Long story short, it was SO great to spend time with family this past week. Don’t get me wrong; I’m usually excited to see my family. But, I don’t think I have ever been so excited to see them, especially after a small bout of homesickness the prior week.
They got to Sevilla midday last Monday and I met up with them in a Starbucks close to where I take my university classes. They only stayed in Sevilla until Wednesday afternoon, which didn’t give us all that much time to explore. But, given the limited time that they had here, I feel like I did an alright job of playing tour guide and showing them around (although my sense of direction may or may not have led us astray on occasion).
The first day they were here was filled with catching up, eating delicious food, and walking around the city. Despite Deb’s protests, we tried an Arabian-Italian restaurant for lunch on Monday. Lately, I’ve been getting sick of eating traditional Spanish food when I go out to eat, so this seemed like the perfect place to try. The menu included a variety of Italian food (pizza, pasta, etc.), while also having a variety of Arabian/Mediterranean style food. Amy and I ordered and split a delicious basmati rice dish and a plate that included meat, hummus, and pita bread! Mmmm missed this kind of food!
Afterwards, to Amy’s delight, we walked around the main shopping district. We then met Agustina at Rayas. It was so fun for both my family to meet Agu, but it was definitely weird talking to her in English given that we only talk in Spanish.
On Tuesday, we toured las Reales Alcazares. Although, I had already toured this at the beginning of the semester, it was nice to go back. I didn’t realize how much I hadn’t seen or explored the first time I went. I think las Reales Alcazares definitely exceeded my family’s expectations.
My favorite part about Tuesday was definitely introducing my family to Cristina. Cristina was sweet enough to invite my family over for coffee and sweets. I played translator and before we knew it, we had been talking for three hours! Cristina loved my family and continues to tell me how lucky I am to have them. She tells me that she always knows, within a few minutes of meeting people, if they have a good heart or not. According to Cristina, every member of my family she met has a warm heart. Saying that my family loved Cristina would be understatement. I was so happy that they got to meet each other and that my family got to see where I lived and the great relationship that I have with my host mom.
Wednesday came too soon and before I knew it, my family was off to the next leg of their adventure: Granada. It was really strange to not be home for Thanksgiving this year. Fortunately, I not only got to see my family the week of Thanksgiving, but our study abroad program organized a group Thanksgiving dinner. We started out with a variety of Spanish tapas (fried fish, bread with ham, salad, etc.) followed by the Spanish interpretation of American Thanksgiving food. Although it wasn’t grandma’s homemade cooking, it was definitely delicious. I was so appreciative to have the opportunity to have a special meal with my friends on the holiday.
Friday morning I took the AVE, a high-speed train, up to Madrid. It was my first time taking the AVE and boy, was it nice! Honestly, I prefer taking the train to flying. Our time in Madrid was very laid back, which is exactly what I needed. We visited some of the major sites (the Prado Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum, Retiro Park, Palacio Real, etc.), but what I loved most about Madrid was just hanging out and relaxing with my family.
I seriously cannot believe that I will be home in less than three weeks. I have quite a bit of work and much studying to start/wrap up before then, but I know it will all get done! Looking forward to my last three weeks, but I know I’ll be ready when the time comes. I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!