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Finally! My only thought as I stepped off the long chain of flights to Seville. Finally, I had arrived in the city that I had decided upon, prepared for, researched and studied for months. Finally I was going to start my classes, my new routine, meet my new friends and of course experience Seville! I hopped in a taxi and requested he take me to my homestay Genaro Parlade of which I butchered horribly and said something along the lines of “Granada Parlour”. Thankfully, my driver just giggled and inferred where I was intending.

I was greeted by my new roommate Mel whom my new host mother, Maria Jose, laughed at the similarity of our names (Mel and Bel). After a full bowl of warm Garbanzo Bean soup and delicious vegetable pot roast and a shower, I was asleep.

Plaza España, Seville

Week of Welcome began and placed itself as one of my all time favorite weeks of my life! This week was filled with so many amazing events to help us become accustomed to our new home. We walked to the ICS to take care of some academic and orientation business, and then we were off to a week of friendship, exploring, touring, walking, boating, and of course eating. We got to see some of the most amazing buildings including Cathedrals and the Plaza de España, we learned so much history and language with our experienced guides as we would walk through this ancient city. We learned about Sevilles Arabic culture with tea and belly dancing. We explained all of the legends and myths of the city all the while making some of the most amazing friends and connections.

Despite all of these amazing experiences, however, the Flamenco Show was by far my favorite event. The audience in this aged theatre was lively with drinks in their hand when abruptly the lights shut off and a woman slowly and dramatically walked from across the room, up the stairs and onto the stage to introduce the artists of the evening. Silenced by the drama, we watched as a guitarist, and two singers followed in the women’s trail and tuned their instruments and began. The guitarist began alone and slowly was accompanied by periodic clapping and occasional murmurs from the signers. Still in a trance we jumped as the flamenco dancers ran onto stage with a burst of sounds and speed and began dancing in a way that can only be described as passionate tapping, stomping, clapping and snapping. By the end of the performance, all of the artists on the stage were singing, playing, and dancing with such passion, talent and rhythm that I noticed my mouth had literally fallen agape. The music, traditional costumes and pure passion of the performance will be a memory that will remain with me forever. As the show began, I remember having an immense feeling of gratitude that finally I was here in España.