Sunday, June 22, 2014

Estoy preparándome

Okay, so here it is. The lists of things that I will miss in Madrid and the list of things that I cannot wait to have again in the U.S. Most of them are really silly little things, but they are things that I still think about and are important on some level or just things that I take for granted. So let's start with the list of things I will miss in Spain (in no particular order).

Things I'll Miss about Spain:

Public transportation: Although the monthly transportation pass was pretty pricey, it was so worth it. The public transportation in Madrid has it's ups and downs, but it definitely is convenient. I was able to get anywhere I wanted to easily and it was awesome!

Prices being what they say: I love this! It was like this when I went to Perú, too! I love picking up something that is 1 euro and I pay 1 euro, not 1.06 or whatever. Dumb U.S. sales tax.

My students and co-teachers: I have some amazing students at the school! Some of them drive me crazy and some of them I want to bring home with me, but either way, they all have a special place in my heart and I won't forget them. I won't forget how much I care about them, how much I taught them, and how much they taught me. And that goes for my private lesson students as well. As for my co-teachers, I have learned a lot from them and our relationships have grown, especially mine and Esther's. I can wait to talk to her throughout the years and hopefully we will see each other again someday soon.

My Spanish class: I have absolutely loved my Spanish class. My professor, Quique, is amazing and I have learned so much throughout the year. He just started this Spanish school this year and I hope he has a lot of success in the future. Plus, he has given me so many ideas and resources and he will forever be a resource for me, when I become a Spanish teacher.

Traveling: I think that's pretty self-explanatory. I have been to 15 cities in Spain and 6 other countries (7, if you count Spain). Unfortunately, I do not have a passport stamp for most of those countries, but what I do have are pictures and incredible memories. I've heard that traveling is addicting and I can see why. It's so amazing to see so many different things and just be free. I plan to continue traveling in the future and it will be wonderful.

Being in a Spanish-speaking environment: I just personally love exoticness of knowing another language and being able to survive in a different society. Although the amount of Spanish that I spoke did not meet my expectations, I still love being in a Spanish-speaking country and I learned a lot of new things because Spain Spanish is different from other countries' Spanish. Plus, I hated the accent when I first got here and now somehow I have picked it up.

Crossing the street: At unmarked intersections with a crosswalk, cars stop for pedestrians..maybe they do in the U.S., too, but not on the same level they do here. Although I will miss it, it also is pretty annoying sometimes. It's one of those things where a car is going really fast so you stop at the road so they don't hit you and then they slow down really fast and then you think in your head "Well great, now I have to rush across the street, because I just interrupted their driving..they should have just kept going." This is a daily occurrence. It is pretty annoying now that I think about it and I won't miss that, but I will miss how cautious drivers are with pedestrians.

Madrid Río: Karin and I discovered this park in our first week of apartment hunting and I will never forget how happy we were when we found it. Let's look back at a quote from my blog when I talked about first going to it: " When we got to the park, we both fell in love." Anyway, long story's a beautiful park and I love going there on sunny days. 

Breakfast at school: Getting free breakfast at school every morning is AMAZING! Enough said...this needs to happen in U.S. schools.

Wearing normal clothes at school: This needs to be another thing that happens at school on a daily basis in the U.S. I love wear jeans, shorts, tank tops, flip flops, etc. It makes me more comfortable in the classroom and it's awesome! But..I do understand why we have to dress professionally and covered up in the U.S.

Simply job: As I am hoping to enter my first year of teaching this next school year, I know that it is going to be 57398469034 times more difficult and stressful than my job this year. My job this year has been super simple and I'm not gonna lie I have super enjoyed the small schedule, good pay, and time to travel, but I am also super excited to have my own's to hoping!

Things I Can't Wait to Have in the U.S.:

Convenient banking: This is really isn't a huge deal, but it was when I was trying to close my bank account. I got done at 4:30 from school and banks close at around 2:15 p.m...enough said. Oh, and while we are talking about convenience in banking. Most Spaniards think its weird/awesome that we have drive-thru windows at the bank. Ha, guess I never thought of it as being out of the ordinary.

Free water at restaurants: Although this is usually available in Spain, you have to specifically ask for it. Otherwise, they bring you bottled water that know me, I don't want to have to pay for a drink.

Checking out of a grocery store: I actually think I have somewhat mastered this in Spain now, but seriously it's still a hassle and I know I have mentioned the stress of it before. If you get a basket full of groceries, you better be prepared to bag it yourself (by the way, you have to pay for bags) and quickly if you don't want to hold up the line. It's hard to bag and search through your wallet for money at the same time. So, I guess I want to say thank you to all the bag ladies and bag boys in the U.S. Thanks! You make our lives easier. :)

Driving: I actually don't know exactly where I stand on the issue of driving. I miss driving, but I also just love public transportation so much. It's less stress, less money, just less worrying, in general. However, I am excited to at least get behind the wheel once again. Maybe I should take the car around the parking lot a few times before hitting the road just to get accustomed to driving again.

