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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Oh Fiesta!

Day 20: 26/09/13 

I think I have been counting the days wrong, unsure exactly what day it is, so don't quote me! 

So! Aside from school, what has been going on?? Well the most interesting topic would be the Fiesta that was on this weekend! I know that this sparks a bit of jealousy in some :p to put it simply, it was AWESOME! The best party I have ever been to!! (Unfortunately i don't have photos, i didn't want my Iphone to be stolen) In New Zealand, yeah they party but they don't know HOW to party! They talk, they drink. Here it is much the same, but so much more! The night started off at 10pm, we caught the train to Barcelona with sooo many people I thought the train might not manage to close the doors. People were cramped into every corner, with their faces smooshed up against the windows! Luckily, the trip only took 20 minutes! Arriving in Barcelona I followed the sound of the music along with my bunch of friends (around 15) and we found our way to the party! At first we just sat down in the centre square of Barcelona, sure there were HEAPS of people, talking, having fun, and music was playing, but I thought to myself "is this it?" Haha! Luckily I didn't say anything because my friends said, "right, lets get into the party!" Which was a huge concert! Thousands and thousands of people, together in a massive mosh pit! Boy it was crazy, the atmosphere was amazing!   I had never seen so many teenagers and young people together in one place! Now dancing might not be everyone's thing, but I was born with something in me that lives to dance!! I was keen to join with the city and move with the music! 

So I followed my friends into the crowd and we lost ourselves in the Spanish and English music! I loved the feeling of letting everything go! I simply danced, and everything was A.O.K :) The people I was with were from my school and friends of friends haha. They proved to be great company, treating me like one of them :) at one point I was minding my own business , just dancing, when someone starts to chant my name. Apparently I was ripping out some fancy moves?? They were loving my dancing and thought it was a cool idea to form a circle and scream my name, oh I could have died!! In my mind I was paralysed with embarrassment but my body just kept dancing hahaha and I laughed it all off, pretending that I was off in my world! (I did feel pretty awesome :p) 

And that was it, for hours! We danced with friends, made new ones and nothing could bring us down :p it all sounds so crazy and probably cheesy, but seriously, you just had to be there. I Finally got to bed at 6am, I think I did my fair share of exercise for the day. Ahh, I just can't wait for the next fiesta! Wishing that there was a fiesta every week! Unfortunately, the next is not for a couple months :/ oh well, at least I still have music and I can have my own song and dance party in the shower! Oh Barcelona, how I love you. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

School in Spain

Day 15: 18/09/13 

So I decided to leave writing for a whole so that I would have more to talk about (I know some of you already think this is waay too long :p) but I don't have that much really. Mostly, all I have to talk about is school. Where do I start with school?? 

Well first of all, it feels like a cage or a prison. Hahaha I know, a bit drastic, but compared to mountainview high school back in Timaru, it really does feel that way. The first things you see are a big, brick  building, surrounded by a big brick wall and a locked, black gate that is the only entrance, and exit. To add to the beauty of the school, the brick fence has graffiti as a nice decoration. 

When school begins (at 8.10am)  the gates are unlocked and a huge mob of students cram inside the doors. To get to my classes I have to push my way up some stairs and down a long, rather narrow, corridor. The classrooms aren't much to describe, a medium sized room with desks for the students (around 30), a desk for the teacher, a couple of rubbish bins, and a smart board/chalkboard. The windows in the school are placed high on the walls, when we arrive in the morning there a thick, metal blinds pulled down over them. I don't know whether this is for security or what - possibly, they do not want the students to get distracted by the outside world (the brick fence). I must say that I took mountainview and it's mountain views for granted! Even though I always did appreciate the gorgeous rose garden in summer and the neatly trimmed hedges. I think I miss waiting outside in the fresh air for a teacher to let us into class. 

Another...interesting, perhaps, thing about the school is the toilets. They are in a very narrow room, and you have to grab a few pieces of toilet paper before you enter the cubicle. Most of the toilets did not have toilet seats, just a toilet bowl? I believe that you are not allowed to go to the toilet during class time but I don't know about during breaks, because when I attempted to go to the toilet, they were locked. 

The subjects that I am apparently taking are: history, art history, maths, geography, psychology and sociology, Catalan, Spanish, English and philosophy. 
In New Zealand I only took Spanish, photography, English, history and physical education. 

