Probably the first thing I noticed upon my arrival in Alicante was how hot it was. It was nearly 10PM, and it was as hot as the hottest days at noon back in New England. 90 to 100 and humid. Flying in All I could see were a few lights, noting to remark at; but driving into the city was another experience. Every few blocks there is a rotary, and always in the middle is some type of ornate fountain, monument or park. And at night, when they were all lighted up and running it was truly a sight to behold. The city runs on a few main streets, all of which are lined with high end stores banks and pharmacies. Yes. Pharmacies. they literally are on every other street corner like we have coffee shops. which surprised me, because the people here are healthy from what I’ve seen, and the facilities of the city are very well kept, pharmacies here are more like convenience stores that happen to sell over the counter remedies. Prescriptions can be bought at drugstores, dedicated to the sale of medicines.
I was wrong about the secondary language here. Last time I thought it to be Catelean, which is actually more popular in northern Spain. Here, It is Valencian, and every restaurant, store and office space not in the touristy, center of the city, has signs in both Valencian and Spanish. That threw me through a loop. When I first went to the bus stop to visit the campus, the sign was in Valencian. It looks similar to Spanish but I couldn’t make it out. I’m glad I looked on the other side of the lamppost, where more legible directions could be found.
Another thing that took me by surprise upon arrival was myself. I had left Logan International Airport headstrong, ready to face the world. But when I woke up in Spain, effectively a world away from home, homesickness definitely hit hard. Outwardly, I seemed confident, but I definitely longed for my bed at home, my dog, and my family. Daily life had completely changed for me. And that’s hard to take, especially when everything here is so different, and so very far from home. Studying abroad is something you need to want, because the first two weeks hits you harder emotionally then most have likely experienced. And if you haven’t traveled far from home before, it can certainly catch you off guard.
Since then, I’ve attended my orientation, and started fixing a working schedule for this semester. The campus of the University of Alicante is much larger than Salve Regina’s. t was built on an old airfield, and the walkways were once runways. They have an air control tower as a monument on the property (I feel it would be better as the head office building). And the walkways are lined with a variety of trees, from Palms and Pines to Orange Trees and Pomegranate trees. And there are always cicadas serenading loudly within their boughs. Which pairs appropriately with the desert-like setting, direct sun and heat; to remind me further that it is unbearably hot out. I am told that eventually, the heat will subside to more seasonable temperatures, in late October. Right now it is what they refer to as the “wet season”, It has rained once since I arrived, and for only 10 minutes, lightly.
I am eagerly awaiting the first day of classes, which begins on the 10th, so that I can find something to focus on in my free time. I haven’t done much in the way of sightseeing yet, though there are a few places on my list, Including: The Mediterranean Sea, The Castilla de Santa Barbara and la plaza Luceros. All of which are within 15 minutes walking distance from my living arrangements.