So yesterday was my first day in Spain and it was absolutely amazing. Getting there was long, boring and tedious. Our flights were from Detroit to Philly to Brussels to Bilbao; in total the trip was about 20 hours, 11 hours of flying time and 9 hours for layovers. I barely slept on any of the flights, maybe a half hour here or there, which for me was pretty good considering I can’t sleep on planes.
But finally we ended up in Spain. The whole family came out to greet us: her host mom and dad (Arantza and Maren), Arantza’s two daughters, the daughter’s husbands and their kids too. They took us to a nice little restaurant up in the hills away from the city and we all just sat down and talked for a while. They are perhaps one of the nicest families I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. They asked us if they were talking too fast for us and they helped me with vocab (tomar vs. coger, la pierna is a human’s leg while la pata is an animal’s leg). Michelle, as a gift, gave each family a photography book of places and things in Ohio. She helped her host mom translate some of the picture captions and I helped one of the daughters, Eider. After that, the restaurant called our ticket number, and the guys went to get the food. The meal was absolutely amazing, it consisted of typical Spanish cuisine: ham, croquetas (a lightly deep-fried roll filled with either meat, cheese or potatoes), chicken, tortilla (it’s like an omelet, not a Mexican corn tortilla), salad, chorizo (a spicy sausage), beer and wine.
After lunch we went up to a nice bar up on a hill that overlooks the Bay of Biscay. We got drinks and went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather (sunny, in the 70’s and with a nice breeze). We talked a little bit about Barcelona and about the host mom I’m going to be living with. Then, they said something that made me speechless. They said that if the thing in Barcelona didn’t work out I would have a place to stay with them because I am family. I just met these people and they already consider me part of the family, how amazing is that?
Two things that made me happy:
1. I could pretty much understand everything they were saying. I thought I might have a little bit of trouble understand them but they all spoke at a good pace so I could keep up. The only thing that tripped me up a little bit was some of the vocab (but that will come in time)
2. They complimented me on my pronunciation! Thank you Meghan Armstrong (my Spanish 404 class instructor), you taught me well.
After drinks we went to Arantza’s apartment (un piso) and unpacked. After unpacking, Michelle and I relaxed a little bit while I filled out my journal. After that, Arantza and Maren took us out to the beach and a cliff that over looks the Bay of Biscay. It was absolutely gorgeous, but unfortunately the clouds blocked the sunset. We then had a glass of wine at the beach and then another one at a little restaurant in Gexto. We all were pretty tipsy, so we went back to the piso and went to bed.
Overall it was a great introduction to the Basque country and the Spanish way of life.