Thursday, January 31, 2013

Snowy days!

I woke up on Tuesday expecting a normal day, and normal is not what I got. At 7:15 Sergio comes bursting into my room and says its snowing outside. Now, we are surrounded by mountains and it does snow in this area, but it really takes a lot for the snow to reach Bembibre. So this wasnt´t very common. Anyways, all I am thinking is "get out, I´m sleeping, I have 15min left and I plan on using it" I finally get up to look outside my window and it is definitely snowing, but like a lot, more than I have ever seen in my life at one time. It was beautiful. So we walked to school, but only about 7 people showed up because if you live in a pueblo, then you can´t drive to school and the buses don´t go either. Basically the same thing happened on Wednesday but fewer people showed up and I walked to school while it was snowing, (can now cross that off my list of things to do in life). Both days I left school early (we weren´t doing anything, so it was a waste to be there) to play in the school with friends. Those two days are probably some of my favorite days in Spain.

I also want to quickly add that last week I took the math recuperation. This is how it works, if you fail the class, you take the recuperation and if you pass that then you pass the class. So yes, what I am saying is that in Spain they expect you to fail the class (I don´t understand either). Well, I passed with a 6!! On friday I had the Lengua recuperation and I got a 5.35! Out of the 10 or so people that took it in my class, I was one of two that passed. 

Now, Pictures! (there are a lot more on my Facebook page, too)

quality snowman

and right to the face...

One of the ugliest snowmen I have ever seen

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Years and Los Reyes

Go Shannon for finally getting her act together and posting this post that happened almost a month ago...
I have working on this one for a while, but it just wasn´t happening. I have now finally finished it though! (it´s funny I have taken so long because this is a pretty short post)

For New Years Eve the family came over for dinner around 10, and the dinner was delicious as always. My host mom is an amazing cook. The Spanish tradition on NYE is eating grades at the strike of midnight. There is a 12 second countdown that they do on the TV and you have to eat and swallow one grape for every second that is counted down. This was explained to me a million times by everyone in the family, but I thought we were supposed to see how many grapes we could keep in our mouth without chewing them (like the chubby bunny marshmellow game). So at like the third grape, I had realized that  I was actually supposed to eat them. I obviously had some catching up to do. But I did it, and it is a lot harder than it sounds, too. Then we went out to the fiesta in Bembibre, which was fun! NYE in Spain in general is a big deal. Everyone goes out to the fiestas and gets really dressed up. I asked my British friend who has lived in Spain her whole life why it is such a big deal. She says it doesn´t have really any importance but the norm is to spend Christmas and Reyes with your family and it is more relaxed, but the NYE is the night you go all out with your friends.

Los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings day, is a holiday in Spain celebrated January 6 (I´m not sure if or where it might also be celebrated in the rest of the world). So we woke up and opened presents then drove over to my granparents´ house in Ponferrada to meet up with the family. We opened more presents then went to a café. Later, the five of us went to lunch, that lasted a solid 3 hours. We drove up to the snow, which was awesome! There actually wasn´t that much but enough to have fun and play around!

That is fog and the whole city of  Ponferrada is below it

How cute are we?!

We absolutely did not make that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

post for this week

I started school 2 weeks ago. I honestly needed another good week for me to be ready to go back. I know I say that after every break, but this time, I really mean it... School is grueling, Although, my first 2 weeks back have wonderful. I have managed to complete all that I need to complete for school the next day without shooting self AND finding time to go to the pool or go to volleyball AND take my siesta AND find time to watch my new favorite show "El Internado." This show actually ended a few years ago but I´m watching it all from the beginning on the internet. It such a great show, and I am learning more Spanish while watching it. it has all the perfect elements of a teenage drama like love, unexplained deaths, jealousy, murder, mystery-to-be-solved, etc (you all know exactly what I´m talking about). There are 7 seasons, (each season is short, though) so I don´t plan on being bored for a very long time.

I am also reading a new book in Spanish. This is technically the second book I have read, but this one is hardcore, long (300 pages), and more literature-ish. It is actually not that terrible, and I did read a quick summary online so I have an idea of what is happening while I in reading in case I got confused. I really can´t wait to finish it because it is absolutely going to be an accomplishment. Then I have a test on it, and I pass it I will be even happier.

This weekend I have my Mid-Year Orientation and this time it is in Valladolid (about 3.5-4 hours by train). I am very excited for that!!

Everything in general is going great! I have nothing too exceptcional to report (except that I am living in Spain, obviously) and nothing bad to report! Life is good!

I am still working on a blog post about New Years Eve and Los Reyes Magos (3 Kings Day). Hopefully before next Monday? I have no idea when I´ll end up getting around to it.

¡Hasta Luego!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Two days before Christmas (on Sunday, 23 Dec), we had a "family day" to celebrate Sergio and my host mom´s birthdays. We went into Ponferrada in the morning and met up with the rest of the family (the majority of our extended family lives in Ponferrada) to "tomar algo" (coffee, wine, etc.) After, we went to an Italian restuarant and ate lunch, it was delicious. We then walked around for a little bit and went home. It was a great day spent with my family.

