Remembering Barcelona

Hey its been a week since we left Barcelona and I miss it incredibly. It was very hard to say goodbye to our wonderfully nice families. After a long flight, which consisted of watching four movies and being very tired. We arrived at the airport and luckily all of us found our luggage and made it through customs with ease. We had to wait about two hours for the bus to come and pick us up but before we knew it, we were back at Westttown. I was one of the special Spain kids who didn’t get to go home for the weekend to catch up on sleep. Four of us stayed at Westtown and even went to classes on Friday. It took a while to adjust to the time zone again but now I am good.

The Spanish Exchange students from Barcelona arrived today for their stay at Westtown. Every one who went to Spain was so happy to see them. It felt much longer than a week. I am very excited to show my host around Westtown.

I am very glad that Westtown is so beautiful. I thought that I would be depressed to leave Spain, and I was pretty sad, but Westtown is so beautiful that it made the transition much more easy. I want to thank everyone for reading my blogs and I hope they were interesting. I didn’t do as many as I thought that I would but it was fun!



Oh Barcelona!
It has taken me a long time to sit myself down and write this. We have been in Barcelona for eight days now. We arrived at the train station at midnight and was swept off into cars and taxis filled with people speaking Spanish muy rapido. The students from the school had this week off as vacation, so we found ourselves following them to places that they wanted to go to. I got to know the friends of my host very well, although it was hard or impossible to understand them when they speak with each other in Catalan. During this week, I visited the L’aquarium Barcelona, where we started a trend of sitting on the moving sidewalks as they go past the tanks of fish and sharks. I went to a famous market called La Boqueria. We went early in the morning to avoid the crowd but it was still incredibly crowded. The assortment of fruits was amazing to see and the colors were absolutely beautiful! It was hard for me as a vegetarian to walk through because of the intense smell of fish and the animal heads hanging everywhere. On the weekend, we went bowling. We met up with almost all of the Westtown student and their hosts. I did better than I thought I would without bumpers and I came in second to last but it was still very fun. This last week, I got very comfortable to my family, and the friends of my host girl.
On Sunday, my family went to the mountains. We went to a place called Montserrat. It was an amazing drive up the windy, tiny, steep roads. When we got to the top we went to a grand Cathedral. There were about 1,000 people there and a small group in the front was singing beautifully. We waited about an hour to see the statue of the Virgin. The Cathedral was stunning.
On Monday, we had our first day of classes. There are no yellow school buses here, they take coach buses to school. School is very long here as well. It goes from 9am-5pm but luckily there is one break in the morning, where everyone has a sandwich from home that is wrapped in tin foil and one break in the afternoon. We had a tour of the school and saw a group of little kids that sang to us in French! The kids start learning English, Spanish, French and Catalan very early! The classes were pretty long and after a while, it was very hard to understand what anyone was saying but some classes were very fun and I am getting very good at listening and understanding Spanish.
It has been raining a lot here. Every day, I must remember my umbrella. Yesterday, we went sight-seeing and shopping in a town and we walked a lot in the rain. We also went to the Salvador Dalí museum and that was very interesting. There were many pieces that were beautiful and many that played with your mind. Today we had a class about him and surrealism.
The hardest thing for me to get used to is the time when we eat dinner. Last night we ate dinner at 11 o’clock PM. I have been here for more than a week and it is still hard for me to wait that late for dinner. My family is being very nice and giving me lots of snacks to help me. We have one more week here until we come home and I am going to be very sad to leave.

Vale, Estoy Aqui – Sophie

Hola, Sophie here en Espania. I haven’t had much luck with Internet access here, so if you all are wondering why none of us on the Spanish exchange have posted anything, that is why. We arrived in Madrid Saturday morning after a long and restless airplane ride for the most of us. We all got freaked out when Profe Jorge told us that he didn’t know where we were staying the night. It was a joke. We didn’t get it. When we arrived, we met up with a teacher from the school in Barcelona and after some luggage problems, we made our way to the hotel that we stayed at for the next two nights. Of course though, we only dropped off our bags and then, against many of our wills, headed out to the streets again. By this point, many of us hadn’t slept in about 24 hours, but we couldn’t waste precious time in Madrid. So we went to an art museum, and tried to walk around and appreciate the art without collapsing. After the museum, the teachers thought it would be a good idea for us to get to know the way around the city, so they handed each of us a map and told us to find our way to Plaza Mayor. It took about an hour, but we all found our way and were rewarded with dinner! Being a vegetarian is sometimes very hard here, so I was able to find some good pizza.
The next day, we went to an out-door market, where you could buy anything that you wanted. It was very crowded but was a lot of fun. After that, we went to another art museum. This one was a little better and I actually saw a painting that I knew of Georgia O’Keefe. The streets are filled with beautiful buildings, beautiful sculptures, and beautiful people, oh and tons of Vespas and motorcycles.
On our third and last day in Madrid, we went to a gorgeous and romantic park. We took many photos and walked a lot. Then we went to the Riena Sofia museum which was my favorite. There was lots of work done by Pablo Piccasso and Salvador Dalí. The building was four stories high and made of glass, with glass elevators (a tad bit scary, I must say).
That sums up our days in Madrid. We had some great group bonding in two small groups. We ate good food and got very good at asking for directions en Spanish.
Now, we are in Barcelona. We took a very fast train, about 300 kilometers per hour, and was welcomed by signs from our hosts. We are taking it easy here because our students are on vacation. We are able to sleep in, which is a treat as we try to catch up from what we lost before. It is very hard to understand the people when they talk because they speak so fast and sometimes in Catalan. We are trying and learning new words that are commonly used.
Adios until next time!



Uncertainty and Excitement

February, 4th 2011
As the count down gets closer, excitement fills my body. One month from today, and I will be arriving to Barcelona, Spain, A world of unknowns. I know that I am going to be staying with a 15-year-old girl and at first I was scared, because she is so young. Then, I reminded myself that I live in the freshman dorm at school, where the girls are younger than that and I love them. I think that I will be able to make the best out of it. She has already found me on Facebook and we have started sending emails to each other.
I  plan to work at the preschool of the school that we are doing the exchange with, yet I don’t know any of the logistics of this plan. This uncertainty is something unusual in my life and therefore a bit exhilarating. I also don’t know much of what we are doing as a group yet. I believe that we are going to go to some art museums and also tour around Madrid for a few days. I also heard that Profe Jorge is trying to plan a trip to a soccer game, which would be incredible.
I am determined to not speak English while I am there, but I am hoping that my attitude doesn’t change. Last year when I went to Nicaragua with my best friend and her mother, I told myself the same thing. Yet when I heard how fast they spoke, I ended up not talking English or Spanish and I came across as very shy. I strongly hope this will not be the case for Spain. I am worried that I will not be able to understand them.
So right now my attitude is filled with wonder and uncertainty. I can’t wait to get there and actually have stories to share with you all.