When we got to Ávila today, our host families were waiting at the school for us and picked us up to take us home. We knew nothing specific about them before this, so we were all very anxious to meet them! I have an absolutely wonderful family. My host mom's name is Nuría and the dad's is Jesús. They are a really nice couple in their mid-40's, and live on the edge of Ávila sort of near the big city walls. The view out my bedroom window is just gorgeous! I will have to take a picture to upload when it is light outside again. They also have a daughter, Marta, who is 8 years old. She is so cute and sweet and she knows quite a bit of English, because she learns it in her academia here. I have my own bedroom upstairs and bathroom downstairs, so that is really nice. The house is little, but that's the way they all are here. Everyone lives in little areas called vecinos that are groups of small houses put together in a big square. In the middle of ours is a pool, which will be super fun when it opens in June. Marta said she goes swimming in it every day.
I spent a long time today just talking to my family and getting to know them, and it went really well. We are able to communicate well and haven't had any big misunderstandings. Nuría knows a bit of English as well, which can help in certain situations. She is the secretary at the school I'm going to here, so that will be nice if I ever need to ask her something during the day. And that is why she knows a bit of English, from working at the school. It is also really fun because they want to learn English so sometimes they'll ask me the English word for something, or Marta will ask me how to properly say something because she said her English teacher here is not very good and does not know how to pronounce many of the words, so she learns them the wrong way. She can spell them and knows the meaning, but has difficulty saying them.
Now that I am in this home, I definitely have started to feel like I'm in a foreign country. In Madrid at the airport, it didn't really seem like it, but now that I'm in a whole different style of house and life, and hearing/speaking Spanish all the time I can really feel it. I am kind of walking on egg shells at the moment, because I don't want to do anything to offend them or do anything wrong! They are super nice and I know they wouldn't be mad or anything if I did, I'm just trying to learn about the way they do things before I get too independent with my actions. We eat dinner at this neat table in the salon, kind of like a living room, that is a coffee table that pulls up to the couch as a large dinner table and we eat around it. We eat all the meals as a family, and in Spain meals are very different than here. They eat breakfast in the morning, then around noon-1 have a snack. Lunch is the big meal, and that is served around 3pm. In this house, it involves, 2 courses/entrees type things, then a vegetable, then bread, and then fruit. A while later they have another snack or coffee/tea time. I learned so quickly today I will be drinking a lot of coffee and tea while I'm here. They drink it all the time. And then dinner is late at night, around 9 or 10 and is just a light meal. Tonight we had bread and cheese and meat.
I'm adapting to the house, but a few things are a little bit of a change. It took me all day to figure out how to shut my window blinds. These things are crazy! Haha. And they have an automated garbage can. Which seriously scared the crap out of me when I leaned over it to look out the window. I also could not figure out how to make the water in the shower hot, but eventually I got it to work. They are very very nice and will totally answer my questions, so that is really nice and reassuring.
I'm really looking forward to getting to know the family and spend some more time with them throughout these weeks! So don't ya'll worry, I'm being well taken care of :)