Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kissing games, Tribal rituals, Paper airplanes! Go AFS.

Howdy Y'all.

How's life been this week? Mine has been OK.   I have been thinking about my year in depth; reflecting, contemplating.  Especially this past  weekend since we had the last AFS orientation.  It was bittersweet.  Seeing the kids who are just beginning their journeys and realizing we are ending ours.  

I have been listening to the same song on repeat since the beginning of last summer.  This awesome band, Bon Iver (pronounced [Bonne Hiver] like French) is from Wisconsin and has preformed all over the world.  They have built up quite a lot of fame recently. Their first CD "For Emma, Forever Ago" was written during the long cold winter in Wisconsin a few years ago.  My favorite song is "Skinny Love."  It reminds me of Wisconsin.  You can envision yourself Up North in winter, but your're not that cold because your bundled up in warm blankets.  It's very Nostalgic.  Here is the link if you want to check it out.  He has an odd voice but I love listening to him, and the guitar, and the lyrics.  Just wanted to let you know that is how I dealt with the sadness I sometimes got when I wanted to go home.  I still listen to the song now.  I love it.

Anyway.  Back to the Orientation.  I met some pretty incredible kids.  They all had their quirks and flaws, but then again...Who doesn't? I sure as hell have mine!!!
I got picked up on Friday afternoon by my liaison Barbara.  She drove Maria and Ally (of course) and I up the coast about 30 minutes to Torremolinos.  It's a great little tourist trap.  You have your shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, beaches...etc.  And it's teeming with British people.  All I heard were English people yapping all around.  I quite love their accent.  Although I do a lousy impression.

I didn't realize that the new AFS kids in Andalucia were planning on attending our meeting, too.  The thought did pass through my mind because I read in past blogs that this usually happens. Anyway.  I got there and I started chatting with two really nice girls named Ana and Maria.

Ana is from Jaen and is going to Finland.  Maria is from Malaga and is going to be living in Michigan, right outside of Chicago. I roomed with the two girls and another friend Jaime.  Our group, which included me, was called the 'hostings' because we are already here on our exchange and the other group was called the 'sendings' because they are about to embark on their adventures.

Activities ranged from group discussions to everyone playing games together.  My favorites were the Kissing game, the Massage circles, and the shouting circle.

The kissing game was by far the most exciting.  The girls had a letter.  The boys had a number.  Someone was put in the center to start.  If it was a she, she called out a letter (girl) and a number (boy). The boy had to try to kiss the girl sitting in the center (who can't move) on the cheek before the other new girl called into the center stole a kiss on the cheek from him. If the boy kissed the girl in the circle, the new girl called would be the one in the center.  If the she stole a kiss from him, he sat in the center.  Then he would call a new letter (girl) and a new number (boy) and the girl would have to try to kiss him before the new guy stole a kiss from her.  It got pretty rough.  I got knocked to the floor on some occasions.  Other guys got tackled by girls trying to prevent them from kissing the girl in the center.  It was all fun and games.  Sometimes you just had to laugh at some of the pairs who were called out.  You knew that they wanted to kiss the other person.  ONLY in Spain.  I would LOVE to play this game again.  But I don't think many kids in other countries would be to comfortable with this one.  Or parents...

The other exciting activities we did were going to the beach during the day.  And just going out at night.  What happened in Torremolinos will stay in Torremolinos.  Crazy kids.

The other interesting thing was when the 'hostings' invited the 'sendings' to a sacred ritual.

Actually the whole point of the exercise was to teach them that coming into a new culture is not always easy.
You might know that it will be different.  But you have no idea what to expect.  Anyway.  Our tribe was called the Albatross.  We all wore white tunics.  I was the queen of the tribe so I had a special head part to play. We had our own gibberish language and nodded yes when we were saying no and vice-versa.  Being the queen, I had to welcome each lady with a greeting, and feed and quench thirsts for everyone.  The Food was different.  We tricked them and feed them crackers with ketchup that looked like chocolate because we mixed chocolate sauce into it.  And after I feed them (which most of them burped or gaged) {nor could they spit it out because we had no napkins or trash cans} I went around with the water....with a little vinegar mixed in.  I directly feed the boys.  Put the cracker into their mouths.  Held the water cup to their lips.  The king had a huge elaborate throne... while I sat on the cold ground even though I was a the queen.  The other boys had chairs too and could keep their shoes on.  The girls had to sit like me on the ground with no shoes.  It all seems pretty sexist, huh? Such a chauvinistic society!

Actually in this culture. The men are considered to be un-pure, dirty. They can't touch the food they eat or have direct contact with the ground. So they have to keep their shoes on. Their women will always feed them.  The Women are considered sacred, pure and natural beings.  We don't need shoes. We can feed ourselves. You see where I am going.  I bet even you thought that the tribe I was describing before was sexist and chauvinistic! Never Judge.  This was all a valuable lesson.  Even to me.

I can't wait to see some of the AFS kids who are going to be living right in my neck of the woods.  I really want to help out that the  orientations and everything like that.

I'll write a new post about my feelings on coming home.  I am going to Bilbao this weekend.  It's way on the other side of the country in the North. I can hardly wait!!!!  

Ally, Julian and Me

I find this to be the cutest picture ever.

Me and my Host Momma

The pictures are kinda moving backwards.  This was at the end of the weekend. 

