By Your Friend Studying Abroad | The Minor
Hello Facebook! A few of you might know this already, but I’ll be in Seville (Spanish: Sevilla), Spain, next semester. If you want to know what kind of cool cultural experiences I’m having while you’re stuck in America, feel free to check out my blog!
These next four months are going to be the greatest time of my life-–and I want you to know it–-so check my blog regularly for updates, and you might learn what it’s like to live outside the bubble of the United States.
I’ll begin my blog before I leave home, of course, by updating you on the various details of trip planning and packing. If you thought packing for your own trip was boring, wait until you read 600 words about another person’s packing, written in the bland but passable style of a junior political science and spanish double major.
It’s important you read that post because it will be your first taste of me describing inane details of my life, with the obvious expectation that you will appreciate them just because they come in blog form and are written by me.
It will be my first taste of power.
Once I’ve touched down in Spain, I’ll let you know about all the exciting things I’ve done already, like taking an international flight, visiting baggage claim, and checking into my hotel. You know, the kind of life-changing moments of cross-cultural communication that must be preserved in painstaking detail for posterity.
You can also expect a post about the things I will miss most about the United States. This post will really bring home the point that my life is better than yours in every way imaginable. I’ll give you a whitewashed version of my life in America, filled with close friends and delicious home-cooked meals compiled into a list that’s short enough to keep your attention and long enough to make you wish you were me.
When I share it on Facebook, I’m expecting double-digit ‘Likes.’
After that, we’ll reach the first of many ground-breaking cultural critiques, either on the deliciousness of Spanish cuisine or the graciousness of my AMAZING host mother, or madre. I’ll let you know that you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted jamón ibérico or sangria straight from the plastic bottle. I’ll tell you how hospitable my host mother is, how this interesting and unique woman–-whose eyes twinkle with life, whose crow’s feet speak to a lifetime of little niños raised to adulthood under the firm but tender rule of a Spanish ama de casa–-will make my experience in Spain unrepeatable.
I’ll want you to know what you’re missing out on, but words won’t be able to capture it.
Next, I’ll begin a multi-part series on Spanish night life. Like many great American authors, I’ll experience the vibrant culture of Spain by drinking with other Americans. The best part about studying abroad is that it lets me publicly describe my nights of binge drinking and debauchery without worrying what future employers will think. My Facebook might be PG, but like anything with cultural value, my blog is rated R.
The group of Americans (and probably UNC students) in my program will be at the core of my Spanish cultural experience. They’re the people I’ll speak English to when I’m not speaking to waiters, they’re the people I’ll drink with on Tuesday nights when Spaniards are sleeping, and they’re the people I’ll hook up with at the discotecas. I won’t talk about them much in my blog, because that would break the illusion that I have integrated into the city in a matter of days, that I have woven myself into the beautiful Moorish tapestry that is southern Spain, that I have become a native, a sevillano.
I’m going to visit a lot of cool places while I’m in Spain, so you can expect several brilliantly composed iPhone photos of Spain’s cultural landmarks. A panorama shot of the Alhambra, brilliantly captioned “The Alhambra” for instance, or a photograph of Emily and Clara atop La Giralda, a brilliant work of profile picture-quality.
These images, which will rival postcards in their breathtaking splendor, will be irrefutable proof that I have internalized the cultural wealth of Spain, that these pieces of our common heritage have worked like potter’s hands on the earthen vessel of my soul, sculpting me into a sage and worldly traveler whose depths cannot be sounded by you plebeians back home.
Every once in a while, I’ll write a post about how the beauty and culture of Spain have changed my outlook on life. These will occur at the low points of my trip, during the tedious afternoons between the classes that I don’t do work for and the American bars I frequent at night, when I have no idea what to do with myself because Hulu and Netflix don’t work in Europe, and when I am closest to admitting I’ve learned very little about what it means to be a Spaniard.
These are the times when I’ll write about how transformative my time in Spain has been.
The same platitudes I heard at the mandatory study abroad orientation will be waiting for you when you visit my blog, between my stories of Oktoberfest and an account of my time in Morocco, there to convince you that I’ve experienced something worth writing home about.
You’ll walk with me through one of Spain’s rural villages, or aldeas, you’ll meet the campesino whose generosity humbled me, and you’ll know that I’m much better at being humbled than you’ll ever be.
I write because I am the heir to Hemingway, and my four months in Seville will be remembered as the great sequel to his time in Pamplona so many years ago. Each five-hundred word post will reveal something of the Spanish and Americans spirits, intertwined in an elaborate flamenco dance in my soul, poured into the open vessel of my inner self, one chupito at a time.
Skype me at PunWithMyNameAndANovelFromAPEnglish.