Viva Espana. This phrase normally said with much fervor and gusto by its spanish founders reflects the passion that most Spaniards feel towards their homeland. This passion that can be seen in their eyes, heard in their voices and tasted in their flavorful food has influenced my decision to take the opportunity to travel to Segovia, Spain with Clark Academy’s study abroad program. After a six week long break of anticipation and packing, a four hour car ride to Boston’s Logan airport, and a six and a half hour plane ride I finally arrived in Spain. Together with my 9 fellow peers I hope to discover more about the rich history, vibrant culture and romantic language which this nation of red and gold is famous for.
Stepping onto the cobble stone streets of Segovia for the first time, I noticed the wrinkles and cracks of the stoned pathways. I immediately connected these cracks with the old age and sagacity of the city of Segovia, which I had researched a few times before arriving. From first glance I was enchanted by the old stone buildings, Romanesque style and hilly streets that the city is known for. Walking down one of the most bustling streets in town at 6:30 pm, the Calle Real, with my new host mother Maria Jesus, I was awed by the comforting street lights, numerous shopping stores, however most importantly, the energy and vigor that the natives so effortlessly exuded. My first time being exposed to Segovia I knew I had to discover every tucked away corner of the city.
Although I had been in Segovia for merely five days I already noticed the apparent pride many Spaniards had for their culture. One of the first times I realized this was in a local hangout spot, a cafe just a few minutes from the Calle Real. Sitting in a cafe with the rest of the group, I carefully sipped my steaming cafe con leche. I looked up to find an explanation for the sudden cheering and intense silences in the cafe. The Real Madrid soccer team was broadcasted on the television and all eyes were glued to the game. I looked up just in time to catch the star of the Real Madrid team, Cristiano Ronaldo, pull a trick of fancy footwork to bypass the defender and shoot the ball into the soccer net. Goal! The cafe bursted into cheers and applause completely confident that Real Madrid would now succeed in defeating their opponent. This moment in the cafe was so momentous because I was able to have a first look at the passion that Spaniards continuously emit no matter the situation that they are in.
In addition to the deep emotions the Spaniards portray during their sporting events, when I took a Flamenco dance class I was able to have another look at the passion of their culture. Monday night I arrived at the dance studio in Nueva Segovia, the new part of town, to dive into the beauty of this magnificent art form. As the Flamenco teacher, a fiery brunette, began the class I closely watched attempting to mimic her movements. I noticed as the teacher stomped on the floor, elegantly however, not afraid of making a big boom with her dance shoes and like Cristiano Ronaldo displayed fancy footwork of her own art form. I also noted the intricacy of the dance. The Flamenco teacher whirled and contorted her fingers, arms and body this and that way, with every step she made she would respond to it with one even bolder. I admired her ability to never leave a single move unfinished. Although the Flamenco class was only an hour, through it I was able to get a clearer picture of the pride, passion and self esteem deep rooted into the spanish culture.
Spain’s extensive history of high notes and low beats in many ways coincides with this trip I am currently partaking in. Although I hope for my time in Segovia to be full of only merriment and vivacity I cannot ignore the fact that it is inevitable that I and the rest of the nine kids will come across struggles ranging from homesickness to group quarrels. Nevertheless; I will welcome these endeavors with open arms because when I challenge myself to step outside of my cozy comfort box my personal growth is boundless. The Spaniards have an incredible ability to show passion in their daily lives no matter how tiny or grandiose the situation. During my nine week stay in Segovia I hope to learn from this ability and bring this characteristic to my day to day occurrences at Clark Academy. Even though my travel has just begun I know I will soon be able to say the famous phrase Viva Espana with ardent passion, replicating the tone of my new Spanish acquaintances.