Sarah in Sevilla: A day in the life

    7:00: I wake up, even though I know I have thirty more minutes to sleep before I need to shower. Is it possible to still be jetlagged after three weeks?

    Sarah’s abroad in Sevilla until May 12.

    7:30: I drag myself out of bed. I stayed in last night because of my program’s 9:00 a.m. excursion this morning. Unfortunately, the sound of Alejandro and his friends rocking out to the Black Eyed Peas reverberated through the paper-thin walls at two in the morning and thwarted my plans for an early night.

    8:30: Christine and I power walk over a mile to our bus, loaded down with bags of umbrellas, raincoats, hats and mittens. We’re in the Mediterranean but the last trip we took was miserable because it was windy, raining and below 40. (I know I can’t really complain since I’m not being bombarded by snow in Chicago.) As we make our way, we see remnants of the rest of Sevilla’s partying from last night: the contents of someone’s stomachs alongside the bottles of Cruzcampo that probably did them in…

    10:00: We arrive in Itálica, a city filled with Roman ruins. Thirty of us file off of the bus, many still grumbling about the early hour and weeks of cold and rain that none of us had anticipated in signing up for Spain. As we stand outside miserable, the sun suddenly peers out! As we begin our exploration of the ruins, our guide narrates the history of the Romans in Itálica. While this is quite interesting, most of us tune her out to bask in the sun or take pictures of our shadows. We find an intact statue of a naked Roman man, which really is quite artistic, but although we’re all 20, our inner child comes out as we try to position our hands to give the illusion that we are ‘touching’ the Roman.

    12:30: We return to Sevilla before lunchtime, but our señora is away for the day in a coast town. She told us it was for “business,” but this seems unlikely excuse given she works as a secretary at a yoga studio. Christine and I suspect she’s on a Romantic getaway with the ‘hombre,’ she keeps sneaking out in the mornings. She has left us lunch, so we eat a very early Spanish lunch. The Roman ruins sparked an incredible hunger in us both, but after downing our food, we both question what we just ate. Definitely beans, but flavored with what? There were two thumb-sized hunks of meat in both of our bowls, but whether it was sausage or some other mystery meat, I have no idea. I decide I’d rather not know the truth. Still hungry, I appease myself with half a box of Special K I have hidden in my room.

    13:15: As I spill cereal everywhere, I get confused by the time (they say 1:15 de la tarde, but it’s still written as 13:15), and catch up on some Gossip Girl. But it has Spanish subtitles, so I feel at least a little bit cultured. Other than the fact that I’m watching Gossip Girl, which hasn’t been socially acceptable since the first season.

    15:00: Christine and I get tired of waiting for our friends to finish lunch with their host families, so we mosey over to El Centro. I’d like to say we found a cute Spanish café where we mingled with locals, but we both get tea at Starbucks while we wait for friends to come shop with us. We sit across from the biggest cathedral in Sevilla, so I feel somewhat cultured. Christine and I stare in amazement not just at the trendy Spanish women who pass by us on the busy street, and also at the fashionable children accompanying them. There are little girls in adorable periwinkle bows and couture coats strutting alongside boys in canary yellow pants and designer motorcycle jackets. I feel like I’m in the middle of a petite Vogue photo shoot.

    16:30: Our friends finally arrive and we discover a cute store that smells like Abercrombie & Fitch but actually has pretty trendy clothes. After spending too much money, I’m still not as fashionable as the children on the street, but I feel like I can hold my own at a Spanish nightclub.

    16:45: The tight skirt I got earlier will not be making an appearance tonight, since we find an heladería that someone’s host mom recommended for milkshakes.

    18:00: We decide to head back home to have some R&R before dinner, but as we make our way through the throngs of families, we hear drumming get louder and louder. Finally we see flashes of gold and red as dancers in fabulously flashy costumes round the corner, leading a parade of hundreds of people in oriental costumes, Candy Land-esque costumes and everything in between. We watch in awe as we’re bombarded with different kinds of music and dance. A man holding a fashionable baby tells us it’s a parade for feria. I didn’t think feria was until the end of February, but I hope that the whole month is filled with parades like this. Maybe at the next one they’ll throw candy!

