Week 4: Let it Begin

I can’t believe it is already October! This week was our first week of classes, and since each week we are starting something new (moving into our houses, the intensive session, regular class), it constantly seems like we just got here. This week I didn’t do much but go to class, which ended up being a lot.

(Tree in the entrance to Maria Luisa park)

Each student in the advance liberal art program has to take at least 3 classes in a Spanish university and then we can take one at CIEE. Besides this and an advising appointment, we weren’t given much guidance. We had to independently look at the university schedules and find classes from the different “facultades” (departments). Unfortunately, there is not a Spanish ratemyprofessor website to refer to.


This ended up being a significantly harder process than I expected because one, we have to understand the teacher (I went to an art history class where the Spanish students couldn’t understand the teacher and asked him to use a microphone…there was no hope for me). Also, the teacher has to permit us to take our finals early because Spanish students come back after Christmas break to take their finals, but by then our program will be over. Finally, there are only allowed to be 3 CIEE students in each class, which has ended up being the hardest factor of all because we are all Spanish majors and need the same classes.

Monday I went to class with a full schedule, and since then my schedule has changed completely at least 4 times. This all was happening at the same time as my long paper, and my anxiety peaked Tuesday night when I wasn’t able to sleep for a single minute (and I have never pulled an all-nighter ever).

Right now I think my schedule is pretty much set, but my psychology teacher didn’t go to class last week, so I have to meet with him this week and make sure that the class will work for me.


One source of comfort during this time was talking to my friends in the program because we were all having the same problems. In spite of all the stress, we did manage to have some fun during the week. Thursday and Friday night we all went dancing at the discotecas together, and then Saturday I went and had lunch with my Spanish friends at one of their houses, and Sunday I spent most of the time relaxing, talking, and walking around the city.

(light at the end of the tunnel–how appropriate!)

However, on Thursday night, when I left the discoteca, my bad luck for the week peaked. I got back to my apartment at 4 in the morning (normal by Spain standards), unlocked the door, pushed it to walk in, but was quickly stopped because the chain had been put over the door; I was locked out!

I didn’t want to wake everyone up, so I started by texting my woman (my senora), then I called her cell phone. I called that five or six times without an answer, then called the house phone five or six times, then tried knocking, then tried ringing the doorbell.

By 4:30 in the morning, and after ringing the doorbell about 4 times, I was starting to resign myself to sleeping on the doormat. Luckily when I called my friend Sarah she woke up and said I could stay with her. I was five minutes from her house when my woman called me back, but then I didn’t know how to say chain in Spanish, so I kept saying “I can’t get in, there is something on there door”. Luckily she eventually walked to the door, figured out what I was saying, and undid the chain so I could get in.

So that helplessness and lost feeling pretty much describes the week.

However, besides being locked out, Thursday was really fun because it was the first time we had all been together since our “hell week” and we all shared horror stories of trying to get into classes. At one point we all sat down to have Sangria and then went around the table first sharing what we are missing about home, then what we love Sevilla, and then what is on our “Sevilla bucket list”.

Here is what I said during my turn (plus some I have added since thinking about it more):

1) what I miss the most:
Aunt Bee, my family and friends, baking and cooking in my kitchen, being able to say exactly what I mean, and knowing what I am doing at school, running on town lake, American holidays (I want to carve a pumpkin!)

2) what I love the most about Sevilla:
the food, the lifestyle, being able to walk everywhere, the people from my program, maria luisa park (the one in all of these photos), the ice cream, the windy streets, siestas

3) what is on my Sevilla bucket list:

eating churros on the Triana bridge, climbing up la Giralda tower, going to a cooking and dancing class, playing paddle (a sport that is like a mixture of tennis and racquetball), go to a soccer game

(some of my girl friends in the park)
So the past week has been stressful and crazy, but I think I am finally almost on the other side! This week should be more normal, and then I am going with a few friends on my first trip to Lagos, Portugal to hang out on the beach!
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