Food: Do you know what an Andrea does when she lives alone and is frugal..she lives off of pasta and rice dishes with barely any meat. Do you know how sick I am of feeding myself with that food...I'm not gonna lie, I will still gorge on pasta and rice dishes when I get home, but it will be 500 times better than just pasta with a little tomato sauce. I want home-cooked meals with flavor. That's all.

Family and boyfriend and friends: I don't think I need to explain this. I have been gone from my family, boyfriend, and friends for 9 months and I am ready to see everyone again. I obviously made friends here, but nothing compares to family.

Space: I have grown to love Madrid in all it's dirtiness (ha) and I enjoy that I live by a park that has space and that I work at a school that is in the suburbs of Madrid, but I can't wait for open space! I want to see the sun set behind corn fields, not buildings. I want to see more green. I want to see the stars. I want space.

Soon's sushi: I don't like all types of sushi. I honestly would say I only like a few kinds..and those few kinds that I do like are at Soon's sushi in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I will be going there as soon as I can when I get back and it will be delicious. Plus, the white rice is to die for.

Bed: My mattress in Madrid sucks. That's all I have to say. I honestly think it has gotten worse as the year has gone by. I am just excited to lay on a good mattress. That's all.

Dryers: This actually isn't a big issue, but people rarely have dryers here. I never once had a problem with my clothes not drying on time or anything, but dryers are a nice little commodity to have.

Pencils with erasers: I didn't really notice this until recently, but Spain's popular kind of pencil a.k.a. the Ticonderoga of Spain doesn't have an eraser at the end of the pencil. I don't know if Spaniards just don't make mistakes or if they don't care if they do, but always making sure you have an actual eraser around if you need it is annoying...especially at school when a whole table of students is sharing one eraser and it gets lost, breaks, students aren't sharing, etc.

Lastly, I have a few more topics to is an in-between-y meaning that it isn't really something that I will miss or that I miss in either countries, but it is a definite culture difference. The second is something that I will NOT miss from Spain or any other society that has the same culture surrounding this topic.

Let's start with the lighter topic...

Meal times: Meal times (and portion sizes) are definitely different in Spain. Spaniards eat lunch at 2 or even later and dinner after 9 p.m. This was really different at first and I continued eating at U.S. meal times, but I am now accustom to the different meal times. I have to admit that I have eaten dinner at midnight before, I feel like that is super unhealthy, but oh well. I will be back in the U.S. in one day so it won't matter..I will readjust to eating dinner and lunch earlier.

Okay, now for the heavier topic...

Stupid guys: I realize that stupid is a strong and non-cultural sensitive word, but I must say I would like to use a stronger word than stupid and I can without a doubt say that I will NEVER ever be able to accept this in any culture. I got it in Peru, also. The looks, the cat calls, the phrases like "Qué guapo (how pretty)"... I just can't do it. The rage that surges through my body when I get this is indescribable. I want to physically hurt every guy that does any one of those things. And I feel like a horrible person for wanting to do that to a grey haired old man, but at the same time, I just don't care. I will never accept it or be okay with it. I will never understand why guys (in any culture) feel the need to objectify women. I've definitely given guys dirty looks before, but it just doesn't seem like enough. I never know if this will change in some cultures, but I hope it does someday.

Well, I feel like that's a horrible way to end this blog post, but that's all I have for you. If you wanna read something happier I guess go back up and read about the good things that I have enjoyed about Spain. :)

El último finde

Friday, June 20th

Friday was the last day of school and, like I said before, half of the students showed up. It was kind of a sad last day, not because it was the last day, but just because it didn't seem official or anything. I didn't even get to say goodbye to all of my students which kind of kills me, but it was still a good day. I spent the morning listening to students talk about their plans for the summer and then we played some online educational games, did arts and crafts, made some origami frogs, etc. Then, they had an extra long recess, because they could. :) Then, we did more arts and crafts in the afternoon. Honestly, I can see why many parents decided to start their vacations early and not bring their students to school, but come on..I won't be there next year, but they don't know any different and I am super grateful that I got to say goodbye to the majority of my students.

So, if you know me or have talked to me in the last few months, then you know that I am super excited to come home and have been for several months now. It has definitely made these last few days more sweet than bitter. I will be the first to admit that my excitement has overshadowed any sadness I have of leaving. I have had an extremely successful and awesome year, but I am ready to come home. However, I do know that deep down inside, I am sad to be going..and I knew that this would hit me at some point..I just didn't know when...which brings me to my next story..

