Saturday, April 23, 2011

Picnics, Bikinis and Geese Induced Panic Attacks: April 1-3, 2011

The longer I live in Sevilla, the more I realize that I didn’t really know anything about the city before I came. I tend to make assumptions about things in my life, and play them off as true, then confess that I had no clue what I was talking about after everyone realizes I’m wrong. It normally sucks because I love being right, it’s in the top 10, along side chocolate, garlic, cheese, college a cappella and people watching (I have friends…why?). I kind of just went off of the little that I remembered of Sevilla, and my mom’s knowledge when it came to packing and what to expect weather wise. For once, I was right, and it’s glorious. It’s been spring weather since the middle of February and it’s just now starting to get hott. To once again note the difference between Sevillanas and Americans: I wear sundresses and sandals to school, and everyone else is wearing jeans, boots, sweaters and the ever present panuelo. It’s 75 degrees out, I’d rather not die of heat stroke, I’d rather get stared at, it’s the lesser of two evils at this point. Getting back to the point: my friends and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

On Friday I had made plans with Virginia, my intercambio. The last time we saw each other I was telling her about all of the American things that she’s only seen in movies (yellow school buses, garden gnomes, cheese fries, and most importantly, prom). She then asked if we wanted to go on a picnic, because she had never done it before, I immediately said yes, because I agree to almost anything that involved food. Hannah, Ellen, Liz and I packed some snacks (we made about 12 Euro worth of Guacamole) and met up with Virginia and her friends Laura (her ever present roommate), Sergio and Andres. We ended up running into our friend Jenny, who joined us. We picked a nice grassy spot along the Gualdquivir River and just hung out, tried to speak the other’s language and talked about slang in our respective languages. Speaking to people from Spain is always funny, because you find out what they think American’s say, and normally it’s semi ridiculous such as “I’m gonna break your face” and “peace out players”. Laura’s lanky and silent boyfriend joined us for about 10 minutes, but brought nothing to the table besides discomfort for the rest of us. It was a nice and very hot day, despite the fact that a family of geese almost attacked us. By attacked I meant they were less than 100 feet away from us and I may or may not have started to cry, because my biggest fear is not flying, or heights or even bugs, it’s birds; specifically geese. After I entertained my friends with my wimpers and running away, we all felt sleepy and full from all the sun/guacamole and went our separate ways. I was wearing a dress, and got some awkward tanlines (a common theme for me in Seville) but I was excited to fix said tan lines in Huelva, a local beach city, where we were going the next day.

Girls on our program have gone to Cadiz before to go to the beach, and we were told that Huelva was closer and cheaper, so about 8 of us decided to check it out. We took the bus at around 10, which would get us to the beach at around noon, then we thought we’d spend several hours and head back around 5. Unlike the beautifully hot day we had the day before, it was cloudy and miserable. We got off the bus thinking we could just walk to the beach, as advertised, oh no, you had to get on anther bus, then walk to the beach from there. We were all pretty disappointed because it ended up being a longer trip than Cadiz, and only 2 Euro cheaper. I would like to say that the weather is what makes me dislike Huelva so much, but alas, Huelva is where dreams go to die. I often say that about Binghamton, but at least the 5th cloudiest city in the country has a couple bars, and more than 19 people. I once encountered a woman who teaches English there and she mentioned that it was the armpit of Spain, not I know what she means. As miserable as this day was, it was a milestone for my life, it was my first time wearing a bikini...ever. I'm not normally a huge fan of showing a lot of skin, and have had weight issues in the past, going so far as to losing almost 30 pounds a little less than a year ago. Spain has not been so great for me weight wise, but I'm using this as a time to enjoy the delicious food while it's still available to me. My two friends, Jenny and Ellen took me shopping to a store that had bathing suits for older women, which is perfect for me because the bottoms actually cover things and the tops actually hold you up. Shockingly enough, it was a very pleasant experience and I think it's because I'm in Spain, and old wrinkly ladies go topless, so I can wear a bikini and not get judged. My poor little stomach saw light for the first time, and I think it was almost better that Huelva is a cloudy, miserable city, because I could have gotten badly burned otherwise.

It was cloudy and kind of cold, but we spent the day anyway. I honestly think Huelva took some of my tan away from me it’s just that miserable. But then again, a bad beach day is still a beach day, therefore, I shouldn’t be complaining. I’m going to miss this carefree life. The real world is not ready for me yet.