El principio de mi semestre! We arrived in Madrid on Monday, August 24, after an exhausting flight and made our way to Alcalá, our home for the next four months. When we arrived, the home stay kids scuttled off the bus to meet our host families. I am living with Luisa, una abuela, and a Chines graduate student named Lilly (who is leaving at the end of September). Spanish slowly started creeping back into my mind as I tried to communicate with Luisa over lunch of slightly intimidating paella. After running a few errands with the group I returned to my little room, got a little organized, swallowed the feeling of home sickness, and went to sleep.
(Plaza de Cervantes)
The next day (Tuesday) I met with the group in the Plaza for a tour and more errands. We had a delicious lunch together, I bought my cell phone, and I found my way back to my house for the first time by myself (about a 20 minute walk). That night we all went out together as a group, meeting in the Plaza de Cervantes for some sangria. This week was the fiestas in Alcalá, so there were tons of people in the plaza and the streets celebrating the end of las vacaciones. We all headed to a bar called La Media Pinta, which reminded us of home, all high on the excitement of being together in Spain. Walking home I realized that everything looked different at night and got lost for over 2 hours, finally navigating the way to my house at around 5:50 AM. After that the walk home is definitely seared in my memory..I won't be getting lost again any time soon.
(I saw the saying "Vive Ahora!" on this sangria glass and named my blog after it)
Wednesday was a free day. I had lunch on Calle Mayor with Amanda, and met with a few others in the group (Ali, Kelly-Ann, Gina, Sean, Maggie, and Jocelyn) at La Media Pinta to use their Wifi to book a flight to Germany for Oktoberfest. After charging a scary amount to my dwindling bank account, I returned home to shower and pack for the weekend before another night out. The 8 of us met up to to Las Ferias (the fairs) in Alcalá as a finale to the week of fiestas. The fair was huge and lit up in a glowing rainbow of colors against the dark sky. I bought a little bag for 10 euros and we all rode the ferris wheel high above the bustling crowds. We came home early in anticipation of our 7AM wake up for our first group trip to Asturias the next morning. All in all an exciting start to my journey!