Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Valencia and My First Day of School!

My family spent this past weekend in Valencia, and it was amazing. Valencia was awesome. It was almost like Hawaii, but it was so European you wouldn't believe it. There were a bunch of women
walking around who didn't have their bikini tops on (including
my host mom 0_0), and there were a bunch of speedos. So. Many. Speedos.
And most of the people were smoking, there were cigarette butts all
over the beach.
We weren't in the actual city of Valencia, we were in a smaller part
of it, almost like Cobena and Madrid. It was still adorable though.
The streets are sooo tiny here! And the shops are really cute. I had my
first authentic Paella! It was a specialty of Valencia, with rabbit,
chicken, and rice. It was the most glorious thing I've ever tasted.
FUN FACT: The drink Horchata actually orginated in Valencia.
FUN FACT: In Valencia it is really common for people to eat out in the
street. In the restaurants, they set up tables and chairs in the
street where the cars usually park on the sides. It's cool for us, but
it sucks for the drivers.
FUN FACT: People in Spain eat SO MUCH. But they never get fat. It's unfair.
So yesterday was the first day of school, and it was pretty different.
Almost the moment I walked inside the doors of the school, I found another exchange student from America! It was so nice to have someone who knew as little as I
did. It was so hard to understand the teachers, because they talk so
fast and quietly. The other American exchange student and I just spent
the periods sitting there and sometimes giving each other looks like
"what the hell are we doing..." Also, they don't eat lunch in school,
because by the time I get home (3:15) it's about time for lunch.
Instead we have two breaks, twenty minutes each, where we can do what
we want. The students who are 18 or over go outside and smoke with the
teachers! It's so weird!
Everyone who knew that Emily and I were Americans were pretty
interested in us. They would point and us and whisper to each other
like we didn't understand that they were talking about us. It was so embarrassing when a teacher
would ask us a question and we couldn't answer! I think everyone just
thinks we're stupid. But in English class, we were the best, of
course. The teacher had us read paragraphs today infront of the entire
I'm understanding sooo much more Spanish now than when I got here.
It's still hard for me to talk back, but I understand about 89% of
what I'm being told. Sometimes I mess up though. Today a boy was
trying to tell me that I spoke Spanish well, and I didn't understand
and I just said si. It was a little awkward after that. Also, my
English is getting weird. Today I was talking to Emily and I said "my
class of English", instead of "my English class", and yesterday I was
helping my host sister with her English homework and I just sat there
staring at the word "careless", thinking is that a real word? That
can't be right...Emily was having problems today too with the word

But Spain is incredible, and I'm having so much fun! The people are so friendly, and the food is fantastic! I'm sure that my Spanish will really start to pick up soon.

Hasta Luego!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My First Two Days

Spain is GORGEOUS! I love it here already. The people are so friendly and I really like my host family. Speaking Spanish is much harder than understanding it, and I can hardly understand what anyone says to me, but I'm much better than when I first arrived.
I got here on Saturday at around 8 in the morning. After I got back to the house and finished unpacking, my family had lunch with family friends of theirs. Three of the people who came were practically fluent in English, so that made the day less stressful. Then we went to the community pool. It was weird to see people smoke infront of their kids at such a public place, but I guess it's very common.
Yesterday I went to my first bullfight. It was so interesting! At first I couldn't watch because it was so scary. Those bulls come very close to hitting the matadors! Once the bull actually did hit a matador! The bull got him with its horns and then started to trample him, then the other matadors were able to distract it. The matador just got up, took a break, then continued. I have no idea how he did it. He looked like he got really hurt.
After a bull is killed, the matadors cut off its ears, then throw them to the crowd. The ears are the prizes of the bullfight. My host dad kept trying to catch one for me, and I know it's a cultural thing, but I did NOT want a freshly cut bull ear thrown at me.
Tomorrow I'm going to go to the school to get registered. I'm really excited to meet new people, but I'm afraid of the homework. I guess there isn't a lot of homework in Spain, but I'm still scared.
But Spain is incredible! I'm having a lot of fun, and I know it will only get better!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Everything's set now! I'll be getting on a plane going to Chicago Friday morning, then I have a two hour layover before I fly to Madrid. I'll be landing in Spain Saturday morning.
I can't believe that this is the last night that I'll spend in my house for a year. I've never been away from my family for more than a week at a time, and the fact that I'm going to be gone for such a long time feels really overwhelming. It's a little terrifying, but despite that I'm sooo excited! Spain is such an incredible country, and I can't wait to become an honorary Spaniard :)