Saturday, September 24, 2011

Granada Round 2

I am in Spain again! Finally! Getting to Granada from Chicago was ridiculous. We traveled for 30 hours straight, from 6am Thursday morning to 11am Friday morning (US time) when we finally got to our hostel. This included 3 hours waiting pre-flight, 1 flight change, a 3 hour layover, a 1 hour metro ride with a 50lb rolling suitcase and a 30lb duffel bag, a 2 hour wait for the bus, and a 5 hour bus ride. Ulaksjdflaksdfj.

After lugging all my bags through the airport to the bus station, I bought a one-way bus ticket and when I tried to sign the receipt my hand was shaking so hard I couldn't hold the pen. Yeesh.

Emily and I are staying at the Funky Backpackers, a cool little hostel near la Catedral. After checking in we walked down by the river, to Mackenzie and Allison's old neighborhood, up by API, and finally stopped to get food. It felt so normal to be back in Granada, walking through old neighborhoods and knowing exactly where we were headed without needing a map. (Well, Emily knew exactly where we were going, I recognized everywhere but they weren't areas I had been very familiar with last time.) It was a good night.

Outdoor cafe behind Corte Inglés

Walking down the "river"

I will never understand some of Spain's fashion.

The cathedral

The arab markets near the cathedral

Carmen's apartment, the 4 windows on the bottom right are her apartment. My room was the very end window on the right.

Today has been fantastic so far. Feeling refreshed after 10 hours of sleeping, we got up and walked everywhere. I don't even remember where, it's been such a long day already. At 12:30 we each went to see our host moms. I was so nervous!! When I rang the buzzer and said "soy Emma" Carmen said "who??" So I replied nervously that I had stayed at her house a year ago when I studied abroad. She didn't sound convinced but buzzed me in anyway.

As soon as she saw me her face broke into a smile and she gave me a giant kiss and dos besos. Twice. She was so excited to see me. I had sent her a message on facebook telling her I was coming but she said she hadn't gotten it.

She brought me into the "sacred living room" (so-named by me because I had only been allowed in there once or twice while I lived with her) and she told me to "sit, sit!" She spoke rapidly, as always, but this time I actually understood her and was able to speak, with decent fluency, back. Huge breakthrough for me!

I met her husband (Fabian) too. Funny story about this. They had been "dating" when Savannah and I lived there, but I hadn't particularly liked him. So when Carmed showed me a picture of her and him together I recognized him right away. And then when Carmen introduced us and said "you haven't met yet, have you?" I nodded yes right away and he vehemently shook his head no. Interesting. He didn't remember Savannah or I at all. And since I mistakenly thought I had studied abroad there in the spring of 2009, Carmen assured me I hadn't since they hadn't met until the summer of 2009.

It wasn't until later I realized I had been there from January to May of 2010. So I was right! Which also explains how when I asked Fabian how old Alfredo was now (the son of one of Carmen's daughters) he told me that I must be thinking of Paula who is three now, since Alfredo wasn't born until the year after I was there. I just let it go, even though I was totally certain I was thinking of Alfredo.
(I remember this because when Carmen told Savannah and I his name, I started laughing, because in the States, who would name their kid after a type of pasta sauce??)

Anyway, I stayed there for an hour talking and the time flew by so fast! Turns out Carmen and Fabian visit Algeciras regularly, about once a month, which means they will be able to come visit me! Carmen also told me that she has a really good friend, Maricarmen, who lives there, and she is going to give me her name and contact info in case I have an issues or need some help. Yay! My first contact in my new city! Fabian also told me that Maricarmen has an apartment in the center of the city that she rents out, and there is a chance she would still have a room open. Soo...I might have a place to live!

It was great to see Carmen again a year and a half later, and eased my fears a ton about being able to communicate in spanish. There was only one sentence where Carmen gave me a strange look because both she and I had absolutely no idea what I was trying to say. And then one time I told her "no sé como cenar...I mean comer...I mean cocinar!" (I don't know how to eat dinner...i mean eat...i mean cook!" Ug. But for the most she understood everything I said and I understood her rapid-fire Spanish. I have a new level of confidence in my abilities to live in this country for 9 months.

So that about sums it up so far, except for the 2 straight hours we spent walking up la mirador, which has amazing views of la Alahambra. We eventually had to go back to the hostel cause we were starting to limp. I have blisters on my feet and calves hurt. I can't wait to see how I'll feel tomorrow!

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