Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pictures from Córdoba, España

Hello.  Another post with the pictures that I promised you a long time ago.  This was an AFS Orientation in Córdoba.  

- Adioss <3 

Gosh these potatoes.

Lovely tourist shops.  

Down the road. 

By the Mesquita.  The famous religious landmark in Cordoba. 

Another cool landmark. I don't know what most of these sites are called.  Just take a vacation to Spain and travel to 
The Mesquita.  

A main square

San (from Turkey) And me.

Annika, who was born in Swizerland.  But moved to America for 8 years.  But she now lives in Switzerland.  She was only here for three months.  And she left yesterday.  I cried at the train station.  But I love this girl :)

Inside the Mesquita.  There is a muslim mosque.  But in the inside, there is a Christian Catherdral,  It's really quite something.  

Looking towards Mecca.

Christian artifacts.  

The Catherdral

The tower.  

My little Paella.  AWWW. It was ZOO good man.  

OUR AFS group in cordoba :)

Another picture of us at the hostel. My face is kinda weird.  It's a joke between us.  

They had this boss tire swing right in the middle of the hostel lobby.
Me, Noelle, and Jamie <3

Another view of the Mequita tower.  YES I KNOW THAT IT IS SIDEWAYS DAD.  I wasn't going to  fix it for just this one.

Well that is it for this week!!!!!!!  
I hope you enjoyed.  I really love exploring new places.  I really want to see Barcelona and Madrid!! 
Not to mention I really want to go to France.  
Well, I have time.  

-adios :)

Que Hola!

Hi hi hi.
I am soo sorry.  It's been a long time since I've written.  I feel bad if you keep checking back everyday to see if I posted.  How long has it been?  About 20 days!  I have not felt completely content without writing you guys.

Well,  I haven't written much because I have been waiting for something to write about!  And I have a few stories.

Well school is going better.  I feel kinda normal walking through the hallways.  IDK it was just weird before.  Now I feel a part of the school.  Not like I am just there.

I HATE GYM.  There is even a group on Tuenti (the Spanish Facebook)  that is all about how we hate our teacher.    It's quite comical.  I had to run for 12 minutes straight without stopping on Friday.  Gosh, man, I've never had to do that.  At least, I wasn't the slowest.  There were about 7 or 8 kids behind me.  So I felt kinda good.

Um yea, I think I failed both my Lengua tests.  Here, your tests are more like essays.  The Teacher will ask you like 5-8ish questions, and then you have to pour your guts out, writing everything on that topic.  Ugh, you have no idea how stressful that is.  It's getting better.  I'm learning more everyday.
- It's important to study your language too.  Not just live it.  BUT READ IT, WRITE IT, STUDY VERBS, HEAR IT.  Everyday.  You don't have to go freaking crazy, but I usually read a few rules and conjugate a few verbs and study flash cards everynight.
THANK GOD FOR IPOD APPS :) Literally, there's an APP for that.
I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family!  My wonderful host-mother Maite, made turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  It was a hard day at school and I even cried a little when one of our English teachers from the USA was presenting a power point.  I was like, ummm yea.  That's not very nice.  
But I am glad that my Spanish friends know a little more about Thanksgiving.  Although, I'm sure not everyone was paying attention.

Make sure you talk to all types of people.  Make Friends with everyone!  In gym class (god curse it)  everyone was giving me hugs and saying that they are my Spanish family.  So I feel really lucky to have great friends here.  It's hard making friends and in the beginning you feel like a complete outsider, but once you begin to learn the language more.......IT GETS BETTER :)  

We also had a power point presentation on American government.  I was in AP GOV (Advanced Placement American Government)  last year....  It really was something to see a whole year's worth of material squeezed into one class period.  (well not everything, but the important topics)  AND at the end of the class, the teachers made us all write whether we were democratic or republican.  I'm like DUDE, that's the first rule of etiquette.   Don't talk about politics, religion, or race issues in school. Then we get off track and start arguing in Spanish about the differences.  And how kids want to be both, and how other kids think that you can only chose one side.

OHHH and this weekend at my friend's birthday party,  SAME THING.  (I am pleased to say, that I was involved in the conversation.  YELLING also.  I felt so Spanish)  We didn't reach a conclusion.  BUT,boy, it sure was something to see.

I am so happy that I've made so many friends.  There is one girl who also lives in Sevilla from the USA (Tuscon, AZ) and we always love to meet up and just hang out.  It's our English time.  Also, I guess there is another teacher in here school from MADISON, WI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SOO I had her tell him that I was from Appleton or something.  I didn't want him thinking I'm a MARQUETTE BASKETBALL fan just yet.  I'm going to meet, I think.  And then I will drop that bomb.   Gosh, that's one thing I really miss.  MY SPORTS.  Now I am wishing that I watched every football game and basketball game with my father before I left.  I really took going to College Basketball games for granted.  I miss that part of my life so much.  But, I like that I know so much about American Sports.  It's a great conversational topic with all the SPANISH BOYS :)  

Well, I'll leave you with that for now.  I'm very happy here.  I feel so blessed to have such great family and friends all over the world.  My family and friends in America, my family and friends in Spain.  From Turkey, from Japan, Italy, AND Switzerland.

