1. I need some type of coffee ASAP. Spain is a culture that goes to bed late and wakes up very early and after a few months here, I’m still not sure how they do it. By mid-morning, I’m craving some kind of drink that will give me a boost to get through the rest of my classes.
2. Do I have to eat this with a fork and knife? This goes with every single food: meat, potatoes, pizza, empanadas, French fries, salad, tortilla, and so on. While it’s nice to have utensils at every meal, sometimes I wish I could simply pick up my sandwich at the dinner table and show off my true inner American.
3. I miss my sweatpants and sweatshirts. Everyone in Spain, and I do mean everyone, dresses nicely for class. While people not wearing pajamas around campus is, indeed, a plus, I do miss the days when wearing leggings and a sweatshirt to class was acceptable.
4. Should I bring my umbrella with me today? Santiago weather is a lot like Iowa weather: anything can happen. Bringing your umbrella or not can be the difference between staying dry or walking home with soaked clothes.
5. What do you mean, I have an accent? Even though this is pretty easy to tell because I’m not a native speaker, people always ask me about my accent, even other Americans. Being Midwest-nice is a real thing, accent included.
6. Does this place have wifi? Coming from someone who does not have an international phone plan, this is a frequent thought. A lot of places in Spain do have wifi, but most of them are locked. Due to this I’ve gotten very good at asking, “Cuál es la contraseña wifi?” over the past few months.
7. There’s so much American music here. Not only is there American music in just about every café, bar and store, people in Spain love watching the music videos that go along with the songs. If there’s any TV in a bar, it’s always showing music videos that match the songs over the loudspeakers.
8. Wait, I actually have to do homework tonight? Study abroad students don’t have an insane amount of homework, but that doesn’t mean we’re on a three-month vacation. Portfolios, essays, and debate preparations are a few of the things I’ve been assigned over my time here. However, one of my professors said that my homework was to, “go out and explore the culture of Spain.” I’ll take that assignment any day.
9. Loras hills prepared me for walking everywhere. No joke. Since Santiago is such a small city, walking everywhere is the most common form of transportation. Also, there are some pretty steep streets that I trek up every day. Once I make it to the top, I thank Loras for my many semesters of training.
10. Did I say that sentence correctly in Spanish? Every. Freaking. Day. While my Spanish has gotten immensely better, errors are still prominent when I speak, so when I do say a sentence perfectly it’s an accomplishment, and that accomplishment, my friends, calls for a drink and some tapas.