La vida en Ávila…

Hola otra vez. (Hello again.)

I’m more than halfway through my first week here. Today after class I finally changed my money… most stores are closed between 2 and 5 pm for the siesta, but the banks close at 2pm every day and don’t open in the afternoon. The exception is Thursday, which is the one day that they reopen with everything else at 5pm.

Actually, I’m adjusting very well to life here. I think all these years my body has been running on Spanish time, since I’ve always wanted to stay up late, get up early, and nap in the afternoon.

Here in Ávila my day goes something like this:

  • 7:30ish: Wake up, shower, get dressed, etc.
  • 8:00: Desayuno: Toast and (very strong & delicious) coffee 🙂
  • 8:30: Leave for class, which is about twenty minutes away.
  • 9:00am – 1:00pm: Classes at the University of Salamanca. (2 hours of language, 1 of culture, and 1 of communication.)
  • 1:00 – 2:00: Either use the computer lab or rush to complete any errands before everything closes at 2.
  • 2:00: Almuerzo: The main meal of the day, at home with Anna & my host family.
  • 2:00 – 8 or 9:00: Free time: take a nap, study, go to a cafe/bar, wander around, group activities, see a movie, etc.
  • 8 or 9:00: Cena: a light meal.
  • 9:00 – ??? Stay up late, wander around, go out, study, etc.

As for where I live… Ávila is a fairly small town, and already I know my way around the old part of the city, which is the part inside of las murallas, the walls.

The Cathedral is huge and part of it is joined with las murallas:

There’s a lot of construction around town, including on the cathedral, which is why you can see all the scaffolding. I haven’t been inside the cathedral yet (it’s not free) but I have been on top of the walls a few times:

Every night and some afternoons I’ve been wandering around the city, alone or with others, seeing the sights and just trying to get my bearings.

I live very close to the main plaza and the old part of the city, right next to la Plaza de las Vacas… yep, Our Lady of the Cows. Apparently the Virgin Mary appeared at a well where cows used to drink in that Plaza. The fiesta of Nuestra Señora de las Vacas was this past weekend, and so my first morning here I woke up to guns, fireworks, and music. When I got out of the shower I heard music in the street, and looked out the window in time to see the statue of the Virgin Mary go dancing by. Later on Anna and I met up with the procession again outside the walls. Growing up, I’ve seen plenty of religious processions in the United States, but this was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. At the front of the procession were altar boys carrying banners, and dancing back and forth. The music was much more reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz (complete with “la la la’s”) than anything I’ve heard in any church, and the Virgin was bouncing up and down in time to the music:

And later on, back at home in her church:

 The outside of the church, decorated for the occasion:

The fiesta lasted far into the night all the way through Monday night, and all the music and the loud borrachos in the street kept Anna awake… but predictably, I slept through it all like a rock. After walking what must be at least six miles a day, I’ve been sleeping very well (I had a very odd dream yesterday about being at the beach with Ashley and… Stephen Colbert?!).

Mucho me gusta mi casa. Every meal is like a mini lesson in itself. Carmen, la señora who we’re staying with, is wonderful. She’s had a lot of students stay with her over the years, which means she is particularly intuitive about what we need, and the food she cooks us is muy deliciosa. 🙂 Her husband Manolo lives with us, too, as well as her son Pablo, who goes to school in Madrid and is only around some weekends. She has two adult daughters and two grandsons (5 and 10 years old) who are around a lot.

So far I’ve mostly spent time with my host family and with Anna (my roommate), but tonight we’re going out to a discoteca for a concert with some classmates. I’m looking forward to meeting more people, especially closer to my age, to practice Spanish with.

That’s all for now. Hasta pronto.


6 Responses to La vida en Ávila…

  1. D.Cous. says:

    Sounds like you’re having quite a time over there, make sure you remember to come back 😉 Don’t party too hard with the spaniards at the discoteca, I don’t know why that word is so funny to me. A bientot!

  2. Amy says:

    Jealous. That’s all I have right now.

  3. horseballww says:

    Hola querida:
    La vida en españa puede ser muy edificante y desde luego, diferente a cualquier otra parte del mundo.

    Te recomiendo un divertido libro ” La Tesis de Nancy” escrito por el autor español Ramón J. Sender, Para no confundir la realidad de este país.

    Se Bienvenida

  4. Mama says:

    Sounds like life is wonderful! Here is a mess- Andrew is back in the hospital (see the e-mail I sent you when you get a chance….)

  5. Stephen says:

    Hey Sara! sounds great in Spain. I’m out of the hospital and as good as new. The day after I got out of the hospital I slept all day!! although I did wake up and have lunch. But that was a while ago. Hope I see you soon!!!
    P.S. hope theres not a spooky fish on the counter!:)

  6. timmyK says:

    Holy Kajeepers! Sweet pics!

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