Monday, October 1, 2007

Im here!!

Sorry to everyone that it has taken me so long to write. I am here and enjoying espana! My flights went well, and I am proud of myself for doing it all alone. I have some interesting and funny stories about my travel to Oviedo, but that shall be saved for another time. The other day I typed this huge long posting about all my experiences in the last week and then it failed to upload, so i was very angry and now i probably wont have the energy to repeat everything over again verbatim. Im going to copy and paste for now on so i dont lose what i write!

Anyways, i arrived in Oviedo and immediately took a taxi to my home stay. The taxi driver acted like he knew where he was going. However, once we were in the city he had to get out of the car three different times and ask people where the street i lived on was. Once i arrived to my apartment my host mom rushed down stairs the second i called her on the intercom. Caitlin (another U of O student) was especially excited to see me because she had been at our new home since 830 am. Immediately we sat down to la cena (dinner) and i tried to talk as much as possible, but after 30+ hours of traveling its a challenge. Afterwards, i showered, unpacked, tried to sleep. I dont know if it was the new place, experience, or all the traveling but it was hard to sleep. My room is quite small, but clean and the furniture is pretty modern. Actually the whole apartment is, especially the kitchen. ALL WHITE. cabinets, dishwasher, table, floor, microwave, fridge, etc.

The next morning i had an orientation for part of the day and then a break at a cafe and more til 330. Afterwards Caitlin and i walked around for awhile with her boyfriend and then went home. We went out that evening at around 1030 but didnt make it to the bar we were looking for until midnight and i was in heels so my feet for very angry! The bar we went to a lot of americans on exchange go to. After spending a few hours there we went to a club at 3am or so and hung out there until 4. its funny to see the spaniards sing to american music especially r and b or rap because they never know the words!

The next morning was rough because i had to be up by 930 for more orientation stuff at the university (its only 3 blocks away which is lucky because some students have to walk further or take a bus for 15 minutes!)

A little about my host mom. She is very nice. in the beginning she i didnt understand a lot of what she said and i would ask simple questions and hope she wouldnt ask me too many, but i can completely follow her conversations. Its crazy because i have only been here a week and i feel more engaged and even if i dont understand some words i can filter through and have serious conversations. For example, she told Caitlin and i all about her life and how she had all these brothers but her parents hated her and didnt let her go to college. She told us she had to clean the kitchen and cook in there all the time but her brothers could do whatever they wanted. It was an intense conversation. She said she doesnt talk to her parents and i think she said she moved out when she was 22 or maybe it was younger. Also i thought she only have 3 kids but she told us that she had another daughter that died from miningitis at the age of 1. She said she got really sick when her daughter was sick because she didnt eat and she was really sad. That probably gives you a good idea of how open she is and how much she talks to Caitlin and I because both of those conversations were lengthy and serious to say the least!

On a lighter note Maria loves to call me Kiki. I told her my name was Kyla and she repeated Kila, and then i said you can call me Ky and it turned into Kiki. So ohwell. Its growing on me. Caitlin and Ben (her bf) call me it and now a lot of people in the program are too, so i dont mind having a different name here, its kind of funny. Our host mom calls Caitlin, Cayln, i guess she has trouble with the T in her name.

In spain obviously a lot of things are different. Here are a few of my observations. A LOT of the bathrooms have lights that turn off after a certain time, so frequently im in the bathroom and the lights just go off. Usually there is a light to the whole bathroom and stall, but sometimes both go off! NOT FUN. also a lot of toilets dont have toilet seats or are out of paper, i guess they are not good about restocking!!! In my house my host mom has a lot of unique conceptions about things such as she wouldnt let caitlin drink cold water because she had a cold.

Two out of the three first nights I was given fish for dinner. I love sushi and some fish but the second time we had fish it was salted way too much and deeply breaded. I had to force myself to eat half of it, covering it in other foods. After that, I told her fish gives me stomach problems sometimes because we are suppose to be honest and tell our families if there is something we dont like. Caitlin feels the same way about fish so i told her caitlin gets sick too. She said that was fine and once in a while she food buy blue tuna because its super fresh and better but its very expensive. Thats another thing, my host mom is so nice but she will ask Caitlin and i if we like certain foods and we will say yes and she responds ALWAYS with that food is expensive. As you can see they are big on conservation (electricity, food, etc!)

This past weekend my group went on an excursion to Eastern Austrias. Austrias is (if i remember correctly) 1 of 17 principailities in spain. Oviedo (where i live) along with Gijon, and 1 other city that i dont remember its name off the top of my head are the three cities that are in Austrias along with smaller places and green green land! For those of you are not familiar with the part of spain i am in, its the NW corner. And very different from Madrid and Sevilla (other cities in Spain) which are drid and arid. I will write more about that later, possibly, but we went to a musem all about cidra (which is a hard apple cider/beer that is local to this area). Also we saw some catholic castles and water falls and a fountain with seven spouts (i guess the rumor or tradition says that if you drink from all seven spouts you will be married in a year. obviously i didnt drink from it!) We went to salbaton mar ( sea) and looked at these amazingly painted bolders that keep the waves from coming up to high. The huge rocks are frequently placed near the shore of many seas, but these were special because an artist came and painted them in a puzzle like design.

Another observation I have made is that everyone is so dang skinny and its true they are a lot more fashionable. Everyone reading this knows i love to shop so i think im getting more into there style. Still wearing jeans every day, but i got a few new (unexpensive items) in the last week. Dont worry mom im controlling myself! Oh and back to the dang skinny people! No one is fat and everyone wears those skinny jeans that are in style back in the US, im sure a of you know what im talking about! Those would not look good on me cuz im too short, but they look good on people here and well people in the US too.

On sunday I went to a big open market with my host mom and Caitlin. Its kinda like a big bizarre + being in mexico. I will explain why. First of all you can bargain, like mexico and second of all there is food and clothing galore. It is popular (im not sure if its just my area or all of spain) for Africans to live here because the living conditions are better. Often they sell things on the streets and its 99% Africans selling at the open market. There is a lot of fake designer purses, wallets, clothes, shoes, etc.

Tomorrow is my placement test for school here. Today we had our first cultural perspectives class. Its just a 1 credit class everyone has to take that is taught in english and teaches about differences in spain´s culture/ Europe and the US.

Ok thats all for now. Comment if you like! I am not on my computer so i cant put up pics yet, but im in the computer lab which has fast internet and wifi so ill bring my computer to campus pronto!

A SMALL NOTE TO ADD: I am sorry for the run on sentences and mis spellings. I was just trying to get a post up quickly. ill go through and edit it soon so it is easier to follow.


Robyn Frye said...

Hi Kyla,

We are enjoying reading your blog and hearing about your adventures.

I saw in an email that your mom forwarded that you went shopping at H&M. Andrea discovered H&M in London and we went to one this summer in NY. Lots of cute clothers for not a lot of money. They are opening an H&M up here in Seattle near the UW sometime next year.

Aunt Robyn

Nicole Ann said...


sounds like you are getting quite the experience! very good blog update :) keep us posted lady!

love you lots

Ima said...

Hi Ky or should I say Kiki,

Love the blog and all your descriptions. Thanks for keeping us all updated.

Love Ima

Anonymous said...

Hi Kyla!

It's great to hear you arrived safely, but a little tired.

Keep the emails and blog coming. I'm enjoying hearing about your adventures.

Aunt Lisa