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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

It changes your life

Day 187: 10/03/14

Hey all my followers, now I don't mean to get all serious, but seriously, truth be told, I really needed to do this exchange.  I mean just looking back over the past few weeks, I realise how much I have changed, and only in the best ways possible. I have learnt so many important things during this experience, about me, the world, life - through the good and the not so good moments. Things that I don't know if I ever would have learnt otherwise. An exchange is definitely a big leap, I did it the hard way but I'm so glad I did. 

The following 3 points definitely have to be at the top of the list of important things I've had to learn and improve on during my exchange but also that I have had to make use of over the past few weeks in particular: 
1. Give things a go 
2. Get out of your comfort zone 
3. Don't be scared to be yourself
Written down like that, it seems as easy as 1, 2, 3, but in reality, as I'm sure you would agree, it's not. At the beginning of my exchange, I thought that I would be able to do these things, but I really couldn't without feeling insecure, embarrassed or darn right scared. Since then, I've had no choice but to follow these rules, along with others, and open myself up to a world of bravery, strength and confidence, the world of an exchange student. 
It´s so hard to explain my experiences and put it on down on paper but you can probably imagine why I have had to follow these 3 rules. Being in an unknown country, with restricted communication skills and meeting new people everyday, has to give some reason no?

When I said that I have had to make use of these rules over the past few weeks I was talking about the change of family, school, city, and also a camp that I went on this weekend. This weekend I went on an "Excursión" as they would call it here, or ,as I would say, camp. The camp was from Saturday the 8th of March, 8:30am at the train station, until Sunday evening and was with a big group of people from a club that my host brothers attend. The club is called "Esplai" and it´s similar to boys scouts or a kids club really. There are kids and teens of all ages from 5-16 and then there are the leaders with 18 years plus. I had been to the club a week earlier and met a few of the people but had felt a little out of place. Therefore, when my host mum told me that I would be going on the camp I have to admit that I wasn´t so keen! As everyone knows, camps are only fun if you have a good bunch of people around you, and I was thinking that everyone would know everyone (as they do) and that I would have to follow along. But. Getting on the train with all these people I starting thinking and I realised something. I realised that I was doubting my ability to make friends.In Casteldefels, when I first arrived here, I struggled at settling in, I felt awkward and like I couldn´t really be myself and, consequently, I think that I lost a little bit of my confidence. Of course I had to take into account that I couldn´t speak spanish very well and in all honesty, the students at my school didn´t really make much effort to make me feel welcome, but I kind of became quite shy. This wasn´t me, and sitting there on the train, I told myself that I wouldn´t hold myself back and that I would have a great time! And so I did. The crew in Esplai are really nice and it wasn´t difficult at all to find and make friends.

After a train ride of about 30 minutes we jumped out and had to walk 30 minutes or so to the place that we would be staying in for the night. It was a school-like building, quite big, and I was surprised to find that we didn´t have it to ourselves, there were other people and another club staying there too. On our arrival, we had a wee snack (my host mum had planned out and prepared all my camp meals for me) and some free time. This was when I took the opportunity to chat with new people and make friends. A little while later we were split into different age groups to do some activities. Even though I´m 18 years old, I went with my host brother, Miquel, and his group which included 15/16 year olds. We went upstairs where we played some board games and hung out. Although it was fun, it was a really hot day, and we wanted to go play outside, so we went outside to play a game of Basketball (I got quite of few points, just saying). After the game we went and had lunch, mine included a sandwich and peach juice! 

Once we had finished lunch, we had to participate in some activities which included using a scorecard. First up we had to do an a activity with puzzles. You had to say whether you thought you could put 5, 10 or 15 puzzle pieces together for 1, 2 or 3 points. There was a big pile of puzzle pieces and we all failed at putting together even 5 pieces. Useless haha. After that we had to make paper planes and I had no clue how to make one, then we had to jump, next we had to skip rope and then we had to do running races. Wooo, felt like a wee kid, but in a good way I suppose. 

After these activities, we had free time and we all chilled out and messed around in the sun with the good old frisbee, having a good laugh. Just on a side note - don't try catching a frisbee with your eyes's not the best idea hahaha. We also attempted dancing whilst catching and throwing the frisbee, clapping before catching the frisbee and played until it was too dark to play anymore.

 Turns out that you weren´t allowed (weren´t supposed to) to bring your phones on camp, but me being me, had to take photos of what was going on so that I could upload the photos to my blog of course, so I got some cool photos ;)

As it was dark we then all headed inside where everyone sung songs in Catalan and each group shared what they had done for the day. This went on for a while and afterwards we had dinner. I had green beans and a potato tortilla just for your information :p

What we did next was pretty fun to be honest. We split off into peers and were told that we were going to do a "special mission". The objective was to sneak through the corridors of the hostel, deciphering clues, and avoiding the guards (or leaders) who were patroling the corridors (in the dark) with their torches and end up discovering where we would be sleeping. My partner was Tomas and we did pretty well but turns out that the clues weren't straight enough and everyone kept getting stuck trying to figure the clues out. So in the end, we ended the game because it was getting late but not without having fun first. 

In the morning (8:30am) we were woken by roaring music ( have no idea where it came from) and all the leaders bursting into the rooms to wake us up -_- I wasn't impressed hahaha. 
We all packed up our things, had breakfast and were split off into groups (mixed with the younger kids) to participate in activities. We had to participate in the activities and earn money which we would later use to bid on things as a team. The activities included: musical chairs (but instead of the person being out they had to sit down on someone), a tag-like game, an obstacle course, and Chinese whispers with water in our mouth. Once we had earned money, we were then told that we were to make a performance as a group, the money we had could buy the music genre and costumes. My group, for some reason, spent all our money on buying "Rock" which really didn't do us much good as the only moves people could think of was playing the guitar and fist pumping. But it was amusing.
After the performances we had lunch and free time and then were off back on the train again to Barcelona. I'm actually not sure of the name of where we went but oh well :)

During the camp I really just was myself and had a great time, and it really paid off. I think that I will continue going to the club on Saturdays and I am looking forward to the next camp (hoping there will be another one whist I'm here)

Hmm that's about all for now. I hope that I didn't bore you as I've just noticed that its rather long :3

Hope you're all well :)
Love from Victoria,

The Spanish Girl ;) 

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