    19:30: Christine and I make it home and are greeted with sandwiches with more mystery meat. And egg. Interesting… We run over to El Corte Inglés to pick up some bread, and eat it with cheese spread. Not the most satisfying dinner, but I’ve had enough fun kinds of meat for the day.

    21:30: I’m all ready to go out for the night (in jeans and a loose top, to accommodate my milkshake), but realize that nobody else will be until at least midnight. I’m still not used to Spanish going out time. So I wait.

    23:30: I watch more Gossip Girl and even looked at my homework. Finally my friends are ready to meet at a tapas bar.

    00:15: The tapas place is super cute but also really pricey. We share a bottle of wine, but decide that this is more of a “parents visiting” restaurant.

    00:30: We leave the restaurant and start walking to a popular Spanish club where we’re meeting more people from our program. I decided to wear new green heels tonight, since I was inspired by all of the well-dressed women in the street. Bad decision. We walk.

    1:00: And walk. Christine and I are craving chips and salsa. I know we’re in Spain, not Mexico, but all the Spanish is making me want Mexican food. I’m hungry.

    1:30: And walk. We find ruins of Roman aqueducts in the street though, so we stop to take some pictures. My feet are killing me!

    1:45: We stop to ask directions, convinced that we’re going the wrong way. An older man tells us it’s one block away though! (He’s officially my favorite person of the night.)

    2:00: We get into the club, Buddha, no problem, but then have to pay 8€! Christine and I contemplate leaving right then and spending our money on chips and salsa, but other girls convince us not to be curmudgeons and to come into the club. I unwillingly hand over my money (I vowed I wasn’t going to spend any more today after my shopping extravaganza!) and enter the club.

    2:15: Maybe Buddha is worth the 8€. We did get a free drink ticket upon entrance, and the decor is amazing. There are golden buddhas everywhere, and lots of fun paintings and statues — not to mention three floors of good music! I run from one to the other, to be greeted by Lady Gaga, then Beyonce, then Katy Perry, then more Gaga. We also discover platforms that we can dance on! Spanish girls stare at us in disgust, but Spanish guys stare in awe. I guess we’re perpetuating some American stereotypes here. Oops.

    3:00: My goal while out in Spain has been to get as many free drinks as possible, since I want to save my money for traveling. But the facts that I’m in a long distance relationship and that many Spanish guys are creepy have been thwarting my drink mission. I start talking to a cute (by cute I mean baby-faced and short. Although short is relative, since I’m six feet tall in heels) guy dressed in a suit and tie. I figure if he’s that dressed up, he must have some money to spend, so I think maybe he will be my first drink provider. I’m correct! He’s actually a pretty interesting guy, so I don’t mind talking to him as he buys me his favorite drink: “ron y coca.” Okay, maybe he’s not so sophisticated.

    3:45: I didn’t want to completely use the suit guy, but I’m getting tired of talking to him. I tell him I’m going to dance with my friends, and he smiles and follows me. He then tries to take my coat to check it, and attempts to start salsa-ing with me. I’ve had enough and decide it’s late enough to go home.

    4:00: Christine rescues me from suit guy, but while we’re both ready to leave, our friends who we want to take a taxi with are definitely not.

    4:30: Finally we drag our friends away from Spanish guys (and a guy from our program: group-cest!) to find a taxi. But we smell something greasy and tempting…

    4:45: We hop in the cab with our McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets and fries, stinking up the taxi but extremely content with our food. I’m exhausted though.

    5:30: I’m finally home and in bed, but since it’s only 10:30 in Chicago, I decide to Skype with my boyfriend. Our conversation is mostly him talking and me mumbling incoherent responses, with frequent interjections about how much I love McDonalds in Spain.

    7:00: Apparently I pass out on Skype, but I managed to stay awake for 24 hours for a perfect day in Sevilla.

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