Monday, July 18, 2011

Cádiz

By Tindall Sewell and Caroline Brown


We have been living in Cádiz for a week and a half now and have had the chance to get situated, embrace the culture, study Spanish, and explore the city. Although every day brings something new, we have developed somewhat of a daily routine. Clanging bells from the church wake us up around 8:30 every morning. We get ready for school and usually have juice, cereal, and some sort of fruit for breakfast. Although we try to leave the house as quietly as possible, we usually hear a ¡Buenos días! or ¡Hasta luego! from María’s room.

It’s only a 5-minute walk to the university. We are both taking the same 2 culture and art classes for the first 2 hours. Then, a 30 minute café con leche break to wake us up for our 2 hour grammar class…long, but it flies by, and next thing we know we are back at the house to meet María and Pepé for lunch, the biggest meal of the day. A typical meal includes some kind of meat or fish, a salad, side, and of course—the famous gazpacho (pronounced “gapasho” in Southern Spain). The gazpacho definitely took some getting used to, but now we pretty much expect it every day. Lunch has been our favorite meal, not only because of the delicious food, but also because of the relaxed, yet entertaining conversations we have had with both María and Pepé. After lunch we have a daily bible study and then, depending on the day, either rest, siesta, go to the beach, play beach volleyball, or have other activities planned by the program. One day this week we had the chance to visit the “Torre” to see all of Cádiz, while other nights we learned how to sevillana dance and attended a flamenco show.

Beach volleyball has been one of our favorites. After receiving a name of one of the professors at the university who played beach volleyball, we tried to contact him, but didn’t have the best of luck. One of the other teachers talked to him and gave us a sheet of paper with his name and a time to show up to the courts. So, we show up to La Playa Victoria (a beautiful beach just a short bus ride away from where we are staying in Cádiz) in our sporty beach attire, hoping to give them the impression that we are serious about playing. We knew this beach was longer than the other one we had visited, but we didn’t know it was miles longer!  Not knowing where the courts were, we asked this boy that looked like he might be playing beach vball. We lucked out, and he showed us the way. We arrived right at the time that was written on the paper and started asking around if anyone knew a man named Rafa, the professor we were supposed to meet. No one had any idea. So, we waited for a while, and about 20 minutes after they had told us to arrive, we were about to leave, when we saw this guy walking up to us. It was Rafa! I guess it wasn’t hard to find 2 tall, pale American girls. We realized that Spaniards take their time with just about anything, except for talking really fast. We played some super intense 2 on 2 matches and have even been invited back to play more. Since then, our communication has improved, as we are now on their beach volleyball league e-mail chain, wooo!

If we don’t have the chance to play beach volleyball one day, we’ve continued to make up our workouts depending on the circumstances.  Also, we joined the Millennium Gym, where we’re the only Americans and girls.  The humidity seeping into the hot gym and rampant smell of testosterone covering every machine create an undesirable atmosphere, but it’s got all the machines we need! If we don’t go the sweat chamber gym, then we usually make up a circuit with sprints in Plaza San Antonio just outside our apartment.  People have stopped to take pictures of us, just stare, or one day these little kids tried copying our pushups.  Whenever we pepper with the volleyball in the plaza, the little boys surround us and beg to be on our team!

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