After school on Friday, the teachers got together and brought Julia and I together to say goodbye to us. Julia will be returning next year, but I will not. They gave us a gift (a book of poems by Ángel González, a Spanish poet and the name of our school) and said goodbye. I was all good until they asked us if we wanted to say anything. I wasn't really expecting that and hadn't prepared anything, but figured I should say something. As soon as I stood up, I felt the tears coming...I couldn't help it. I accidentally made Julia cry and other teachers were crying as well, but not because of us, but because some of the other teachers aren't returning to that school next year either. It was a sad occasion, but then I was fine again in five minutes and we all smiled for a picture and it was great. :)
After school, I came home and went out to lunch with my roommates Lucía and Rocío because Rocío went home for the weekend so I won't see her again before I leave. We had a really good lunch and I said my goodbyes to Rocío..then, I really had nothing to do, so the best thing that I could think of to do was start packing and that's what I did. Ha. I think I actually over packed because I forgot that I needed clothes and stuff for Saturday and Sunday, but it was still nice to get out my suitcase and actually start to access the packing situation. Plus, as I said before, I'm excited to come home so packing is something that gets me one step closer to being home. It's know how you spend the night before a trip packing until 3 a.m. and here I am packing three days ahead of time..if that doesn't show my excitement enough, I don't know what does.

Anyway, Esther came over on Friday night to say goodbye one more time and she taught me several card games to play with a Spanish deck of cards. They are special cards and there are only 40 cards as opposed to the 52 card traditional deck. It was really fun. I don't think I will remember all of the games, but if I remember a few, that will be good. :) Once we said our final goodbyes, I headed to the city center to hang out with Julia one last time before I leave. One of her friends is here visiting from the states so we went out to dinner at this bar and with a drink they give you this huge plate of tapas. They were delicious and we couldn't finish everything. I can definitely see why the place is popular. After that, we went to an Irish pub and watched part of the Honduras vs. Ecuador world cup game on a big screen. It was pretty entertaining and there were people there from both teams cheering so it was cool to here the cheers for the two teams. We didn't watch the whole game because I had to catch the metro home, but I will tell you that Ecuador won 2-1. Once I got home, I went straight to bed.

Saturday, June 21st

Two more days in Madrid. You would think that I would do something more exciting with my life, but I haven't. Today, I did some laundry, packed some more, and just relaxed. I went to the park for about an hour and took a nap in the sun and that was awesome. It was so quiet and peaceful and much needed. I talked to my mom on the phone because I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row before I come home. Thanks Mom for the help. And I saw Stephanie briefly to say goodbye to her because she left today, Sunday, to travel more before heading back to the U.S. Overall it was a great Saturday, sorry I don't have much to say. I didn't do much.

Sunday, June 22nd

Well, it's my last day in Spain and I wish I had something exciting to tell you about, but I don't. This morning I went to church with Karin and there was a worship group there from Atlanta, Georgia and a man named Dan Arsenault gave the sermon, he's one of those guys that does Sunday morning services on television. Anyway, the sermon was really good and so was the music as always. I have really enjoyed going to the church, even if it was only a few times. After church, Karin and I walked through the Rastro street market one last time, then I made my way home and ate lunch. I also finished packing and just relaxed. I also met with a girl to sell my cell phone and she was from Peru! She was super nice and offered me a place to stay if I ever go to Peru again. She's been living and studying in Spain for five years and is returning to Peru this summer. It was awesome meeting her. Tonight, Karin came over and we just hung out for a little bit. I finished all of my packing, we weighed my luggage (it's over, of course..we'll see what happens at the airport tomorrow), and I taught her a few of the Spanish card games that I learned the other night. It was a good last night. I really didn't expect anything more. It was awesome. The End. :)

I will talk to you in a little bit--when I'm back in the U.S.!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

La última semana

So this has been my last week in Spain and I don't even know where to start or what to do with myself. I have had an amazing time here and the time is winding down. I am slightly sad to be leaving, but I think I am much more excited to come home. Or I am really sad to be leaving and it just hasn't hit me yet. I'm expecting it will at some point, but we will see. Anyway, on to my week...I have definitely made the most of it so far. This week at school has been super relaxed. We haven't had real classes at all. On Monday and Tuesday, we just hung out and played with the students. Also, I received a book of drawings from one of my classes! It's adorable and I'm so excited to take a memory from at least one of my classes. I also got pictures with all of my classes. I wish I could show you how cute all of my students are, but due to a law I promised that I wouldn't post them anywhere. They were almost hesitant to let me even take a picture with them and I was like "No way am I not getting a picture with these students!"

Anyway, on Monday after school, I tried going to the bank to close my account, but it didn't quite work because I had bought something with my card on Sunday and it hadn't gone through yet. It kind of made me nervous, but I figured I would start freaking out today if it hadn't gone through yet. But instead of getting that accomplished, I did go to the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, which is an art museum in Madrid. The permanent exhibits are free on Mondays during certain hours, so Julia (the other girl from my school) and I took advantage of that. It was a really cool museum. It had both old and new art..I'm not an art buff so I couldn't tell you what styles they were but I could tell you that it was a mixture of the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum here in Madrid, which you might also not understand. Ha. Anyway, I did take a few photos of the pieces that I liked/the artists that I knew.

