Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving! Christmas! Movies! Field Trip!

I kinda have a lot to say, so please bear with me. Although, I am going to try to put more pictures and fewer words!

So I had a bit of a surprise Thanksgiving dinner and honestly, it was one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever had. On Wednesday my host parents asked me if I wanted to go to Liz´s house for dinner tomorrow night, and of course I said yes! Liz is this amazing Bristish woman who runs the Libreía (book store) by my school. That is also when I learned that there are 2 Americanas on the Bembibre Basketball Team (only one was able to come to dinner). So on Thursday at about 9:30pm I got picked up and we went to Liz´s house for an amazing dinner. This is how awesome Liz is, she googled tons of information and recipes about Thanksgiving to make it as special for Ni (basketball player) and I as possible. We had chicken (turkeys aren´t exactly easily found here), stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and for dessert apple crumble with nata (cream). It was amazing, I can´t even put into words how delicious it was.

Liz even make the table all cute!

There are not even words to describe...

On Friday, we had our AFS Thanksgiving/Christmas party, and I was in a terrible mood and did not want to go at all, but obviously it was tons of fun! All the families of all the students gathered together and ate food and all hung out (typical Spanish). It was nice to finally meet some of the host siblings of the other students!
We all had made posters before about how we celebrate Christmas in our homecountry (except Lani and I had made ours together because there wasn´t enough poster board). We all gave a short presentation in Spanish with our posters. We ate tons of food (I guess that´s why they also called this a Thanksgiving fiesta?), and everyone brought food from their homecountry. I made carrot cake (all by myself) and all the Spaniards loved it (none of them have eaten it before)!! All the adults kept asking my host parents if they helped me because they didn´t actually believe that I made it all by myself and that it was so delicious!
Ida is leaving in less than a week because she is only here for a trimester, so it was also a chance for people to say bye, but I will be hanging out with her this Thursday so say one last goodbye. I´m so sad she is leaving! I remember being bus buddies on the way to Ponferrada just a few months ago and now it´s goodbye :(
okay, well I am just going to post lots of pictures now because I assume people enjoy looking at pictures more than reading!

my carrot cake!

Marina (my tutora´s daughter) and Carolin

Ya´ll can´t even imagine how many trys we have to do just to get a decent picture as a group (see below for final result)

Lani <3

Just some of the students and host siblings

Ida! <3

our beautiful Christmas Poster

Derin´s poster, and he will kill me if I don´t say that he is not the one who spelt Christmas wrong :)

Christmas in Germany

Christmas in Denmark

Chirstmas in Lativa
On Saturday I went to the movies with some friends from school and we saw Breaking Dawn Part 2. It was sooo goood!! and most importantly, I understood it all! I was really impressed with myself with how much I was able to pick up on nearly every word and not just rely on the video part and simply understanding what is happening. I was able to understand the conversations between characters completely and the exact words being said. It was a very fun afternoon!

Last thing! On Wednesday this week, I am going to a field trip with my grade, grade above me, and grade below me to Leon (a big city about an hour away). We are going to watch a Sherlock Holmes play in English. This is meant for schools from all around to come and watch the play and give students a chance to listen and try to understand the English. At the end of the play, students are supposed to ask questions to the actors to practice their English and such. Then we are going to la Universidad de Leon, I am assuming for a tour of some sort? but I am not sure. I´m excited though!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quick tidbit about happy news!

So I wasn´t actually planning on writing this one until about 30 seconds ago (not kidding). It is 11:15pm in Spain  right now and I was planning on spending just a tiny amount of time blogging since I had pre-written the last post during English class so I was only supposed to type it and post it and be done. Of course, when do things actually go according to plan? So basically I have spent the past hour reading other AFSer´s blogs without actually writing mine...

Thought I would share some wonderful news (the whole point of why I´m quickly writing this)! I had a Lengua test, and the thing with Lengua is that I have to pass, unless I want to take 2 English Lit classes next year (this is counting for Junior year Lit)...which obviously I don´t. So I studied my butt of for this test, and allow me to quickly explain how tests in Spain are: here are some topics/concepts/important people etc and a few questions, now here is 50 minutes, now write as much as you possibly can and the maximun score is 10 (virtually impossible, kids aim for about 7s). Well, I scored a 5.15 (5 is passing)!!! I was so excited, I felt very accomplished, too because my hard work paid off!!
Also, I got a 4.8 on my History test! Considering I barely studied, I´d say that is pretty good!
Another proud moment, on both of the exams, I didn´t even get the lowest scores! Not even second or third lowest! (I'm not quite sure where I stand past that). Go Me!!

So I know when you type in the URL for my blog this will be the most recent, since this is, in fact, the most recent...but scroll down or look on the right hand side for my (Post 14) and read that one too!!! I posted it about 5 minutes ago, so it is recent too!!! It is short so it won´t take very long, I promise!

Hasta Luego!

Post 14 (I´m kinda done with coming up with names)

This post is not an update but a story that I found very interesting.

On Friday in my economics class, a student and my teacher had what started as a conversation about the economy and what ended up as a debate about politics. This discussion lasted for 35 minutes and there I was all content about wasting time when my teacher asked me a question about US politics and economics. Just like that, I was now in this discussion. Somehow this ended up as a debate on communism. It was basically me versus my class and I am not even kidding, the kids from the sciences group (I am in the humanities and social sciences group) were now in my classroom circled around me and the few kids I was talking with.

