Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Last day at school and with the family

Monday was my last day at school.  It has been surreal that my time here is up.  When I first saw that I could student teach abroad I didn't think I would ever want to do that.  One day I just said, "What the heck" and went to a meeting.  Since that day I made the best decision of my life!  This experience has changed me so much not only as a future educator but as a person as cliche as that sounds.  Barcelona is a beautiful city and I have stayed with an amazing family that has taught me how to love no matter what.  There are 5 kids in the family and every single moment it is crazy.  Of course I only have one brother, who is older, and he never annoyed me like I did him haha Even though there are 5 kids and at times it was overwhelming, I could not ask for a better family.  I truly feel like I am their 6th child.  Patricia and Nacho are role model parents.  Even when they are mad they still roll their eyes and laugh after getting after the kids.  Every day they make sure that I am doing okay and they always ask me questions whether it is about the US or about my family or Ben.  Oh, and about how old they are.  It is a joke between us how much older than they are than me so they talk about these American groups or songs from back in the day (mom and dad it's music you listen to ;) )  and they automatically think I have never heard it and how they say I am too young.  Well, my parents are old :D  and so I tell them I actually do know the song/group and start singing with them i.e. the beetles, blues brothers, elvis etc. 
Now I want to talk about the school that I have been student teaching at for the past month and I will get back to the family business.  Like the title of the post Monday was my last day at school.  As excited as I am to graduate and to be done student teaching so that I can start my journey as a teacher, I do not want this experience to end.  At school all of the kids were so sad.  Every class both boys and girls would hug and cling to me and beg me to stay.  One girl even said I could sleep at her house if I needed to haha  The boys who always give me a hard time (5C) tackled me in the hallway and starting hugging me, I definitely did not expect that out of them!  They are hooligans!  Throughout the day it was surreal that I would not see these kids anymore!!!  During our lunch break the teachers put together a luncheon at the school library.  There was pizza, coke, Bailey's chocolate, and of course presents!  Each of us got a school t-shirt which are VERY nice, a yearbook from last year, a lanyard with a note from our teacher, and the newest school journal that they publish each month.  We took pictures and enjoyed our lunch and then it was my last class of the day with my sweet girls!  It was heart breaking.  Maria wrote me a note and made me a bracelet and the girls all wanted my email address to write me, so I am hoping for tons of emails in the future to stay in contact with them!  I said my goodbye's to the kids and to Rudy.  I didn't feel like it was real, I just thought to myself I will be back.  But who knows?! I actually may! ;) 

Today we had the day off from school to do last minute things and to say goodbye to the city we have grown to love.  Abby, Tayler and I met at 8 and started our last minute sight seeing at Olympic village, Mount Tibidabo, Monjuic, Camp Nou, and of course SHOPPING!  When we went to Monjuic, come to find out it wasn't on!  We wanted to see it during the day and then again at night to see the light show, well it only happens at night on Thursday, Friday and Saturday!  We missed out!!  When we went to Tibidabo for my 3rd time with the last time being a fail, we actually made it!  We rode the bus to where I wanted to eat lunch (it is where Nacho said to go) and then we got on a lift that took us to the top of the mountain.  The sight was amazing.  We could see the entire city right in front of us!  There is also an amusement park and a church at the top.  We went inside the church and of course it was pretty.  So many paintings.  After we were finished, we went and ate across the street from La Verna (we couldn't read their menu so we went were Nacho said had good drinks).  We sat at a table that overlooked the city and listened to the kids playing outside at school.  There was a huge opening instead of windows and it was perfect for a day like today.  Once we ate lunch we shopped until we dropped!  So many things to get!!!  Tayler definitely beat Abby and I on the packages!  She could barely walk down the tram aisle without hitting people sitting down. 

