“¿Cómo se dice…” I’m Finally Here?!

“¿Cómo se dice…” I’m Finally Here?!

by Zoey Haar, CCI-Greenheart Travel High School Abroad student in Spain

Finally! After weeks and weeks of preparation I’m finally in Spain!!! I can’t believe it. Every morning I wake up and think to myself, “This is happening. This is real.” Some mornings I’m more welcome to it than others, but over all I’m loving it here so far. I’ve only been here with my family for three days, but I’ve already learned so much!

My Spanish parents, Cote and Fernando, picked me up from the bus station at about eight o’clock. By that time I was already completely exhausted from touring the beautiful city of Madrid practically non-stop for two days. Cote and Fernando were very patient with me as I tried to express my emotions and ideas in (extremely) broken Spanish. They took me home to an absolutely gorgeous house where they showed me my room (full bath, yes!) and the rest of the house. It’s hard to believe that I get to live here for a whole year.

After the tour they introduced me to my new brothers, Fernando and Álvaro. They’re identical twins, and while I can definitely see the difference, I have no idea which one is which! I met my other brother, Borja, the next day when he took a day off of school to show me around Zafra, my new town.

It’s so pretty here! Old, but not decrepit, small but busy, and calm but not lazy. It’s the perfect town for an exchange student.

Borja also introduced me to some of his friends and they were all very nice to me. I could understand them when they addressed me for the most part, but by the time we got home, I couldn’t even form a coherent sentence. I mean that quite literally, it was worse than my first day.

I will say that I think that my Spanish has already improved significantly since I’ve been here, though. The first days were rough, but not necessarily as hard as I thought they would be. It’s a lot like a roller coaster; sometimes it’s extremely difficult, and sometimes I would even go as far as to say that it’s pretty easy.

Today, for example, I was feeling really low, and thinking about how when my parents and I had a conversation I couldn’t understand anything. I was thinking about how I had only been here three days and already I wanted to go home. I was totally lost in my own little world, but then my father started up a conversation with me and, as my brain fell back into thinking in Spanish, I realized that it really wasn’t as hard as I made it out to be. In fact, I realized, it was only difficult if I hadn’t spoken much and my mind wasn’t in “Spanish mode”. That was a great lesson for me. Now I know to just take a deep breath and calm down whenever I’m feeling lost.

I may not know too much yet, but I’m most certainly learning. I’m making great bonds with my family and, I hope, with friends. The trip was not easy, but I least I can say:

¡Por fin estoy aquí!

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