The schedule here is:
Begin 8.10pm
2 hours of classes.
A 25 minute break.
2 hours of classes.
A 15 minute break.
2 hours if classes.
Finish 2.50pm

This means we have an extra hour of school compared to nz and I have to get up at 6.30am to walk to school. Boy does it drag on! 7 hours of barely understanding a word. I do nothing in class except listen, and I feel utterly exhausted by the time school finishes. 

Something strange I discovered was that the teachers did not know who I was or what I was doing at the school. They would talk to me very fast in Catalan or Spanish and I would not understand a word. When I told them I didn't understand they were very confused as to why I was at their school. There were a few embarrassing moments where they would ask me a question and I would just nod and agree and the class would all laugh at me...awkward!

I can honestly say that this is the most challenging situation I have ever experienced! My brain works over time, having to wake up at 6.30am , trying to work in 2 languages all day and only getting to sleep at 11pm because dinner is around 9pm and my family are night owls. 

I would say that my main escape here is listening to music. Although, thanks to my friend Katie they are mainly super intense remixs and my sisters body jam songs. The people here are nice. I feel as though I am a bit of a fly, following them around rather than being part of the group at this stage, but isn't that what you would expect? The language barrier of course is against me, but some students do speak a little English. I hope I pick this language thing up sooner rather than later as it sure is hard to join in these girls fast talking, giggly conversations. Ahhh, time for sleep before my head explodes ! :p

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The settling in stage

So today is the 7th day of my life in Spain. Wow, that's a whole week! It feels as though the time went so quick but yet I'm convinced that I haven't seen my family for at least a month. I must admit I am missing my family, boyfriend and friends... Already. How embarrassing haha. But to be honest I know that they are already missing me too, cute guys! 

So on Tuesday (10/9/13) I met someone new, I made my first friend :O my host dad arranged it which was nice. Her name is Cris and I met her and her friend at their school and we caught the bus to the mall they have here in castelldefels (called Anec Blau). At the mall we were on a mission to buy a SIM card, because I couldn't buy one the other day without my pass port. Cris speaks a little bit of English (which is good and bad) and so we communicated using a mixture if English and Spanish. I had a really nice time with them showing me the good stores and talking about the fashion here in Spain. At the moment, the "in" thing is... Crop tops and very short shorts. All the girls like to show their body! What would their mum's say?! Oh wait, their mums are doing it too, don't worry haha. 
I didn't buy any clothes but I did buy a yo yo! Not the toy but a yoghurt ice cream that Cristina highly recommended! It cost about $5 and I could choose 3 toppings, there were so many , I wanted to try them all!! But, in the end, I chose Oreo and toblerone pieces and Ferrero rochere chocolate sauce - however you spell that. Omg it was amazing! I better not have too many of those!  
Above is the "yo-yo" :)

On the Tuesday I also had my first hockey practice with my new team. I couldn't bring my stick with my from New Zealand so all I had was a stick that was too short for me. If you want to know what that's like, it's similar to playing rugby with tiny hands... I guess haha. The practice went from 6.45pm till 8.30pm, in Nz that would be considered very late but I soon discovered why it was held at that time. Because it was still so hot!! If the practice was any earlier I probably would have died. No joke. Conveniently, I left my drink bottle at home and so I looked terribly unfit because I was then dying from the hey and thirst. So my coach said I had to drink from the toilet... Sink! Man, who do you think I am! :p the water was gross as it was warm and I really didn't trust it! 
During the lesson it was sometimes hard to pick up what the coach was saying and one girl got really annoyed when I did things wrong. That amused me. My next practice is tomorrow at 5.20-7, which will probably be even hotter. Hopefully I can find a better stick! 

So yesterday, Wednesday 11/9/13 I was going to try wake boarding! Wooo! And also see the beach for the first time :3 buut the weather decided against me. It thought it would be rather funny to rain again, like seriously rain, thunder and everything. So I was stuck inside for the day with not much to do. I couldn't even watch the tv! Well I could but I soon got bored of not understanding anything at all, not even Mickey Mouse on Disney channel. So to save the day, my friend invited me to go to the mall again! :) I went with my family to meet Cristina and her family at the mall. Apparently, castelldefels is as small as Timaru but still manages to have a big mall! But I don't believe that castelldefels could be that small. Anyway, Cristina and her family are so lovely! I love them already . Cristina, her mum and I went shopping and I bought two shirts and matching jeans (for me and Cristina - not her mum). I think this was the first time I felt really content with my new life. I think this was due to the fact that I made a good friend and she could understand me (age wise and also speaking - in English and I'm Spanish). Sadly, she does not go to my school but I'm sure we will remain great friends throughout my exchange here :3 Today we are going on a frappe date! She read the back of my phone which says that I love them and so decided that we must have one! Of course, I agreed.

