Monthly Archives: April 2014

I’m Walking on Sunshine!

Standard

I can’t believe I’ve been in Barcelona for a week already!! I stay busy from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. Today in school, some of the parents came to watch what happens in the classroom. The students did an excellent job presenting their Science unit. They were also extremely well behaved, it was unreal! I was very impressed. After school, some of the girls and I met up with the girls from St. Paul to go to Sagrada Familia. It was absolutely beautiful on the inside!! The stain glass windows were amazing! I’ve decided I want windows like that in my future house. I bought a book about Gaudi in English and when I got home, I had my host siblings take turns reading it aloud. They both did very well! They are the cutest. Lucas loves to read, and Vania has very good speaking skills. It’s nice coming home to work with them. They get really excited to work with me & that makes me very happy. I am very lucky to have such an awesome host family! 

The Hill has nothing on Barcelona!

Standard

These past two days have been absolutely amazing! My host dad has taken me to so many different places, that I am blown away by all of the things Barcelona has to offer. Last night, he took me and my “sister” to Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s house, and the Magic Fountain. Gaudi’s architecture is pure brilliance. Even now I’m at a loss for words, because there is no way to describe how impressive his work is. We were out and about for a solid two hours and saw so much. Barcelona at night is so full of life and color, it’s impressive. The Magic Fountain was amazing. It consisted of a light, music, and water show all wrapped in one. We sat on the steps of the museum that is behind the fountain for about 10 minutes just watching the fountain. It was very peaceful and calming.

Today, we got up to take Vania to a First Communion event and then met up with my friend Sarah. Alberto, Lucas, Sarah, and I went to Parc Guell. OMG. First of all, the climb up this hill was absolutely ridiculous. Sarah and I could feel the burn about half way up the hill. Keep in mind this hill was like walking from DUC to FAC. It wasn’t very long, but it was stupid steep!! Secondly, it was literally one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. Again, Gaudi is an architectural genius!! There was so much color and the view of the city was amazing. It wasn’t huge or anything, but there was a lot to see within it. We stopped to watch some street performers who were very entertaining! Sarah came home with us for lunch (pasta with pesto sauce!) and then we went back out to see Montjuic. It’s this huge fort on top of one of the hills by the Mediterranean Sea that you can see the city. The very was spectacular. The city is so full of history and important land marks, that it’s mind blowing.

Sarah and I are going to be stair masters by the time these three weeks are up. We have probably walked a solid 10 miles today. To reward ourselves for working out so much today, Alberto took us to the best ice cream shop in the city. And I kid you not, it was the best ice cream I’ve ever had (and that’s saying something because I’ve consumed a lot of ice cream in my time).

The more I see of the city, the more I fall in love with it. I miss my family at home, but if it wasn’t for graduation I would definitely stay longer. I am have so much fun and staying so busy that I have to stop to think: “I am in Barcelona, Spain. How cool is that!?” Everyday I am so thankful to wake up in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Trains, Planes, and Buses

Standard

Today was a good day at school. I actually got to see how Mr. Rodd teaches and how the students interact with him. The students really respect him and do their best to please him, for the most part. Mr. Rodd’s 30th birthday was today, so the students sang “Happy Birthday” To him in English. I never noticed the lisp that everyone says Spaniards have until about 40 of them say “bir-ttthhhhh-day!” It was the cutest thing ever!! I gave him the WKU garden flag & his stamps, and he was so grateful! He even showed off the stamps to the other teachers and the students. The day was long, but not too shabby overall!

After school four other girls and I went into the City Center & explored. We took a few Red Towel pictures here and there. But the best thing we saw was Cathedral de Barcelona. It was absolutely amazing, inside and out. I was awed by the architecture and the stations inside. We spent about 2 or so hours in the City Center and then ventured back to where we came from. This is where my evening gets interesting. So  most of the other girls don’t live near me. So I had to take one metro back by myself. This was extremely nerve racking, because I was terrified I would miss the stop (even though it ended up where I needed to be) and I was over conscious of the pick pockets. Luckily, I survived this part with flying colors. I went up to the street level of my metro & began to walk home. On my way up the hill, I saw a bus sitting in the same direction that I needed to go. So I asked the driver if he was going to stop 126 (remember this number later). He spoke very little English, but did his best to help me. I thought we had an understanding so I felt good. Well… Then we pasted the turn that I needed to take. Right then and there, I knew I was on the wrong bus. Thankfully, after many tries, the bus driver was able to point me in the correct direction. Fun fact: There no bus stop near my house that is 126! I have no idea where I came up with that number, but it sounded good at the time. I was so thankful for the bus driver. He tried his best to help me even with the language barrier. I tried to give him a tip, but he wouldn’t accept it. The people here are just genuinely nice here and that’s really comforting. It makes me excited for tomorrow’s big adventure! My first weekend in Barcelona!!!!  

Adventure Awaits!

Standard

I have been in Barcelona for two whole days now! I’ll take a minute to re-cap from the very beginning.

