During my study abroad program, I am living in a homestay. My homestay is with a woman named, Luisa and one of her sons named, Daniel. Luisa is about 65 and is retired. She is very social and hangs out with a lot of friends. She is also very fond of her grandson, who lives with his father and his wife. She also regularly takes swimming classes at the local pool. Daniel is 30-year-old and works most of the day as a mechanic. He is more on the quiet side and tends to stick to himself. Luisa and Daniel also have a dog who is quite old. Luisa and Daniel live in an apartment in Alcala de Henares. Their apartment is about 20 minutes by foot to the University of Alcala, where I am taking classes this summer. Like most things in Spain, their home is much smaller than the average in the US. It is by no means, not as nice though. Neither Luisa nor Daniel speak any English, but we seem to be communicating just fine! I did come here to improve my language skills after all!
While I know that everything always works out and that this is a new experience that requires me to do some adjusting, there are a few things that I am struggling with in my ‘new home’. For example, it is quite difficult to go from the college mentality, where you are fiercely independent to going back to a home life. It is an adjustment to remember that you have to tell people where you are at all times and remember that you cannot just change plans at the drop of the hat when you aren’t on campus or at home in the states. I find that I am also struggling with the food. As part of our program, the host families are responsible for providing us with three meals a day. While, this is a great deal (and Luisa is a great cook), it makes it difficult to say that you don’t like a certain food, or you feel uncomfortable when you cannot finish all the food given to you. Lastly, I am struggling a bit with the lack of communication. While I can understand Luisa, we don’t do a whole lot of talking. This is something I am obviously trying to change, I am going to be here for two months after all!
While there are quite a few things that I am struggling with, there are some that I like! It is nice to have my own room, unlike at college for the past two years. I also really enjoy the food, in general, that Luisa makes. But the thing that I like most of all is, the location. The apartment is situated in a beautiful part of town and the walk to the University is great exercise. I am looking forward to what comes of the next few months!