I know some of you read Will’s blog as well. He introduced some of the people I talk about, but I thought I should do the same!
Merete: Pronounced: “Mah, reh, tah”. My roommate from both London and here in Granada. She goes to Ohio University and is a Sophomore ALSO studying Journalism (holla!). Merete enjoys loooooooooong siestas and any kind of disco, haha. Oh, and she’s in love with Juanes.
Daryl: a.k.a. Daryl-Dactyl. One of the chicas who lives next to Merete and I on the 2nd floor of Jardines. She is a freshman this year at Wash. University in St. Louis. She is originally from Miami, Florida. Daryl loves to giggle at everything. All the time…Lewis is convinced she even giggles in her sleep. Daryl has class in the Kenia building, so we get to walk together every day!
Jilian: a.k.a. Juanita. Jilian is Daryl’s roommate, and loves to Skype everyone, all the time. She’s not afraid to use her Spanish, even if she’s not quite sure what she’s saying. She’s also a freshman this year from Wash. University.
Mirella: Mirella is very serious about her school work, but also really likes to go out! One of my most memorable moments of her so far is when she got a package at the AIFS office and started yelling, “Yay! My Chemistry and Physics books!” Either that, or the time at lunch where she started crying because she was so happy we might go to a Backstreet Boys concert.
Breana: One of the five AIFS kids from St. Thomas. I actually had a Spanish class with her last year. She is Mirella’s roommate and they live directly below Merete and I.
Marisa: From the Boston area, and is studying to be a teacher. She reminds me a LOT of Christina (my cousin) in many different ways…even though she’s not blonde. She lives on the other side of Jardines. She enjoys leading the pack when we’re out and about…Jefe. Marisa is in my intensive Spanish class for this first month, so we get to do the long 30 minute walk every morning together.
Chryssi: Also from the Massachusetts, Chryssi is the third and final Wash. University freshman we have here on the AIFS trip. Chryssi is the other Jardines girl who is in my intensive Spanish class this month. She was initially in the first class that I was placed in, but we moved up together. Chryssi rooms with Marisa on the other side of Jardines, and apparently talks in her sleep.
Adam: One of the only 2 AIFS boys who are living in Jardines. He enjoys playing soccer (well, any sport for that matter), and will most likely be the captain of our intramural team. He is one of the other St. Thomas students here in Granada. He did a J-Term through St. Thomas before in Seville, so he is VERY good at Spanish! He’s Will’s roommate and they live above Marisa and Chryssi over on the other side of Jardines.
Florian: Or Fabio, or Frodo. He lives with us here at Jardines. He’s from the Canary Islands…but his dad is English and his mom is French, so he has a very interesting accent. I’m very jealous of his ability to speak so many languages (French, Spanish, English, and he dallies in a few others as well)! He is very outgoing and loves to have a good time. We can always count on him on getting us off our butts and out to do something.
Lewis: A newer addition to Jardines. He’s from England but speaks basically fluent Spanish, which is probably a good thing since his BRIGHT blonde hair makes him stick out among the Spaniards. He loves to play all sorts of sports, so Adam has already recruited him to play soccer with us.
Alan: From New York. We met Alan one of our first few days here. He lives in one of the Jardines apartment style rooms across the street. He tends to hang around with our AIFS group because he came here on his own—not through any program or anything!
Other Jardines kids you might hear me mention: Alejandro, Michaela, Amaia, Ana, Maria.
Paula: Our resident director here in Granada. She is originally from New York, but studied abroad here 23 years ago and met a boy…he was actually her intercambio (this is the reason Will doesn’t want me to do an intercambio with a boy, haha). They fell in love, and he convinced her to move her 2 years later. She finished up school, worked for a year in the states, and then moved here with one suitcase, and has been living here since. Her and Miguel now have 2 little kids, both of which came with on the beach trip. Super cute! Paula has a very strong attitude toward everything, and is always willing to help with anything no matter how important or unimportant it may be. When we started having issues here at Jardines she goes, “I’m not scared of them, and don’t let them scare you.” She also helped Will get his new computer through customs—dodging a 600 Euro charge. It’s nice to have someone like her here, because she KNOWS what it’s like in the states, and is able to explain things very well to us in ways that make sense.
Inma: Paula’s assistant of…15 years. Inma helps coordinate everything, and is always willing to help. She’s a bit quieter than Paula, but I can tell that if there were any issues, she’d be able to stand up for us. She always seems to be smiling, which is nice to see whenever we walk into the AIFS office.
Emilio: My first teacher of my intensive Spanish class in the Kenia building. His favorite English phrases include: “you are fired!”, “what in the hell is that?”, “the party is over” and “oh my god”. As you can see, our Spanish skills must frighten him. He is hilarious and I wish he was teaching one of my classes during the actual semester!
Sonia: My second teacher of the intensive Spanish class. Sonia is very mellow, but is very funny. She doesn’t speak much English at all (that’s why the whole “she sells sea shells…” thing was so cute). Her favorite English word is “super” which she likes to add on to just about everything. She has successfully managed to teach us some of the rights and wrongs of Granada, but not before we’ve already embarrassed ourselves.
Eugenia: The tiny little old lady I never thought would yell at me. I was wrong. Regardless, she now has a sprained ankle so I can’t be too mad. I’m not quite sure what she does here, or how she fits into the mix, but she’s usually around to open the door during the days. She’s always smiling and gives us a big “hola!” whenever we come home. She’s basically our Senora (homestay mom).
Scarlet: Our cook. Even though it’s a lot of fish, we still love her. She’s serious about her food, and that’s much appreciated. We always have enough to eat (usually extras!) and the desserts are always something to look forward to: fresh fruit, yogurt, ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, etc. Scarlet doesn’t spend much time at Jardines, but she’s always friendly when she’s there!
Elena: Our room cleaner, and chef-helper. Elena is super nice, and is always cheery. She is always willing to help and does everything with a smile. Her two kids sometimes come to Jardines—a son and a daughter. They’re super cute, but stare at us like we’re weird. After all of the telenovela-type things we heard about Jardines (keep reading), the AIFS kids decided that we’re on EQUIPO ELENA!
Julia #1: a.k.a. Fig. Julia seems to run the place even though Paula specifically told us that Elena used to be in charge (and they never had problems back then…). Julia is Elena’s ex-mother in law, and that becomes quite obvious sometimes when they get into arguments. Elena apparently had been married to Julia’s son, but then he cheated on her. NOW, Julia’s son and his new wife come and eat lunch at Jardines almost every day. It’s really awkward now that we all know the back story (Elena obviously doesn’t know we know…), but it keeps things interesting…we all just feel bad that she literally has to serve her ex-husband and his new wife.
Julia #2: ‘The night watcher’. Julia’s daughter who works every night except Saturdays and Sundays. She lets people in whenever they come in from being out and about, whether it be 11pm or 7am. She makes us toast and coffee in the mornings, and always seems happy!
Pedro: Our Saturday night and Sunday watchman. He looks like he’s about 26 or so, and he looks like a human bull dog. However, he’s super quiet and usually just gives us a little “hola” when we come in or out of the residencia. We saw him walking (ironically…) his bulldog the other day on the way home from school, and we still got the tiny little “hola”. This is a nice change from the other ladies trying to explain things to us that we obviously don’t understand.