A week has passed since my first post and a lot has been going on! In a series of delayed flights and airport sprints my mother, grandmother and I all made it safely to San Sebastián for a week. We have had a great time exploring the city and local cuisine, getting myself acclimated to the way of life. The culture here is incredible, and incredibly different than what I am used to. (Also found the best cheesecake of my life at La Viña– a pintxos bar that specializes in the dessert). I find it very interesting how people do not really have a set breakfast, lunch and dinner time. Especially lunch and dinner: it is more of a “let’s grabs some pintxos (tapas/apps) and a beer or two around 2pm” followed by “let’s grab some pintxos and do some more drinking around 9pm!” Very very casual, definitely will take some getting used to. Unlike some places in Europe, I (and my lacrosse coach, I’m sure) am very excited that Spain has an exercise culture. One of my favorite things I’ve done is go for morning runs along the beachfront streets or even on the beach. Lots of amazing little nooks and crannies can be found when you least expect them, such as my favorite walking tunnel designed to resemble the oceanfront that I run through daily. The city is extremely walkable, runnable, and bikeable, and it is very easy to get from town to town by bus around the whole Basque Country.
Days flew with my family. My great friend Mariana is coincidentally studying in San Sebastián as well, just on a different program with a different school. Lucky to have her near by, only two blocks away! (very helpful that she is a fluent speaker as well… definitely need to brush up on some vocab). Yesterday finally came the day I have been freaking out about for months: orientation. I was lucky enough to meet some really nice, cool guys studying with me on my flight out from Philly, so I wasn’t completely alone when I showed up to the orientation hotel. This being said, I still had no idea where I was living or who my roommates were. The pre-orientation dinner was a bit weird but I made a great new friend from Cali at Fresno State out of it. After hours of a meeting discussing housing and apartment rules, the moment came. I was assigned an apartment right in the center of town– about a 3 minute walk from the beach, 10 minute walk from “la parte vieja” where all the bars and restaurants are, 5 minutes from the bus stop and about a 10-15 minute walk to Gros, another fun little area with some bars and some of my new friends from my program. All the students are spread around the city with different landlords, which I this is very cool and a great way to find new friends in a new city. I’m about a 30 minute walk to school though, so I’ll be investing in a bike and a bus pass very soon. Couldn’t have lucked out with my roommates any more either; they are 2 very sweet, cool girls from the University of Idaho and Cal Poly. Our landlords brought us over some snacks too (cheese, my favorite!) The hospitality here is amazing. Fomo has definitely been real recently as I’ve been still keeping pretty up to date with what’s happening in Salem, but now that I have my life figured out for the rest of the semester I’m ready to finally get into my own groove and have my own, independent experience. I am over the moon excited to learn about the city, the region, the country, the continent, and find a nice little place in the world for myself.
I’ll be taking classes Monday through Thursday which is amazing to have nice, long weekends for travel. Starting tomorrow I’ll be completely on my own; cooking, cleaning, paying rent, going to class just like usual but in Spain. (So definitely a little scary). I already feel a little more independent just after saying goodbye to my mother, and I’m more excited than ever now that I am sitting in my cozy apartment with my fun new roomies (don’t worry Sar– you’ll always be my OG roomie homie 😉 ). This first week I won’t be doing much traveling– perhaps a day trip to Pamplona or something on Saturday. But stay tuned… September has potential for Portugal, optimism for Oktoberfest, and maybe another little trip the last weekend of the month …Ready For It? ((shameless Taylor Swift new single plug… thinking about throwing them into every post TBH.))