So, it’s official—I started my program in Cáceres, Spain, and I have to say I have settled in quite quickly into my new home. Obviously, there are some major differences between here and Albuquerque, but I’d like to think I am adapting pretty well to the way of life here.
Cáceres is known for being an old town that follows old Spanish traditions which means siestas are regularly practiced here. One very interesting thing about Spain is that everything happens so much later here. People don’t eat lunch until 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., dinner isn’t eaten till 9:30 p.m., and the sun doesn’t even set until 10 p.m. Because of this everything is a lot later. You often see kids running around at like 10 p.m. in the streets. I also get so many steps in every day. I walk everywhere I want to go whether that’s to school or to the Plaza to hang out with friends.
One of the things I do have to get used to here is using my Spanish. One of the reasons I joined the program was to practice my Spanish, but that comes with two hardships. First of all, Spanish is my second language so it does not come as naturally to me in conversation. Second of all, the Spanish I do know comes from New Mexico/Mexico, so the words used there are very different than the words used in Spain, so sometimes there are some discrepancies in the conversation. However, it does make for some great stories. One of my favorites is the story of the Peacock.
In one of the first days in Cáceres, one of my professors took us out to check out the historic part of town. While walking around, we saw a Peacock, and my professor starts telling a story about how the Peacock is the only one in the town and is named, el Pablo Real—which directly translates to the Royal Pablo. So here I am thinking, “Wow, good for him. He’s royal.”
So, I casually mentioned, “Pablo must be really sad being by himself.” Immediately, my professor snaps her head and says, “Who the heck is Pablo?” I motioned to the Peacock, only for my professor to laugh and explain to me that the word for peacock in Spanish is ‘pavo real.’
However, my time here is not spent just walking around and living up the night life; I do actually attend classes here. I am taking a Spanish literature class, a conversational Spanish class, and an Honors class about the culture here. It is really nice because it makes my education very well-rounded. Out of all of these classes, my favorite class is my conversation class because I am able to practice my Spanish in an informal setting which I feel like is very useful in day-to-day life.
Overall, I am falling for this little city and all of its quirks.