Today I woke up to a much different Monday than the past two weeks – it was my first full day of work at my internship (I am working for a law firm based in Seville). My Spanish is actually quite good, especially when I actually use it — hello melting pot of a residencia (Germany, Japan, Scotland, Senegal, UK, etc.) but I certainly don’t know legal jargon. I was afraid my once impressive vocabulary, “Hola, mi llamo Lindsey,” wouldn’t make the cut at a law firm, but I spent the walk (by walk, I mean hike — literally, 35 minutes each way) practicing subjunctive and reflexive verb conjugations in my head. When I got to the door, I was already sweating through my Sunday best and realized I had no idea how to actually enter the office — in constant preparation for the inevitable zombie attack I’m sure, all of the buildings in Sevilla are locked at all times. I have seen closets that actually lock automatically. I am pretty famous, but I am definitely no James Bond so I had no way of getting in the building. I tried to pretend that I was calm and collected and Harry Potter my way in the door, but no matter how hard I tried, there was no way I was getting in. I resorted to calling the student center and asking them to place a call to the office. Who would have thought that there was an actual doorbell? “Oh, that little button there? No? It’s not a decoration? How cute!” Thankfully, the woman, Blanca, who is actually my supervisor, came to my rescue with a smile. After getting over the whole locked door obstacle, I started my first day of work.
For my first task as a real Spanish Elle Woods, I accompanied the lawyers from the office to a nearby café where they had breakfast — croissants with mantequilla [butter] and zumo [juice] and asked me the standard questions — “Where do you live? Where are you from? Why did you want to work in Spain?” And then of course of my personal favorite – “What are your goals?” How is anyone supposed to answer that question correctly? I hate that question because I never know how to answer; my goals are always evolving. I’d like to say that I’m looking for fulfillment, happiness and maybe not to use the “F” word so much, but I figured the three of them were not looking for an autobiography or even a bucket list (sing karaoke, get a tattoo, learn French, become a vampire — the usual). I told them that more than anything I wanted to be able to speak Spanish fluently and that I was hoping this internship would give me the final push in that direction. This answer seemed to satisfy them so we paid la cuenta [the check] and headed back to the office.
Upon our return, I received my second task of the day: I spent the next four hours reading and studying Spanish law concerning debt and payment processes. My responsibility was to read the law and then condense it into a much easier and shorter form. This is hugely beneficial for language development because I would read about six paragraphs of wordy Spanish law and condense it in my own Spanish words. The whole day was a constant vocabulary lesson and I recognized certain aspects and processes from my own law school “training.” Around 2:30, I left the office feeling productive, happy and all-around excited about the prospect of using and learning Spanish, intensively, everyday for 5 to 6 hours. That may not sound like a walk in the park, and it surely isn’t, but for someone who wants to be fluent, I feel extremely privileged to have this opportunity. I make my own schedule, but it looks like I will be at the office Monday-Friday from 10-2:30; there are some days I may stay longer or leave earlier, but it all depends on their workload as well. I work with three main people and there are people coming and going all day. The office is clean, the lawyers get along really well with each other and they all work very efficiently. There were periods of time where it was completely silent aside from the background noise provided by the passersby on the sidewalks below. I was also pumped when I found that the building was also air-conditioned (this was a huge win – during the middle of the week, Sevilla can reach temperatures of up to 125 degrees F. That’s hot, no matter where you’re from – it feels like you can cut the air with a knife. Our residencia is not air-conditioned, but I have two huge fans going in my room at all times).
After work, I returned home to my tiny little cot and fell fast asleep. I’ve been battling a cold for about a week now and there are no signs of it slowing down. As far as symptoms go, I’ve got the watery and glassy eyes, the runny nose and the pounding headaches — clearly, I could give Gisele a run for her money. However, I refuse to let a cold stop me from enjoying my time in Sevilla so I keep drinking water (I’m a camel, do you see my two “humps”), sleeping as much as I can and mentally telling myself that I’m not really sick. I’m moving a lot slower these days and I can tell my body is dragging, but I think a few more nights of good sleep and a few hundred more bottles of water (I sweat faster than I can drink it), I’ll be good as new. I miss the whole breathing thing and walking down the streets is a good time (I look like an animal gasping for air), but I’m telling you — the men are lining up.
Speaking of gasping for air; yesterday, Kate, Sileas (pronounced Shiela with an “s”— I told her we’d call her Max), and I went and watched the bullfights. PETA would go crazy. From what we could gather, the whole point of a bullfight is to see how much pain a bull can endure before it finally falls over from exhaustion and/or death. I’m going to let you in on a little secret — the bull never wins. The matador’s (bullfighter) butt was the most pleasant thing of the entire experience, and, although I’m glad I can say that I saw a bullfight, I will never go and see it again.
I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by!!
Until next time mis niños,