Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ponferrada, My New Home

Well hello there blog, haven´t written in a while...
I`m not going to spend a lot of time talking about the traveling here or the orientation because there are bigger and better things I would rather write about, but there are somethings I will say.
The New York orientation was a little boring but I did learn more information about Spain so that was very helpful. The Madrid orientation was actually very fun, we played many games and I loved talking to all the other AFSers from all around the world! I now have a friend from Latvia, who would have thought!?! We mostly just hung out and played games at the orientation and I had a lot of fun. Something different I noticed was that our room assignments in the youth hostel were coed... Never in America. We didn't play normal games and ice breakers that one would normally play at an orientation, we played the let's-get-the-Americans-accustomed-to-physical-contact game (which is the only reason why we played it, I assume). One person in the middle and everyone else was assigned a number or letter if your number/letter was called then you both had to run to the person in the center and try to him or her a kiss on the cheek. Sounds easy? No, the middle person had to try to resist the kiss, so now we had to literally physically attack the person in the middle to give them a kiss in order to win. It was actually very funny.
Saturday afternoon I arrived in Spain by bus with 6 other AFSers who are also living in Ponferrada; Lani, Megg, Derin (from America), Ida (from Denmark), Emils (from Latvia), and Carolin (from Germany). When I got off the bus, I found out that my host father, Luis, had been addmitted into the hospital again with servere back problems. He has been having problems for 2 weeks now, so I only met my host siblings, Emma and Javier, but was not able to meet Luis or my host mom, Lupe. Instead, Susana (the AFS coordinater in Ponferrada) and her family welcomed me into their home until Luis gets better! I cannot thank them enough! Everything here has been more than I could have ever asked for!! On Sunday I met Lupe, then Emma, Javier and Lupe, and gave me a tour of their home. We handled some things for school and we walked around town for a little bit. They are so wonderful! When I arrived, there was a festival going on in Ponferada that ended last night, so there have been many activites happening around the city for me to enjoy before I begin school! Lani lives just a few minutes (walking) from my house so I have been spending a lot of time with her and her sister, Maria. For the past three nights we went to the fair with Megg, her sister Miarian, and her friend Alba. Today Emma and I went to my school, IES Virgen de la Encina in order to sign up for my classes.
*random thought, as I am writing this, I keep thinking "How would I say this in Spanish" but then I remember that I am actually trying to write this in English, not Spanish.
Susana and her family don´t speak very much English, so that first evening was very quiet. Only three days later, we are talking (a lot) to eachother, understanding eachother, and laughing a ton!! (all in Spanish of course)
AFS always says that to handle the language aspect, you need to be able to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. That brings me to my first embarrasing story of the year.
Lani, Susana, Maria, Noe (Maria and Lani´s mom), and I were walking out of a sports clothing store and I knew that we were going to go to the gym but I did not know when. We start walking and I see "Ronald´s Gym" so I tell Noe "Mi ropa athletica esta en el coche de Susanna (my athletic clothes are in Susanna´s car)" Noe looks at me with an odd look on her face and says "No esta el gimnasio, esta un McDonalds" (I swear I didn´t see a sign saying Mcdonalds). Everyone laughs at my mistake and at how ironic it was! My face goes bright red and of course Noe points it out by saying "Tu cara esta roja jajajaj (your face is red hahaha)"
Quite embarrasing but everyone got a good laugh out of it.
Now to the serious side of my adventure. I think I am learning the language very very fast and my speaking has improved greatly. I can understand people now without them talking at a snail´s pace and when natives are speaking to eachother I am starting to pick up on pieces of the converstaion! It is all very exciting!! I start school on Thurday and I am very excited but also very nervous! I am excited to meet people but nervous about the language aspect since teachers will be talking very fast!
*also, I apologize if my spelling is very bad because it is my worst subject and the computer is in Spanish here so I don´t have spell check anymore.

Picture Time!!! (and to see more pictures of my adventure, feel free to add me on Facebook!)

Susanna and I at the famous castle!

Derin, Megg, Mirian, Alba, Me, Lani, Maria, Emils in the Plaza

Ponferrada is so beautiful!

La Feria

¡Tres Chicas Americanas!

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