Villanueva & More – Janine

Hey guys,
I’ve been in Spain for a little over a week now, and I’m starting to get used to living in Villanueva and working at Academia Manhattan! Villanueva is pretty different from my hometown, Ann Arbor, and it’s been a bit of an adjustment getting used to living here. Something that’s super different is the fact that mealtimes are so much later here than in the United States. At home, I normally eat lunch around 12:00 p.m. and dinner around 6:00 p.m. Here, lunch is at 2:00 p.m. and my host family often eats dinner 11:00 p.m., which is basically my bed time! It seems to me that people in Spain never sleep. I’ve also been getting used to living with my host family. Even though we sometimes have a hard time communicating because of my minimal Spanish skills, my host family is super nice and have been feeding me some wonderful food. I am especially a fan of the Spanish tortilla! They also have a super cute little dog who loves to follow me around the house.
Walking around Villanueva with my host mom and dad is funny because they seem to know the entire town and say hi to almost everyone we pass. Something else that is also startling to me about Villanueva is how easy it is to walk everywhere. This is super different from Ann Arbor, Michigan; last summer I worked at a pool and I had to drive 20 minutes every day to get to work. Here, my host family’s house is a 5 to 10 minute walk from Academia Manhattan, which is super convenient. Something that I have found not so convenient about Villanueva is the “siesta.” I have very conflicted feelings about a town-wide nap time. One on hand, I love sleeping. Who am I to complain about being given time to sleep in the middle of the day? On the other hand, it is super annoying to me that EVERYTHING closes. It is impossible to do anything in the middle of the day, which is strange to me. In Michigan, we have a grocery store called Meijer’s, which is open 24 hours a day for 363 days a year (the store closes on Christmas and Easter).
My first full weekend here, I also went on a trip with some of the other interns, Giulia and Maya! We went to Málaga for the day to go to the beach, where I had one of the most delicious burgers I have ever eaten. In the evening, we took a bus to Granada, which I would classify as an extremely beautiful city. The streets were full of delicious tapas and the view of the Alhambra at night was stunning. We also took a tour of the Alhambra the next morning; it was amazing to see such an old piece of architecture that is still standing.
I’m looking forward to exploring Spain and working more with students in the coming weeks!

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