Christmas Eve and we had the whole family over at our house for dinner, now, allow me to remind all of you that dinner here is normally around 9 or 10pm, doesn´t last too long, and isn´t a very big meal. When you have family over, though, it becomes a big meal, that starts at 10, and lasts for about an hour or so...but that is just the eating part. One of my cousins brought over the Wii, so some of us played that for a while and the rest of the family played the cards. Playing cards is a tradition in our family, it is something that they always do when there are family gatherings (it is a specific game, but I don´t know the name of it). There were other board games we played, and the family didn´t leave until almost 5am. Two of the cousins stayed the night and the 5 of us (2 cousins plus Sergio, Raquel, and me) decided to watch a horror movie. I lasted about 30 minutes then went to bed.

Christmas in general isn´t a huge deal here like it is in the US, some families don´t really celebrate it and it is simply another family gathering. The important holiday they celebrate in Spain is Los Reyes Magos (The Three Kings, but we´ll get to that later). Christmas morning (more like "day") we woke up very late, opened a few things under the tree and got ready for the family to come over again for "comer," which is the biggest meal of the day normally eaten around 2 or 3pm. The family came over about 3 and we ate then after we played cards, Wii, and more games. They didn´t leave until about 7, then I talked to some of my family back home, watched a movie and went to bed. It was really nice to talk to my family in CA. Everyone here kept asking me if I missed them, and while of course I do miss them, I feel so at home here with my family and my extended family have been as equally welcoming as my host family that having all these people over wasn´t awkward or weird, it was so much fun!

I would have to say my abosulte favorite holiday memory from this year was Christmas Eve. We had just finished eating and we were singing Christmas songs around the table and all of sudden my host grandpa´s "jam" comes on and he just starts singing like no one is there, at the top of this lungs, not holding anything back. Everyone just starts laughing, but doesn´t stop him, he sings even louder. It was wonderful, and it  might seen weird that that is my favorite memory, but man, it was awesome. 

This is Cris. She is one of my new favorite family members. She is such a child at heart and is so funny!

The whole family minus Sergio (he was taking the picture)

The cousins with our grandparents

school, first trimester

This post will probably be a little bit boring, but this blog is not only for those back home to read but it is also a way for me to remember how I am doing with my Spanish life at that moment in time for the rest of my life (if that even makes sense).

The grading scale is from 1-10, 5 is passing, 6 & 7 are good, 8 & 9 are really good, 10 is almost impossible

History for the Contemporary World: 5, I´m not really sure how I passed considering I didn´t study for the tests, but it was all information I already knew.

Philosophy: 3, As bad as this may sound, I have never cared less about a class than this philosophy class. this is really just my "journeling" class. I don´t need to pass it and I don´t really have a strong interest so I just write in my notebook.

Applied Mathematics: 4, I honestly assumed I would pass because math isn´t too difficult for me, but then we got our first test back and 1 person passed (not kidding). We then had a retake and 4 more passed. So for the next trimester I should probably try harder if I decide I want to pass.

Economy: 6, At first I was not into this class at all, but it´s really not that bad and I absolutely love Fridays because we have debates...I can´t even explain it. You have to see it to believe it. They get so intense and there are just arms flying everywhere (Spainards use lots of hand gestures) and yelling and literal finger pointing and cussing...if you are not participating, it is a wonderful sight to see. With the crisis happening, there is always something to discuss, although, I do participate quite a bit and I love it. 
Technology Information and Communication: 7, considering before this class, I was barely proficient on Microsoft Word, this class has done wonders for me, and it is not even that difficult, so I like it

English: 10, My teacher allows me to do whatever I want during the class as long as I´m not disruptive and I have to take the tests so she can give me a grade. Sounds like a fair deal to me. I normally write my blog post for the week here or some type of writing.

Spanish Literature and Language: 4 It´s honestly like I am sitting in my English literature class back at St. Francis working so hard but only getting sub-par results. I´m just praying that if I continue showing my teacher that I try and do my work and I get 4s or 5s on the tests, she will pass me at the end of the year.

Physical Education: 6, I feel like I´m training for the Olympics in this class and since I don´t have to take PE at St. Francis, I don´t really like it. But it´s really not that bad.

Sciences for the Contemorary World: 7, Not that this class is very difficult but I am learning some things, and my teacher is really cool. It is only twice a week and my class thinks this class is a joke (it kind of is), but since I sit right in front of my teacher´s desk we normally just talk since he knows no one pays attention.

       I have an average of 5.8

All in all, I would say I am pretty happy with my grades, especially since none of the grades were from pity because I don´t understand 100% The only really frustrating thing is that I never studied once for history and I passed; however, I studied for the Lengua tests like I have never studied before and I only ended up with a 4. Lengua is the class I need to pass, not history. But I´m probably just being hard on myself, and I am proud of my accomplishments!