Before going abroad I had already established that I was not going to be able to eat all the food that I eat at home. I knew that home cooked meals were going to be missed but I was excited to see the differences in food. When my host mom asked me one day if I wanted a tortilla, I was too overjoyed to answer, “sí”. When I went to sit down, I noticed that a Spanish tortilla was made of potato/egg. The Spanish tortilla- was delicious. However, my host mom noticed my confused face. She asked, “what’s wrong?” I laughed and explained that for me, a tortilla was made out of corn flour. She started laughing and said she had never heard about it. We started to talk about what we could make with flour tortilla and the options ranged from pupusas to tacos. The irony of all of this is that a couple of days later I saw corn flour at Corte Inglés, an international supermarket, and I bought the Maseca (corn flour). I brought it home and my host mom, host sister and I spent the next day’s afternoon making tortillas. They loved it and now my host mom is trying new recipes with it! I felt a great sense of pride sharing a little bit of my culture with my host family.
Being from New York is something that is extremely fascinating to not only the students that I teach but also my intercambio, Jose. When I first introduced myself and told the class that I was from New York, they all started to ask me if I had been to Central Park and the Empire State Building. When my intercambio found out I was from New York, he immediately took me to an art exhibition that illustrated photographs from NYC. I was surprised to see that most of what was photographed were places that I had never seen in real life. When I told my intercambio this, he was surprised. The art exhibition reminded me a lot of NY culture including the bagels, pizza and the cold winter. It made me appreciate more where I come from and it made me realize how lucky I am to be from New York.
When I came to Sevilla, I knew that religion was going to be a huge part of everyday life. Being in Sevilla, most of the individuals that I have met do not identify themselves within the Catholic religion, do not practice going to church or are atheist. When suddenly there was no external influence from my host family of them going to church, I began to think more about my own religious identity. Since I arrived to Sevilla, I have tried my best to attend mass and be more open to exploring my own religion. The masses I attend back home are in Spanish as well and it was here that I realized that most of my religious identity has roots in Spanish (all the prayers I know are mostly in Spanish). This allowed me to incorporate myself more into the mass on Sundays at the cathedral, just a couple of blocks away from my house. It has been an interesting journey that has allowed me to find out more about myself in the aspects of spirituality and religion.