Friday, September 28, 2012

A Series of Firsts

1. Our First Tapas
       After a week in Spain  we still hadn't tried Tapas. So when our new friend Larissa invited us out for Tapas, we jumped at the chance. And now, we've been back 2 more times. We went to a tapas bar, which is a little different (I think) as they had a menu of about 30 tapas to choose from. So, it was more like a combo menu where for a set price you can pick from a list of items. We were able to order a Coke and a sandwich for only 2.60 euros! The choices ranged from hot dogs to potatoes to fried eggs. It was pretty neat. We have since received some suggestions for other great Tapas restaurants and hope to try them soon.

2. Our First Trip to El Parque Natural de Los Cerros (Natural Park of the Hills)
       About 2 weeks ago, we took our first adventure to Los Cerros. During orientation, they told us that it was very close and within walking distance from the school, so we looked it up, found directions, and set out one Friday morning. And while yes, it was within walking distance, it was a long way that included walking across a narrow bridge, through a tunnel, and alongside the highway. So, not the easiest place to find. Then, the routes at the park can take up to 4 hours, one way, walking. So, we just explored for ourselves, following any path we could find. And I have got to say, “Wow!” The walk was definitely worth it! From the park you could see all of Alcalá stretched out in a grand panoramic picture. It was very impressive and we are eager to return.

3. Our First trip to the Panaderia
     Sibley and I have made it habit to visit the park near our host house most evenings before dinner. What started as a time to stock up on caffeine, traveling to the corner store to buy soda became somewhat regular. Then, one day, we ventured into the Panaderia. A wonderful place very similar to a bakery with lots of fresh pastries and bread. Since then, we have been back many times and are now considered regular customers. The kind woman at the store now has suggestions ready for us for new things to try and will sometimes slip in a few extra treats.

4. Our First Street-side Complement
       Yesterday, Sibley and I received our first street side complement. We had been warned of pinches, pokes, and catcalls from men on the street and were a little concerned. However, this was nothing like that. A middle aged man passed us on the sidewalk and mumbled something along the lines of “chicas tan bonitas!” which translates to “such pretty girls!”. We were shocked and pretty thrilled. It was very flattering.

5. Our First Interaction with a Soccer Team at the Park
The neighborhood park
     So, in our visits to the park we often people watch or walk around the track, talking about the day and practicing our Spanish. Yesterday, we were joined by a young high school soccer team. The group of boys ran counterclockwise while we walked clockwise. The first few laps were nothing interesting as we avoided the boys running towards us. Then, the next time they passed us, they stretched out their arms and “flew” by us making airplane noises as they did so. We smiled and laughed, thinking it was some Spanish thing we didn’t quite understand. Then we noticed they only did that when they passed us. Then, they started to change things up. They choreographed careful routines, dancing or staging a mock battle with us as they rolled to the ground and shot at us with fake lasers from behind a tree. We caught on and began the same, flying around like airplanes (they were really excited when we joined in!) and having fun as we passed them around the track. What a fun night!

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