When I got home Brenda (the nanny) taught me how to make the spanish omelets.  I helped peel the potatoes (she laughed as I attempted).  I am awful at this but I got better by the end of the night haha The finished product was the best.  I cannot wait to attempt to make it at home!  Patricia also showed me how to make the red peepers that I love and we have pa amb tomaquet since these are the 3 things that I am dying to make back home.  When we ate dinner Guillermo told me how he has enjoyed me staying at his house and I thought I was going to cry.  I feel like I don't get too sentimental about things but boy, tonight is the night where I get emotional!  After dinner we took pictures with each other and had a good time playing with everyone.  Nacho told me how they made the right choice in having me stay (thank goodness) and that anytime I am around Barcelona there home is always open under one condition... next time I bring KY Bourbon haha He said that once he answers the door he will ask okay where is the Bourbon.  If I don't have it I have to stay somewhere else haha  Hopefully they will get to come to KY and see my home and I can take them places like they did with me.  After the pictures were taken, Pablo and Jorge kept saying "Kelsey no leave, no leave." and crying.  Broke my heart especially because I won't see them in the morning before I leave.  These 2 were so scared of me the first day and tonight I couldn't get Jorge to stop kissing me and he was wanting me to hold him!  They also gave me a very pretty bracelet as a  way to remember them always as Patricia said.  Little does she know, I will never forget them.

Words cannot express the emotions that you go through with staying with a family who you don't even know and you grow into their family in one month.  I know that I am probably rambling trying to get all of my emotions in this blog but bare with me.  This family has turned me into a girl who barely tried new things into trying, slimy red peppers, potato and onion omelets, weird/raw meat, green olives, chick peas, slimy beans that I am still not sure what the heck they were, smearing tomato and garlic on toast drenched with oil and salt, eating french fries and chicken nuggets with a fork and knife, and many other things.  I adapted to their culture and I do not think that I could have done that if I was not with them.  As kind hearted as they are, I don't see how I could ever forget them even if I tried.  Hopefully, I will see them again some day!!! 


