This morning has turned out differently than I expected it to. I woke up ready to head out to the Lladro (a famous Spanish ceramics artist) Museum for a free guided tour of his factory, private paintings collection, and special works of art with some of the other girls from the Institute. Prior to leaving, I asked my mom if there was a faster way than walking to get to the museum. She advised that I take the bus, but after leaving later than I wanted to and seeing how many stops the bus was going to have to make, I decided that it would be faster to walk.
Mistake Number One: Never believe that you can walk faster than a bus.
Anyway, I start out walking. Google Maps estimated that the trip of several kilometers would take one hour and two minutes. Great. I had one hour and twenty. My goal was to cut that down to 45 minutes. I thought about bringing a map with me just in case the written directions were confusing, but I decided against it.
Mistake Number Two: Think that you don’t need a map when you are going to a new location.
So I started walking. I was proud of myself because I was making great time. I found the right streets. And then I arrived at the end of the street and encounter a round-about that has some streets labeled and some unnamed. I couldn’t find the next street I needed, walked around looking for it, and finally decided to take a nice long one that seemed like it was going somewhere.
Mistake Number Three: Trust that every street sign that appears on Google maps will also appear in real life.
I kept walking. I ended up next to an onion field and other fields of flowers and vegetables. I even found some roosters. But I could not find any of the street names that I needed. So I called one of the other girls to let them know I wasn’t going to make it to our tour, and turned back towards home.
Next time, I’m taking the bus.
*Disclaimer: (Yes, I probably should have asked someone the name of the street that I was on. Mistake number four).
So now I am back home and have decided to spend the time that I was going to spend at the museum updating my blog with several entries of what has been happening in the past few weeks.
The Sunday after Las Fallas, I was invited by my intercambio to her friend’s house to have paella. Paella is the national dish of Spain and it originated in Valencia. I had heard from a friend from Spain that the best place to have paella is in the home of a Valencian. I was beyond excited to try it.
Valencian paella is different from the typical paella that appeared in my Spanish textbooks. Paella is often made with many different types of seafood. Although you can order this type of paella in Valencia, the traditional Valencian paella is made with chicken and rabbit.
After church that morning, I met up with my intercambio and we headed over to her friend’s home. When we walked in, there was a huge pan of paella simmering over an indoor fire. It smelled and looked absolutely delicious.
When it was finished, we put the pan in the middle of the table and we all ate out of the same pan with spoons. This particular paella was seasoned with multiple spices and contained rice, green beans, chicken and artichokes. We enjoyed squeezing lemon over the top which made it even more delicious.
It was a beautiful afternoon. We sat around the table together sharing wonderful conversation and food.
That same day, my host mom’s mom arrived to stay with us for awhile. I had been dying to learn how to make the delicious Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish potato omelette) that I had been enjoying for weeks and had heard that Grandma has the best recipe. A few days, she agreed to teach me while she made the tortilla for dinner that night.
Grandma took the time to teach me step by step how to make the famous potato omelette and explained to me the ways that make her tortilla unique.
I enjoyed spending time with her in the kitchen, learning her secrets and listening to her stories.
And my mom wasn’t kidding about Grandma’s tortilla de patatas. It was absolutely incredible.
These are the moments in Spain that I love more than any museum. There is nothing more special while studying abroad than being invited to share in traditions that have been taking place for years in this country with amazing people.