I really can’t describe my time in Sevilla without raving about Veritas. There are 6 of us girls in the program, and I’m so thankful for how they’ve been friends to confide in, make last minute tapas runs, and be the best travel companions. I’ve loved our weekly bible study (alongside about 10 others we’ve met in ISA who wanted to join!) and getting to know people in Sevilla through the missionary couple. They plan a community event monthly to gather people they know, either through church or through the English school they teach at, and spend time at each other’s homes. Sevillans don’t often have people other than family over at each other’s houses, so it’s a great way for people in the community to meet one another!
We helped them plan a “Western night” last Friday where we all dressed up in flannels and taught line dances to the Sevillans. It was such a blast getting to show them a bit of America (although not quite the California America I know- the girls from the Midwest felt more at home with the line dancing!!). I spent time talking with two high school girls who came who showed me some of their favorite Spanish music after I taught them every line dance I know (including the one to “Happy” which feels like second nature after dancing it all summer at camp- you never know when knowing a dance will come in handy!!). I got to paint a cowboy photo booth backdrop and take photos of the cute little niños dressed in their hats and bandanas! It was such a sweet night of celebration and reflection on all that God has done and is even continuing to do in the last couple weeks here in Sevilla.
As the spring continues to arrive in Sevilla, it has been amazing to see the city prepare for it’s April Fair. The gardens are all groomed and flowers are being planted everywhere. Now the fountains are all turned on, and bull-fighting season has officially kicked off. Last week we were able to go to my first bull-fight, and while I didn’t really know what to expect, I was surprised at how much I appreciated the tradition after living in Sevilla for only 2 months! Seeing the crowd wave on the bullfighters as medieval trumpets sounded from the stands is truly an experience you can’t miss if you happen to be in Spain during the bullfight season.
Feria itself was a memory I will always treasure. You see the city come truly alive. Over the course of the week, a million people gather in the city’s fairgrounds, which is lined with “casetas” (tents that different families or groups rent out to hang out in and dance flamenco into the late hours of the night), and on the other side is basically a huge county fair, with cheap fair rides and the best fried food and of course, the Feria drink, rebujito. Isabel dressed Maritza and I up and we had the best time walking around and seeing everyone admire our dresses- which our host mom hand sewed twenty years ago! The beautiful older traditional style caught everyone’s eye! Feria ended on Sunday at midnight accompanied by fireworks at the river. It was magical!
While this month has been filled with so many travels, I’ve loved how I find that each time out of town I miss Sevilla. It’s not always easy here- some days I am exhausted after going to bed at 2 am (since dinner is so late), and then waking up at 8:30 to walk a round trip of 2 hours to school and sit in lectures for 6 hours. And there are also days that I am sad missing a church service in English or experiencing daily life with friends and family back home. However, traveling around Europe and visiting friends has helped so much in this home stretch. But returning to Sevilla after each little trip seems to be just a little preview of how much I’ll miss it when I return to the United States. This city with it’s vibrant, yet laid-back culture and charming cafés, have forever made a mark on my heart.
Written by Sarah Singh
Sarah is a Political Economy Major at UC Berkeley, with a concentration in Natural Resource Markets in Developing Countries. She was excited to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain to become more comfortable using Spanish and to learn about the culture and religions of Sevilla while living in it. She has lived in the Bay Area her whole life and was beyond grateful to live in another part of the world for a semester.
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