Monday, 9 September 2013

My new home (apartment) in Spain :)

Barcelona - on the train!

Some of the AFS Spain students

Plane food man :s

On the plane to Aussie

Leaving nz

My first few days in Spain

So in these past few days I have said good bye to my old life (for 10 months) and have said hello to my new life. I left New Zealand on the 5th of September, saying Good bye to my parents and boyfriend at the domestic flight (which made me look stupid for crying). It was so sad saying good bye, even though i knew they would still be there when i got back. In auckland, I got on a plane to start the so-called journey of a lifetime. The first flight to Melbourne was fine (4 hours) there was 2 of us afs'ers sitting together (Hugo and I) and we had 3 seats between the two of us which made for a semi comfortable flight. But I was wrong to think that the next flight might be half as comfortable at least. The flight to Dubai was, to put it lightly, horrible. It lasted for 13 hours and the sleeping pills didn't help. Seeing Dubai ( the tiniest part of it) was awesome, straight away you could see the differences in their life compared to ours in New Zealand. I wish I could have seen more! On the positive side, I got to watch 3 movies that I had wanted to watch for a while ( monsters inc university, totally worth it)

 On my arrival in Spain (madrid)I had so many emotions , like 'am I really here??' And 'oh my gosh, I'm really here!!' I felt so happy and sad at the same time. Wow I couldn't describe it if I tried. I then met the other AFS Spain students and we went to a hotel to stay the night before departing to meet our host families I had no idea that there were so many students going to Spain, there were maybe around 50. I was so unbelievably tired on my first day in Spain that I thought I would pass out, that or throw up. Unfortunately I could not sleep until the orientation (rules and stuff) was done. I think the worst thing that i discovered was that my feet swelled up so much from the flights! They were so big and pink, they looked like they had grown 3 sizes and they ached so much! I was very very thankful to collapse onto the hotel room bed (despite the fact that it was so hard it felt like I was sleeping on a table). 

 On my second day in Spain I travelled by train to meet my host family, I was very nervous, not about them liking me but about my lack of ability to speak Spanish (or Catalan) turns out that yes, it was worse than I thought :p they speak so fast , and here, in Barcelona, they generally speak Catalan which I didn't learn and they also have a lisp. This means that even if I do know the word I cannot recognise it with their lisp present. But boy are they lovely people! I am so glad to have them as my new family, they are so accommodating and kind. My host dad speaks English quite well which is good and bad. On arrival at their house (our house - sounds weird) we spoke or attempted to speak before having dinner at 9 and then I went to sleep in my new bedroom, new bed ( which to my dismay was just as hard as the previous bed in Madrid) many thoughts were running through my head but I soon drifted off to the sound if rain ( it rarely rains in Spain, but it conveniently did on the day I arrived). 

 Yesterday my dad and my sister, along with our neighbours (two boys my age) went wakeboardin, in the Olympic canal. I went with them but I only watched this time. I know, what a wussy! But I have 10 months here, I will try it sometime soon. It looked very fun and the weather was lovely. Everyone had shorts and singlets on, showing their tan bodies. I am so white! I joked about looking like an albino here but I seriously do look like an albino. :/ mama Mia! The Mosquitos like me here too so I have white legs with red spots, arrg. Not ideal. For dinner, again at 9, we had rice, chicken and a nice sauce that I don't know the name of. It was different but very nice :) I hope we go out for tapas or something some time soon because I had them in a Mexican restaurant once and they were amazing! 

Today we are about to have lunch, rice, tomato, Tuna, cucumber and mango, a very weird mixture but I will give it a go :p we have been shopping to get shampoo etc and also a SIM card for my phone, apparently you need a passport to buy a SIM card? Strange. Navigating around castelldefels (my town) will be difficult I believe, it just looks so confusing with lots and lots Of little streets in all directions but the town itself is beautiful :)  

Sorry for the long post , but if you are reading this you have hopefully read it all! Thanks :p ahh this is amazing :)