Home Away from Home

Sunny Dangui is PRESHCO’s official blogger for Fall 2018

Sunny Dangui is PRESHCO’s official blogger for Fall 2018

Mushu, the family cat

Mushu, the family cat

Reymond, the family dog.

Reymond, the family dog.

Hola! My name is Sunny, and I’m majoring in Spanish at Colby College. This is my first time in a Spanish-speaking country. I’m currently studying abroad with PRESHCO and will be updating the fun times that I SPAINed here! Bievenidos!

Let me start by teaching y’all a Spanish word. Hueso: bone, seed. And here is an example of its usage in real life.

Spanish Mom: “I want to plant these huesos.”

Me: “People plant huesos here?”

Spanish Mom: “Yes, I want to plant the hueso of this avocado.”

Me: “I thought you meant the hueso of a chicken… and chickens are considered veggies instead of meat in Spain….”

¡Hola a todos! I’m finally back with another blog. Sorry for the inactivity - classes just officially started and the Cordoben heat makes people drowsy. Almost everyday, my papas de acogida (host parents) would furrow their brows and shake their head at me saying, “Uuuuf, ¡que calor!” and take their siesta (nap). Cordoben heat isn’t what I would call unbearable, but if you go out during peak hour, i.e. 16:00-20:00ish, it is a heat that would slowly melt your whole being (and yes, Spain uses military 24hr time). I say this from experience, because yesterday, one of the hottest days yet, I decided to walk 20min to Primark at around 16:00. It was a combination of sunbathing and sauna. Hey, it is a little hot at times, but I’m not complaining. I escaped the cold winters of Maine for a pleasant change!

Needless to say, I am enjoying my second home in Córdoba with my host family. Not gonna lie, I was a little afraid at first, because I’m used to being independent and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about living under someone else’s roof other than my parent’s. I had already texted my host mom Lola during the summer, and had since changed two phone numbers, so I was concerned that she’d be annoyed with all my texts. I also addressed her with “usted” instead of “tu” (two different forms of you) to be more polite, even though “usted” isn’t used as much in Spain.

That morning, we got up at 5:30am in Comillas to catch the RENFE (normal speed train) to Madrid to take the AVE (high speed train) to Cordoba. We arrived, battered with our suitcases, and were welcomed into the arms of our new family. Metaphorically, that is, because it was too warm for hugs; plus in Spain, people greet each other with a kiss on each cheek instead of hugging, and it’s from left to right. (Fun fact: the French also do cheek kisses, but they usually go from right to left)

We had macaroni and cheese for my first meal in Cordoba, which seemed to be a family welcome meal. When their second daughter Leonor came back, they also made macaroni and cheese. That reminds me of a Chinese phrase: 起脚饺子落脚面, which indicates the Chinese tradition to have dumplings before you go and have noodles when you come back.

I was a little awkward with my family at the beginning, but everyone was super friendly and always encouraged me to make conversations with them. On the second day, my host dad Pepe heard me playing ukulele in my room, and asked me to jam with him. Music comes in handy when words sometimes fail. He also asked me to teach him some survival Chinese. Whenever he comes back, he would say “ni hao” instead of “hola”, and “wan an” instead of “buenas noches”, although he pronounces it more like “wan han” instead of “wan an”. It really does feel like a second home for me, because they are always eager to offer advice and help to whatever’s troubling me - the Mangkhut typhoon that hit my hometown a while ago, my childhood dream of being a street artist, where to get a bonobus card…

I could go on and on about the little moments with my family, but now I’m in las jaras - a little village on top of a Cordoben mountain. My family has a summer house here where they go sometimes to “veranear” spend the summer when it’s too hot. Today is one of those days, and I think I’ll go outside and enjoy the nice, mountain temperature, while playing with their dog Remo and cat Mushu (yes, like the dragon in Mulan)!

Sunny playing with host father
Stacia BIel