(Former) Rey Juan Carlos I and Reina Sofía
Les Vessenots by Vincent van Gogh
Swaying Dancer by Edgar Degas 
Hotel Room by Edward Hopper
So that's that. On Monday night, Esther came over and I helped her with all of her things. I think we finished everything for her speech that she has coming up next week and I think she's ready. I really hope she passes. It would be a really great thing for her! On Tuesday at school it was the same. I did get the chance to show a class the U.S. dollars and coins and they thought that was pretty cool. Then, at night, I had my two last Spanish classes. In my private lesson we worked on interview skills and answering questions in Spanish and I felt pretty good about it. I will be meeting with a principal next week and I want to be at my best. Then, we had our last class that went really well. My professor also let me take a bunch of pictures of all his books that he has, because they are really good resources for me to buy for my hopefully soon-to-be future classroom. Now I just have to find a money tree so I can buy all the resources that I want.

On Wednesday, we had a ginkana at school, which means gymkhana in English, which I still had no idea what that was until yesterday, but according to Google it's a "a day event comprising races and other competitions between horse riders or car drivers." We had no horses or cars at school, but it was a day of competitions. So there you go, I learned a new Spanish word and English word. It was really fun and the students had a blast. It was technically their last days because today (Thursday) there was no school and tomorrow (Friday) half of the students aren't coming to school and we are watching movies and doing nothing, I'm pretty sure. It's kinda sad because some of the students weren't there yesterday and I'm afraid they won't be there tomorrow so I didn't get to say goodbye. :( It's kind of sad. Plus, I think only a few classes completely understand that I am not coming back next year..which leads to be hearing "Nunca te olvidaré" (I'll never forget you)..awwww. So that was me saying goodbye to the majority of my students on Wednesday. Last night, Karin and I went out with our Spanish class to eat at an Argentine restaurant. It was delicious, filling, and really fun! But, it was a sad night in Spain..their national team is now out of the world cup..lo siento.

Anyway, now onto today...although most of Spain was in mourning because of the football game, it was a day in history for Spain today and I am so happy that I was here for it! Felipe VI, Prince of Asturias became the King of Spain today and it was awesome! Lucia and I got up early and watched his father, former King Juan Carlos I wrap a sash around his son's waist. Then, the family minus Juan Carlos made their way to Congress where Felipe swore over the constitution of Spain. Then, the King gave a speech about his plans for a new monarchy. We obviously watched this all on T.V., but we left a little early to go to watch the new King head from Congress back to the Royal Palace. I thought there was no way that we would see anything, but we actually could and we saw the king! ¡Qué guay!
Waiting for the king to come down Gran Vía 
There he is! 
In the city center with royalty :)
After seeing the king drive by, we tried to go to the Royal Palace where the family would come out on the balcony and wave to us all, but we couldn't get through. Literally every single road was blocked, which is unfortunate, so I had to settle for seeing that part on T.V., but it was still super cool to be here for such a historic event. Also, I should mention that the new princess, Princess Leonor, Felipe's 8-year-old daughter whose feet doesn't even touch the floor when she is sitting in a chair. She's adorable..that was the point of adding that little fact..just to say she's cute. :D If you want to read more about the new king and the football game (because of course it can't just be an article about the king) read one or both of these links:

Anyway, the rest of the afternoon, I just did little things preparing myself to go home. Oh, I forgot to mention this about yesterday. I took all of my pictures down yesterday which were stuck up with blue sticky tack. At first I thought "oh, it's not so bad" then I realized that the wall looked like it had chicken I had to do something. This led to me taking a butter knife to the wall and pretty much scrapping the stucco off of the wall along with the tack. It actually worked..there are a few bare looking spots now, but at least the walls are white now, right?

So, I have four more days left! I feel like I have a lot left to do..we'll see how the weekend goes. I will see you all very soon! Have a great end of your week!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Una semana larga

So it has been nine days since my last blog. I have all last week to blog about and two weekends. I'm not going to split it up into days, but just generally talk about everything significant that happened. I will tell you that it was a super long week though and a lot of things happened.

As for last weekend, we had a sleepover at Karin's apartment. We ate chocolate and popcorn and watch the movie, About a Boy. It was okay, but I wasn't in love with it. Also, my boyfriend ran a 200 mile relay race with some of his friends so I just want to give a shout out to him and tell him how proud I am and how crazy I think that he is! On Sunday morning, we hung out for a little bit and watched another movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is a strange, but good movie. I got home in time to eat lunch and then I went to the park with Karin for a little bit to lay out, then I skyped Tim and my family. In between all of the fun, I did some more job searching and applied for a few positions. I was avoiding some of the applications because they involved more essay questions that I wasn't excited about answering, but when I went to the park on Monday, I spent my time in the sun and wrote those essays and it paid off..but we'll talk about that a little later.

Last week at school was a long, but good one. The students are finally finishing up their science projects. I just have one more class that has to present them and they are taking their science and English books home, tomorrow (Monday) so we worked a lot last week on finishing up all of the activities in the book that the students never finished. That took a lot of work and was somewhat stressful, but it was also somewhat relaxing to just sit down surrounded by a group of students asking for help. Also, the kindergartners graduated this week and although I didn't get to see them graduate, I did get to see them come in their adorable outfits to school. :) And again, I revealed my hidden talent of play-doh sculptures to the students and they were pretty impressed (once again, I will only ever be cool with 1st graders), but to be honest, I was WAY more impressed by the two boys who had drawn out a soccer field with the clay and they were playing finger soccer with a rolled up piece of play-doh. It was pretty sweet.

