Wow, it's hard for me to believe that I have been in Spain for a week now! It actually feels like I've been here for quite a while. I feel very at home in my home and at the school and I now know my way around the city very well. I feel like I have grown so much in the last week and learned so much as well. My Spanish vocabulary and conversation skills have increased tremendously and I have learned a lot about Spanish culture. I have learned all about international travel and airports and how that all works. I feel a lot more grown up and independent. I have made so many new friends already, and cannot wait to become closer with them as the summer moves along. I knew a few girls from UND before we all came here, but I'm much closer with them now than I was before and feel like I know them so much better. It's fun to learn new things everyday about the people you're with. It's weird how when you're thrown into an immersion program like this, you quickly make friendships with people you've never met before. It is kind of like we are all that each other has here. The only people who understand what you feel like and are experiencing here. I remember on the first day of school when we were all finally back together again we just talked and talked about what was going on in our lives and compared and gave suggestions. I feel like I've known some of these people forever already and I hope that we'll keep in touch when we all go back to our own lives in the USA.
My family here is so wonderful as well. I am very happy I was put with this family and I enjoy spending time with them and getting to know them. They are so sweet to me and treat me as if I were part of their family. My mom is starting to know what I like/dislike as far as foods, and she always makes me coffee in the morning and sets it out with some toast with marmalade/nutella, and cereal. She always asks me what I want to do or what I want to watch on TV or what I want to eat. She's very caring and always has my best interest at heart. Having such a wonderful family here has made this transition process much easier for me. We are able to joke around and have fun and communicate better each and every day. My little sister is so adorable and sweet and she's really taken to me now that we're getting to know each other better. She likes to sit by me at our meals now and is always asking me for help with her English, teach her songs on the piano, or to play games with her. She never fails to make me smile. My dad is very interested in America and how we do things back in the states. He'll ask me if we have the same things there, or how the weather is there, or have me teach him some random English since he doesn't really know any. He is actually a very good cook as well! He makes lunch for us every day. He likes to run so one of these days I will have to go for a run with him. I'll try to get a picture with my family one day soon here so you can see them :)
I've also become very accustomed to the food/meals here in a week and grown to love them! For example they have bread with every meal and it's a very different bread from anything I've had in the United States. I LOVE that bread now and always look forward to having it. There have only been a few foods I've had here that I haven't liked. Most of them I've liked and quite a few of them I love! I'm excited to keep trying new foods and eventually I want to help my mom/dad cook one day so I can see how some of these things are made!
Having to go to school in the summer and have homework is really a pain, but then I realize that wow, I've already been here for a week. Only 5 more weeks and then I'll be done and be able to enjoy my summer with freedom, sunshine, and fun. Learning Spanish in Spain where the teachers do not speak English is very different than in the US where we focus a lot on the translation or if you're confused the teacher just explains the word/assigment in English. If you are trying to say something and can't think of the word, you can't just ask. You have to try to describe it in Spanish or figure out a similar word. Same with when our teacher explains something. If we're confused about it, she re-explains it in Spanish again. For example, each day she'll have a phrase of the day type thing we talk about. One day it was the Spanish equivalent of two heads are better than one. She asked us what it signified and meant. Which is a lot harder to describe than I would have thought. It's a very good way to learn Spanish though, because then you don't learn it as a translation. You learn it as it is, just like how we learned to speak English growing up. A word is a word for something and you don't know anything else for it.
It's hard to believe I have only been here for a week since it feels like more, but it's also hard to believe how quickly this week has flown by! My time here is going to be gone before I know it, but I am so excited to learn more and get to experience more places and cities on the weekends. I absolutely love it here in Spain and cannot wait to see what these next 5 weeks bring :)