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Gap Year Abroad

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10/23/2012

::Home vs. Here::

I don't want to compare Spain with the United States... but let's be honest. After the "honeymoon" period of studying abroad (the first few weeks where absolutely everything is just soooooo awesome!!!!...) you start to miss the comforts of home. 

So here goes:
THINGS THAT JUST ARENT THE SAME:
  • Coffee Creamer - I can't find this in the grocery store, and putting "leche desdenata" isn't much better than water (skim milk).
  • Clean or spacious bathrooms - All the buildings here are old, and the bathrooms are absolutely TEENY. If you have more than a foot between the toilet and the door, you're lucky. And as a general rule, they're not very clean. Not sure why.
  • Being barefoot - wall-to-wall carpeting? What's that? .... There are no rugs in my house, and my host mom insists that I will get sick if I go barefoot on the cold marble floors. So, slippers and socks all the time.
  • Yoga pants - I haven't seen a single spaniard on the street in sweatpants. Sigh. Oh well, I have college to look forward to! 
  • Peanut butter - I found ONE brand in ONE grocery store... and it's so expensive :( But there is SO much Nutella... so I'll survive until I get home :)
  • I like eating lunch at noon and dinner at 6. Even though I've been here a month and a half, I'm still not used to eating a huge meal at 2:30 and a little dinner at 9.
That said, I love it here. 
 
THINGS THAT ARE BETTER IN SPAIN:
  • Sidewalks are wider than the streets - It's so much easier to walk or bike to your destination than to drive! 
  • Sevici - In Sevilla (and many other european cities) the bike exchange initiative took place several years ago. Right now, there are over 2,500 bikes available at over 200 locations all over the city. For €30 a year, you can bike pretty much anywhere, at any time, for free if it's under 30 minutes! THIS IS AWESOME. 
  • HeladerĂ­as (ice cream stores!!!) on every corner! - The ice cream/gelato here is fantastic. And with flavors like Venetian Cake (chocolate with vanilla cake and orange pieces) and Stracciatella (vanilla gelato with chocolate shavings), how can you resist?
  • The food. OH MY GOODNESS THE FOOD. Paella, Spanish Tortillas, Chocolate con Churros, to name a few. Everything is delicious! 
  • The history - "antiguidad" - In comparison to the Roman Ruins of Italica (around 3rd century), or even the Cathedral itself (15th century), the US is like a baby. 
... I'm sure that more will be added to the list later!
 
FUTURE EXCHANGE STUDENTS: Make sure that you read a few articles on homesickness, or read what your study abroad program has written for you about it - just to prepare yourself for the feelings that you will have. It definitely helps to know that pretty much everybody goes through the same cycle of feelings!

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