On Monday (4/21), mom & dad took me to the Nashville airport to get on the first plane. The plane was small, but nice overall. I had to switch seats with a lady who had a baby because her seat was the emergency exit & babies couldn’t sit there. I was able to take a nap on the plane to New York. I woke up just in time to see the city skyline and take a few blurry shots of the Statue of Liberty! We landed without any issues (other than my ears painfully popping) & went straight to our next gate. We had two hours to kill until we boarded the next flight. At long last our anxious nerves got the best of us as we boarded our plane to Barcelona. It was very surreal. I tried to watch “The Family” on the plane, but the head set was messed up, so I just gave up. The dinner on the plane wasn’t too bad. Chicken in brown gravy, rice, and vegetables. Sleeping on a plane is the worst. There is literally no good way to do it, and to make it worse, my ears popped even worse. When I woke up from my “sleep,” I woke to the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean. It was absolutely beautiful. And now for the best part: After about an hour and a half, WE LANDED IN BARCELONA, SPAIN!!

Going through security was not fun. It was really hot and there were two plans worth of people trying to get to the other side. After receiving my first stamp in my passport, I grabbed my luggage and then we met Kristen! She took us to the bus & gave us a quick run down of the day’s events. We went to the school to meet our host families first. Alberto was there waiting for me! He took me home to see the house & drop my bags off & then we went to the fresh food market. It was the coolest market I’ve ever seen. Carmen would have LOVED the variety of veggies and fruits! I was amazed with all of the colors and the selections. Alberto gave me some nuts dipped in white chocolate & then in milk chocolate… I fell in love with the food right then & there. I could spend an entire post on the food alone! After the market, we rushed home for lunch (chicken in a lemon marinade) & then back to school for orientation. The school has about 5 floors (probably more) & is huge!! They have a boy’s side & a girl’s side. I have 2nd grade boys. Orientation was nice. we took a tour of the school & had a small reception to meet our teachers. After that, I got to meet the rest of my family!! Vania is 9 and Lucas is 7. They are the sweetest kids ever. They’re full of energy & many questions, but I love every minute of it! Ana is so sweet. She definitely made me feel at home. We had a nice family dinner together (pasta!), and then it was off to bed! Day one: CHECK!

This morning for breakfast, I had dried, sweetened fruits & hand squeezed orange juice. Alberto drove Vania & I to school (Ana took Lucas to a doctor’s appointment). I met Mr. Rodd on the playground & we got started right away. Today, in Barcelona, is Saint Jordie Day. The men give women roses & the women give men books (it’s similar to Valentines day, but way more romantic). All day we did activities to celebrate Santa Jordie. It was a little on the crazy side, but very fun indeed! During lunch, some of the girls & I walked around the block near school. The weather was too nice to stay inside. The afternoon flew by really quickly. I met up with Vania & Lucas to meet the nanny. We went to the metro to buy my a ticket & then rode the bus home. On the way home, we missed a stop but luckily it wasn’t too far out. When we got home, I helped Vania with her homework, we played for awhile, & then had dinner (potato omelet!!!!) These last two days have been so busy that my head is still trying to catch up with the idea that I really am here! So far everything has been wonderful & I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!

And then there were 7 days….

Standard

Words.

That is literally how I feel about this. There are 7 days left until my flight to Barcelona. Count them: 7. That’s one week. Five weekdays and 2 weekend days. These past two weeks have disappeared. I can only imagine how fast these last 7 days will fly by! Is this real right now!? The biggest journey in my life will start in one week from today….. Whoa, dude. That’s an intense thought.

My To-Do list for school is getting shorter while my packing list is getting longer! I have my bank account set up & ready to use abroad. My international phone plan has been set up. And I have gotten most of my gifts for my family, teacher, and students. Let’s just hope I’m not missing anything that I absolutely need! (Because of course that would be my luck.)

I have finally gotten into contact with my host teacher. He seems like he’s going to be a lot of fun to work with. My host family has been checking on me to make sure I have everything ready. They’re so sweet! I already feel like a part of their family. I cannot wait to meet them in person!! I definitely feel like they will make my transition very easy and comfortable. I know I am going to miss my family and friends here at home, but I am so grateful that they have supported me every step of the way. 

Now back to the To-Do list! Hopefully staying busy will keep my mind busy with happy thoughts. I know this is exactly where I want to be with my life, but I can’t help but to admit I’m a little nervous. I have worked very hard for this, so I will make the best of it!! 🙂 

It’s the final countdown!

Standard

There are officially 18 days separating me from Spain. There has been a lot going on in the last few weeks. I’ve been in contact with my host family, bought new luggage (who knew luggage shopping was such a challenge!?), and spent time with my own family. School has gotten intense with trying to wrap up last minute assignments, but I’m okay with it. It only means that the moment I’ve been waiting for is just around the corner!

I am so ready to be on that plane, flying into the biggest adventure of my life! All the stress of the past four years feels like it’s finally worth something. I can honestly say that I don’t regret anything in life, because I’ve worked so hard for what I have and I’m thankful for this path that I’m on. This trip is just icing on the cake!!

It’s getting more and more real everyday! I couldn’t be more ready for this.