After this, I go to my next class (which I am obviously very late to) and I am starting to think to myself that never have I ever in my life had a conversation about communism with positives included. In fact, I don’t think I have ever been taught in school the pros of communism, the only thing we learn is that it is bad and here are a few reasons why it doesn’t work. We talk about this a lot in my economics class about how capitalist the US is and this affirms it. I was talking to one of my friends during the next class about this and he told me that a lot of people in Spain are open to the idea of it and there are strong groups of communists all around Spain. I then explained to him that it is not illegal to believe in communism in the US but I think the general sense is just that you don’t verbalize it if you do (of course, I could be totally wrong about this whole thing, but this is my opinion and what I have observed throughout my life).

The point of me writing this post is because something as little as this was such an eye opening experience. I saw a whole new mentality and I was able to see something in a new light, from a new point of view.
This is really what being an exchange student is about. Yes, it is also about learning a new language and culture of your new country, but I think one of the most important things about going on exchange is being able to look at the world from the view of a different group and type of people, people who live their lives completely different than you do, where your normal is not so normal anymore. It is important to step outside of the box that living in the same place your whole life puts you in. Not to say that I have turned communist, but this is just a little example of how people from a different country think about things has opened my eyes and as my friend Claudia told me: “it is important to be more open minded”

Hasta Luego!
(JK, I´m ´bout to do another quick post:)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Post Number 13 (the extent of my creativity)

Just going to jump right into this post. School is so much better now, it´s actually becoming fun! When I am actually listening, I understand about 90% of the what teachers are saying. Although, I still get nervous when the teacher asks me to answer a question or when they say "Estados Unidos" because there is always a question to follow. If school was about a three before, it´s about a seven now. I say seven because one point is automatically subtracted because it´s school... Another because it is kind of difficult (school here is a lot harder than America), and the third point because I am without any real, close, best friends. But overall, way better!

This weekend I went to a birthday celebration for my friend Angie (a girl in my class). It was a lot of fun! We went to dinner then the discotecas!
Volleyball was a great decision! Even though I don´t love the sport in particular, I have made some great friends and it was a great way to meet new people from my school. Also, I didn´t realize it was like a real team with games against other schools and such, I just thought it was something to do afterschool... But this just makes it more fun!

Today was another Huelga, but this time it was about protesting the government about the economy, education, health care, and basically everything the government is supposed to take care of here and not just education. It was a nice day of school to relax and get caught up on some stuff (which is why I decided to write my post today and not on Monday).

Back home, I am really independent, and I am starting to get my feeling of independence here living in Bembibre, I know where everything is in town now and I can go places by myself without my family and be totally fine! Things are great here in Spain and I hope all is well in Sacramento!

¡Hasta Luego!

Angie, Me, Cristina, Paula, Alicia

Paula and Me...I just think this picture is really cute, so I included it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cosas Al Azar (random things)

I´m just telling you now this this blog post is will not be quality writing. It´s a bunch of different random things put together in one post. There won´t be any connectivity. 

School is a lot better than before. I´m having more conversations with the kids in my class and I guess they aren´t as timid to talk to me. Spanish school is way more difficult than school in America, without a doubt. Within my next few posts I will probably do something about explaining my classes and how I´m doing with them.

I started volleyball on Tuesday, I have it every Tuesday and Thursday from roughly 5-6. It´s basically a group of kids who meet up at my school and we play for an hour. They don´t really have school sports here like in America. It was really fun! I met more people that go to my school, and everyone was so nice and friendly!!! Also, I was suprisingly really good compared to the others (not to sound concieted). The reason I bring that up, though, is because sports are just simply not as important as they are in America. Someone said they didnt know the rules of volleyball and I was shocked because for some reason I thought it was like common knowledge, but they don´t really matter as much here. 

I only had three days of school last week, which means a 4 day weekend!!! Thursday was Días de los Santos, where people bring flowers to cemetaries in honor of their loved ones. My family doesn´t celebrate it though because they think it is ridiculous. They don´t think you should have to dedicate a day for the dead, because people that have passed are remembered everyday. I aree with them, so it was a day to relax. Friday we didn´t have school...well, I´m not exactly sure why. Someone told me it was because since Thursday was a holiday, there is like a consensus to take Friday off also to make a 4 day weekend. This is how Spaniards think, I love it haha! I had a relaxing but really fun weekend. Chilled out during the day, then at night I hung out with friends. 

I´m getting my fill of fútbol (which I love), for example on Saturday I watched games from 4:30pm until probably about 11:30pm (excessive? absolutely not). I went to the Bembibre game (I love going to them!), after the game, I went to a bar with friends where Barcelona was playing (on the TV), then I went to dinner at a friend´s house with Sergio and others where I finished the Madrid game then watched the Valencia game. It was amazing and not once did I think "this is getting old."  I wish fútbol was more popular in America so I could enjoy it more often)

Well elections are tomorrow, and I like to stay informed so I have indeed been watching all the debates and such on Youtube. It´s kinda ironic how Hurricane Sandy and the US elections have been consuming the Spanish news lately. Many Spanairds like to tell me their thoughts on American politics with their two sense (is that even how that phrase is spelt?), I kind of find it amusing. 

Hasta Luego!