Jessica in Spain

Jessica is studying in Valladolid, Spain, in a language-intensive program and then will spend the fall in Madrid with SMU-in-Spain.

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Celebrating Spain

jValladolid%201.jpg It is hard to believe that I am about halfway through with my summer program! My senora, Carmen, is amazing! I was very worried about how this would all work out because I am a vegetarian and picky too! Luckily for me, Carmen has hosted several vegetarians before and is actually a chef. Needless to say, I eat amazingly well here!

Because I fail at waking up early, I grab a juice box, with fun flavors like peach, and these pastry things. I have absolutely no idea what they are but they are sort of spongy and cake-like with a little lemon flavor. Whatever they are, they are very tasty and I find it difficult to eat just one. I struggled at the beginning with so little to eat for breakfast but now my body is used to it. I tried eating a bigger breakfast one morning and my stomach rebelled!

I have class from 8:30 until 11:30 so I stop at a cafe on the way to school and order a “cafe con leche y azucar para llegar,” which, if you don’t speak Spanish is a coffee with milk and sugar to go. The first time I ordered one I was very surprised because the amount would fit in a sippy cup. It may be a small quantity, but it is mighty. I cannot imagine my life without it now!

Lunch is served at 2:30, and Carmen’s son, Juan, and sometimes his 1-year-old daughter, come over. Spanish cuisine is wonderful because their cooking philosophy is to let the food’s natural flavors come out. Rarely do they use seasoning other than salt and olive oil. There is at least one dish that has been fried, and it is a safe bet to say that potatoes, mayonnaise, hard-boiled eggs and/or tuna will appear on the table.

The first weekend my group tried to go to Santander, a beach town in the north, but everything was booked, and I mean EVERYTHING! We ended up staying in Valladolid and just relaxing.

jValencia%201.jpg Last weekend I made a spontaneous decision to go to Valencia with a group of students from Minnesota. I am now in LOVE with Valencia! The beaches had the finest grains of sand and the water was so warm. I loved the contrast of 19th-century architecture next to the stark, white modern architecture of the aquarium.

jdolphins%201.jpg We went to a dolphin show at the aquarium one day. My group insisted on waiting an hour in advance to get the best seats for the show and in the process I got very sunburned, which unfortunately is not all that unusual for me.

My plans to go to Rome fell through as well as my plans for Barcelona. Next weekend I am going to Milan!!! I cannot believe that I am going there! I am a slave to fashion and should probably have someone be on shopping patrol so that I don’t get out of control like I know I can. The thought of see all the beautiful things makes me downright giddy!

For my last weekend I am going to Santander. After our first failed attempt, we already have train tickets and a hostel booked! Nothing is stopping us this time!

jValladolid%202.jpg On a totally separate note, SPAIN WON THE WORLD CUP!!!!!!! I took far too many pictures and videos that night! When they win, everyone finds a fountain and jumps in it. The biggest one in Valladolid was drained in advance so we found a different one. I stupidly wore a dry-clean-only skirt and a white shirt … bad idea. I refrained from getting in the fountain and instead held everyone’s stuff and took pictures. We made our way to the plaza mayor where firemen were there with hoses to cool the crowd off.

Once Spain won, they turned the water on more and soaked the crowds. I gave into peer pressure after about 20 minutes and went to the front of the crowd where my friends got the attention of the firemen. All four of them turned their hoses on me! I looked like I had jumped in a pool! After that, I was shivering, cold, and a little too exposed for my comfort so we made our way home. I think it’s been two weeks but flags are still flying high! Spain is so amazing; if I could have my family, friends, pets and air conditioning, I would never leave this place!

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