Coming from a family where our motto is “Food is love,” I was most excited about trying new foods in Spain. Some people come for the music, the beer, or the discotecas, but not this girl. I´m all about the tapas and dulces. My host mom, María, has failed to disappoint when it comes to authentic Spanish cooking. Background information: María lives in what we Americans would call a duplex (un chalé adosado in Spanish) in a newer section of town. Her house is absolutely gorgeous. It has a front and back porch surrounded by glass instead of screened-in like in the United States. She also has a neat little backyard (called a jardín) and fences covered in vines. My American roommate, Kate, and I sleep in the loft, which has a tilted ceiling and two skylights. María is extremely friendly. She has done everything in her power to ensure that we have an authentic Spanish experience. Even though our breakfast of cereal and juice is more American, our lunches and dinners are muy típicos (very typical) of Spain. So far she´s cooked us fish soup, tortillas patatas (like our omelettes with potatoes thrown in), and croquetas (kind of like our hushpuppies but filled with ham  and cheese), among other dishes. We usually drink water with our meals and we always have bread, not our presliced stuff back home but delicious, crispy artisan bread that people purchase from a pandería (bread shop or bakery) every other day. We typically end our cena (dinner) with fruta (fruit)and yogur (yogurt). We´re stuffed to the point of bursting after lunch and dinner, but it´s just further proof that we´re loved here! We watch the news and Spanish movies while we eat to improve our Spanish and of course keep up in Spanish news. It was María´s idea. I don´t understand everything I hear yet, but I´m learning. Since María works during the day, we only eat with her at night. María still makes us lunch for us to heat up in the microondas (microwave) every day after our classes. Plus, she also makes us sandwiches (called bocatas, bocadillas, or pinis) every day to snack on between classes. We´re American; we´re not used to waiting until 2:00 or 3:00 to eat lunch! She washes our clothes too, and I´m convinced she hid the dish soap from me so I would quit washing dishes when she´s out of the house. On top of all that, she takes us shopping, helping us find the ATMs and purchase cheap, prepaid phones. I believe all the host families are compensated for our stay here, but María has gone above and beyond to make us feel welcome. ¡Muchas gracias, María!

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