Yesterday was my first full day in Valencia, which pretty much meant it was my first time doing anything and everything.
It was my first time:
1. Riding a Spanish bus
2. Riding a Spanish metro
3. Riding a Spanish train
4. Working in a school of Spanish children who speak English at school
5. Getting lost…and finding our way
AND many more!
The day began with us heading to the American Institute, where the GenEd students our trip would have classes every day. Our host mom showed us the way using the bus, so we could find our way on our own in the future. From there, we headed to Caxton, by riding the metro and the train…now that was nervewracking! Normally, we will take the school bus with the kids, so hopefully i’ll never miss the bus! I started in my class, a Year 4 class, which, to USA standards, would be 3rd Grade. These students come from around Valencia, and some come from other countries! They are mostly all native Spanish speakers, but at this school, they learn and speak English. It was so weirdly fascinating to be with these kids in a school that runs completely different than anything I’ve ever known. The kids have so much freedom, their lunchtime is AN HOUR AND A HALF, and they seem to seemlessly go from speaking English to speaking Spanish and back.
Their lunchtime completely amazed me. In the Spanish culture, their eating times are completely different, as well as how much they eat. They eat lunch around 2 o’clock, and it is seen to be the “main meal,” and they eat a lot. This is often followed by a “siesta” (a nap), so many stores in the city are closed from about 2 to about 4. They might eat again a little later, and they eat their “dinner” around 10 o’clock. My host family eats ours around 9, 9:30, and this is seen to be early. I have eaten SO MUCH since I’ve been here. As a sign of respect, you are expected to eat all the food served, not to leave a single morsel behind (seriously..the morsel you left behind will be put on your plate). I’m pretty sure I gain 5 pounds after every single dinner, and then burn it off the next day with all the walking we’ve done.
Yesterday after Caxton, we headed out on a walking tour of Valencia, as you might have seen in the pictures I posted yesterday. We saw the beaches, the City of Arts and Sciences (stunning, right?) and then came back to the city center, where the Cathedral was located, along with lots of street vendors and shops and restaurants. I saw a large portion of Valencia yesterday, but I know there still is A LOT to be seen. We finished up in the middle of the city center, and we were expected to find our way home. Michelle and I got out our map and headed out! While we took like 3 wrong turns (tell me why the street signs are on the sides of the buildings, and the names are a little different on the signs than on our map?) we eventually found our way!
What a beautiful first full day in Valencia! 🙂