Monday, May 6, 2013

The City of Love

Paris was amazing!  I had little hope with this city because all I heard was negative things about it.  I heard it was a huge disappointment and how dirty it was.  So going into this trip I really didn't care much and had zero expectations other than to see the Eiffel Tower.  However, my stay there changed my view.  Paris is nowhere near dirty and it is gorgeous.  I will rank it below Rome because Rome has a lot more things to see.  BUT if you want to take a trip with your significant other Paris is the place to go!  Couples were everywhere and all everyone said to me at school was how it is the city of love and that I better watch out haha well they were right it definitely is a city of love, we learned that by all of the people showing a lot of affection to their significant other to put it nicely.
When we arrived at the airport we bought tickets for a bus to take us close to downtown.  It was an hour ride!  We were exhausted since our plane left at 6AM and we arrived at 8ish and we had little sleep from the airport.  Anyway we made our way to the metro after the bus ride and arrived at our hostel Aloha.  It was a nice place to stay!  You could actually see the Eiffel Tower!  We left our things in the luggage room since we were not able to get into our room until later.  We then went back to the metro to find where we needed to go for our Free Tour that I booked. 
The Free Tour took us to 15 places I think.  We went to Notre Dam, Louvre, the smallest street in Paris, the love bridge, statues, the garden, Arch De Triumph, the cursed steps (in the Divinci Code), and other places that I cannot think of right now- it is really later here.  I will show pictures though.  On the trip I did learn some things.  If you look at a statue and there is someone on a horse you can actually tell how the person died.  Now, don't take me word for word because I did not right this info down but I THINK that if the horse is on two legs then the person died in battle, one leg is he got stabbed or shot (I think I just made this up), and if no legs are up he died of old age.  Also, teh river that flows through Paris I think it is the Sina River, well for a long long long time nothing could survive in the water.  It was dirty and gross, our guide even said if we were to get in we would get really sick.  Anyway, someone wanted to prove to the city that he changed the river and fish could survive there so he let a fish go in the river, well the fish ended up dying soon after.  Now, only 300 fish live in there so it is gradually getting better.  Also, by the cursed steps, there are engravings of people's faces.  These faces were actually people who attended a party back in the day!!  Crazy! Also, the eternal flame actually went out a couple of times!  The first time was because these backpackers were hungry and roasted marshmellows or hotdogs in the flame, they couldn't make a fire and they saw this one, well these intelligent backpackers thought you roasted hot dogs on a string!  Well the hotdog fell off into the fire and put it out.  They got taken to jail and told to never return to France again.  Then another time a man got mad about some sporting event where his team lost to France and he ended up putting it out and he went to jail and was told to never return.
When we went to the Arch, we did not know how to cross over to go under neath of it, well, my stupidity, I just thought you ran across the street.  Now, this road has a ton of traffic so it is kind of like playing Frogger.  Once I thought there was a break in the traffic I told the girls to run like a mad man!  Let's just say we came close to some cars driving right at us!  When we got over we saw the stairs we were supposed to take underground to get from side to side...whoops. 
We tried going to eat dinner at a place our tour guide said was good and cheap, but the line was forever long!!!  I wish I could remember the name of it because obviously it is known for their food!  But after we ate at an Indiana place, we went to the Eiffel Tower to see it at night.  When we were on teh metro we actually ran into Elvis! haha he was singing in one of the metro stations.  But once we got to where we needed to be, the Eiffel Tower was gorgeous!  At one point it actually starting to glitter.  Lights were flashing all around it! People were out in the lawn eating pizza and drinking wine.  It was amazing. 
Sunday morning we woke up early to go back to the Eiffel Tower and actually go up to the top! I posted a video on Facebook if you want to see. We didn't wait in line hardly at all only 30 minutes once it opened. When we got to the top it was breath taking! We could see all of the places we visited on Saturday and the entire city! Once we got down to the ground we took some pictures in the grass area and our picture actually ended up on Study Abroad's Facebook page! For lunch we went to the Latin neighborhood again and ate at a restaurant that was very good! I had lasagna and we got a bottle of wine. It was the best lasagna that I have had... Sorry mom. Afterwards we went to notre dam and wanted to go in this time but it was too long of a wait. We didn't have time because of our flight back home.
Instead we went to get dessert! On the way to get dessert we went to the love bridge. there are 2 different ones. one bridge the government removes all of the locks every 6 months because the locks are so heavy that the bridge may fall according to what our tour guide told us. originally you were supposed to put a lock on the bridge and throw the key away in the river. On the lock you decorate it putting you and your "lovers" name on there. The love bridge we went to supposedly the government doesn't remove the locks because it is a sturdy bridge- again according to our tour guide. Well I ended up putting a combination lock on the bridge for Ben and I! It was last minute and I had one with me for the hostels so I thought, why not?! On my way trying to find a spot I found a lock where a boy proposed on the lock!! It gave me goose bumps! Haha her answer was on there too! Also on the bridge newlyweds were throwing their key in the river.
Now it was time to get dessert And let me tell you this place was yummy! We saw a lot of people eating waffles and crepes in a black box so we were on a mission to find the place and we did! Abby an I got a waffle that had melted chocolate drizzled on top with whipped cream and a little bit of powdered sugar. Tayler waited in a long line for some ice cream. It was so good!
Now it was time to go back to the airport! We were so tired that we slept the whole way there! We got to the airport around 6:30 and our flight didn't leave until 9:05. It took awhile to get through security and get our passports checked because we went to the wrong terminal and then the Ryanair lady was so rude to us! She wouldn't let me take my purse out of my backpack when going through security she kind of yelled at me and so I put it back in and then got it out without her seeing! It's not like we were boarding the plane yet!
Any way we got some snacks until it was time to board. When we got to the Barcelona airport we had to hurry to the train and pray that the metro wouldn't shut down since they closed at midnight. By the time we got on and off of all the metros we made it just in time! Our last metro we needed to get on was shutting down after they took us to our stop thank goodness! I got home around 12:30AM but didn't go to sleep until 2! Gah school was so tiring and being sick didn't help much either!

