The quote “Que no hay en la vida nada como la pena de ser ciego en Granada” perfectly sums up how I feel about this stunning city after living here for two weeks. In English, I take this quote to mean that nothing is worse than going through Granada blindly.
When we first arrived in Spain just over two weeks ago, everything was a whirlwind. We had orientations the day after our arrival, then tours, moved in with our host families, and finally started school all within the span of about four days. Before the program, I remember feeling really stressed, but everything fell into place once we arrived.
The thing that has struck me the most since touching down on the tarmac is how stunning everything is. On “tour day,” we walked through the historic neighborhood of Albaicín and watched the sunset over the Alhambra. But beyond standard tourist destinations, sometimes I have to stop in my tracks to take in graffiti, or admire the little things like the bollards (traffic blocker things — I know, I had to look up the right word for it) in the streets shaped like pomegranates.
Granada is colder, bigger, and more welcoming than I had expected coming in. In terms of the weather, myself and many other UW students have talked about how, being so far South, we didn’t bring enough layers for the weather. Granada is shielded from warm air by the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and even Madison, Wisconsin students can’t make it without a proper coat. It is also bigger in the sense that you will be walking everywhere, and I also thought that this would be easy, living in Madison. However, I have consistently been walking 5-10 miles a day, which I did not prepare myself for. Finally, in terms of welcoming, I was extremely nervous to land in Granada without knowing a single other person on the program, but this fear was unfounded. I am already settling into a great friend group and have met some wonderful people, four of whom I already went to Málaga on a weekend trip!
Anyway, as I begin to plan adventures that I will remember forever, I’m also doing my best to cherish the small moments that make up memories. And while I am doing my best to discover my city and country, I’m also finding time to discover myself.