Mi Casa (My House)

 

Hola todos! He vivido en Espana por la ultima semana. Vivo con una familia en Alicante. Alicante es una ciudad y entonces, toda la gente vive en pisos.

(Hi everyone! I’ve lived in Spain for the past week. I live with a family in Alicante. Alicante is a city and so all the people live in apartments.)

Esta es la entrada de mi piso. (This is the entrance of my apartment.)

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Esta es la cocina. Mi mama es una cocinera genial. (This is the kitchen. My mom is a great cook.)

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Esta es la sala y el comedor donde comemos nuestros platos. (This is the living room and the dining room where we eat our meals.)

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Este es mi cuarto. (This is my room.)

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Mi Familia

By: Emerson Loria

Papa- my host dad is a very helpful and kind gentleman that isn’t afraid to help out any way possible.  He is always in a happy mood and is always interested in how everyone’s day went; truly a great father and a wonderful person.

Mama- my host mother is a bit more on the quiet side, not always one to talk at the dinner table or start a conversation.  But besides her quiet personality she really is something special, I always see her helping out where she can, whether its dishes or laundry, she is always ready to help anyone at anything.

Carlos- this boy is a fan of many video games, most of which I also share a love for, so getting along with Carlos was very easy.  We occasionally play video games together and have a wonderful time after he does his homework.  Carlos is also a very smart student, a few years ago he quit soccer to do better in school and you can quickly see the results.  If you try to talk to Carlos in English he will surely mention how his English is not that good.  But after a 30 minute English conversation without a single problem pronouncing or understanding a single word you begin to notice just how smart he is.  Not only is he smart and able to converse about multiple subjects, but he can do it in two languages with almost no problems.

Diez Amores de España

By: Noah Zaiser

As a collective whole, Spain has so much to offer, even in the relatively small city of Alicante. Not only is the culture unique, but also the experiences. I’m very thankful to say that I’ve been immersed into an experience like none other in my life, and I believe I can sum this statement up with ten of my favorite things about Spain (also for non-Spanish speakers, the title means “10 Loves of Spain”).

  1. The Language – Beautifully spoken, precise and difficult all at once
  2. The People – Well dressed, friendly, and always willing to have a good time
  3. The Dogs – On any given day, you will see citizens walking their dogs everywhere
  4. My Host Family -Although they exclusively speak Spanish, we have great conversation and they are unbelievably patient with a “Gringo” like myself
  5. Night Life – The City of Alicante truly comes alive after 11, the social aspect during this time is phenomenal and it’s been a genuinely interesting experience to be a part of it
  6. The Food – How could I skip this important aspect? Empanadas, Pollo con Queso, Fruitas Frescas; it’s not hard to see that I’ve been eating well courtesy of this country
  7. The Walking – Driving around everywhere in America gets old occasionally. With walking being a good option aside of public transportation, I’ve been able to appreciate the sights and general day-to-day life of the city I temporarily call home
  8. The Learning Curve- It’s certainly not easy to learn a language that one doesn’t practice often, but the challenge makes a successful exchange with someone all the more satisfying
  9. Siestas (Naps) – No matter how old I get, I will always love to sleep. Here, it is customary to take a nap in the middle of the day, and trust me when I say that I take full advantage of that statement on a daily basis
  10. Experiences – Sure, I can have good experiences in the United States, but living in Spain has given me a unique opportunity to do things I’ve never done before. At home a new activity would be walking to work. Here, a new experience would be having your host family serve you a glass of wine alongside your dinner at 10 o’clock.

So there you have it. Ten reasons I love Spain, and a brief explanation as to why. I could go on, but there’s too much to see and do in order to form a more concise list. Thankful is an understatement. Few people get an opportunity such as this at such a young age and I know that even with the first week here, it’s an experience I will not soon forget.

