What a day! This is the big day of orientation that I wish I had gotten months ago, even though I still have huge questions lingering.

Like, what’s the deal with opening a bank account over here? And how should I go about getting a cell phone?

But I did get a lot of questions answered. Like, what I can get involved with on campus? And how do I sign up for classes? (Answers: sports or volunteerism; and it’s complicated).

This is my university

The “Jornadas de Bienvenidos” lasted from 10 a.m. to about 7 p.m. of session on top of session on top of session, with one group photo snuck in. I met people from all over the world — every European country you could think of plus places like Canada and Chile and Mexico and Singapore.

I was actually surprised by how few of the international students speak Spanish. It made me feel kind of good knowing I’m not the worst one (by far!), but at the same time it’s frustrating because I’m always wanting to practice my Spanish and so few people are able to do that with me. I did meet one girl from Chile who I liked a lot, and she preferred Spanish over English so we happily chatted away until we got introduced to some Belgians who didn’t know Spanish.

After a full day of socializing and walking, of course I’m exhausted, and of course everyone else wants to party til the break of dawn. With dinnertime at 10 p.m., people pregame at 11:30, go out at 12:30 and stay out til 4 or 5 a.m. — on a normal night! I really can’t handle it. I’m all for embracing the culture, but with this I can only think about how much of the morning I’d miss by staying out so late. I’m about to head out to Alex’s apartment, where the UNC kids are hanging out with some of Alex’s roommate’s friends. But I might be lame and come back early. Maybe I’ll go to the bar for an hour or two, but I am definitely not up for clubbing.

a central plaza in the “Old Town”

a gorgeous fountain in a traffic circle

pinxos at a bar: this one was made with hongos (mushrooms) y grasa del pato (duck fat)

a tapa made with eel and octopus and shrimp

some sort of veggie tapa with lots of cheese


  1. Griffin - January 8, 2014 @ 3:42 pm

    Praying for you and wishing you well in your new adventure!
    Love you!
    Aunt Brenda

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