Night in the airport

Wow so I have a lot to tell you all about my trip to Paris!  To start let me tell you about our little adventure on Friday night! After school we packed and got ready for our slumber party in the airport.  We met at school at 8 and went to Las Ramblas to eat dinner.  Well the dinner turned out to last for about 3 hours!  It took forever to get our check, when we finally paid it was 11PM or so.  So we were on our way to the airport!  Little did we know that we would run in to some minor bumps a long the way haha.  We went on the metro towards out Sants stop which is where the train is that takes you straight to the airport.  We got there and on the board it said that it was stopping at some place at 00:06 which we all thought meant that train would get there in 6 seconds, which 6 seconds later it didn't show up.  So when it finally came, I am not joking, every single person left the platform.  But we didn't want to leave because that wasn't our bus the one that was to the airport said was leaving at 05:20 or something along those lines.  so we assumed that meant in 5 minutes or whichever.  As the people were getting on the train, these young boys were waving us on the train and saying things in spanish but we just ignored them.  Now we know why they were waving us on... the next train wasn't until 5AM!!!!!  When I looked at my watch I figured out why it said 00:06 that means 12:06AM...blondes.  When we came to that realization there was an announcement that the station was closing!  We panicked!  We were not about to stay the night in a train station on the concrete floor with trash everywhere!  AH!  We hurried out of the station back to a metro trying to figure out where to go and how the heck we were going to get to the airport.  We changed metros twice and went to a stop that we thought was close to the airport.  When we got off and walked up the stairs, it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere.  Mind you it is close to 1AM if not later and we had no idea what to do!  We were just going to find a taxi but this place was deserted.  We kept walking and thankfully I saw some taxis.  We got in one and arrived safe and sound at the airport.
When we arrived pretty much all of the lights were out and we panicked thinking they were not open.  We walk up to the door and go figure you can't get in!  We were too the point where I just said well looks like we will just sleep outside! haha  There were these boys that were watching us from the inside and pointed us towards our left to keep walking.  We walked and walked then found where we could enter!  To makes things even better as soon as we walked in, they were doing construction!!  Workers were going to town hammering and drilling things.  It was awful!  We walked down the hall and found a dark corner to sleep, well if you want to call it sleep!  It was SO cold in the airport.  I slept in this fur coat that Patricia gave me since she said Paris would be cold.  But that still didn't help!  The tile floor was freezing, Tayler actually laid out some of her clothes to sleep on top of.  I could not get comfortable so I sat up against the wall with my back pack in front of me and bowed my head on my backpack as a pillow, that lasted maybe an hour if that until I went numb and my legs fell asleep!  We woke up around 4 to one of the police officers or whoever speaking spanish, we assumed he was saying we needed to go.  If you are reading this and you need to stay in the airport, GET THERE EARLY AND GO THROUGH SECURITY.  My friends, we lived and we learned this.  Once we got through and saw the benches that had some cushion that you could lay down on.. we were in heaven and slept 30 minutes more.

The picture below is us at our sleeping spot!  Tayler is the only one showing how we really felt haha