I also had my two Spanish classes (one individual, one class). During the individual class, my instructor had me do really good speaking activities, which was really helpful. I can't believe my last classes will be this week. I hope to stay in contact with my professor, because he's great and has great resources.

On Tuesday, I had an impromptu e-mail screening for a job, which went well. And Esther came over on Tuesday night so that I could help her with her stuff. She also helped me with my final reflection paper that I had to write about this year and the program that I participated in.

Thursday was a stressful day towards the end, but school was good and lunch was delicious and super filling because our school put on a lunch for the staff. But it wasn't just your regular old lunch, it was a four-course meal. Normally, I would think of a four-course meal as a small salad, a small soup, an entree, and dessert, but heck no was that what this was! We had four appetizers (Spanish ham, stuffed peppers, shrimp, and goat cheese something or other), a fish entree complete with vegetables, a piña colada to switch up the flavor, a steak entree, and a dessert! I thought I was going to explode..seriously! I didn't eat all of my fish, I barely ate half of my steak, and they might as well have not brought me the cheesecake! It was ridiculous, but so good! I felt bad for not eating it all. Anyway, lunch was so good, but I was also freaking out through the whole thing because it started at 3, and I had to make it home for an interview (that came out of the e-mail screening) at 6:30 p.m. I kind of had to eat and run, which was unfortunate, but I did make it home with about 15 minutes to spare thankfully. I kind of walking on the wild side. I thought that the interview went well, but of course I have thought that for the past few and they didn't ask me to move on in the process, which again is fine. Everything happens for a reason. But yea, after the stressful day, I sat down and watched the first (of the new versions) Planet of the Apes movie because when I return to the U.S. (which is in 8 days, I might add) I want to see the second one. It's a good movie, I would suggest it.

On Friday, there was a charity race at school, which was fun for the students, but also dangerous. They just ran around the building once, but so many kids fell and scraped up their hands and knees. At least most of them were pretty tough and could handle the scraps and bruises. Also, on Friday, I had another interview for a different position and again, I thought it went really well and, this time, I was right. I have been asked to move forward in the interview process and I am pretty excited about it! And what's even more exciting is that I will have my second interview when I'm home in a little over a week! My first in-person interview!

Anyway, after that, I got to relax for the weekend a little bit. I did have to complete a few things for my "hiring packet"..that's right, I have a hiring packet!, which seems pretty important, but they were pretty simple things, because they were things that I already had completed, but just tweaked a little. Anyway, Friday night, I went to Stephanie's apartment to watch Spain play the Netherlands in their first World Cup game. Spain's team is the reigning champions and they beat the Netherlands to win, so this first game was a pretty big one. Unfortunately, Spain got killed. They lost 1-5 and we got to see the coolest goal ever!
Anyway, I'm not gonna lie, I didn't really have an interest in the game, but it was fun to watch, but I am definitely a bigger fan of the Olympics. So, if you're like me and don't really keep up with the FIFA World Cup and you want to this year or if you want to just know more about it, click here, to read a list of 10 things that non-soccer fans need to know about the world cup.

On Saturday, I spent the majority of my time at two of my private lesson students' house. I gave a two-hour private lesson to the older girl and her friend (who I also tutored during the whole year) because their final is tomorrow. After the lesson though, they had invited me to stay for lunch and I'm glad I did. We had lasagna and it was delicious! Also, we had appetizers that consisted of Spanish ham and I can honestly say now that the Spanish ham is growing on me..not literally, but figuratively. I still don't think I would crave it, but it is good. :) After lunch, we played two games, Trionimo (which is like Dominos, but three-sided) and Hedbanz (which is like 20 questions). They were both really fun and I want to get Hedbanz in my classroom, because it's a great way to practice Spanish! :) Anyway, it was a fun afternoon/evening and they got me a really nice goodbye gift.
Playing Trionimos
Once I got home, I got to see my roommate's new video that will be debuting on Friday. It's still in the "safe" so you can't see it yet, but I can show you the promotional video, which is also really cool!

