I can’t even believe it, but already my six weeks here in Sevilla are up. There were times that I felt homesick and ready to get back to the US, but overall it feels like my time here has flown by. I had to mail my suitcase home this morning (let’s not talk about how much that cost…), so instead of working, I spent my last day grabbing a cafe for the last time with Steven, the director of our program. I sad goodbye to two of the people I worked with most during my internship: Lola, the nutritionist, and Yolanda, the natural therapist. They both wrote me wonderful letters of recommendation and promised to keep in touch. I know I’m really going to miss working with them!
I also stopped by a beauty school to get a manicure and pedicure, which is something I never do at home, but after 6 weeks of walking everywhere, my feet needed some help. Plus, it costs about half as much here as in the US! I got a bright sort of Barbie pink color–they didn’t have many to choose from, and the girl doing my nails told me it was a better color for me haha.
I took my time walking home from downtown, trying to take mental snapshots so that I could always remember exactly how the buildings and the people and the vendors looked. One of the vendors was selling bags for of spiney looking fruits, and when I asked what they were, he let me try one. They were cactus fruits, or higueras, as he called them, and they were really good!
It was when I thanked the man for the fruit that it hit me: I’m leaving. It took me six weeks to integrate into the culture, to be able to chat with the girl who did my nails and to try the vendor’s cactus fruit. It’s been an amazing experience living here in Sevilla, and I already am starting to miss it. Spanish culture is incredible, and there are so many things about it I love:
1. Everyone is affectionate. And I don’t say that just because they greet you with a kiss on each cheek. They are always showing love–putting there arms around each other, touching you when the talk to you, laughing, teasing each other–even the men will kiss each other’s cheeks when they say goodbye! In my family, my sister has always been the one to show affection and I’m a little more reserved. But the affection here made me feel so much more welcome and happy, and it is definitely something I want to try to keep doing when I go home (not greeting with besitos, but showing more affection in general).
2. They are super friendly and helpful. Practically every time I asked someone for directions, they would drop what they were doing to lead me to wherever it was I needed to go. One of the doctors I worked with invited me to watch the soccer game with his family, and said I could drop by whenever I was free to go swimming. The Mediterranean culture is really big on hospitality, and I love that. That’s another quality I want to focus on in the US.
3. They believe in destiny. In the US, if a person doesn’t get a job, they blame themselves and say “I wasn’t good enough,” or “the company liked someone else more.” But here if someone doesn’t get a job, they don’t let it get them down, and instead they say, “I guess it was not meant for me, God must have a different plan for my life.” Then they try again. I like this way of looking at things a lot.
4. They work to live, whereas Americans live to work. The most common advice I got here was to work less and relax or go out to meet people and have fun more. Granted, their economy is not doing to hot, but it is clear that the Spanish enjoy their lives much more than the average American.
5. They’re classy. Both women and men always look well-dressed and fashionable (and women do wear shorts, despite what travel guides say!) I tried to look cute and wear nice shoes my first week, but my first blister brought me back to my rainbows and jean shorts. If Spain hasn’t taught me to manage my appearance more, it’s at least taught me to accept who I am!
There is so much more I could say, but for now I need to go pack for ITALY where I will be spending a week travelling with my parents! I’m so excited to see them and see Italy. And vegan or not, I know the food there is going to be to die for!
Again, sorry for the lack of recipes, but just know that I am planning on posting lots and lots in August when I am back!
Until then, ciao!
Questions: What are your favorite parts about your culture or another culture you like? Have you been to Italy? Do you like Italian food?