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mount Tibidabo Take 2

At school today I had a huge headache!  I think this whole not sleeping thing is getting to me and being non-stop 24/7!  Thankfully it went away later on in the school day though.  In my grade 3 class of boys it was insane.  A student got expelled from school because of what he did in class.  We were playing soccer and long story short Rudy was on his team and Rudy had the soccer ball, well the boy took Rudy's feet out from under him by slide tackling him... his own teammate. Well Rudy fell down and ended up tearing a hole in his pants on his right knee and even skinned up his knee!  What happened next was crazy!  I'll save the details but let's just say I would have gotten fired in the US if I acted the way he did...my mouth actually hung open for a good 3 minutes.  Wow. Crazy boys...and to think they are only in 3rd grade and I am almost positive the boy did not apologize!!! 
Today was also my last day for my sweet sweet sweet little girls!  I'll attach a picture below of the whole class and I.  They are so precious.  All they do is kiss me and hang on to me.  One of the girls actually asked her mom if it was okay if I stayed the night with her!! haha I tried to tell her that I couldn't I had plans.  So then she wanted to take me to her house to play instead of stay the night.  I cannot go anywhere in the school without one of them tugging on me and holding my hand or kissing my cheek or even my arms!  It is crazy.
After school Tayler, Abby and I tried to find a way to the top of the mountain other than walking, since that would take an unbelievable amount of time.  We walked, and walked, and walked, and could not find the "lift" that takes you up there!  We walked back down the mountain and go figure, we found where the lift picks you up, which was right by our metro stop that we got off of!  ay yi yi!  We didn't go back up because the lift was closed plus Tayler and I had to get back home to tutor our kids in English. 
When I got home, Guillermo and I studied for his English competition on Saturday.  Hopefully I am teaching him the right things!!  If he doesn't win I'll be so sad because he is amazing at speaking English and he is excited to win the big prize.  The prize is a summer camp in some country where they learn English and what not.  It sounds pretty neat.  At dinner we had ham omlets which I learned are french omelets, pa amb tomaquet, and rice.  Nacho is very proud that I love the bread and says that when I go back to Kentucky I am going to open the first ever pa amb tomaquet shop and how everyone will love it!  If you are reading this, you better not steal my idea...but if you do I get a share in the income ;)  Patricia showed me everything about Paris for this weekend, all the places to visit, where the best place to eat is, and how to get to places.  She is so excited that I am going since it is her favorite place of all time.  She has already been 5 times and she showed me where she normally stays.  When Patricia told Nacho that I am going to stay the night in the airport tomorrow he about had a stroke haha He couldn't believe anyone would actually do that.  I tried to explain that it would be fun and he thought I was insane.  But hey it beats waking up at 3AM to find a ride to the airport!  They are going to make me a spanish omelet for dinner so I can eat it in the airport!
Oh and if you don't know this, in my Health class that I am currently taking I have had to do so many presentations on Head Lice.  I am a professional now when it comes to that, no joke.  Well guess what???  I come home from school and Alejandra has lice!!!!!  I knew exactly what to do and asked if she has already washed her hair with the shampoo, if she had the nit comb, and everything else.  I was proud!  It's funny though because once she told me she had lice my head starting itching!  go figure.  As you read this, you will probably scratch your head, I'll put money on it haha :D 
Anyway I will update you all tomorrow on my adventure in the airport hopefully!

Labor Day=NO SCHOOL!!

Hola!  Today was a VERY long day!  The girls and I headed to Sagrada La Familia obviously to see the church.  We adventured out at 8:30 and finally got into the church a little past 10 AM.  The line was so long to get in!  It was amazing how all of these churches are so gorgeous.  You walk in and there are stained glass windows, statues, carvings, and in the center is the cross with Jesus hanging.  It was amazing.  We got a picture with our red towels in front so hopefully we make it on the WKU website!!! :)

After the church we looked at paintings that were set up outside on the street.  I am still on the look out for mom a painting but every one of them are just so pretty it is hard to choose!!  We walked down Las Ramblas and saw SO MANY barca fans cheering and being hooligans all day. It was so fun to see that!  We ventured around the Gothic Area of Barcelona and made our way back towards the Picasso Museum, which was still closed, trying to find the chocolate museum.  When we finally found it, of course it was closed!  By this time my new boots that I bought were rubbing my toes raw, it was not smart of me to wear them!  Thankfully I have no blisters which is a huge plus.

We decided to watch the soccer match down on Las Ramblas at a Sports Bar and it was a lot of fun but the waiters were so rude.  We would ask to get a drink or food and he would snap at us like he didn't care.  It was to the point at the end of the night we were scared to ask for our check!  But the game- oh man was it painful to watch.  They needed one heck of a miracle to advance.  They ended up losing 3-0.  At least they played better than last week! 

Oh and Tayler received some exciting news! I took tons of pictures of the moment!  I will only show one though, she would kill me if I showed all of them haha

Sagrada La Familia

Cathedral de Barcelona

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The day before the holiday!