Today, Sunday, ends this blog after a very long week, but exciting week. I went to church this morning with Karin and then we met up with Stephanie to go to the Rastro. I guess it never gets old looking at the same things all of the time. Ha. After that, I came home for a little bit, but then left to go lay out at the park with the girls. Then, Karin and Stephanie came over for a little bit and played Lucía's guitar and sang. Then, I skyped my wonderful dad for Father's Day and my mom (she's wonderful, too). And now..well, now it is super late and I have another long, and last, week ahead of me. Even though this is my last week in Madrid and in Spain for awhile, I hope to find time to keep you updated and start to reflect on the year that I have had here! :)

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

El rey Juan Carlos I abdica

Monday, June 2nd

On Monday, I got up a half hour earlier and started school a half hour earlier because of the schedule change. I had a science class to begin with and the students did their presentations on jobs and they did so well! It was so cute! Then, I had a new class that I have never worked with before. They had English and we started the class with introductions and then they asked me some questions and then we went on learning about the beach vocabulary. Then, it was breakfast time and then, I had a P.E. class outside with Esther. The students were jump roping, but they were pretty wound up just because class was outside, so they didn't do a lot of jumping. Ha. After school, I came home and worked on some things. I went grocery shopping and just hung out waiting for my Spanish class. I had my private Spanish lesson and the regular group one and both of them went really well. I can't believe the time is winding down. On Monday it was the official three weeks left mark. Wow.

In other big news, the King of Spain announced that he is abdicating the throne, so that has been pretty big news in Spain this week. After Spanish class, Karin and I saw a helicopter in the air so we figured something was going on for the King of Spain's abdication, but little did we know this was going on...
It's a huge rally in the center of Madrid to support the end of the monarchy in Spain and the start of a republic. Unfortunately for all of those ralliers, Prince Felipe (who is an Olympic yachtsmen, which I think is cool..Juan Carlos was one, too) will be taking over the throne on June 19th. I'm not going to act like I am 100% informed on everything, but I will tell you what I know. I know that the monarchy is pretty unpopular amongst some people (and some people still want it). I know that one of the princesses is undergoing a tax fraud and money laundering trial with her husband. And I also know that people seem to like Prince Felipe the most out of the whole royal family. Haha. Although, noone can deny that King Juan Carlos had a good 39 year reign as king. Dictator Francisco Franco restored the monarchy in Spain and named Juan Carlos as his successor when he died in hopes that he would continue the dictatorship; however, Juan Carlos moved Spain to a democracy. In recent years, I think with Spain's economy, the allegations of the princess, and the health of the King, the royals image has decreased. That's just what I have observed from my time here, but we will see what happens in the future. Maybe someday Spain will be a republic, but I don't think it will be anytime soon and who knows, maybe the change of the throne will be a good thing. It will definitely be cool to be here when the switch happens. Anyway, that was my and Spain's Monday. How was your's?

Tuesday, June 3rd

On Tuesday, I had a full day of school and by full I mean that I finished at 1 p.m. Ha. I came home and did a little more grocery shopping to get a few more things. Speaking of, I underestimated my roll of toilet, I am on my last roll of toilet paper until I leave. Haha. Anyway, school was pretty typical from what I can remember. The students are working on their science projects still and the kindergartners are still rehearsing for their graduation next week. Their songs and dances are so cute. Tuesday afternoon, I met with Esther and we had our exchange and I helped her on her English syllabus design defense that she has to give in less than a month. After she left, I ate dinner and went to bed.

Wednesday, June 4th

On Wednesday, school was the same old thing: science projects and kindergarten rehearsals. The real fun came after school. I went to lunch and a movie with some of the teachers at my school. We went to a wok place for lunch and it was delicious. I had been craving Chinese food for awhile so I was happy to finally get some. Also, the movie afterwards was so good. It was Divergent and it came from a book series so there will be more movies, which I am excited about. I really liked the storyline and I always enjoy watching movies in Spanish, plus I love the movies, in general. I would recommend it.

Thursday, June 5th

Thursday was a pretty frustrating day at school just because the kids are getting antsy and everyone is getting tired of the science project, including myself and the other teachers. On Wednesday, I took recess away from three students so on Thursday, I had stayed with them during recess and they had to work on their science project and they actually did a fantastic job. So proud of them, even though they were really frustrating on Wednesday when they first got punished. Also, I am getting sick again, which is really annoying, but I've been guzzling down tea and honey, so it should go away soon. :) Also, Thursday afternoon ended well because the students got to be outside and planting trees and flowers, which I think they were excited about, but I was quite terrified. You give about 60 students hoes and shovels and who knows what will happen. I was just nervously watching students mindlessly swinging the tools around. It was freaking me outside. Plus kids were starting to toss rocks, which reminded me of the time that I was helping my aunt move rocks and I accidentally chucked one at her face. I'm still sorry about that by the way, Aunt Donna. ;) Anyway, despite me being nervous no one got hurt and they had a lot of fun.
After school, I relaxed and was pretty unproductive, but I did turn in one more job application, which I guess counts for some productivity. Then, I went to bed. I have so much extra time on my hands now and it has made this week go by super slowly, which I was not expecting. It's possible that the time is going slower because it is getting closer to my flight home. 

