Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'm officially "Málagueña"

I have just embarked on a great journey that will change my life forever. I'M IN SPAIN. Ok, so we can call it - Spain parte dos (part two). I have returned to Spain. But this time by myself as an exchange student to the University of Málaga in Spain. I cannot begin to explain the mixed feelings I have on the inside. I am super excited on one end and on the other I am nervous as heck.

Thus far I have only been in Málaga for about two and a half weeks, but when I first arrived, I never thought the day would come, but after 3 1/2 months of planning and preparation, I finally made it to Málaga! I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to fit ALL my stuff I into my two bags. And I'm a girly girl, so I "need" all my stuff (including the 12 pairs of shoes I brought - a girl needs options). Well, after a 12hr journey, connecting through London, I landed in Málaga. When I got off the plane I felt good. Being surrounded by Spanish speakers was music to my ears. Funny thing is, Spanish peninsular accents had always been "different" for me. That is, Spaniards speak differently to people from Latin America, which is what most of us are used to in the United States. But now Spanish (i.e. from Spain) accents intrigue me. Michelle, one of the other students from GSU met me at the airport to help me with my luggage. She asked me to bring an extra bag for her, so it was quite comical watching us push a cart with some 170lbs of luggage out of the airport. I was doing some thinking during the taxi ride back to the residencia (Residence Hall). While looking out the window and taking in what I saw I realized that I felt very comfortable here. Sure, Málaga felt and looked different to the other Spanish cities that I had visited on my last trip to Spain in 2006, but not in a bad way. Actually, I felt right at home. It was then that I noticed that all my nervousness and anxiety about being here had dissipated. All I felt was peace. I am going love this place!

The residencia where I’m staying is huge! Some 200 students live there. The office was expecting me, so when I arrived, the lady at the front desk, Fernanda, came out to give me a kiss on both cheeks, which is the tradition here. I went up to my room and met my roommates, who are all from nearby cities. We chatted for a little while and they told me that they were all busy studying for finals, since their semester ends at the beginning of February, instead of in December as in the U.S. I actually LOVE my room -it's a good size. I have lots of closet space (whew!) and a huge desk for all the studying and reading I will be doing. My room is 1 of 5 in sort of a suite with 2 bathrooms. The great thing about this residence is that you get 3 meals a day and one snack. They also have someone come and clean your room AND your bathroom Mon-Fri...¡¡Mira que nice!! I only had one problem! Ok, that first day as I was standing in the hall of the suite, two of my roommates lit up a cigarette...right in the suite!! I was like, heck no. I honestly have nothing against people who smoke, but it does bother me when they smoke indoors...especially when it’s going to affect me. I decided to be diplomatic and just talk to Isabel (the residence director) about it the next day.
I must say that Isabel has got to be the coolest residence director ever! She brought me and the other new GSU students into her office to welcome us. I think she was just as excited for us to be here as we were. I mentioned the roommate/smoking issue to her and she was totally cool about the whole thing. Although it is against the rules to smoke in your room, we just decided it was better for me to change rooms. I had to decorate it immediately so as to make it really cute and comfortable. And really, 6 months is a long time, so I want to make sure I can unpack, unwind and make my room feel like home.

I am super exited to share snippets of my Spain experiences with the HerJourney readers. This blog will serve as an annotated version of my Spain blog. For full blog updates on progress, events, experiences, impressions, travels and studies, go to http://teljer-in-malaga.blogspot.com. Although I may be in Spain "by myself," I hope that this blog will enable each of you to be here with me in spirit.

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