Coming into Segovia was a strange experience. Taking the train from Madrid is only thirty minutes, but within those thirty minutes, the landscape changed drastically. Everything was nice and green, the trip was fairly peaceful, and then we went through a tunnel and after we came out it was a winter wonderland. It felt like I went through the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia. Getting into the city was a little difficult as well. The roads were covered in snow, and once I got to my flat, there was more snow piling on top of the already five inches that was on the ground. There was so much snow that all of the roads closed the next day, and the only way to get around the town was by foot. The good thing is, I live right across the street from the cathedral, and covered in snow, it was gorgeous.
Attending class the next day was very stressful for me. People tend to think that I am extroverted, but I am, in fact, the complete opposite. I become very anxiety-ridden when entering unknown territory, which I assume is expected from anyone when going out of their comfort zone. There are seven people from my university back in the states in total who are on exchange with me, but I know none of them. It can be very scary entering a new place without any sign of friendship, but I was happy when I met Rachel during orientation.
Class was very intimidating. The university is very small and everyone knows everyone, so I was clearly the odd one out. After a few classes with the same people, things began to become easier, and I actually have an undesignated, designated seat, which is a big deal to college students. According to my classmates, in Segovia the students begin to go to clubs at 2am. TWO A.M. How? I can barely go to 2 when I am back in the states. We both had to clock out early that night.
It was not until thursday night when I found others who I felt I could grow a connection with this semester. The university only holds one event for all exchange students, kind of a bummer, BUT I did meet a lot of new faces that I know I can go to if I need something. After thursday, we created a group and spontaneously took a day trip to Madrid.
Let me tell you. Madrid that day was terrible. I love the city, but the weather was just not cooperating. It was rainy and very cold, but we did have a few good shopping moments and good eats. We were all a little tense near the end because it just happened to be a long day, but I do think that it is important to see each other like that in order to become a closer unit, so I am thankful for that day. Rachel and Ken did get some good shots of us throughout that day, and I cannot believe they came out looking that good.
All-in-all the first week had a lot of ups and downs. It is strange to think how many people you can go get coffee with, or have a games night with, and never see again. It is also strange to think about how quickly friendships can be made over a few days.
One of the biggest struggles that I have been dealing with lately is the fact that some days I just want to go to my flat after class and not do anything but eat and sleep. I feel guilty because here I am, on the other side of the world, yet I am holed up inside my flat instead of going out to explore. In a way, it feels like back in the states, because I am attending school. I am enrolled in classes, and I will still have to study. School is school, and that is always a priority. It just feels like I would be doing this back in Austin as well, almost as if it is no different, which is fine. I think I had too many expectations when coming here, and I am happy to see that it is not quite how I imagined it would be. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to get through culture shock, that would be much appreciated! There will always be ups and downs, and maybe this is something that I am going to have to get through.