My name is Farrah. I am eight years old and right now I am living in Granada, Spain. I started the third grade—called tercero—about four and a half months ago at a school called Gómez Moreno. I walked in at the beginning of September, not knowing anybody, and I hardly understood a word of Spanish, but now I understand about 85 per cent of the words! At Gómez there are kids who speak Spanish, French, German, Italian, English, and even Japanese. I have made so many friends this year and we are all learning together.
My family is in Spain because we thought it would be fun to learn a new culture and a new language. It’s true! We will be in Spain for about a year, and so far it’s been an awesome one. Here in Granada there are many cultures (Spanish, Arabic, African) and they are all very different.
At home, I love spending time in the Cumberland Community Forest and swimming in Comox Lake. Here in Spain, there aren’t very many lakes, only water reservoirs that you can’t swim in. Also, the forests are very different. Here, there are lots of pine trees and not very much growing on the ground because it is very dry. In the Cumberland Community Forest, it is so much more lush and green and the trees are so much bigger!
One of the most famous things to see in Granada is the Alhambra. It has some of the best carvings I’ve seen in … well, my whole life! It also has a beautiful view of Granada. The Alhambra is a castle that is very old and big—it takes up a whole mountain top—and I have an amazing view of it from my house.
People here eat lots of Iberian ham, olives, cheese, and bread, which is made fresh every day. Yummy! Here, we start school at 9:00 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m., which is a shorter day than in Cumberland, but we also have a shorter recess. In the school yard, there is nothing to climb on or play with—we really have to use our imaginations! People eat lunch at about two in the afternoon and have something called a siesta (a rest) from 3:00 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m., usually because it’s too hot to do anything else.
The neighbourhood that we live in is called the Albayzin, but another neighbourhood that is very close is called Sacromonte. We live on Calle Montes Claros, which is right in the middle of the two. People here even live in caves and some houses have carmens, which are walled gardens with pretty signs saying what their names are. My favourite one is Carmen de la Estrella, which means “Garden of the Star.” Streets are made of beautiful cobblestones. Roads and houses are always connected with mud and painted with white paint. Most houses are full of rock and stone tiles and have really fancy stained-glass lamps.
One thing I had never heard of before living here is a hammam.
There are a few here in Granada, but the only one I’ve been to is called Hammam Al Ándalus. It’s a bit like a spa, but with huge Arab baths in a cave with beautiful carvings and Arabic designs on the walls, and you get a massage with special oils. It’s an amazing experience.
It’s been a really interesting quest for me to move to a new country and learn a new language. It’s been super fun living in Spain and I can’t wait to tell my friends all about it when I get home to Cumberland!