Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Home, Sweet Home
No, I have not changed my flight and come back to Michigan early. Instead, I have finally moved into my Spanish homestay! Meet Marie Carmen Rodriguez, my new señora, or host-mom for the next five months (photos to come, she insisted she was not beautiful enough today). Carmen is an adorable widow with 5 kids, 3 precious grandbabies, and one yellow lab—my new best friend whose name is Rhumba (and won't sit still for a picture, as seen above.) Only one of the five still lives here—22-year old Marta—but the rest love to visit, so the apartment is always fairly lively. Yesterday, I walked past the TV where 1-year old Marcos was watching ‘Bob Esponja.’ Yes, it is what you think it is, and funnier than you can imagine.
My roommate Melissa (from U.Penn) and I each have our own rooms and share a bathroom. In an attempt to leave this country completely fluent, we truly only speak to one another in Spanish, which has provided for many learning experiences. Carmen (who is a cook extraordinaire) asked us what type of food we usually eat back at home. I told her that among other things, I love pasta with chicken (pasta con pollo—fairly simple, right?) Instead, Carmen heard ‘pasas con pollo’ (raisins with chicken). She seemed so surprised by this, but I continued to insist that I loved it, and that, yes Carmen, raisins with chicken is a really popular dish in the US! I can only imagine the kind of impression of Americans I am giving her. Thus, I have created my favorite new Spanglish word—‘estruglio’—to define our lives here.
However, we continue to try to transition into this new culture. Along with not eating dinner until at least 9 pm, living in apartments with no central heat, and taking showers with only half a door, we have been trying out bits and pieces of the nightlife. Friday night we tried the club scene, and before Melissa and I left the house, Carmen excitedly told us about one of her other students who met a boy at a club in Sevilla, started dating him, and then ended up MARRYING HIM. We told her she should probably not get her hopes up. The only thing I met in the club that night was The Baja Men, as ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ (yes, from 1998) blasted through the speakers. I suppose this was three men, instead of just one, but I don’t think this was the same thing Carmen had in mind.