Culture SHOOK

I won’t lie – my first day here was tough, like “holy hell what did I get myself into? I’m way in over my head” tough. I’m not totally sure if culture shock is the correct term here, but we’re going with it. It was at least a mixture of culture shock and jet lag. However, my host family definitely made it easier. I cannot thank them enough for being so kind, welcoming and patient with me.

I was a little nervous traveling internationally by myself, but I was surprised at how easily I navigated customs and the rest of the airport. Like you know how in school when you were doing math homework and you finished a problem and it was just a little too easy, so you check the answer in the back of the book and you were supposed to get -5 but somehow you got 750? That’s how it felt going through customs – like it was way too easy, I had to have done something wrong. Alas, here I am.

However, I will say one of the things that tripped me up while navigating the airport was that instead of using up arrows on signs to signal “straight ahead” they use down arrows, and you wouldn’t think something so small could matter so much, but it does. It really does.

I arrived in Sevilla after almost 24 hours of starting my trip and I had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep (two crying babies on your first flight will do that to you – remind me why I don’t travel with noise canceling headphones?). Upon arrival I was greeted by my host family and wanted to ask them how they were doing, but instead I asked them, “Como te llamas?” For those who don’t know – I asked them “What is your name?” Their names! Their friggen names! I would hope I would know their names before traveling half away across the world to stay with them for two months! Ay yi yi. I was embarrassed to say the least – this is like the very first thing you learn when taking Spanish and I couldn’t even get that right. Let’s just chalk it up to jet lag.

From the airport we headed to my host mother’s parent’s house for lunch. On the way there they pointed out different places and landmarks, asked me questions, and explained many things to me. It was a lot to take in and my brain was working over time to try to comprehend everything they were saying. Most of the time I just said sí or vale (okay) because all the Spanish I had ever learned suddenly went out the window and brought my pride along with it. It was like those were the only two words I could say – now I know how Groot feels.

When we arrived at the grandparents house, I met many people in Sonia’s (my host mom) family, and because we are in Europe it’s customary to greet everyone with two kisses on the cheek. Something I will definitely have to get used to (lol).  While meeting so many new people was a little overwhelming they were all very nice and so patient with me and my limited Spanish. Being American, it didn’t take long before I was asked who I preferred “Obama or Trump?” I know it’s more common to discuss politics in Europe than it is in the U.S., but I was still a little nervous to answer. Thankfully for me, they liked Obama as well and that’s all they said about that (or at least I think so, they could have totally kept talking about it in Spanish – I honestly have no idea). On a side note, your girl might need to learn how to cook, so I can make whatever we had that day when I come back to the US.

After lunch, we headed to my host family’s house where I rested for a bit and got situated. They have a very lovely home that has a lot of natural lighting. We spent some time in the pool and then went to dinner, at 9 o’clock – another thing I will have to get used to. Nothing too exciting happened after lunch – the whole afternoon/night was basically me just saying “Sí,” “Vale,” “Que?” or “Lo siento?” Hey at least I added two more phrases to my vocab, right?

**Bonus: Netflix in Spain has the entire Shrek franchise (although 1 and 2 are the only ones that matter), Inside Out, AND Brooklyn 99. However, it does not have Moana (sad).

En Español:

No mentiré – mi primer día aquí era duro. Pero, no puedo agradecer bastante mi familia anfitriona para ser tan amable y paciente.

Estaba una poca nerviosa para viajar solo, pero estaba muy sorprendido que podría navegar los aeropuertos y la aduana en España fácilmente. Pero, sentí que hice algo mal porque era tan fácil.

Sin embargo, en los aeropuertos de España, se uso los símbolos diferentes que los Estados Unidos y aunque esto es un cosa pequeñita, me confundió.

Cuando llegue en el aeropuerto en Sevilla, mi familia anfitriona esperaba para mí. Y quise preguntarlos “¿Cómo están? pero dije “¿Cómo te llamas?. Yo sé sus nombres! Digo que estaba por que tenía jet lag.

Después de el aeropuerto de Sevilla, mi familia anfitriona me tomaron a la casa de los padres de Sonia (mi madre anfitriona). Allí, conocí muchas personas y nos saludamos con dos besos en las mejillas. Eso es nuevo para mí. La comida a la casa de sus padres estaba muy deliciosa. Ellos preguntaron si prefiero Obama o Trump. Estaba nervioso a contestar porque yo sé los políticos pueden ser un tema difícil para discutir en los Estados Unidos, pero no en la España. A ellos también le gusta Obama.

Después de la almuerza, mi familia anfitriona me tomaron a su casa. Allí, descansé y la madre me mostró alrededor la casa. Nada mucha pasaba después de la almuerza.

*El plus!!: El Netflix en España tiene todas las películas de Shrek (pero, solo uno y dos son importante), Inside Out, y Brooklyn 99. Pero no tiene Moana (triste).


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