Top 5 Aspects of Spain Thus Far (In No Particular Order)

By: Brendan Gallagher

  1. Homestay family: My homestay family was very welcoming from the start and have taught me the language comprehensively. The food variety is the main way I can diversity my appetite. My room here is also much cleaner than my room at home, which is a temporary habit I can maintain.
  2. Friendliness of strangers: I have tried to practice my Spanish when asking directions and have encountered a combination of Catalan, a derivative of Spanish, and the native language Spanish.
  3. Siesta after the lunch: Naps are strongly encouraged nationally after the family lunch hour. Sleeping is one of my top three hobbies and it is relieving to get this opportunity during the day without being scolded.
  4. Scenery- The Santa Barbara Castle was beautiful the other night as we were able to hike to the top and view the entire city of Alicante. Yesterday we got to witness the town of Guadalest and its famous castle, which exposed our group to the beauty of the distant mountain range.
  5. Weather: Rain is a fair throughout the fall and winter with current temperatures from around 60-70 degrees fahrenheit daily. The winters are mild year in and year out, which is an ideal upgrade from the chilly Massachusetts winters.

These are five of the several notable perks of the country of Spain and I am eager to dive into deeper detail as the weeks continue.

Fish Out of Water

By: Sammy Johnson

When I reflect over my first week in Alicante, I connect with the concept of “fish out of water” very closely. The language barrier drastically challenges things. I find myself practicing what I will say to my host family before I walk up to them and try invoking conversation. My mind is filled with so many simple questions. However, putting them into words, particularly Spanish words, proves to be daunting for me. My Spanish dictionary is now my best friend. Thankfully my sisters here help teach my Spanish. As I teach them English, they practice Spanish with me. Day by day I learn more and more. Learning more Spanish allows me to learn more about the Alicante culture. Although most Spaniards in Alicante wear slippers in their home, my host family told me how they did not conform with this tradition. As their children get older, they are trying to integrate this habit of wearing slippers or shores in the house. I notice so far that the children still do not do so. I have also learned that most people here use olive oil with everything, from toast to potatoes to broccoli. I remind myself over and over that their habits and culture is not strange, it is different. Not good-different or bad-different, just different.

English to Spanish

By: Angelo Boone

I have always wanted to learn new language. That is I why I have been especially excited for this chapter of the Gap semester. I knew that coming to Spain would be a challenging yet great opportunity for me to be emerged in a new culture and to begin to learn a new language. One thing that I underestimated was how hard the Spanish barrier was actually going to be. I only know a few words and phrases in Spanish and my host family knows almost zero English. This barrier has its ups and downs, but it has given me an awesome opportunity to practice my Spanish. My teacher said something the other day that really got me interested in pursuing learning a new language beyond these next few weeks in Spain. He said “language is how people code their own reality.” To be able to fully appreciate and assimilate into a new culture, one must be able to speak the language. It has been fun thus far using a translator or charades as a means to communicate with people, but I look forward to the day where I can have simple conversations with people without the need for those tools.

18 Things About Learning to be 18 in Spain

By: Cheyenne Wilson

  1. This isn’t high school, if you have to go to the bathroom get up and go…we’re adults now and no one decides when we get to go.
  2. No more ‘busy work’, we’re learning Spanish…essentially how to live.
  3. Curfews don’t exist, but you should still be responsible.
  4. It’s up to you to speak up if you don’t like something, even your mamás cooking.
  5. You don’t have to ask permission to go out, you’re old enough to make your own decisions just tell your family goodbye.
  6. If you want to have wine with your pasta, have it.
  7. But, remember your limits and don’t look like a fool in public.
  8. You can’t be dependent on everyone else, it’s up to you to get home and whatever else you may need.
  9. Even though you have more freedoms, your mamá, papá or abuela will still treat you like one of their own.
  10. Public transit is hard for a country girl, you can’t hop in the car and drive anywhere you want, learn to love being limited.
  11. Even though you’re off conquering the world your mom will fuss about not talking to you…she just misses you and your ‘grown-up’ self.
  12. You’re tougher than you think you are.
  13. Little kids will make you feel dumb when they speak Spanish 100 miles an hour and you can barely ask for a bathroom.
  14. Respect for little old women who still walk around town without complaining.
  15. You have to take care of each other, no matter what or where even if that means walking 37 minutes out of your way to take someone home.
  16. Even though you’re responsible for yourself, your mamá will still come make your bed for you ❤
  17. If you’re picky, it’s time to grow up and try new things, or life is really hard.
  18. An open mind can change your experience from just okay and surviving to amazing and experiential.

