Spain = dream comes true

By: Chenyu

Apr 04 2011

Category: Travel

1 Comment

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It has always been my dream to study Spanish in a home stay in Spain.

and here I am in Madrid – am not day dreaming.

Today, I saw a duck trying to fly in the pond in El Jadín del campos moro and I feel so inspired and then Brittany Spears’ Everytime came to my mind.

I still remember the tears I had last year when I could not join the Toledo program with Princeton. I thought that was the end of my Spanish pursuit, and I felt so discouraged for my enthusiasm for Spanish. I thought “care about sth” doesn’t matter anymore. But hey when one door closes, the other opens – sometimes for the better. Otherwise, I would not have been able to be part of JUCCCE, which has become my lifelong inspiration and I also found my role model in life and what i want to do long-term for sustainability and China : )

Last two days have been absolutely eye-opening. I made friends with students from Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, North Korea, Russia etc. All of a sudden, I feel so much diversity and cultural differences around me. In language classes this morning, we were asked the same question about how we feel about Spaniards giving two kisses for greetings – the reactions were so different and totally blew my mind. It once again confirms with my motivation to not just be a tourist wherever I go, but try to get to know the people and culture. Honestly, I think doing homestay and studying the language is one of the good ways. I can’t believe people from so many different countries are brought together to Madrid for Spanish, culture, history etc.

I absolutely love Madrid and the architecture – so so beautiful and historical. I also like the colorful buildings – it reminded me of Nicaragua. The plazas, sculptures, gardens are everywhere in the old neighborhood of Madrid. Our school is situated in the heart of Madrid and is very easy to travel to all the points of interest.

I was very lucky to have a very nice Brazilian girl to help me on the first day of arrival to my host family. The next day, she brought me to El Rastro and there I went to the Spanish market with her Holland and Swiss friends- they are very very nice:) the four of us are from 3 continents and speak 8 languages in total. I have never felt so close to europe. I have always felt that I don’t have my roots in Europe and I am only a guest, but somehow I felt more connection after spending days in Madrid.

On Sunday afternoon, all the restaurants, bars and the streets themselves are completely absolutely packed. Walking on the street was a bit overwhelming because there are people EVERYWHERE and when i close my eyes, all i hear is the chit-chat sound in spanish or some other languages. It is pretty cool. One thing very interesting about Spain is the siestas in the afternoon when they close down everything and on Sundays, most stores are closed except first Sunday of everyweek. When we left home at 9am, the street was SO quiet, but Madrid is truly a sleepless city. Most family have dinner at 10pm and then going out can be all night till 5-7am. I am not up to that yet. haha, but the group of us will be watching the Champion league quarter final Tuesday night. I am quite excited : ) football(soccer) is so huge here in Europe!

The other student at my host family is a German boy – very nice, a bit quiet and practices a lot of Spanish. Inspired by him, we started to communicate in Spanish for everything, but it was SOO HARD at first. I felt like squeezing toothpaste when I speak Spanish in the first two days. so these few days, there are a lot of moments when I have to stop and scratch my head, squint my eyes and think soo soo hard with all my attention to come up with words to speak my mind. I don’t know how my host family has been so patient to listen to my crappy Spanish.

Monday morning, German boy and I went to school at 830am and there were two Brazillians and one French boy. Afterwards, about 30 people were at the school for placement test. I for the first time in my life met a boy from North Korea – he doesn’t speak any Spanish and little English. I was very impressed by his determination to study Spanish.

The classes are very conversational and I felt that there were a lot of practices opportunities. : ) The culture class teacher is very funny and fast.

In the afternoon, Maria( the tour guide of school) brought 15 of us for a walking tour around Madrid. It was sooo sunny that everything looks so lively. We went to the garden for moorish in the back of the Royal Palace. VERY VERY PRETTY. Later, everyone has left. It was just me and Maria because we live far away and need to find a metro station. Then Maria brought me to Plaza de Villa, got me maps of Spanish, 100 phrases to get around in Madrid. She was so nice to explain everything, but I wish my Spanish were better to understand all of her words.

We passed by el museo de jamon ( ham) and she was quite cynical about the ham in Spain – she said it is cheap and bad for people.

so glad that I finally wrote down my excitement and fresh feelings of Spain here. 20 more days to go! 🙂

x
Chenyu

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One comment on “Spain = dream comes true”

  1. You are not a wanderer, but a traveler and hard to keep up with. The opportunity to be enrolled in a homestay and Spanish program is wonderful. What great experiences you are having.
    We are doing a bit of travel ourselves soon, leaving this Saturday for Tunisia for only a week. We will be with a group hitting the highlights of ancient archaeological sites, the desert, Tunis the capitol and more.
    Your blog is a perfect way to catch up with what you are doing. Keep writing.
    Best from us both.


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