Los Días de Sevilla

Note to self: Never drink coffee before siesta.  I don’t care how tired you are, being awake during siesta could not possibly be more boring in Spain.  Anyways, since I am up while the rest of Spain dreams away, I’ve decided to write about my past few days here.  Unfortunately, I do not have another weekend in Sevilla for another month or so since I have trips planned for almost every week.  So I decided to go all out this weekend.  My wallet is currently crying and the bags under my eyes tell a story of their own.  The energizer bunny has nothing on the Spaniards.

I am a firm believer in Karma, that betch always gets you, but sometimes she’s not so bad.  Thursday night I went to this five story, very Americanized, club in Sevilla called Buda.  Sometime during the night/early morning I went to use the bathroom in a sad attempt to fix my nasty sweaty hair (I swear all I do in Sevilla is sweat, it’s gross) when I heard a little mumble come from one of the bathroom stalls.  I’m not sure why I did this, but I slowly pushed the door open and found a blonde american girl passed out on the bathroom floor.  I shook her a bit until she opened her eyes and barely made out the words, “Gonna be sick.”  Great. Well, I can’t just leave her.  I asked these other girls standing by if they knew her and just got laughed at when I realized they were Spaniards and heard them exchange a couple “Typical American” between one another.  Then it was time to hold the random blonde chicks hair for the next 30 minutes.  Damn it, this is what you get for caring about your stupid hair while out at a club, Jaclyn.  Eventually, the episode ended and I was able to get her to sit down in the least dirty corner.  I found her cell phone and called the first number that showed up in her call history.  Turned out to be the ex boyfriend, typical.  He came to the girls bathroom and I could tell she was in good hands with him.  He thanked me over and over and was shocked that I helped his ex that much.  After my good samaritan act and washing my hands at least 5 times, it was time to try to find anyone I knew.  I did not realize how long I was in there for.  It kinda sucked to spend my night doing that, but if that ever happened to me I would really hope some girl would do the same.  Ironically, the next night I found myself in a similar situation.

IMG_5550Before anyone gets too excited, no, I was not drunk and passed out on a bathroom floor, but I did find myself very alone, with a dead phone, and not enough money for a cab.  My American friends and I went out to the opening of a new club called Abril on Friday night and were greated by fed up security guards and a line that was not going anywhere.  I was a little boracha and somehow got separated from my friends and ended up at the front of the line, alone.  Being short comes in handy when you’re trying to be sneaky.  The last text I received on my phone before it died was, “We all left, are you okay?” Great.  It’s a little late now, isn’t it?  Fortunately, alcohol is common ground in all of the world and I started talking with a group of four Spanish girls in line.  They only spoke Spanish and asked me if I was alone.  I explained to them my situation and they quickly said, “No pasa nada!  Puedes ir con nosotras!” or “No worries! You can go with us!”  Spending a night in a random club in spain with complete strangers that don’t speak English…why not? “Vale!  Gracias!”  After about another 30 minutes in line, the security guard FINALLY let us in.  The club was underground and amazing.  My new Spanish friends and I danced the night away and soon enough it was 6am.  One girl said she needed to go and her friends looked at her like she was crazy, “Why so early?”  I was very grateful I didn’t tell them how absolutely exhausted I was too.  We emerged from the underground dance floor and the girls new exactly what they wanted to do next.  Perritos!  Aka hot dogs.  Nice to know the drunchies are also universal.  After our 6am snack, the girls asked me where I lived.  It turns out I live very close to one of them named Natalia.  So Natalia and I walked home together.  We then discovered we were basically neighbors and she asked me who I was living with.   I told her I lived with a family of four and the parents name’s are Jorge and Isabelle.  She quickly chimed in, “Belle!?”  This is the nickname my host mom goes by with her close friends. It turns out the random girl I met in line and spent the whole night with is the daughter of my host parents very best friends.  Such a small world.  We exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up again the next night.

