And I lived happily ever after. THE END!

Well, it has been one day since I returned home. I now know what the phrase “Jet Lag” means because I just cannot adjust to the time here! I have woken up at 6 am both mornings and my body just feels completely out of place. However, I have never realized how lucky I am to live the life I have. If the past month has taught me anything, it is how well I have it. Not that Barcelona is poor or underdeveloped, but life there is just so different. Water is expensive, and here it is free everywhere. They all live in flats and apartments, and I have 18 acres of land. I am just so thankful for everything I have and did not realize how good of a life I have until I got back home. I believe this is the most important lesson learned on the trip and it may be the entire reason that WKU has given students these opportunities.

It is a busy weekend for me, getting home Wednesday at 11 pm, going to the doctor’s Thursday, taking a Praxis test on Friday, and graduating on Saturday. I am so exhausted and just want to sleep, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Goodbye everyone, for the last time, all the way from good ole Lebanon, Tennessee!

This is a little late, but better late than never!

I wrote this but realized I never posted it! Enjoy!!

Hello everyone! It is coming down to the last few days of my trip and I have just realized that  I haven’t explained the answer to the main question of the entire trip: What is the school day like?

Let me start off by saying that you will be surprised. In America, we believe our students can be lazy at times, disruptive at times, and just plain bad at times. Well, after seeing the third grade boys at my school here, I see things a little different. It’s definitely not that people here are not adequate teachers or that the school is bad…by all means, this school has such a great family and community feeling and has taught me a lot about education. However because of the Spanish culture, the classes are run much differently. For instance, starting in 1st grade, these students are learning Spanish, English, and Catalan (a local language similar to Spanish). They rotate their classes every year so that they can practice each language in a different subject. The students amaze me at how fast they soak up information and can speak in three different languages by the age 8-I am 21 and even struggle with my primary language sometimes.

 

The classes I teach are all in English (Art, Science, and well, English). The classrooms are separated by gender so I work with class 3C and 3D for most of each day. These are the two 3rd grade boy classrooms. For Art class, I also get to work for about 45 minutes a day with 3A and then 3B (the girl classes). It was a big shock walking into the girl classrooms for the first time because telling them to quiet down one time would upset them and there was silence the rest of the period. This is in comparison with teaching the boys who are constantly talking, joking, and walking around the classroom even after reminding them to sit down and be quiet roughly 10 times in 5 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, the boys can be so fun to joke around with, they laugh when I speak Spanish and love the fact that I own a donkey and goats. However, the girls are at the age where they want to help the teacher in any way they can, including boosting my self esteem by making me cards every day! :)

 

While these classrooms are regular education classrooms in a private Catholic school, there are some students who have caught my attention as a soon-to-be-certified special educaton teacher. It is interesting for me to figure out possible disabilities and look for strategies to help these students in the classrooms. However, because of the loose and relaxed dicipline, and loud and energetic classrooms, I only have a short time left to try to improve their educational experiences.

 

As for my schedule, every day is different. However the daily breaks are mostly the same. School begins at 9 am and after 2 45-minute classes I get a coffee/planning break from 10:30-11:30 or 12:00. Then, after 2 more classes, I have lunch from 1:30-2:45. After that, one or two more classes to teach and then I am done between 4:15 and 4:45 every day. It is so different having such late school days, but I kind of like it. It is also nice having so many long breaks.

 

I hope this helps clear up some questions about school life in the area. It is definitely different, but I have collaborated with my cooperating teacher and we have both learned so much to enhance our classrooms.

 

On this final weekend abroad, I will touring the city of Barcelona and visiting some final monuments alone. I am excited and exhilerated about being on my own in such a big city because I will boost my independence and it will really sink in that I am actually in such a far away place. To all the adults reading this, trust me, I will not go anywhere alone in the dark. Oh, and to all of the soccer fans, my host family has SEASON TICKETS to the FC Barcelona Football matches and when is their next game? THIS SUNDAY!! I am beyond excited and know it will be a highlight of the entire trip!

 

It is insane how fast this month has gone by but even more crazy that after 2 days back in the states, I will be walking the line. I have a variety of mixed emotions right now including excitement for coming home, anxiety for the future, homesickness, sadness for leaving these kids (even if they are wild), pride for completing student teaching, happiness for meeting so many wonderful people here, and exhaustion from…well…this entire semester.

