Food, Family, and Experiences in Spain
My second spring semester as a Jamestown Community College student started off in Spain. It was exciting for me because I’ve never left the East Coast before, or been on a plane, or been in an airport. Lucky for me I was able to do it all on my own, which was exciting, but nerve wracking. Once I finally made it to Valladolid, my host dad met me at the bus station to pick me up. He brought me home, where I met my host mom, who had to hurry off to work, and then we had a potato omelette and strawberries.
I’ve never really been a fan of potatoes but I told myself I would try any dish that was put in front of me. There was plenty of food that I wish I could bring back to New York to share with my family. Foods such as croquetas and paella, which according to my host mom is the most typical and important dish of Valladolid. Meals were later in the day than what I would experience back home. Lunch was around 2:30, while dinner was around 8:30 and breakfast was not the most important meal of the day. That was alright with me, because I never really cared for breakfast as much as my real mom would have wished me to. Depending on who was home we would all usually eat together at the table.
I had two younger host siblings. Olivia was 6 and Jorge was barely 2 years old. My host family spoke practically fluent English (besides Jorge) because they had lived in Texas for three years. This was both a blessing and a curse. It didn’t force me to utilize my Spanish skills, but it was nice to be able to hold a conversation with the people in the household. I’ve picked up a few phrases and sentences, but overall I was slacking when it came to learning the language. I may not have appreciated the language as much as I could have but the food, people, and the overall experience is something I am glad I experienced.
Friendship and Reflection
This trip to Spain was very hard for me. I started to become very homesick very early in the trip. I had always thought of myself as a loner, but this adventure made me realize I just value my alone time. I love being around my people and it was difficult for me to be away.
I value the relationships that I made while I was in Spain though. I went all the way across the ocean to make a Canadian friend named Shelby. She was an intern at the school that my host dad worked at. He introduced us and it definitely made the experience much more enjoyable for me. We had conflicting schedules but we would meet up with each other when we had the spare time and find things to do. We would go to restaurants, go on walks, and hang out at her apartment with her host family. A few times we went to a park called Campo Grande. It was always so nice to go there because it was so green and full of nature. There were also roaming peacocks and other birds throughout the park. Shelby’s host brother was afraid of the peacocks because he says they attacked him once, which doesn’t surprise me.
I also spent a lot of time alone though. I would wake up and the house would be empty, my host parents at work and siblings at school. Sometimes I wouldn’t see them until 8 o’clock at night when I would return from the internship. I would make myself go out and experience the city, or at least discover new areas. I could go to museums for free because I am a student, so make sure to bring your student ID.
The weather in Spain was much nicer than New York’s in my opinion. I can’t stand being cold. I never witnessed snow while I was there. Maybe a light frost, but other than that I was peachy and loved the warmer weather. Another aspect of Spain that I loved was how pretty it was. Even the sidewalks were nice to look at. There were walkable points in the city that were just so relaxing to visit. The trees and nature in general were different from back home and already starting to bloom in February. I really wanted to see the nature of Spain in full bloom but I wasn’t there long enough. Maybe one day though.
This post’s author: Zoe Tyler