It has officially been ten days since I moved to Spain, and I'm still waiting for this grand moment. You know, everyone says they have this moment where it "hits" them, and it starts to feel real. I'm fortunate enough to say that this transition has been so easy that there hasn't been a single moment where reality came out of nowhere and blindsided me. I have felt so at home from the very start. As cliché as it sounds, I've already made a home out of Alicante and it came so naturally.
After spending the night meeting other people in my program, my host mom picked me up on Tuesday. I was most nervous about my homestay. I would be living with this woman and her family for four months; if I didn't like them, it would be a miserable semester. I was delighted to find that I had been blessed with the most adorable, little Spanish woman I had ever met. Right off the bat, she called me "cariño," (which means honey, or darling) like I was one of her own. I was nervous about communicating with her as well, but she reassured me that she would clarify any confusion I had, and speak slowly. I already feel my Spanish improving and it hasn't even been two weeks!
If you know me, you know I can be extremely picky. My diet is comparable to that of an 8-year-old's. That means chicken nuggets, mac n' cheese, and a lot of ketchup. So, you could say I was a little anxious about what I would be eating here. However, my first meal at home, to my surprise was chicken, french fries, and ...wait for it... yep, you guessed it- KETCHUP. A huge bottle of it! Obviously, this wouldn't be what I ate for every meal. But it was comforting to see that my host mom, Paqui, was doing what she could to make sure I transitioned easily.
Additionally, if you know me, you know how much I love the beach. Being born and raised on the Jersey shore, I have the natural tendency to gravitate towards the sand and the sea. I typically avoid city-like places. The noise gives me a headache, and I hate big crowds. However, Alicante happens to be the perfect mix of city and sea. I'm only a short walk to both the city area and the beachfront. The city is small, but to me, it's the perfect size. I'm beginning to see familiar faces with every new day. And it's definitely worth noting that this city is extremely dog-friendly, which is something that is super important to me. I'm not kidding when I say I see dogs everywhere I go. Shout out to my pups at home, I miss you endlessly.
And finally, if you know me, you know how much I love music. While I'll be without my beloved piano and guitar for the next few months, I get to escape the annoying, "guilty pleasure" pop music of the states. I have always been that friend with a secret love for Enrique Iglesias, that puts on reggaeton music at the pregame. And almost as soon as I put the latino music on, it gets shut down. But here, I am thriving. The Spanish music is everywhere! It's the kind of music where you just can't resist dancing. I've already began learning the words after hearing these songs at the bars and on the radio. To my friends, I know you can't wait for me to bring all of these amazing reggaeton songs back to the U.S.!
I have to admit, I expected a few mental breakdowns by now. I mean, I completely uprooted and moved to Europe for crying out loud. I know it's still early, but I have yet to feel impacted by that stereotypical rollercoaster of emotions that I am supposed to be feeling. I feel at home here. At one point, while sitting on the tram with a new friend, Laura, she looked over at me and said, "I forgot we were in Spain for a second." As ridiculous as this sounds, it's so true. I think I need to stop waiting for this spectacular moment of inspiration, and just live. I dove headfirst into this experience and I'm swimming just fine, and that is something to be grateful for. I am blessed to say that everything fell into place perfectly and I could not be more excited to explore this beautiful country over the next few months. Until my next blog, I'll be here enjoying the good life.
El Paseo de la Explanada, Alicante
Alicante Harbor, Alicante
The view from the Castillo de Santa Barbara, Alicante
Scarlett and I taking in the view from the Castillo de Santa Barbara, Alicante