I never knew what love – true love – was until yesterday.
Flying is brutal. Especially when you hop aboard your flight, and it’s 5:45, then eight hours and 21 Jump Street later it’s 9:55 AM in Madrid. My neck hurt a lot. I was really tired. And probably extremely unfriendly (sorry, y’all.) I also probably cried because I missed my friends and family already.
As soon as my feet hit the ground at the Madrid airport, it felt like home. There were so many different languages buzzing about me, it was chaos, it was beautiful. The airport is so nice. I didn’t take pictures because I felt it was too touristy – but it’s one of the nicest airports in the world.
Then, the bus. Traveling to Segovia, we finally saw the Spanish landscape. So beautiful. Dry, but beautiful. There are all these sepia-colored houses and neighborhoods lining the streets. They played Michael Jackson and Prince on the bus. Some of the people in the program were arguing over who was the real king of pop… My vote goes to MJ, even though I like Prince more.
We got into Segovia and it was like a wonderland with a Burger King. We got off the bus right in front of the aqueduct – which I have not captured on film yet (I’ll be here for 29 more days…) – and met our host families. I met my roommate for the first time and she was very shy, but very nice. Our host dad (as opposed to our senora) came to pick us up and was very friendly! (By the way, the Spanish do kiss on both cheeks when they greet each other. Even though Ms. Burgess told me they did it a million times, I still thought it was a myth.) His name is Sandro. He drove us to his apartment where he, his wife, Myriam, and two precious daughters viven (that’s Spanish for live.)
He talked so quickly that I couldn’t hardly understand him, even with six years of Spanish under my belt. I did, however, understand him when he said partido de futbol.
PARTIDO DE FUTBOL?! WHAT!! YOU MEAN THE EURO CUP FINAL THAT IS GOING ON TONIGHT WHERE MY FAVORITE TEAM OF ANY SPORT IN THE WORLD IS PLAYING?!!
and I tried to communicate with him about it, and hinted at watching it. We talked about our favorite players and he accused me of being a Torres fan (while I do love me some Nando, Casillas, Ramos, and my beloved Xabi have my heart.), a statement at which I laughed.
My roommate and I unpacked and spent time with our family for a while. They call me Bi (pronounced bee, like the letter), because it’s easier than Bailey. We went out for tapas and Coca-Cola, talked a while, and laughed a lot. I love my host family. They are super nice, understanding about how off-par my Spanish is, and are so comical.
By the way, we had three tapas, which are like little appetizers. One was some kind of sea creature on top of salad on top of bread – I didn’t like it. Then we had ham on honeydew melon, which Sandro, mi papa de casa, made me eat whole. I didn’t really like it, either, mostly cause I got choked on the ham.
After spending time with them, I realized that my Spanish wasn’t that bad. It’s gotten worse now because I think too hard about it, but even they complemented me on it (so my life is obvs complete. except not.)
Anyway, love. We toured Segovia afterwards, and it is the most enchanting place that I have ever been. It is tiring and horrible to walk around here, so hilly and cobblestoney, but so quaint and perfect with beautiful buildings and stores and so, so many bars. (I went to one and got lemonade – saving the Sangria for later.) I was already in love with the city, but last night cemented it.
I decided to watch the game in the plaza. I missed the first 15 minutes because we got lost, but what I did catch was amazing. The plaza was full – I mean AT CAPACITY – of people, almost all in roja y amarillo // red and yellow, the colors of Spain. My boys played phenomenally. When they scored goals, the entire city erupted in cheers and threw water and beer on each other. At the third goal, I was screaming of happiness because I knew we’d win – but at the fourth goal, I nearly pissed myself. It was a big game to the Spaniards: if they won it, they would be the only team in history to win three consecutive cup titles (euro 2008, w.c. 2010, euro 2012)… and they did. When Mata (I think) got the fourth goal with assistance from Nando, I screamed, jumped up and down, pretended I knew the songs of celebration they were singing… It was so beautiful. I know I won’t be able to describe how much I loved it. My roommate and I watched as everyone cried, hugged, jumped, sang songs, screamed, whistled, gave off fireworks, beat drums, threw things into the air, and were just plain happy. The celebrations lasted all night.
As we were walking home, cars drove by and honked at us because I was wearing a Spain flag like a cape. I would scream VIVA ESPANA!! and the people would honk, and honk, and scream it back. CAMPEONES! VIVA LA ROJA! so many cheers throughout the night. It was the most epic moment to be a part of. Now I’m part of Spanish history… I experienced their third cup title in Spain.
They love their football here. We’ve been watching stuff about it on TV since yesterday, and my host family makes fun of me for getting giddy and excited when I see my boys. Shucks. Can’t help it.
I showered last night and went to bed thinking about how happy I was to experience everything I had that day. Outside, cars were still honking and people were still yelping. I was so thankful for everything. At La Fuente, firetrucks came and sprayed everyone down for fun.
Today was tiring. Classes were long, I tipped a waiter more than 100% for a water because he was so nice, and I took a 2 hour nap… That’s about it. We’re going to Toledo tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be able to be a bit more concise with my storytelling. Siempre que viva Espana! I love it here so far, although I am homesick.