Love is like an earthquake-unpredictable, a little scary, but when the hard part is over you realize how lucky you truly are.


Monday, November 7, 2011

BUT sometimes you need to give a little more than you take. It's just the way life works out.

Well howdy!
It's been a while since I have written. But I only want to write the most interesting things so I don't bore you with every post! That's one of the things I dislike most about bloggers. Some bloggers write about everything and their topics vary so much that it gets boring after awhile. I don't wanna be like that.

Well I went to Cordoba this weekend for a meeting with AFS. I could't wait to see all my chums:) So another post is coming this week!

For a little of this post, however, I am going to talk about how I feel.  Lately I have been posting about what I have been doing.

What's it like to be in another country? Apart from your family and friends? For a whole year?

What's it like to be in another country?
- Well if you were in Italy or France and someone asked you how you felt, you would express your joyous emotions. Only because you are experiencing something and seeing somethig that you would never see back home in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. But what if you had to stay there for 3 months? (with your family) Well I am sure you could manage. What if you're family wasn't there? How would you feel? Let's say you don't Know a speck of French.

Apart from your family and friends?
Well throw yourself into my situation.  No one can ever prepare you for how hard it is going to be.  No one can explain to you the different feelings you will have.
          You will miss your old friends and the EASE of just speaking English, or your first language.  You can express yourself more.  Here, It sometimes takes a while for me to get my point across.  And I always worry if they still like me.   I seriously miss my friends back home but I am really happy to be making such strong friendships here.  (Here's a secret:  THERE IS LESS DRAMA IN MY LIFE NOW.  And I am completely in love!  I don't have to worry about homecoming drama.  Who cares!  I'm worrying about what to pack for my vacation to Africa!  I Don't have to worry about swimming extra laps because someone smarted off to the coach.  I have to focus all my energy on my Spanish homework which is sometimes impossible to do! No girly arguments with the people at school. My stress comes from schoolwork, and a few other factors but I'm just glad it doesn't come from social drama.)

Sometimes I just want to be with my real family, but other days I don't mind being apart from them. I have had them for 16 years before I left, and I will have them by my side for another 16 years and well, for the rest of my life!
 It is so normal.  One day you will feel comfortable living without your real family, and the next you want your room and privacy.  Not that I don't get privacy here.  But I am now in a family with 5 people.
And I really have had to change the way I live.  Or some of my habits.
*If you will be an AFS student: You can't expect your family to adjust to you and your family can't expect you to adjust to them.  Living in a family is a two way street.  You give a little you take a little.  BUT sometimes you need to give a little more than you take.  It's just the way life works out.

For a whole YEAR!???
Well, I have been here for two months.  It feels like 3 weeks!!!!!!  I can't believe Thanksgiving is around the corner.  Which by the way: Yes, I have already cried at the thought that I will be away from my family during that time.   But My AFS liaison told me, "You will have many more happy, traditional Thanksgivings to come!" That helps a little, but The feelings are potent.  Things like this are not easy, sometimes it's harder for other, but, you signed up for this knowing that you ABSOLUTELY cannot be with your real family during the holidays.

During the orientation we talked about many many many many things!!!  It felt great just to get everything out. And in turn, offer my own tidbits of comment and advice.
There were only 3 boys and 11 girls.  But we are SUCH a close family.  I am now officially the AFS Mom.  My shoulder is always available and I will always just sit and listen.  But, I am quite sure that everyone would do the same for me.

Cordoba is an AMAZING place.  So different from Sevilla.  But well,  exploring this new place with my AFS chums was just so exhilarating!
- I felt my self so unbelievably happy on Sunday morning When I was walking with 3 other people at 8:30 AM down the EMPTY streets of Cordoba.  I had my lovely friend, Rose from Sitka, Alaska; My super funny but extremely nice friend Oğulcan or San (for short) from Turkey; and my mellow friend Julian from California.  We were on the hunt for churros, but sadly we didn't find any.  But this one lady came up to us and asked us if we knew where the Mosque is.  Well here is where the specialness come in: Niether one of us  spoke Spanish as our first language.  She and her friends are from France, San is from Turkey, and of course you have us three Americans:) BUT were are all from DIFFERENT parts of the country!  Well we were having a conversation in Spanish!  It is truly fulfilling that I can communicate with someone from Turkey and France when they don't speak fluent english!

AND on Saturday, I was talking with San to our chaperon from Cordoba and his students.  We were all from  extremene different parts of the world.  I am from North America, They are from Spain on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe, and San is from Istanbul Turkey which is actually the only city in the world located on two continents (Europe and Asia)  But again, we were all communicating in Spanish!  Of course it was discussed why I look like I can speak Spanish but can't.  They were all really fascinated that I was born in Guatemala but live in the Northern part of the USA.

We are getting back together soon!!! Towards the end of November.  We are all bringing a special dish from our country/ city in the USA (most of the kids in our group are from the USA)  I was so sad when I thought I wouldn't see all of them until February!  BUT those fears were quickly qualmed when we discussed the multi-culteral dinner and the pending plans for a Chirstmas get-to-gether :)

I will post the pictures soon :)