Everyone was so excited yesterday because today is a holiday which means NO SCHOOL!!!! Wahoo! Some of the kids were insane today.  One student bit another teacher and ended up running down the halls from teh disciplianary teacher while he was chasing him then both of my boys classes were awful.  4 boys got expelled from class and Rudy was not a happy camper with them!  I was scared to even smile it was that bad.  They would not form a straight line and they kept hitting each other with their bags.  They probably wasted around 20 minutes of their PE time.  When I have them next they won't have PE since they were so bad.  I ended up teaching 2 classes both girls thank goodness!  We were on the patio the last class because we were running behind on time so we did penalties for a short bit and then did 2 mini games where I played with a team.  We ended up losing, it was awful; but hey, at least the weather was finally pretty!
When I had class with Xavi I got to learn about his family how he has 2 siblings- he is the middle child.  He told me I was soo young when I am pretty sure he is only 30.  During our conversation he was talking about religion and started to explain to me about how to pray and who God was.  I was so confused because I didn't understand why he was explaining it to me, I thought everyone knew about God.  I told him that I understood who you pray to and who God and Jesus are and he kind of acted surprised! 
After school I went on an excursion by myself...yes I know I am not supposed to travel alone but I REALLY wanted to go to the mall :D  I made it back alive and hardly got lost!  I am so proud of myself!  There were TONS of shops at the mall along with markets.  I ended up coming out empty handed but it was well worth the adventure.
Once I got back home we watched the end of the Madrid game and it was hilarious.  Let me tell ya, if you are a Barcelona fan, you despise Madrid not matter what- kind of like UK and UofL.  If something happened with Christian Ronaldo, Oh boy he was called a cry baby and all sorts of names.  Silently, I was rooting for them because who doesn't LOVE Ronaldo (especially if you are a girl ;))!?   Afterwards, we watched James Bond and I could not stay awake, I finally had to call it quits at 12:40ish because I had to get up early to meet the girls to go to Sagrada La Familia!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Picasso Attempt

What a dreary day in Barcelona!  I woke up and automatically pressed snooze on my cell phone.  It is cold and rainy!!  This weather is making me gloomy and tired :/  I did not pack a lot of warm clothes which was a mistake...I have been wearing the same long sleeve shirt a lot! Especially now that it has been cold for several days. 

Last night the family came over for Pablo and Jorge's birthday.  We had 2 types of cake and crepes which I didn't try, I was scared I wouldn't like it and I didn't want to leave anything on my plate haha Another thing we had was a champagne that was 180 euros!!!!  These Barcelonians take presents to the next level!  In one of my earlier posts I talked about how they give Nacho gifts for taking care of them since he is a doctor, well this champagne was from one of his patients!!!  Woah! 
The boys had a ball!!  They got matching shoes, a mini soccer goal and ball, plastic soccer balls, books, and many other things.  It was funny to see them blow out the candles especially Pablo!!!  He kept making his cheeks really big and holding it then breathing really hard.  He did this probably 5 times until they both blew out their cakes together. 

Back to today... This morning was crazy with the kids.  Our second class we had to keep them in their classroom for 15 minutes to make them calm down and actually listen.  Well go figure they didn't pay attention to what Rudy was saying so we waited and waited while he screamed at them to listen.  Finally he started deducted points off their grades which did not help either.  Finally he sent one boy away saying he was expelled from class- he ended up coming back in the room though 5 minutes later.  Then the last class of the day I got to teach!  When we went to get the girls from their classroom I thought it was going to be a bad first experience teaching.  To make a long story short they were wasting time in the classroom not coming out and Rudy actually threw one girl's backpack and folders into the hallway!!! That definitely would not happen in the US!! :O  When we got to the gym, which is 87 steps from the first floor- I counted today, I had complete control.  It was very different!  Normally I can yell loud in a gym but I felt like no matter how loud I was it wasn't loud enough!  The girls just wouldn't stop talking!  We did penalty kicks, corner kicks, and played a mini game.  I made it out alive!

After school the girls and I took the metro to the Picasso Museum.  When we first got off the metro there is a shoe store that sales the shoes that I have been wanting since the first day here...even the yellow color that I want!  They are reasonably priced too.  I already bought a pair similar but those were high tops and a different color :)  When we found our way to the museum, it was closed!!!  We asked a man in a shop and I guess it is closed every Monday...bummer!  I don't know when we would be able to go back since we only have ONE WEEK left!!!! AH.  I still want to see so many things!  Since the museum was closed we walked around and looked in shops.  There were some stores that is by the museum that has very pretty bowls, tea cups, plates etc and I am on a mission to find me something for my future home!!  Hopefully I will be able to find something but I haven't made up my mind on what to get!  There was a beautiful vase in one store so hopefully I will find something similar elsewhere or in Paris.  If you have any suggestions let me know :D