As most of you know, I graduated from Haverford College in May, and am currently in my first weeks of a year-long program teaching English in Valladolid, Spain. I probably should have started this blog before I left, but…I didn’t. So here we go.
Valladolid is the capital of the largest region in Spain, Castilla-Leon. With a population of about 350,000, it’s a whole lot smaller than San Antonio, and also smaller than Sevilla, where I studied abroad two years ago (which happens to be the capital of the second largest region in Spain, Andalucía). Like many European cities, it’s much more concentrated than most US cities, with a concentrated centro, or downtown, full of tiny winding one-way streets. My apartment is very centrally located, which means both that I have easy walking access to grocery stores, museums, wonderful little tapas bars, and everything else the centro has to offer, but also that I can catch a nearby bus and go just about anywhere else in the city. The school where I’m working is south of the center, about 4.5 km/almost 3 mi from my apartment. I’m theoretically interested in the possibility of walking home from school when it’s not so hot, but for now I take the bus, which takes about 20 minutes.
I moved into my apartment on Friday, after a long and exhausting Thursday of apartment hunting with my friend Elizabeth, who went to Bryn Mawr and is teaching at a different school in Valladolid through the same program. My wonderful boyfriend David came down from Santander to help me unpack. (He’s also teaching English this year, in a city about 150 miles north of me, which comes to about four hours by bus. I’m going to visit him this weekend and I’m so excited! Apparently they have an amazing beach.) I live in a three bedroom apartment with two Spanish girls, and we share a huge living room/dining room, kitchen, and two bathrooms. Irene, who’s lived in this apartment for a few years, is 32, and works in quality control at a meat packing and processing plant, where they make all sorts of delicious Spanish sausages like chorizo, salchichon, and morcilla (ok, I don’t actually think this blood sausage is delicious. But they still make it there). She grew up in a small town not far from Valladolid, and has lived in the city for about 8 years. Isabel just moved in yesterday, and is in her last year studying telecommunications at the University here. She’s from Salamanca. They’re both really nice, and I’m excited to get to know them better.
Today’s adventure was doing laundry, and I need to go hang it up on the line, but I’ll be back soon with posts about learning to use an electric stove, dealing with Spanish bureaucracy, and of course, food! Teaser: there’s an AMAZING frutería literally around the corner from my apartment. So far there’s only been one day that I didn’t go in and buy something cheap and super delicious.