So even though I may not have been as bad as the girl I found, I was still so grateful that these girls invited me into their group with open arms.  It is amazing to me how similar people are in such different parts of the world.  Honestly, the only difference between us is our first language.  If people stopped being afraid of different cultures and learned how much people from all over have in common, I could not imagine how different the world would be.  I’m not going to lie, I am still shocked by Spanish culture at times.  First of all, they dress like they are in the 80’s, roller blades and MCHammer pants included.  Spaniards are also brutally honest.  If you wake up looking like crap from the night before, they will not hesitate to share this with you.  “Oh, tienes mala cara hoy.  Tienes hambre?”  “Oh, you have a bad face today.  Hungry?”  Another example, this weekend I went to my host little brother and sister’s basketball tournament.  During Berta’s game my host mom turned to me and told me that Sergio is the best one on the team, but Berta is very bad, she only plays when the other team is terrible.  Ouch!  I have to always remind myself that none of these things are said to be mean.  It is just the truth and why should they lie about it?  It is so liberating for them.  Imagine always knowing exactly what everyone is thinking and not being afraid of the truth because you have heard it your entire life?  There is also a very sweet side to them always telling the truth.  If a Spaniard tells you that you are very guapa or beautiful or nice, they sincerely mean it.  They aren’t like Americans who sometimes feel the need to give an empty compliment.  Spaniards do not waste their breath saying anything that they do not mean.

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So getting back to my original point, today I decided to try to live life like a Spaniard and to stop being so afraid of the culture. No, I did not throw on any MCHammer pants or roller blades, I can’t quite pull that off.  However, I decided to stop at a cafe after my classes and treated myself to a cafe con leche and a chocolate croissant.  I then just sat there enjoying my own company and people watching.  Staring in Spain is a hundred percent acceptable, another thing I have yet to get used to especially since being Asian is similar to looking like an alien here.  I couldn’t help but laugh at the gordita couple from London that sat in front of me with their very touristy Seville baseball cap, big camera, and their inability to speak any Spanish.  A couple of men sat to my right hand side and only spoke sign language with each other.  A homeless lady walked back and forth in front of me over and over having a very fascinating conversation (or perhaps fight) with herself.  I then decided to go completely against the whole “Don’t talk to strangers” thing when I saw this cool lady sitting behind me.  She sat alone with a funky style that reminded me so much of my Lola’s (my grandmother on my father’s side) when she was still alive.  She had big purple glasses on, a pink shirt, a bright blue blazer, and more costume jewelry than you could imagine.  Since I was having some weird self becoming moment, I decided to talk to her.  “Me encantan sus gafas.  Qué chulo.”  I love your glasses.  How cool.  She looked at me with a huge smile and immediately pulled out the chair next to her.  There was no shyness in this little lady!  We ended up talking for almost an hour.  She was 78 years old and told me all about how she got her glasses 30 years ago while her husband was in the military and how she moved all around with him.  When she realized I was American, she told me she was very impressed with my Spanish and then expressed her love for New York City and how she has a niece who lives there now.  She was so sweet and after telling me how much she enjoyed our conversation, I told her I had to get home for lunch with my family.  She gave me a big hug and dos besos and wished me a fun rest of my trip.  I walked away with a huge smile and feeling so happy that I was creepy and started talking with strangers.

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The people in Sevilla are absolutely incredible and I am learning so much from them everyday.  They are so different then Americans but also so similar.  The girls love to gossip and the boys love their sports.  Brothers and sisters bicker and soccer mom’s are the exact same.  Friendships are created around dinner tables, a compliment in a cafe, and out at a club.  The only difference is sometimes we have no idea what the other person is saying, but with a smile and a laugh, it doesn’t really matter.  I continue to fall more and more in love with Sevilla every day.  Unfortunately, I always have that nagging thought in the back of my head reminding me that I have to leave in only a few short months.  So today I am making it a personal goal of mine to stop making days like these a rarity and to continue to put myself out there and embrace the Spanish culture.  I don’t have enough time to live here any other way.  How am I ever going to leave this place?…

The Very Touristy Couple from London. Can you spot the Seville cap and big camera?

The Sign Language Men, notice the awesome dragon shirt.

A homeless lady that walked back and forth in front of me for an hour having a riveting conversation with herself.

Yes, I am aware how creepy I am for taking pictures of these random people.  Do it for the blog.

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