A warning before I begin: please excuse any errors in this post. I’m tired and mildly intoxicated, and the more time I spend thinking in Spanish, the harder it is for me to write in English.
Well, this week was interesting. Classes started on Monday, and that was mildly overwhelming. If you’ve ever been confused by a syllabus, just imagine hearing it explained quickly in another language early in the morning. But I think classes will be fine once I get into the rhythm of things. It is very strange, though, to have all my classes by taught in Spanish since I’ve only ever taken one Spanish class at a time. At first, some of my professors were kind of hard to understand because they talked so fast or had a strange accent, but I can understand them much better just after a couple of days. I think the hardest thing is going to be reading all my assignments for my literature classes because it takes me about 5 times as long to read anything in Spanish… especially when I have to stop and look up words.
The start of classes also meant less time for sightseeing, so I don’t have a whole lot to report. Thursday afternoon after class, I went out with a friend to buy Spanish sim cards for our phones, which we ultimately couldn’t do because we needed our passports and didn’t have them with us (oops). Looks like we’ll have to do that this weekend. After that, we went to el Mercado Colon, a collection of restaurants and little cafes in a market-like building in the area of Valencia where all the shopping is located. We tried horchata (a drink made from tigernuts- nuts that grow on a plant, just so we’re clear. One of my friends looked at me funny when I first said that…) and fartons (a kind of pastry), a fairly typical combination in Valencia.
Today (Friday) was a holiday in Valencia (for Saint Vincent something- I don’t remember his full name- the patron saint of Valencia). I met up with two friends at the Mercado Central (closed for the holiday, we realized after getting there) and then caught the bus to the beach. The weather was very nice today. Not warm enough to go swimming, but definitely warm enough for a picnic on the beach and a walk on the sand. We even touched the water of the Mediterranean (which isn’t that cold, even in January).
We came back to the city after that and decided to walk around the City of Arts and Sciences, a collection of modern buildings with cool architecture that house several museums and attractions. We were a little to tired to go through any of the museums and decided to come back another day. We then walked through the rio before going our separate ways, deciding to meet up for dinner later.
We got dinner at a small restaurant, where we tried Paella (a rice dish that originates from Valencia) for the first time (which is apparently something more commonly eaten for lunch than dinner, but whatever), drank some wine (I’ve decided that I don’t love wine in general, but white wine is better than red), and talked for several hours. The leisurely pace of meals in Spain is something I love. It’s pretty different from the U.S. where they bring you the check before you’re even done eating. In Spain, you can sit around and talk as long as you like and you only get the check when you ask for it. Our waitress also gave us shots of limoncello on the house, which were pretty good, if not a little on the strong side. A glass of wine and a shot is definitely enough for a lightweight like me to feel a little buzzed and happier than normal 🙂 (hence the statement above).
Anyways, those were the highlights of this week so far. I have rudimentary plans to go tour the inside of Valencia’s Catedral tomorrow, and we’ll see what else.