It didn’t hit me at first—I didn’t instantly fall in love as soon as I arrived. It’s true, this city is a marvel. It’s historic, the buildings are beautiful, and I’ve had good experiences since I first arrived. But I think the lack of grass and trees or anything other than stone (albeit gorgeous stone) in the central part of the city has kept me from loving it unconditionally. However, I’ve been here for a month and have been wandering and attempting to discover the things I can love about this place, and I think I’ve had a few big finds.
- Salamanca is like a big city and a small town combined. It has a small town feel because everything is really close and within walking distance, which I LOVE, and the people seem to have a more kind, amiable attitude toward each other. Realistically, though, there are so many people in this city and it’s a really popular area of Spain. It just feels small because it’s not a car-friendly city, which also probably contributes to it feeling a little safer and family-friendly.
- Speaking of families, one of the main reasons I’m starting to feel happy and at home here is because it feels and seems like a family town. I’ve noticed from the very beginning that it seems like there’s something a little different about the children here, and I think it’s because they appear to have more freedom. Keep in mind these are all just my impressions, and I could absolutely be wrong about any of this. Still, it’s no secret that young people here go out pretty much every night and they’re often encouraged to do so by their families, so there’s an openness there. During the day, kids at school get a break and you can see and hear them all over the city just walking around and hanging out with their friends. I always see people out with strollers and children, and it just seems like a part of the fabric here. Family seems incredibly important to my host mom and her family too. Several of her family members live upstairs in the same apartment complex and come over often, and I get to feel connected to them through helping the granddaughter with English and having meals with them sometimes.
- Similar to that, my host home is starting to feel comfortable in that way that gives you butterflies in your stomach when you think about it…or maybe that’s just me. Either way, it doesn’t feel scary and strange at night anymore. It’s becoming familiar and comforting, and going to bed is a cozy experience. My roommate and I have started watching a weekly show with our host mom and just generally talk and hang out with her more, so this is also starting to feel more like a “family.”
These are the main reasons I’m falling in love with Salamanca. There are so many things I love about it, like helping students learn English, the fact that it feels safe, the river, seeing the bookstores, all the dogs, going to the market, the attitudes I observe from people, the food, the gelato, and even my two hour long Spanish classes. I love this town’s character, it’s historic buildings and the uniqueness that comes with their layout, and it’s people. It’s really beginning to feel like a place I could call home.