Monday, November 28, 2011

Font De Canaletes

Bon Dia! what an eventful weekend in Barcelona! I am so glad I have the opportunity to spend a month here in Spain! I truly feel that it takes at least a week to get comfortable with the new environment.  Friday night, Jordan and I had made plans to meet Alana, one of the UK students to head into Barcelona for a night on the town.  The three of us were meeting up with a few other friends that were already in the city.  Luckily, the 2 boys spoke Spanish. whew.  And we didn't look like a bunch of girl tourist. We met up by the Font de Canaletes, which is a famous fountain in Las Ramblas, and legend has it that whoever drinks water from the fountain will surely return to the city.  So of course, we drank some water :)  
Alana, Jordan, and me next to the fountain
 We then headed to Bar Marsella, which is said to be the 1st bar in Barcelona and Picasso and Hemingway were once regulars here! The outside is a little sketchy but it was fun and historical!

We rushed to catch the train to meet up with some of the girls from 2nd Bacc. (so like high school seniors) from some of Jordan's classes to shop in Barcelona.  We literally ran and ended up being to late for the train we had intended to catch. oops. So, as the time approaches for the next train, we see two girls running on the other side of the tracks... the girls we were meeting up with were rushing to catch this train too! Everyone is on Spanish time here. 
The girls are so fun to talk to! they love hearing about the US, just as much as we enjoy hearing about Spain.  And they were able to show us around! They took us to this really cute little restaurant for lunch, which we never would have found on our own! it was so good!

The girls and us after enjoying a delicious meal!

They also showed us the Market which is full of fresh food such as fruit, veggies, meat, fish, and nuts.  My parents would absolutely LOVE it! a nutritarian's dream. 

There were aisles and aisles of fresh food!
The girls and us outside the Market
We then made our way back to La Garriga after a full day of shopping.  Jordan and I were exhausted, so we rested with a movie her teacher let her borrow and tried to go to sleep early.. not very successful though!
So we slept in a little on Sunday before attempting to bike into town.  Our bike ride probably would have been much more fun if we had realized the tires were pretty flat before we got all the way down the steep hill. Coasting down hill on flat tires is not too hard, but once on flat ground or trying to go up hill... yea it's a beast. 
Then shared some of our large quantities of weekend food with the UK students and prepared for the start of the school week. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! .... ehh. ok?

Needless to say, people were not too enthused about Thanksgiving.  In fact, when we went to the butcher's and asked for a whole turkey they looked at us like we were crazy! Alejandro, one of the gap year students also from the states, went to town with us to find supplies for a thanksgiving meal.  None of the others had ever celebrated Thanksgiving before, so we were excited to prepare a meal for everyone!  This was before we realized that the markets in La Garriga gave us very limited resources... especially for the types of food we were craving.  They don't sell a whole lot of canned foods.  So we did the best we could to come up with a variety of somewhat thanksgivingy foods to make.  We were unable to find a turkey, but did find already prepared frozen chickens, which was cheap and yummy!
3 little chickens
We were able to pull together a pretty good dinner! much better than what we expected after not being able to find ingredients for some of the more traditional American foods.

Appetizers (including a cheeseball... getting ready for cheesefest :) )

chicken, green beans, corn, broccoli, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes. Yum! 

We went around the table and everyone shared what they were thankful for.  After dinner we then decided to share some dance moves.. work off some of the calories we had just eaten! We had a great time sharing some of our popular dances with the Brits! and getting to hear some of theirs! overall a very festive Thanksgiving Celebration!

started off with the wobble.. somehow got to cotton-eyed joe ha

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

you don't speak spanish? you'll be fine! you'll be able to fine lots of people who speak English!.... um. wrong.

Jordan and I made our first adventure to Barcelona on Sunday. and wow. i definitely wish i knew some spanish.  Our first mission is to buy a train pass in the village, La garriga.  We get off to a pretty good start, we are there a little early so have about 10 minutes to wait. We see a cute little family and have them take our picture.  This is where we went wrong. ... we figured we would just follow this trio and do what they did to get on the train.  so as soon as the train comes they start walking and we follow.... they don't get on... the we hear beepbeepbeepbeeep. and the doors shut. uhhh. they ask us where we were going and we say barcelona.. they then point to the train that is speeding by.

so we had about 45 minutes to wait for the next train. good thing it wasn't raining.
After we finally make it on a train, we arrive in Barcelona about 40 minutes later, with no real intentions except to explore the city.  Off we went in a random direction to see what we could find.  We had thought about trying to find the english speaking movie theater at some point to see Twilight.  This, however, turned out to be much more difficult than we anticipated.  On our walk, we stumbled upon the Catedral de Barcelona, which is an absolutely gorgeous unfinished cathedral.  We spent about an hour or so walking around and admiring the architecture and artwork, and even got a sip of water..

however after looking at some of the pictures the other girls took the day before.... I think Jordan and I may have missed some of it :S oops.
We got to see lots of fun street performers break dancing and playing instruments and singing.  after walking in several different directions for about 2 hours we gave up on finding the movie.  We asked directions from several different people but they all seemed to point in different directions :s so we resolved to find our way back and find somewhere to get Tapas!
Tapas Buffet!! 

