This isn’t the most exciting post, but I wanted to get it up here for those interested in doing a homestay in Spain and for my family to get all the details on mine. If you’re looking to do a homestay here in Granada, keep in mind that each one is different, but all are fun!
Aside from that fact that I live in the BEST homestay EVER, I wanted to share a few of the deets on where I’m staying. I live with a Spanish host mother, María, and another American student from Arcadia named Mara. The apartment is quiet nice and very well-decorated (I haven’t included photos of anything but my room for the sake of privacy). There are intricately carved wooden frames and quite pretty paintings on the walls, all made by María’s father who started making them as a hobby when he was over 70 years old! The craftsmanship is amazing; you would have totally expected them to be done by a professional. A general trend of apartment buildings in Granada is that the outsides look normal with not much special about them, but the insides contain marble entryways and super cute, homey apartments. I haven’t seen a lot of modern apartment buildings in the city center, but that just means that the ones that are here have that much more charm.
Mara and I have our own rooms, each containing a nice desk, shelf, radiator (estufa en español), closet, bedside table, and super comfy bed. The sheets here are like amazing thin fleece blankets! We were given all the comforts of home on arrival: soft towels, big fluffy blankets, delicious meals, and a hug from a Spanish mom! The entire apartment is equipped with radiators, space heaters, and other things to keep us warm, as there is no central heating system. In Granada, a very warm and dry city, it is rare to have central heating. Mara and I share a bathroom with a shower and a bathtub, but Spaniards don’t normally take baths. Conservation of water is important in Spain, but especially in Granada because it is in a rather severe drought and water is insanely expensive. María also cleans our rooms (we keep them tidy, she mops and does the real cleaning) and does our laundry once a week. Now to the food...wow! María is THE best cook, and we get 3 meals a day while living here. We usually get a small breakfast of cereal or toast, a huge lunch that usually is comprised of some delicious stew or meat dish and bread, and a medium-sized dinner. We always sit with her to eat and either talk the whole time (if you know me, you know I talk her ear off) or watch TV. Keep in mind this is all in Spanish. What more could a girl ask for?
This homestay has provided me with a lot: a live-in Spanish conversation partner, someone to tell me the ins and outs of the city, plenty of liberty (I know that’s a worry among most students), and a mom! Listen, I’ve done the whole “fully independent,” “I don’t need a mom at school, I’m an adult” thing and, let me tell you, this is so much better. It’s such a nice support system to have and really helps you to feel comfortable in another country. You get everything you could possibly need with the same freedom of an independent apartment. I miss home simply because I love it, but I haven’t been “homesick” at all. I adore Granada, and being in a homestay allows me to explore it even more because so much is already taken care of for me.