 

As mentioned before, friend request me on Facebook for pictures! And I apologize for such a long post!


¡Hasta Luego! (See ya later!)

When in Rome…

So this post is a little late because I have been catching up on the sleep I didn’t get this past weekend in the gorgeous ROMA!! It has always been my dream to visit Italy and Rome and this weekend definitely lived up to that dream. While I found most people completely rude, and the neighborhood our hostel was in was not as pretty as pictures, the tourism sites are every bit as beautiful, or more beautiful, as you can imagine. 

Thursday night, I spent the night with Abby because we would wake up at 3:30 the next morning…so we decided to find Domino’s Pizza! Unfortunately, we discovered that we were about to walk 12 whole blocks to get there, but we were determined. And even though it was not exactly the same as back home, it was pretty darn good and completely worth the hour-long walk.

Friday came and we had great luck in that the taxi driver we met the first week showed up to pick us up and take us to the airport! We boarded the plane for a 2 hour ride and finally arrived in Italy. After taking a bus to a main train station named Termini, it was about 10 am and we were hungry, so what did we eat you ask? McDonalds haha!! Then we took the subway to the Vatican City for a guided tour. We were worried at first but soon found out the tour consisting of 5 tourists turned out to be great! The Sistine Chapel is the most breathtaking room I have ever been in. I got chill bumps, but to preserve the paintings, the guards do not allow pictures, so I just have my memory. After the 3 hour tour, we decided it was time for authentic Italian pizza, but little did we know, restaurants in Rome are known for ripping off tourists by offering many different courses and speaking in Italian. Soooo yeah I could have bought a new pair of shoes for the money I spent there. After the discouraging experience, we wandered around the Termini station looking for Wifi or someone to give us directions to our hostel. This is when my poor opinion of Italians began because not a single person would help us in any way. With aching feet after 2 hours of trying to find it, we found Alessandro Palace and Bar and checked in. 

The 6 person all-female room was much nicer than I expected. We made a new friend from Canada who is traveling Europe by herself. We took a nap and had a relaxing night after meeting up with Kelsey and Tayler who arrived in Rome Thursday night.

The next day, Saturday, we woke up early, got a small coffee and croissant, and bought a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Our first stop-the Colosseum. This was my absolute favorite part of the entire weekend. Learning about its history fascinated me. (pictures will be on Facebook) Next we took a tour of the Palatine, a hill separating two villages in ancient Rome. Once at the top, the guide explained the different buildings in the Forum of Rome and other buildings in the city. The view was incredible!

After that bus stop, we got pizza for lunch again but it was a much more reasonable price. Next stop was the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. The steps were not very exciting because of the crowd and the vendors (some of which illegal) everywhere. However, when Abby and I reached the Trevi Fountain, it didn’t matter how many people were there. It was gorgeous! We took pictures and traditionally, threw pennies into the fountain. Afterwards we got the biggest ice cream/gelato cone I have ever eaten. It was delicious! We went back to the hostel and I could not keep my eyes open, I was asleep for the rest of the night.

Sunday came and we had seen all of the big sights so we walked by the river and had a very relaxing day. I bought some souvenirs, and ate a delicious plate of ravioli with creamy tomato sauce. Then we boarded the plane and returned to Barcelona. After 2 hours of train and metro rides I returned home.

Now you understand why I needed more sleep. My feet have never hurt so much in all my years of dancing, but I am positive this will be one of the best memories I ever have. Its back to the daily grind and wild crazy 3rd grade boys here in Barcelona. I am doing my best to make it through day by day. It is hard to believe I have less than 2 weeks left here! Even though I have missed home so much, I know when I get back I will be satisfied with this trip and will remember it as a great experience!

Saturday, in the park…Guell that is!!!

Sorry I haven’t been on in a while, WiFi is getting worse at my flat (apartment) but I have finally found a couple places with unlimited WiFi. So…Saturday we explored Park Guell-a famous park created by Antonio Gaudi. I know you have heard the phrase “pictures don’t do it justice,” but I have never actually been able to say it until now. My homepage picture is taken by a professional, but my pictures came pretty darn close.Once in the park we found men selling jewelry, sunglasses, and other novelties. There were several entertainers including people who looked like statues and plenty of beautiful undiscovered music. One group, The Mananers (look them up on youtube to hear), was jammin to their music and obviously loved what they were doing. Their music put us in a great mood. After watching them, we climbed to the top of the hill where there was a cross figure made of rock that you could climb up to. When at the top of the figure, you can see a 360 view of Barcelona that is absolutely breathtaking. I could have stood up there for hours. By then it was lunch time so we traveled right outside the park for lunch and a pitcher of some fresh, ice-cold, Sangria. It was so refreshing because it’s the only drink that contains ice, and man do I miss ice-cold drinks!

