We arrived in San Sebastian Sunday and had orientation and the placement tests on Monday, so it's been a busy last couple of days! My first impression of the city wasn't quite what I expected because of the cold and rainy weather, but today was beautiful and I got a chance to walk around. I love the city more and more every day! It's sooo pretty and I like the atmosphere much better than Madrid, with it being a smaller city (and close to the beach :)). You also don't have to worry so much about getting pick-pocketed by gypsies. The view is amazing with the boardwalk along the ocean. I'm getting used to the city and can't wait to go for a run along the beach!
I met my host family Monday after orientation, and I couldn't be placed with a more perfect family for me! They live in a small, but very cute apartment in Gros, which is a reallyy nice part of town (but also on the opposite side of the University where all my classes are). I shared a taxi with another girl that lives close to me to get from the school to our homes the first day because they suggested that that would probably be the easiest way to get exactly where we wanted without getting lost--any other day, I would save the money and take a bus! We tried to make some conversation with the cab driver on the way over and then he dropped us off at the first girls apartment…. soo, I knew my family's apartment was close, but didn't know quite how to get there. I asked around at the plaza that was nearby, and finally found it! I knocked on the door, and sure enough, I made it to the right place.. SUCCESS! I was greeted with a kiss on both cheeks and a small dog named Zoe (pronounced Tho-e) at my feet. The couple has two daughters, one that lives with them and teaches english to young kids, so it's super helpful that she knows english so that she can clarify anything that I'm having trouble with. Mi host mama y papa remind me so much of my parents back at home. They even look like the spanish version of my mom and dad!! They are such a sweet family and I've already learned so much spanish speaking to them and living with them every day. They're very helpful and right away made sure that I feel as much at home as possible. My 'host-mom' even showed me around the city to make sure that I didn't get lost and knew how to get back to the apartment.
Today was our first day of classes, and I love all of my professors! My host sister was nice enough to bring me and a few other girls to class in the morning before work, so that was nice to not have to learn how to take the bus the first day! We were a little early, so we got some coffee in the cafeteria. All the classes are taught in spanish but it's very easy to understand because they talk much slower. I'm taking a conversation class, a Spanish art history class, and a Spanish culture class. I've already made friends with a lot of the students and feel so much at home here! I'm so glad that I decided to come and take this adventure :)
Tonight, my 'host-sister' and I went to dinner on her "moto" (scooter/motorcycle) with her friend who is an intercambio (a student that lives here that is paired up with one of the USAC students), and a couple other students. They were teaching us some of the slang phrases that we don't learn about in school. It was fun teaching them a couple of ours too! They liked using the term,"I'm down," to say that they wanted to do something haha.
I also took a walk with my host-mom and dad around a park and they introduced me to their nephew, Marco, who is two months old! He was adorable and it was fun walking around the city with them. They seem to know just about everyone walking on the streets! It's fun to talk to them because they only speak spanish but they know that I'm just learning, so they use very easy-to-understand terms. They also had a phone at the house from the last girl that stayed with them, so they showed me how to buy a phone card and be able to use it here in Spain because I was living off of WiFi (pronounced We-Fe here haha, I thought that was funny the first time I heard it!). It'll be nice to have a phone that I can use anywhere just in case!
I'll have to post more pictures of the beautiful city of San Sebastian later, but for now-- buenas noches! :)