If I don’t return from Sevilla it’ll have been because of the streets. The streets here are smaller than the sidewalks in Portland and the drivers crazier than 16 year olds who have had their license for only 14 hours. Getting to class is practically a matter of life and death, 15 minutes of dodging cars, switching sides of the street when the sidewalk disappears—because that’s usually something sidewalks do—watching for people coming out of the various hidden entrances to the various churches and trying not to step on small dogs or step in what they leave behind. That being said, I like it. And not so much for the Indiana Jones obstacle course aspect but because it’s nice to walk through a city and not fully understand what’s being said around me. It’s like a game—can I pick up on that person’s Spanish fast enough to eavesdrop on their conversation? Nope? Oh well, onto the children.
In case you were wondering why I’m talking about streets it’s because I was coerced into writing this piece by my lovely co-editor Vikram Chan-Heur. I insisted that I’d only been here for three weeks, during the course of which I’ve done nothing but attend a two week intensive Spanish course, spend a weekend in an intensive Spanish retreat—all of this with a ratio of approximately 7 Americans to one Spaniard—and then have a week of “classes” at the University which mostly consisted in professors explaining the topic of the course and the exam and students wandering in looking confused, realizing they were in the wrong classroom and then leaving. I suppose the only taste of culture I’ve really gotten thus far is that I was one of those confused students.
However, upon explaining this to Vikram, his astute response was, “well you don’t know nothing,” and as I was unable to find a rebuttal to that, I’m writing about how narrow the streets are.
In all seriousness though, I think I’m becoming acclimatized already. Because while it’s only been three weeks I’m already taking my daily run into the Plaza España and Parque María Lusía for granted. Instead of wandering in and marveling at my good fortune, I now jog in and try to elbow my way between the tourists to the railing of the puesdo-moat so I can look at the fish. I’m pretty sure I have to end this with a life lesson learned abroad. So if I had to end this with a moral, or a life lesson, which I’m fairly positive I’m obligated to do by custom of the report from abroad (I’ve got everything else already right? Small streets, different language, different customs, classes that are less interesting than those at Reed, things are old), then it would be this:
It’s easy to forget that you’re not going to live somewhere forever. And now I’ll please ask you to forget that I said that because it’s more trite than I’d care to be.