“Aquí!” the cab driver announced as we rolled up to Calle Alonso Cabrillo, abruptly stopping when the mosaic-tiled house number “37” appeared from around the corner.
I stared blankly at the apartment in disbelief. I can’t believe it’s happening. I took a deep breath. Culture shock was hitting me almost as hard as the heat wave. Nerves and excitement began to overtake my body like the streams of sweat that ran from my head to my toes. After traveling across the world, I had finally arrived to my new home in Sevilla. Before I could even knock on the iron door, a middle-aged woman popped her head out of the second story window. She was anxiously waving a handkerchief and calling “Hola, Log-ah!” from above.
Peppi scurried downstairs and greeted me with a kiss on my cheek. This is the moment I had been waiting for – the first introduction – running mock Spanish introduction conversations through my head time and time again.
We proceeded up the blue spiral staircase. Peppi smiled and forcefully grabbed my hand, leading me to each room. Side by side, she proudly began a home tour of the second and third floors, explaining each room and its use in 60 mph Spanish.
The style of Peppi’s home immediately captivated me. Her apartment could appear under the dictionary definition of a Spanish home – tiled showers, dark woods, outdated appliances, and walls adorned with old photos, saints, and black and white portraits of dozens of family members on their first communion.
I made my way back downstairs to find Sarah, my roommate, sitting in what I would soon find to be my favorite room in the house, Peppi’s den.
Sevilla is hot. Really, really, really, hot. The only time I don’t sweat is in the shower. Peppi’s den is the only room in the entire apartment with air conditioning. Spaniards only turn on the air for brief stints of time, even during the summer when the temperatures skyrocket to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Here, electricity is a luxury. The Spanish treasure each second that the air conditioning runs.
Sarah and I have a system. We plop ourselves next to each other on a worn cloth love-seat in the cramped square room, directly in front of the air conditioning. Peppi sits on the couch and closes the blinds. The room is black to keep the temperature cooler. A hint of light reflected from the rickety television, quietly playing a flickering Spanish soap opera, illuminates the beads of sweat on our faces.
It’s supposed to cool down next week. For now, I’ll continue sneaking away to the Peppi’s den, a make-shift Garden of Eden in the sweltering Sevillian heat.