bit.
Upon returning home, I discovered that Christina and I will get along quite well. She invited me to go shopping with her on Friday but I'm going to Madrid so I will probably have to pass on this little excursion. But I'm sure we'll go again in the future and I think it would be interesting to see what she likes and then watch her reactions to the things I like. But my family is so much more than I could have asked for and I'm so grateful that they don't have smoke or have small children since those were my main concerns. Well once again, this blog is long so I will end it here and go to bed. Mucho amor de España!