Friday, June 6th

Well, it's the last day of the week. Two more weeks of school left, that's crazy. Anyway, school was really good today. The students worked so well in both P.E. and Science. They are so close to being done with the project. It will be good when they are done. During the last class of the day, I got to play with tinker toys and made some cars and the students called me an experta at building them. It made me feel pretty cool among the 1st graders, ha. I guess I should accept that younger children will be the only people who ever think I'm cool. Ha. :D Once I got home, I just chilled out. Again, avoiding all that is productive with the exception of writing this blog. Hopefully, I find the motivation to do things this weekend and maybe apply for more jobs. On Friday night, Stephanie, Karin, and I went to the quiz night, which we didn't do so hot at. Our best category was musical literacy and the other ones were female royalty, fictional doctors, and world cup capitals...gah. We've been there twice and we haven't won at all; however, both times we graded the winners paper. Apparently our luck is going in the wrong direction. It's okay though at least we are helping someone win. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Saturday, May 31st

Yesterday, was a great day and I was super productive! I got up early and did my weekly chores, I took a Spanish level test (and I'm pretty happy with the results!), I wrote two short essays for my Spanish class, and most importantly, I caught up on all of my blogging! That's right. I am 100% done with all of my blogs from Spring break and after! Yay! So please go check them out! They are awesome and you will love reading about my experiences or at least looking at the pictures. :P At night, I went to Stephanie's house because it was her turn to cook us all dinner. We had chicken shish kabobs and they were sooo good! Also, she bought us mini baklava for dessert and they were delicious as well! To sum it up, we had an awesome dinner! After a productive day and a fantastic dinner, we sat down to watch Amélie. If you don't know it, it is a French movie and it won several awards. It also happens to be the highest grossing French language movie in the U.S. We watched it in French with Spanish subtitles, so we got some Spanish practice in there, which was great. Also, it was a really good movie..a little strange, but I liked it. I would recommend it to others. After the movie, we went our separate ways and went to sleep.

Sunday, June 1st

Holy moly, it's June! I can't believe it! I come home this month. I am super excited about that, but I'm also going to miss Spain and traveling. As this month goes on, my posts might start getting more reflective about the past 8 months that I have been here. I have already started my "What I miss in the U.S." and "What I will miss in Spain" lists, so I will be sharing those in less than a month, crazy! Anyway, today again was a super duper productive day! Stephanie, Karin, and I went to the Rastro and I am pretty much done souvenir shopping which is awesome! Also, I bought a few things for myself just for fun. :) Then, I headed home and like I said I was super productive. I have accumulated a huge stack of papers throughout the school year so I went through all of those and got rid of everything that I don't want to keep. I cleaned my closet that had turned into just a pile of clothes because I wasn't hanging anything and I started packing. Haha. I know I jumped the gun a little and I know my boyfriend thought it was funny when we were skyping and he asked "So, when will you start packing?" and I answered with "Today," but I really only packing my winter coat, scarf, and long sleeved stuff. And really, I didn't actually pack them. I just threw them in my suitcase to get them out of the way. Haha, but it was still funny. Anyway, I had an amazing and productive weekend, which I am pretty happy about and I start my new schedule where I get off early from school tomorrow. So life is good and the days have been sunny. I hope you all had fantastic weekends and I will talk to you soon! :D

And remember, please go read about all my traveling adventures!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Marbella y Gibraltar

Friday, May 23rd

On Friday, after school, I got on a bus to head to Marbella to visit my friend Tonisha who I met in Peru when we studied together there. Marbella is in the south of Spain and on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The bus ride was about 8 hours long and it went pretty quickly. I blogged for the majority of the time and if you haven't seen already, I am now officially caught up on all of my blogging. So go and read about all of my travels that I have been on since Spring break! Anyway, once I got to Marbella, Tonisha and her boyfriend, Ross, picked me up from the bus station and we walked back to Tonisha's house. I ate dinner and then we just talked the rest of the night. It was great catching up for a little bit, then it was off to bed.

Saturday, May 24th

On Saturday we were going to go to Smurftown, actually known as Júzcar. Júzcar is a small little town in southern Spain and in 2011 it turned from a town of white to a town of smurf blue. Sony Pictures painted it smurf blue to promote the Smurf movie and the town agreed. When the time came to paint it back to white, the town voted to leave it blue because it had brought so many tourists to the town. Well, it was going to take Tonisha and I a lot of effort to figure out how to get to the town, so we didn't end up going, but here's a picture.
Instead of going to Júzcar, we chose a different place that is also super cool and about an hour away--Gibraltar! On the bus, we talked a lot and got to see some beautiful views of the mountains and coastline. We also met an older couple from Yorkshire, England and they were really nice, but super difficult to understand. Tonisha and I couldn't help but laugh about it later because we couldn't understand anything they were saying..and they were speaking English! It was comical. Anyway, once we got to La Linea de la Concepción, which is on the Spain side, we walked to Gibraltar. We breezed through customs and got no stamp :( and then we walked across the airport runway to get into town. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. You literally have to walk or drive across the runway to get to town. My dad asked me if I looked both ways..of course I did! We didn't get stopped by a plane, but this is what it would look like if we had.
Once we were in Gibraltar, we found an ATM to take out money in pounds, which I didn't even think about before arriving. They take euros too, though, but we got pounds anyway. Then, we sat down to have an English lunch. I got shepherd's pie and it was so good and our waitress was really spunky so that was fun! :D Tonisha and I sat at lunch for so long just catching up some more and talking about life! We probably sat for too long because I'm sure we didn't see all we could of Gibraltar, but I don't regret it one bit. It was great to just sit and talk to my friend. After we finally got up from lunch, we made our way to the cable car that took us up to the Rock of Gibraltar. Gibraltar is just a really unique and strange place. For one, it's attached to Spain, but it's British. They have a mountain that just juts out of the ground from nowhere. They have a language called Llanito, which is a mixture of English and Spanish. An airport that is just right there in the middle of things. And apes. And it's a lot bigger than it seems. And I'm sure I can think of more things, but is just one peculiar little place, and I liked it. Anyway, we went up to the rock where there are wild apes, the Barbary macaques. They just hang out and aren't scared of humans. They are known to grab things though, but this did not happen to me luckily. Ha. Also, they supposedly bite and if you feed them, you can be charged up to 4000 pounds! Holy cow! We didn't risk it. We walked around for a little bit up top and then we made our way back down to town.