Not gonna lie.  I Kinda look like a DSHA girl here.  Ohh slowly but surely. 

This is what I do...

Obviously the greatest group of kids EVER!


And yep! That's pretty much it!  Long post.  But I know you guys love reading.  BTW I hope you have all liked my friend Ally's Photography Page on Facebook!
Here is yet another incredible picture.  Suject, me of couse :)  Hahaha


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh, Spain.

"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it."

-- Mother Teresa

Hala :)

My dad sent me this.  He usually sends me "Quotes of the day."  This message is pretty cool.  

Well, this weekend we have an AFS orientation in Torremolinos in Malaga.  A talent show. The beach. My friends.  It will be the last time that the kids here in Andalucia will be together in the same room (besides the orientation in Madrid, but that's different).  Anyway. I will tell you all about it when I get back.   


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sevilla and Paella

Hola :)

How was your weekend?  Mine was great. I met up with my friends in Sevilla.  It felt like I never had left because I know them so well, but people and other things have certainly changed.  Walking around my old town Montequinto felt totally normal.  And being downtown Sevilla once again reminded me of how well I know the city.  I went to my friends birthday party.  I was the surprise so when everyone saw me, I got attacked.  Hugs and thousands of kisses.  It made me pretty happy.  I am going to try to go one more time before I leave.  Leaving was a little bittersweet.  The train however took me through the country sides.  It ranged from little pueblas to rolling plains to sharp cliffs and rivers.  The bright blue Mediterranean sea welcomed me back to Malaga.

Alfonso, me and Rose.  Isn't this a great pic?

We decided to play beauty-shop.  

My best friend Alfonso.  

The Spanish Countryside.  COME ON!  This is crazy beautiful.

I love the train.

Olive trees.

Rolling plains.

Sharp Cliffs.

Old graffiti-ed train.   


Before I left, I told you that we made Paella and went to the beach.  Gotta love Spanish schools :)  
Enjoy the pictures.  Photo creds go to Ally McCarthy, another AFS student here in Spain (We also go to the same school).  Be sure to check out her blog here. (She has this huge professional camera.  So all the pictures on her blog are INCREDIBLE.) Also go and 'LIKE' her facebook page for her photos here. You will be blown away by her amazing talent.
Some of my friends and me.  
Gotta love Spain. PAELLA! 

Me, Mariely, Almu, Anka

 Spain.  The brothers are from Argentina, Mariely's family is from France, Anka was born in Romania.  And then there's me.  

Ally and Me.  What would I do without her?

All right.  That's pretty much it.   Anka, Mariely and I took a walk around the Center last night.  Then we all met up with Ally after her Photography Class and got pizza.   I didn't have school today. So Ally and I spent the day together.  We had a photo shoot.  It was pretty fun.  I posed with a tree.  

Here are some more of her photographs:

Downtown Malaga

Beach in Malaga

Donkey Taxi in Mijas, Spain



Friday, May 18, 2012

My Crazy Day and the 25 things I did.

Ok this is what I did today.  Pretty Normal stuff :)

1. I got up
2. My mother and I went to go buy 5 loaves of bread at 7.45 in the morning.
3. I arrive at school and NO ONE is there.
4. We run down the hall in order to beat the Math teacher to class.  Even though the first bell hasn't rung.  I was running with my 5 loaves of bread in my arms.  And I am in my suit.
5. I wore a bikini to school today.
6. Biology test.
7. Study hall.  Went outside.
8. The school had Paella day.  So they make little fires for every class to make Paella. Commence Paella making at 12.
9. Our class brought all the ingredients.  Paella Pan.  Rice. Chicken.  I brought the bread.  Then 3/4 of the kids leave.  Me and 3 other friends make the Paella.  Have I mentioned that the chicken wasn't pre-cut?  Learned how to gut and de-bone a whole chicken today :)
10.  Everyone cracking jokes that the American can make the Paella better than the Spaniards can.
11.  My bestest friend Ally is taking everyone's picture with her big official Nikon pro camera.
12. Paella.
13. Leave school to go to beach.
13,5.  So our Argentinian friends just decided to walk around with no shirts on after school in the streets. Ooo Franco y Misa.
14. I almost get hit by a car while walking to beach.
15. Get to beach. Got into water.
16. Mariely goes to Crew.  And Ally, Anca and her sister and I move our spot.
17. Meet little 8 year old girl from Switzerland.  Poor thing didn't have any friends or speak English or Spanish.  So we played paddle and volleyball with her.  I got to use my French!
18. Meet two Americans and talk with them for and hour.
19. Go home.
20. Get home. Shower, take trash out. Eat dinner.
21.  Julian (AFS) and his parents and grandparents come over.
22.  They stay longer than expected (10 until 12.30).  Nevertheless, it was a really fun night.
23. I'm writing this blog.
24. I need to pack for Sevilla because I am going for the weekend.
25.  Go to bed.

Hope you enjoyed my day!  Bio test went well.  And yes, some of these things may seem crazy, strange and out of the ordinary.  Like 5, 8, 10.  But that is totally normal in Spain.  My favorite parts of the day were: 2, 5, 9, 10, 17, and 22.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

One of my Favorite Quotes of All Time.

A while back, I received this great quote in an email my Dad sent me.  I haven't forgotten since.  Some of you may have heard it,  but it really gives me the motivation I need in challenging times.

"Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard."

Thanks Dad.