El Ensanche Posted on January 17th, 2012 by

El Ensanche is the name of the barrio where my host family lives. But don’t worry. Here, barrio simply means neighborhood. I’m staying with a family of four. Cruz is la señora and Jesús is her husband who works as a computer programmer. They have a daughter, María, who is studying English philology (that’s what they call English majors here). Jorge is their son, and he studies at a university in Madrid. They also have a dog, Deo, who might be the nicest dog I have ever met. Deo and I were instant friends. This is Deo with Cruz. She says he’s muy guapo and I agree.

I have my own room on the second floor (the house has three floors and a basement that leads to a parking garage for all the residents in the compound area). It isn’t small but it isn’t big either, but that’s OK because I don’t spend a whole lot of time in my room anyways. Here is a picture of what it looks like:

So a little more about the house. It is in a little gated compound with five other townhouses (I guess this is what they would be called). Our neighbor, Orpa, is also hosting an American student, Elan. She’s been here for a semester already so hopefully she can show me the ropes! Everything houses in Spain is gated, which is really different. The streets look really different too because you can’t really see the houses from the streets.

The biggest difference between a Spanish and American family is the schedule. A normal day begins around 8am and a small breakfast is eaten, usually just some toast (most Spaniards have a midmorning snack with café con leche [coffee with milk] because lunch is usually around 2pm). Lunch is typically the biggest meal of the day. Instead of calling lunch almuerzo is is simply called comida (in case you are in Spain for lunch…). Also, lunch is when you have siesta. My host father, for example, comes home for lunch and usually doesn’t return to work until 4pm. Of course, he works until 8pm or longer. Everyone comes home for lunch, unless one of us students has class. Cruz usually has to work in the afternoon so she eats lunch before going to work. Dinner is usually really late, but we eat around 9pm. My host parents usually go to bed around 11:30pm.

The family is really chill. Cruz and Jesús like to watch TV and movies, especially American sereis and films dubbed in Spanish. Here, the Simpsons is really popular. They also like NBA when they aren’t watching fútbol. However, my host parents don’t like sports that much but Jorge is a big fan of Real Madrid (I’m a Barça fan). Anyways, Cruz and Jesús like to drink tea (which they call infusión) and so most nights I sit with them and talk while we watch TV.

That pretty much wraps up the average day in El Ensanche. Next time I’ll tell you about the Institute where I am studying. ¡Hasta pronto!


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