Odds and Ends

This weekend I took a break from traveling so I could enjoy spending time in my host city. There is so much to see in Sevilla, and I love discovering new things about my Spanish home every day. Here are a few of the fun, random, crazy, weird, exciting things I’ve encountered recently:

  1. Remember when I went to the Pabellones from the 1999 Exposition? Well, there are more. Our guide had told us that they extended further down the road than he was planning to take us that day, so I decided to take my run that direction and came across pavilions for Brazil, Colombia, and several other countries. I still need to find out which ones I can go inside.
  2. Two tall men. Two pairs of roller skates. One tiny Chihuahua in a sweater (the dog didn’t get skates, no fun). I was just worried the poor little dog would accidentally get run over.
  3. Someone in my Spanish Civilization and Culture class thought it was curious that the Spanish drink beer or wine late morning. Our professor explained that in Mediterranean cultures these drinks are not used to get drunk but rather as part of sustenance (hey, grapes are fruit, right?). He went on to say that while it is illegal to serve alcohol on school campuses, our university cafeteria sells beer. Why?  Because apparently beer and wine don’t count as alcoholic beverages in Spain. Okay…. As our professor says, “Es una paradoja.” It’s a paradox.
  4. Some graffiti caught my eye when I was walking by the river. It read “Te amo,” and underneath it said, “Jaime.” At first glance I read that as saying “I love you” in both Spanish and French and got really excited in a way only language nerds can. Then I realized that “I love you” in French is je t’aime, with a t. Jaime is a Spanish name.  Well, it was almost really cool.
  5. Breakfast is not a thing here. I mean, unless cornflakes count, which they don’t because they’re basically air. We had fried eggs on our sandwiches for dinner one night, and one of my roommates said she loves eating eggs and breakfast tacos with meat for breakfast. I don’t think I’ve ever seen our host mom more horrified. She proceeded to tell us quite firmly that eating protein for breakfast, or a big breakfast at all, is extremely unhealthy. Um… breakfast is the most important meal of the day! This is one cultural difference we’re going to have to agree to disagree on (but nutritional science is on my side).
  6. The number of old couples out for their paseo, walk, is astounding (Actually couples of any age, that’s what happens when you still live with your parents in your 20s and you actually have more privacy in the middle of the plaza). Picture the grandfather in The Parent Trap, with his proper suit and hat strolling leisurely about the park, just linked arm in arm with a wife. That is real. And freaking adorable.
  7. Speaking of the older generation, this morning I saw the beginning of a marathon, and this grey-haired man was jogging at a decent pace with a headband that read, “Sí se puede,” which roughly means, “Yes, it can be done.” First of all, that is the type of person I aspire to be at that age, kudos to that guy for staying active.  Second of all, major flashback to the Disney Channel Original Movie Gotta Kick It Up.
  8. Last week a couple friends and I got chocolate-filled churros. That, mis amigos, is churros y chocolate done right.Morocco 267
  9. Yesterday I was wandering the streets behind the Cathedral and beyond and came across the most beautiful handmade guitar shop. Guitars that a college student who is very aware of her nearing graduation and future as a grad student would never dream of actually purchasing. Plus after losing my luggage for 5 days at the beginning of this semester and finally receiving a dirty, scuffed-up suitcase, I would be terrified of transporting such a beautiful instrument home. But it was fun to admire them anyway.011
  10. A smaller town just outside Sevilla, Itálica, was once a major city in the Roman Empire and has wonderfully-preserved Roman ruins, including the third largest Roman amphitheatre in the world. Did you know that the days of the week are named after Roman gods? The exception is the Spanish word for Sunday, domingo, which comes from the Latin dominus deus, “Day of our Lord.” Since coming to Europe, I’ve been learning a lot of history and all the influences that have molded modern Western societies, governments, and economies. The extent to which Roman tradition continues to pervade our modern age is mind-boggling. I mean, this ancient city we toured has the original drainage system, which still works. And was made without all the modern technology we have. Think about that.006

Monuments and museums are a lot of fun, but the difference between traveling/touring a place and actually living here is that I get to experience the touristy stuff and the little details of daily life that really make a culture interesting. Plus, you know, yesterday I got to study sitting alongside the river leaning against the Torre del Oro, the remaining tower of a Moorish fort from hundreds of years ago. It’s casual.



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