Alicante Natives

By: Neil Howland

Being out of ones element is something that as Gap student we should be very used to. But I do not think that there is a better way to be out of it than to be alone in a different country with a host family that does not speak any English. That was the boat that we were all in one long week ago. In one week we have become Alicante natives, learning to use public transportation, finding our favorite restaurants, and our ability to maneuver around comfortably. I think this was just another example of how this semester we were able to do things we did not think were realistic. Two days ago Tommy and I went shopping and we were just looking around a store when Tommy found a Jacket he really wanted. What I thought was amazing was how we were able to figure out that as a tourist he got a 10% discount on his next purchase so he went and bought something cheap thinking he would then get 10% off of the jacket. This was not the case and he got 10% of the 30 euro Calvin Klein boxer briefs so he got three euros off of the jacket. So with neither of us knowing any substantial Spanish, we were able to reverse the purchases and get the jacket and then get the boxers for absolutely free. Negotiating the distribution of discounts is definitely something I will remember from my first week in Spain.

P.S.- All good things must come to an end. That is just a fact of life. When it came to 2 Guys 1 Couch I didn’t think it would be quite so soon. There are so many people to thank, obviously my co-star/co-producer/co-director/editor Nathaniel, he laid it all on the line every week and maintained a professional attitude unlike anybody I have ever worked with. Elon Gap Experience Productions for their support throughout the whole process. And most importantly the fans we did it for you we wish it could go on but alas. I think people thought that it was a lot easier than it was, the constant battles of filming/condition/ moods week in and week out played a huge role in the episodes. I just wish we had a little more time.

Another Culture

By: Tommy Nelson

Entering another culture was very intimidating to me at first.  I was extremely nervous and excited to get here. I was mostly nervous about the family that I was set to live with for the next month.  I don’t know Spanish and it was scary to think about having to live with a family and try to communicate with them.  All my worries were relieved when I met them.  While it is still difficult to communicate, we have developed a number of different ways to understand each other. Hand gestures are number one, being used for absolutely any and everything.  For eating and sleeping and many other things it’s easy to throw up a gesture and have them understand.  The next tactic is Google translate.  In a way, this feels like cheating though, because it doesn’t help me learn the language.  Even in the week that I have been here I have learned so much of the language. While I can’t put sentences together and speak yet, it is very useful to know enough basic words so that they can be pulled out of conversations.  I’m very glad to have gotten the family I did and have them treat me as if I was their own.

Rules of Abuela’s House

By: Juliana Siler

  1. No matter how much you just ate, you must always eat more.
  2. Never go to bed with your hair wet. It makes you susceptible to colds and I think she said sleep demons.
  3. You must always open your shutters as soon as you wake up to enjoy the daylight
  4. Never walk around in bare feet, otherwise you’ll get a cold and you’ll die.
  5. Everything has it’s place. The folded up sweatshirt on the chest is not in its place. If you don’t put it in it’s place (hanging on the back of the desk chair) Abuela will put it in its place for you.
  6. You are by no means allowed to help in the kitchen. It’s not that she thinks you’re a bad cook, she’s just a good grandma, you get pampered. Enjoy it.
  7. Even if you know no Spanish, you have to talk in Spanish. Then she tells you to type it into Google Translate anyway, it’s a process.
  8. Never walk alone. I get told to walk with Lilli’s daughter (Alexa) at least four times a day.
  9. You CAN go to bed before one, but you shouldn’t. Abuela likes to stay up until four am watching game shows and then asks if you understand them. Not yet Abuela, not yet.
  10. Meet in the kitchen at 9 o’clock sharp for dinner, unless you’re going out, then she says have fun, adios!
  11. She doesn’t care what your other plans are, you have to go to Benidorm at least once if you’re American. She says it’s like a mini New York.