Tellus

Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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In Granada!

¡Caray! It’s been about a week since I arrived in Spain. This week has been crazy. Awesome, but crazy. The first moment we arrived in Madrid we hit the ground running. Navegating our way through Madrid Barajas airport was an adventure. It’s by far the biggest airport I’ve ever seen. Everything being in Spanish also complicated things a bit. There were some difficult conversations asking locals for dirrections. haha Once we finally knew where our connecting flight was, our priorities suddenly changed and we hightailed it to the Tax and Duty-free store…Anyways, the flight to Granada was great: only 1 hour; a nice change from the 5 and 8 hour flights we had taken earlier. Getting to the homestay from Granada airport wasn’t bad either. Our homestay is very urban. It’s an apartment in the city center. Our homestay mother is Señora Carmen, a mother of three who has been so kind and welcoming. Matt (my roommate) and I would say we have the best homestay set up of all the other students. It rocks. Carmen is amazing. Also her 3 kids, who are grownup, come and hang out at the home all the time. Hence there is always something going on. I love the atmosphere: Matt, Carmen, her 3 kids and their sig others and I will sit in the living room talking for hours, many times having to talk over the blasting tv which stays on forever. I feel right at home. The only downside to our set up is that it is the further from the CLM, where we need to walk to and back twice a day. But who cares. I love walking. It’s a great way to start the day walking and chatting with friends. There is clearly a different attitude towards transporation here. People actually walk for distances longer than 200 metres. And guess what? I haven’t seen one obese person here. Sure, they smoke, drink and eat plenty of saturated fats, but at the end of the day they’re significantly healthier (and hence more attractive) than Americans. It’s insane how many attractive girls there are here! I’m still trying to process that culture shock. haha. Besides these superficial observations I am also noticing some more profound yet subtle differences in their culture. It seems the regime of Franco, which although ended decades ago, has left an eternal mark on Spanish life. People here tend to be slow to trust others and are very vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times. The topic remains extremely sensitive and thus I haven’t probed into these conjectures much further. I’ll learn all about the period of Franco in my history class later on this semester. Right now we are only taking the Intensivo class and a general Spanish culture class. Today was the first day of the Intensivo and I think it’s gonna be aweome. We have a real cool class with great professors and are going to fine tune our language abilities to a point of excellence. I’m excited! Outside of classes, there is so much to do. Tapas, bars, walks, museums, cathedrals, gardens, the Alhambra, going to the beach, clubbing, getting to know the locals, hanging out with host family and much more. It’s ridiculuous how awesome this place is! Anyways, I got to go but I’ll keep yall posted on what’s up

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