January 24

I woke up around lunchtime feeling energized and ready to spend my first full day in Valencia. I wasn’t too hungry but decided to eat so I could hold myself off until our late dinner at 8:30. I’m not sure what the name of the food was that I had but it was basically a Spanish version of a salsbury steak. I sat with a bunch of people but mainly talked to Dr. Baker about slang Spanish and popular expressions to use here as opposed to else where.

Next, a group of like six of us decided to take the afternoon to go explore the city for ourselves. The historic district that we are staying in is incredible, there are so many ancient buildings (churches, museums, etc.) surrounding our dorm. We started to wander and any cool building that we saw we would head toward it. We came across la Plaza de la Reina (where our bus dropped us off when we first arrived). It was such a beautiful day outside that we decided to sit outside in the plaza and have a coffee.

We ended up having the funniest conversation about our favorite Disney movies and just enjoyed the day. Everyone is kind of in the same boat in that we all are so excited to be here. Even though I haven’t known many of them for too long, I still feel like I have a close relationship with everyone on the trip. We felt some raindrops so we decided to get even and keep moving on. At another end of the Plaza is the San Miguel Basilica so we decided to head that way and check it out.

Being a Sunday I thought we would be able to go inside and check it out if there were no services in session. When we got there we were surprised to see that it was closed. I asked a lady in a small shop right next to the Church if it was possible to go in and she said that they are going to open at five. We had forty five minutes until it opened so we explored a little more of the streets.

We definitely looked like dumb American tourists with all of our cameras in our hands, but it was so worth it. So many of my pictures turned out really cool. When it was five, we headed back toward the Basilica but once again were surprised when it hadn’t been opened yet. The Valencia soccer game was on TV though and some people wanted to watch it, not to mention the sky was getting a little darker and rain was close. We decided to come back when it was more convenient.

When I got back to the dorm I got a chance to Skype the family back home. It was really good to see everyone. Without all of the technology these days, I would feel really homesick. I filled them in on all of my happenings for about thirty minutes. I didn’t have much time before dinner so I rushed to write my blog but it took forever because I kept getting sidetracked.

For dinner I had a really good soup with noodles and vegetables (go figure I eat veggies over here). I felt reenergized after dinner and wanted to hang out with everyone. A large group of us headed to an Irish bar called Finnegans to watch the Colts game. Molly is from Indianapoils and is a die hard fan so I decided to pull for the Colts. Even in Valencia of all places I saw an obnoxious Jets fan. He was a loud obnoxious Italian looking guy. Every time the Jets did even the slightest thing good, you would hear him screaming and clapping with excitement. By the end of the game his happiness had faded and I was relieved the Colts won.

Caroline had prearranged meeting at Max Max with some of the American students that live here that we met in Madrid to watch the Colts game. Caroline, Ashley, Diego and I decided we would try and find it, not knowing how far it was. Caroline did some research while we were still at Finnegans and got an address from a bar tender and set off on our way.

It was raining but only a drizzle so it felt kind of good to walk through it. By this time it was 12:30 and the city was absolutely dead. Literally the four of us were the only ones on the street minus a random car driving by. We crossed over an area in the middle of the city called el Rio that is a dried out river bed that they turned into a park. It was dark and pretty unlit at night so we decided to stay on the safe side and check it out the next day.

As we were walking we came to la Mestalla, the Valencia Club soccer team. While it only holds 55,000 people, it was huge. We are all going to a game February 4th and I can’t wait! After looking for about thirty minutes we finally found the bar and sure enough the only people in the bar were the Americans that we had been scheduled to meet.

We watched most of the game and had a few beers but left in the fourth quarter because it was so late and our first day of class was is in the morning. I got home, and went to bed. I was anxious to experience my first day of class and couldn’t wait for the morning.

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