It's been a little while, but I promise I had a good excuse. My real parents came to visit me for the week and we traveled around Spain! They ate lunch with me and my host family twice, and had a parent-teacher conference with my tutor, which I awkwardly had to translate. We went to Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla (obviously), and a bunch of small mountain towns in Andalucía. It was great both to see them, and to see more of the country that I've been calling home for the past 3 and a half months.
I was supposed to meet my parents at their hotel on their first day in Sevilla, but my host mom suggested that we all go and surprise them at the train station, which was really sweet. They weren't expecting it at all and were, of course, very happy to see me and grateful to my host mom for thinking of it. We then went out to lunch and did a little sightseeing with my host family, and then went to bed early because we were catching an early flight the next morning to Barcelona!
Barcelona was amazing, and much more international than I had expected. Pretty much everyone spoke English! I felt like I needed to continually tell my parents that yes, I do in fact speak Spanish, since the official language of the city is Catalan, a sort of mix between Spanish, French, and Italian. The city's architecture, unsurprisingly, is spectacular, and unlike anything else. We went to La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, and saw the outside of Casa Batlló, all of which are masterpieces by Gaudí. Barcelona is also the city that shaped Pablo Picasso, so we saw his museum there.
We then took a high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid, where we saw the Prado and the Reina Sofia museums.
From Toledo, we took another train back to Madrid, and then one to Sevilla (by this point I decided I might as well just name my first child "Renfe" because of the amount of time I spent on their trains), where we picked up a rental car and drove to Arcos de la Frontera, a little mountain town in Andalucía, about 2 hours from Sevilla. We spent the night there and spent the next day visiting some other mountain towns, Zahara de la Sierra, Grazalema, and Ronda.
It was great to see my parents, but it didn't make me homesick. In fact, it made me realize how happy I am here, and how hard it will be to say goodbye in a few short weeks. I really love it here, and as the end gets closer I realize how glad I am that I decided to study abroad, and how I wish it could last forever.