The next day, I woke and ate a small breakfast with my family. They then took me in their car to view the outside of some fantastic sites and gave me a tour of the city. Afterwards, we picked up little Jordi’s friend and got to sit in front row seats at the FC Barcelona basketball game. It was a very different atmosphere but the game was the same so it relaxed me some. 

Later, I met Abby to walk around. We ate some McDonalds (it was expensive) and then walked down the famous/infamous street La Rambla. By night it is filled with prostitution, but by day, tourism. Again there were statue people who I was fascinated with, some tourist junk souvenirs, but at the end of the street was the Port of Barcelona, marked by a monument at least 60 feet tall. There were sailboats docked, an antique market, and beautiful water. As we walked along, we relaxed and enjoyed the Mediterranean Sea. Eventually we came upon the beach and I could feel the salty air on my face. This is my favorite feeling in the world.

Today was another great day at this great school, and now the four of us are sitting across the street, sipping Coca-Cola, and soaking up the WiFi. Although I am very homesick and it is very hard to adapt to this culture, the simple relaxing moments like this are pure bliss. This city is very different but also very gorgeous.

I have all of my pictures posted to Facebook because this site is too slow, so add me as a friend to see them all. There are several gorgeous pictures so I encourage you to look!

 

Adios from Barcelona!

A quick hello!

It is taking me a while to type this because I am at my school on a Spanish keyboard and keeep making mistakes. But, I wanted everyone to know how great the school is! I am with two classes of 3rd grade boys (pictures to come) and man are the classes crazy…Spanish boys love to talk and joke! 

I went down to the middle of Barcelona last night with <abby and we found several exciting things: KFC, Burger King, and the Apple store! We also had a glass of wine for only $2.15 each. On the way home we had to take a taxi because we got lost…then once Abby got to her house I attempted to take the metro home like I did successfully earlier that day, but I was not as lucky and got completely lost. Eventually I found my way back, but it was a rough and scary night!

Today I have an hour and a half coffee break from 10:30-12, and then lunch from 1:30-2:30…

Adios!

Is this real life?

It is 4 am at home but after a long, tiring, yet interesting flight, I have finally made it to Barcelona. It all feels like one big dream right now. Our coordinator, Kristine, says that’s from the jet lag. After leaving the airport, we took a private bus to a street by the school and then hauled our luggage to the front of the school. People looked at us like we were a different species, but the absolute cutest children walked into the school while we waited to meet our host families. 

My family consists of Eduard, 19, who is at a “university” studying restaurant management, Mariona, 16, with beautiful long hair, Jordi, 7, who had the most excited smile when we met, Jordi, the father, who picked me up, and Mar, the mother, who I have yet to meet.

Jordi Sr. was running late to meet me because a metro/subway route was broken. After meeting, we walked to the metro and attracted many a stare with my multicolored suitcase…and carry on suitcase…and backpack…and purse, pillow, and blanket! Little did I know, the subway is exactly what I pictured it to be. People running everywhere, getting on and getting off, but most of all, it really can knock you over. The locals stared away as Jordi grabbed me while I was falling backwards. What a culture shock that was!

I am now unpacked and laying in my room. My legs are sore, my body is tired, but man life is good! I have my orientation this evening and start teaching precious third grade boys tomorrow!

 

Adios, amigos!

It’s TOMORROW!!

Tomorrow, Monday, April 8th, 2013, I will be traveling to a whole new and exciting world called Barcelona, Spain. I will arrive on Tuesday morning after an 8 hour flight plus a 6 hour time change. This trip is not just for vacation, I will be student teaching at a local school named Colegio Real Monestario de Santa Isabel. Teaching, traveling, oh and did I mention I will be sharing this experience with two Kappa Delta sisters? What more could I ask for?

…Well, the next time I post, I will be in a new home away from home! Gotta go pack now!!