An airplane getting ready to land

Morocco, Spain, and Gibraltar 
Tonisha and I
Once we got back down to town, our plan was to head to Europa Point, which is the southernmost tip of Gibraltar. We sat at the wrong bus stop for quite awhile before learning that it was the wrong bus stop, so once we got to the right bus stop, we sat there for awhile, too. We started questioning whether we had time to go anymore because we had to make it back to the bus station to go back to Marbella. Right when we were deciding to leave, the bus pulled up so we got on. And what happened next was also pretty comical. Once we got to Europa Point, it was the end of the bus route, so the bus waited a little bit to start its next week. So what did we do? We ran to the point, took pictures, and ran to get back on the bus. It was definitely a drive by photo shooting. Ha. Tonisha said that we should have just stayed on the bus and taken pictures. And after we told the story to Tonisha's boyfriend, he told us that we should've had this music playing in the background...
That gave us a good laugh, because it was seriously like that! :D
At Europa Point
After our quick photo shoot, we got back on the bus and took it to the end of the route, which was near the border. We walked back across the airport runway and back into Spain and made it back to the bus station in time to return to Marbella. Once we got back to Marbella, we went home and relaxed. We watched part of the Real Madrid and Atletico game, which was an important one for Spain. Tonisha and Ross made a delicious pizza and pasta dinner! And we skyped our friend Mark! He is getting married next on June 7th, which is just awesome and so exciting! We are so happy for him. "I love love."
Skyping Mark
Anyway, we were skyping Mark at the end of the Atleti vs. Real Madrid game and somehow, Real Madrid won 4-1. Atlético (who I was routing for) was winning for the whole game 1-0 and with two minutes left Real Madrid scored, pushing it into extra time. Then, they somehow scored three more points. So not cool! But, either way, the trophy was coming back to Madrid, so that's cool I guess. What was crazy was that even in Marbella, people were celebrating. There were people constantly driving by for the next few hours honking and waving flags, fireworks going off, etc. It was crazy, so I can only imagine what Madrid was like. I saw the people flocking to Cibeles on the news. Anyway, once the honking finally stopped. We were able to go to sleep and I slept like a baby.

Sunday, May 25th

On Sunday, we got a little early and went to have churros with chocolate for breakfast! They were delicious and I'm so glad that we got up early for them. Then, we walked to a church that Ross had discovered only a few weeks before. It was an English-speaking church ran by these two elderly Brits. They were so cute. The church was tiny and they played there hymn music on a C.D. player. It was so quaint and the people were so nice. After the service, we sat down to have tea/coffee and we met a man from the Netherlands who was a retired pilot. He used to work for KLM and then became a teacher for pilots later. His whole family was connected to flying in some way or another, which was cool. And he taught us a life lesson. You know those retired people that say "I feel like I never worked a day in my life." Well, that was this man and he said that he was forced to retire because of his age, but he wished he was still doing it. I hope and pray that when it gets to be that time for me that I feel the same way about my career. It really should be something you love to do. I hope I can find as much joy in teaching that he has found with flying. I hope that I can avoid getting burned out before I retire. Here's to hoping. :) I guess I have to get a job first before I get to that point though. :P

After church, we walked to Ross' apartment to eat lunch and to lay by the pool. We laid there for hours just soaking up the sun! We napped, we read, we relaxed, and it was wonderful. Then, after that, Tonisha and I took the bus back to her place, ate dinner, and then she walked me to the bus station to take the overnight bus back home. To read my blog for the day that I arrived home, click here. It was an amazing weekend and I'm so glad that I got to see Tonisha before she left Spain. Every other community other than Madrid has finished school already, so Tonisha and Ross are heading home tomorrow, which is crazy. And what's even crazy is that I have less than a month left to make the most out of my time here in Spain. However, I'm done with the weekend traveling. Marbella was my last full weekend trip and it was the perfect one to end on. :) And that concludes this blog post.
The view from Ross' balcony
Tonisha and I on the walk to church
It was windy