It is the first of May and officially one month since I've arrived in Spain.

I can't believe time has flown by that quickly. This weekend we are taking a trip all together to see the southern part of Spain and some of the must-see cities. We will be going to Granada, Seville and Cordoba. (You can see it on the map above) Every spanish person I've asked has said their favorite place is one of these cities, so I'm excited to see them. The trip marks the end of the 5th week and the halfway point for the program. I have already finish 'Spanish 1' and will received an A. woohooo! But it will definitely get harder. The pace of the class is insane! We are in class for four hours, four days a week in order to have enough hours in class for UC Davis to give us 1 years worth of language credit. It's getting a little wearing, but we still manage to have a lot of fun in class. Our teacher really makes an effort to make it fun. I love having her! Raquel is a great - loves teaching, relating to us and helping us navigate through our lives here in spain.

I sniper-ed a picture in class for you all :)

One of the things Raquel always helps us with is finding food...

I've had trouble with the food here in Spain. I've never craved spice so much in my life. We're always asking her for ethnic restaurants - indian, mexican, thai, chinese, anything that might light my tastebuds on fire. They don't use spice here whatsoever! I never thought I would miss mexican food so much but the whole group is on a mission to find somewhere that makes a burrito somewhat similar to even the worst mexican you can find in Cali. hahaha.  It's not that the food here is bad, its just a lot of bread and ham... and ham.... and bread with more ham on the side... Oh and every once in a while, some cheese. The food isn't bland but I can't find a better word to describe it. The flavors are pretty simple, not a lot of vegetables (which has been the hardest for me) and heavy in olive oil. One of the traditional dishes I like though is the potato tortilla. But its not a tortilla... (surprise surprise! lol) It is like a potato, egg omelet. We were eating it one night and saying how ammmazzinngg it would be with some tapatio or sriracha. The other girl living in the house from USC said she searched high and low and finally  found some and bought it. She is leaving in a week and said she will pass it down to us... We may give it to our house mom's with a little note for future students. And here starts the Sriracha legacy...

If I could give advice to future travelers... bring a travel size sriracha and tapatio with you! 

By the way, I SATURATED my dinner in sriracha that night

Tortilla patata (potato tortilla) and Sriracha!

Our moms have been so nice in trying to cater to what we like. As I said before, they are required to give us breakfast and dinner and I thought they would provide lunch for a little until we got used to being here. But nope... They make us a bocadillo and give us a piece of fruit to take to class everyday. They make us paella - a very traditional spanish dish - and sit and eat with us every sunday for lunch.  I have saved a huge amount of money on food not having to eat out every day for lunch. But, not all the house moms do this and I know I'm very lucky.

Also, everyday, Choncha asks what we learned in school. She asked me if I'd like to practice speaking with her and would like help. So, we talk everyday for a bit and even in passing, she will correct my grammar or help me learn new words. She explains what is happening in the news (we usually have it on during dinner) and she introduces us her to family that comes over to the house. 

Concha studied history including some of the United States. She also knows a little English. When we get stuck she can usually use English to help me out. She also talks slowly and always makes sure I understand what she is says. Luisa doesn't know any English so whenever we get stuck, she grabs Concha haha. She also makes sure to point out all the hombres guapos (handsome men) on the TV or ask if we've met any out and about hahaha.

I asked to take a picture with them so I can finally show you all and they got all frantic, telling me they didn't look nice enough. They said I should have told them when they had their hair nice and were dressed up. I told them it was very informal, just for my family to see. They'd probably kill me if they knew it was up here but I have to share it lol. They are very formal here in the way they dress and how they present themselves but they still took the picture with my anyway :)

I'll take another one soon.

My mamas!!

Concha on the left and Luisa on the right

Excuse my overly excited face! I was laughing at them being self conscious of their hair haha

I seriously look like im 6 ft tall! Most people there in Spain are shorter than me. When I first walked in they just looked up at me like... 'what the hell do they feed you in America?!' haha

Other than that, just getting used to the day to day. I feel like it has been 1 month because I've learned and experienced so much. At the same time, it feels like it's going to by so fast. 

I am still here longer than everyone else, so I have a long time ahead of me.

I decided after the program to become an au pair. What that means is families ask you to come live with them anywhere from 2 months to a year. You become a nanny - helping take care of their kids, but the biggest goal is for you to teach them english. Apparently, the English programs here are not very good compared to the rest of europe. I can see a little of that because not many people speak English here. So, they provide you with free room and board and weekly pay on top of that. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to stay in Spain longer, practice my spanish and earn some money to travel with after the program. You go on a website and make a profile of yourself and can search profiles of families. If there is mutual interest, you can message each other, discuss expectations and verbally commit. I describe it like match.com but for nannies and families.

I found a family with kids that are older than most (14 and 16). It will be less taking care of them as a nanny and more spending time with them like an older sibling. Spanish families are very welcoming and treat you as one of theirs. The time frame is perfect because I will live with them for part of their summer vacation before they go to vacation with their grandparents in another part of spain. I will be there form June 22 - Aug 2. They live in Zaragoza which is a smaller city in between here in Barcelona, but a little more north. (You can see it on the map)

 I will make about 500 Euros and then my mom will be coming over to travel with me. The money will be able to take care of almost all my transportaiton.

Part of me wanted to nanny for a family with younger kids because you get to just love and coddle them lol but it will be great to make a connection with kids that are older. I also get my fix of cute little Spanish kids through my internship. 

I'll wrap this blog up because my internship will take a blog all its own.

Ciao!

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Tags: Abroad, Aggies, Davis, Madrid, Spring, Study, UC, UCD

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Comment by Cassandra Hanson on June 4, 2013 at 7:00am

Thanks for reading guys! I'll be updating more soon. 

Yeah @Anastasia we found that place! lol We go there and lavapies to get us by :) Thanks for the tips, I'll check out some more places down there 

Comment by Anastasia Delfino on May 7, 2013 at 1:46pm

I was in Spain a year ago and I have to agree with what you say about the food! By week 6, my friends and I were definitely craving some spice and anything but patatas bravas and tortilla espanola! There's this place by Sol (near Dubliners if I remember correctly) called Guacamole, which became our Faux-Potle! Maybe try some restaurants in Lavapies, the most diverse neighborhood. You'll get great deals, and delicious Chinese, Indian, Moroccan, and Thai food. Just some tips for a quick fix :) Can't wait to hear more about your au pair adventures!

Comment by J.H. Barnes on May 2, 2013 at 8:06am

So fun following your adventures. I went to Spain too and would do anything to be back :) Congrats on the 1 month anniversary--looking forward to reading more! 

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