Second Week, A Lot Of Firsts

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Hello everyone! It’s been a week since I last wrote about my trip to Spain, and a lot has happened since. From traveling to the Spanish Royal Palace to watching a Spaniard cook an authentic paella from scratch, my trip to Spain is already quite memorable. Much to the dismay of my legs, I have again walked countless miles—and I feel I have yet to even scratch the surface of Madrid. This past week, I traveled to Segovia to see ancient aqueducts, to a cabin in the mountains to the north, and across a variety of parks sprinkled across Madrid. Somehow, I managed to juggle my adventures with my Spanish homework and research!

I need to mention that most nights here involve me touring the city in a dogged attempt to find authentic Spanish food, or simply tasty city cuisine. I tried my first Spanish tortilla, my first croquette, my first cochinillo, and—finally—my first paella. The spanish tortilla was exactly as I expected: an egg and potato dish that was a little colder than my body temperature. While everyone hyped it up, it was not my cup of tea. The croquette was a tasty, crispy nugget with creamy bechamel and bits of ham in it, and the cochinillo tasted similar to the lechon my Puerto Rican grandfather would cook for Christmas. However snackable the dishes listed prior were, the most flavourful and delicious meal had to be the paella. I was able to watch and see the chef cook the paella on the patio of a cabin that lay on the top of mountains. The experience and taste was such a wonderful experience; there, I realized I am—in fact—on a study abroad trip in one of the oldest and most culturally-rich countries in the world.

While I appreciate eating out at restaurants and vacation time in cities and parks, my studies have slowly begun to infiltrate my schedule. Learning spanish is, of course, the biggest hurdle I have to jump over to truly enjoy my experience in Spain. In class, we’re powering through verbs and conjugations, and we’ve started to get into adjectives. Though my learning of spanish is moving fast, my understanding of a native Spanish speaker is non-existent. Fast speakers can throw me off quickly, and I am slowly learning to pick up boilerplate words to get by. My research has just begun, and we have spent the past week out of the lab and catching up with the literature before we can touch the chem equipment. Overall, I believe my studies and research hours in Madrid are becoming one of my more time-consuming parts. However, I also believe these tasks will be the most important things I will bring with me out of Spain.

Like last time, I would like to leave you with a picture that I have taken during the past week. This time it will be two pictures: one of the beautiful aqueducts that are visible in the streets of Segovia and another of the paella cooked before my eyes. Thank you, have a great week, and I will greet you again with another post!