This morning, I woke up around 8:30, showered, had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, packed up, and boarded the bus for Valencia. We left around 10:00 and drove through the Spanish countryside. Which is gorgeous, by the way. We stopped for lunch around 1:15. I had pringles and fruity mentos :)
After lunch, we drove the rest of the way to Valencia. At around 4:15 we arrived at the huge soccer stadium that is located close to the ISA office and the university. This is where we met our host families. Lindsey and I were very nervous, and it was a little awkward because we didn't know what our host family looked like, but they had our passport pictures to find us. (Mind you, my passport picture looks like a mugshot from the hippie era). Finally, they found us and we all introduced ourselves. They are Los Villoldo Úceda. My padre's name is Cesar, and he is perhaps the sweetest little man I've ever met in my life. He is very engaging, and likes to learn new English words. My Señora's name is Matilde, and she is definitely the head of the household :) She is very friendly, but a bit reserved. I also have two hermanos, Cesar, who is the oldest (30) and a little disinterested. But that maybe have been because he'd just bought an amplifier for his bass guitar and was preoccupied :) The other is Miguel (27), who is sweet and maybe a little shy, but very eager to help and learn. He helped us configure the internet (which was so complicated - he's pretty much a genius). We also have one hermana, Marta (28). She took us on a tour of Valencia for about an hour and a half. We saw our bus stop to get to school, the city hall, lots of plazas and shopping centers and fun places to go. She is a librarian at the polytechnic university here, and also an English student, so her English is the best out of the family. She was extremely helpful and kind. All the children seem so much younger than they are. They're hip and fun and great. Also, there is a cat, Trasto, who is mean. Haha! They were very confused by my name - they couldn't understand why you didn't pronounce the G. But finally, when I explained to them that the -igh in Leigh is silent, they understood. They likened it to japanese (Li) which we all found hilarious!
After our tour, Lindsey and I began to unpack and get our stuff organized. Our room isn't huge, but it's space enough for us. We also have our own bathroom, which is incredible. (I'll take pictures of the house sometime this week and post them).
We had dinner around 8:45, which is earlier than we'll normally eat. Señora cooked us patatas and habas verdes (potatoes and green beans) with aceite de oliva (olive oil) and pan (bread). We also had some type of meat, but I'm not sure exactly what it was! Nevertheless, it was a delicious meal.
When we'd finished eating, Lindsey and I gave Señora our gifts. She absolutely loved them!! We sat around for a while and just enjoyed each other's company and joked, after which we bid each other a good night.
I'm absolutely in love with this host family. Our house is directly across from the police station, we're within walking distance of el centro (downtown) and there is a huge park (which used to be a river) that is great for running not far from here. It's a very safe and very ideal location.
Now that we're finally here and getting settled, I am so ready for this semester to start!!!!!