Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spandex, Spandex, Spandex

Classes at the University don’t start until February 15th and I was a little disappointed in how few Spaniards I knew (Official count = 2. Chencha and her 45 year old son, Juan).

I started to think about how I could get out and about in a place that won’t be jam packed with Americans.

So I joined a gym.

There happens to be a gym right across the street from our apartment complex and despite it’s pretty bad rankings on the google search website, the first comment said, “Run by two Sevillans…,” so I was sold.

My first day was Wednesday.

Well, wait. Back up. What I forgot to tell you is that ever since our first day here, Lyndsay and I have been seeing runners (all men) in spandex. Every runner from the 12-year old to the grandpa run in tight spandex. And I honestly can’t tell you which is more disturbing and awkward.

So flashback to Wednesday and Rafa, gym owner, clad in black spandex with red racing stripes down the sides, takes my money and lets me into the gym.

I walk in and begin to run on the treadmill and with the looks I got you would have thought I sprouted a third eye or was running without legs.

I was one of four women in the complex, the only woman under sixty. To add to that, all the women wore spandex as well. In fact, the only person I could see wearing running shorts similar to mine was the Cheech Marin-looking grandpa in the corner.

I guess women just don’t workout here. And not only am I a woman, I am a woman whose skin (in a country of tanned Mediterranean folk) is as dark as Casper’s was (Read: transparent).

Needless to say, my time at the gym has proved interesting in the least. Two people have introduced themselves to me, so I guess that’s progress. And every day I come home having an interesting story to tell. I attended a cardio class, understood nothing and managed not to laugh at the woman screaming Spanish phrases in the front of the room.

But our cultural class and grammar intensive end in a week and then we begin our classes at the center, where I’ll be taking a creative writing class with a few other American students at the program center. And once the 15th rolls around I’ll be taking my Spanish skills to the University to learn about journalism (who’d have thought? Michigan doesn’t offer any journalism classes, but U of Sevilla does!) and education.

On top of that I’ll be starting my intercambio, which is an language exchange program where I’ll be set up with a Spanish student and we’ll be speaking Spanish and English for an hour each week together.

So with a gym membership in my pocket and classes at the University on the horizon, I’m hoping my Spanish friends count will grow.

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