Ordering off a menu is surprisingly hard, especially when it's not even in Spanish, but in Catalan, the more common language in Catalonia.  We were excited to find a restaurant where you see the food and can pick which ones you want and then pay by how many toothpicks there are! it was delicious! a lot of variety! ... a lot of fish... and uncooked fish.. i stayed away from those. bleh.
Made it back to the train station. hoped on the wrong train. hoped off the wrong train. waited for 20minutes for the right train. Hoped on the train to la garriga (hopefully). hoped off at La Garriga....maybe..... relieved to see that we actually got off at the right stop.  needless to say, i am not a huge fan of public transportation. especially in another language.

Clocks? not needed.

I think I have seen a total of 3 clocks in the entire school. and 1 of those doesn't even work! The teachers here don't seem to be too concerned with starting class right on time or being early, as long as they get there at some point it's ok.  Which seems to work pretty well, seeing as most of the students are fairly fluent in 3 languages. 
Paul, my mentor teacher from London, is very friendly and fun to talk to! I have been helping him do a blog for the school as well! even though all the computers are in Spanish ... even google. Buscar con Google
 bethany and me with some of the students in 1st o ESO. which is basically 7th grade.
the teachers and students have a different schedule everyday! however they all seem to know where they are expected to be and when.
It is interesting to see students this age.. they seem to be similar to american students in many ways, besides that they are already pretty much fluent in 3 languages,  Braces and acne dominate the classrooms, as well as gender segregation in some of the younger ones (like 11, 12 - boys sit next to boys, girls sit next to girls)
No one seems to straighten their hair, they all either braid it, messy bun, or leave it naturally wavy. Which is great because i planned on not brushing my hair for the entire month! .. and my hair can be curly or straight so its not too bad. i'll fit right in.
When asked about the uniforms, most of the students seemed to like them because they don't have to worry about what to wear... i think many American students would feel differently. I especially enjoy seeing the primary students in the uniforms! very cute!
students leaving the classroom... door and walls made of glass.

this week is exams for pretty much all of the secondary students, so normal classes won't really resume until after thanksgiving.. which they don't celebrate at all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Arrived in La Garriga

Well, we made it here! after only 7 and a half hours too! thank goodness we were wrong because I don't think I would have survived a 14 hour flight! There was a little turbulence but it wasn't too bad at all. The woman sitting next to me asked me if I was from Barcelona, this was clearly before she heard me speak at all.  so after they fed us a snack, dinner, and breakfast, we arrived in Barcelona at 7 am.  luckily everyone's luggage made it here as well, and we then found Kristin, an ALA employee to help bring us to SEK in La Garriga.
When we got to the school, it was a little rainy.  Instead of being able to go straight to our rooms, we had some orientation information to go over, besides it was just the start of the day here!
I was excited to learn that there were other student teachers here for a whole year! There are 10 other students who get paid and are like assistants, most in primary.  most of them are from the UK and  one from texas but speaks Spanish fluently. 
Wow. There is so much going on it is hard to put it all into words!
the first day as we walked around the tour of the school, it kind of seemed like we were walking in circles. and not having slept in 24 hours did not help.
It is so interesting to just watch the students.  Compared to an American school, the students have much less supervision.  Not that they are constantly getting into trouble though, they are really great kids and enjoy their freedom and open communication.  here is a picture of the play area  from the balcony of our flat:

We went into town for a little bit to look around, it was beautiful! La Garriga is a small town, and everything closes around 1:30 or 2 and then reopens at 5ish until around 10 or 11.  This is their siesta... which I think should be considered in the States.  It is very pleasant.
Later Wednesday night we all had sweet bread and chocolate with the other students and got to know them a little. I love hearing people from England speak! it all sounds so proper! they sound much more educated than americans!
we finally got to sleep around 10:30 here. and woke up for our first day in school, which did not begin until 9:30am :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leaving for Espana!

It's finally here! Tomorrow I will be boarding a 14 hour flight .. first to new york then to Barcelona! will be arriving in Barcelona at 7 am on Wednesday! that's right leaving Tuesday, arriving Wednesday. So excited to finally get over there and see some of the world! I'm a little nervous about the whole language thing...but don't worry, I have packed my idiots guide to Spanish. My bag is stuffed so may end up leaving some stuff there to bring back new cultural items instead! Well i am going to download some cool kid jams to listen to on the way.. even though my ipod battery will only last about 4 of the 14 hours :S ha o'well hopefully they'll be playing Harry Potter on the flight!!