My last few weeks in Barcelona have been amazing! Last weekend we went with Elizabeth's host family to their mountain house in the Pyrenees mountains. We went horse back riding and ate some amazing good. It was a great trip. I spent the last week spending time with my family after school most of the time but I visited a few places with my friends too. We explored the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona and it was pretty cool. We saw the cathedral and the Pisco museum. We also spent one day visiting Segrada Família. It was my favorite thing that we visited in Barcelona. We did the audio tour with headsets and it was very helpful. We also climbed up the towers and were able to see an amazing view of Barcelona.
On Friday I had to say goodbye to my students and teacher. It was a very emotional day as I got so close to the students and they got so close to me. It was definitely hard to say goodbye to them. Both of my classes made me little books with a class picture on the front and a picture from each of the students that they had drawn. It was really sweet. My teacher also gave me some traditional deserts that they always eat on Christmas. After saying goodbye to everyone at the school I had to say goodbye to my host family too. They were leaving right after school for their vacation in the mountains. It was very hard to say goodbye to them. I grew very close to them in the month that I stayed with them.
So after all the sad goodbyes we spend our last weekend exploring the last few things in Barcelona. Courtney's host family showed us around the city. First we hiked up the mountain to see this amazing view then walked back down and took an old school tram ride up the mountain to the highest point in Barcelona called Tibidabo. There's a beautiful church at the top and a really cool amusement park. After we spend a few hours there we took the tram back down and drove across town to the beach. We had lunch there and spend some time admiring the sea. The next day Courtney's family drove us to this small town on the beach called Copa Brava. It was gorgeous. They also took us to this mid-evil town called Peratallada. It was said to be build around 1065 AD. It was pretty cool.
Monday was our last day in Barcelona. We decided to do one of the double decker bus tours around the city. The tour took us to most of the major monuments and attractions in Barcelona. It was cold but it was an awesome experience.
This trip has been a life changing experience and I am so glad I was able to take this adventure. I will always cherish the memories from my time in Barcelona!
Weekend in the mountains
My amazing host family!
Other pictures from our weekend
This past weekend we took our trip to Rome. We decided to still go after everything that had happened in Paris because we didn't want it to ruin the rest of our trip. We left for Rome Friday evening and arrived around 8:00 p.m. We went straight from the airport to the Trevi Fountain because we had a few hours to do something. From the airport, we were able to buy train tickets and the train took us straight to the Fountain. Making a wish at the Trevi Fountain has always been on my bucket list so I was so excited to be able to cross it off. Seeing the fountain at night was absolutely amazing. Everything was lit up and it was so pretty. We stayed at the fountain for a little while just admiring it and then decided to get something to eat. We decided to just walk the streets until we found something to eat and it turned out to be a good idea. We stooped at a little restaurant and had some amazing pasta. By the time we finish eating we were ready to head to our hotel. We didn't realize that we booked a hotel that was pretty far from where everything is. We had to take a very sketchy bus ride and walk about 20 minutes to find our hotel so by the time we found it we were definitely ready to crash.
The next day we planned to see everything on our list all in one day. We started out in the Vatican City to see the Sistine Chapel. Then we went to the other side of town where everything else was. We went to the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately it was cold and rainy but we still enjoyed it. It was off season for tourist so some things were under construction. I would advise that if you plan to visit Rome any time don't make it in the winter! Even though there was construction, everything was still amazing to see. It was definitely a once in a life time experience for me.
On Sunday we had a few hours before our plane took off so we decided to do some more sight seeing. We took a horse drawn carriage ride around Old Rome and it was the best part of our trip. The ride wasn't cheap, but we were able to get on and off whenever we wanted to look around and take pictures. The plus side was that we didn't have to walk because after Saturday we were completely exhausted. Our ride was about an house so after that we went straight to the airport to return to Barcelona.
So this Thursday was Thanksgiving. This was the first holiday I've ever spent away from my family so it definitely made the home sickness kick in. It was hard to see everyone posting pictures with their families and to here from my family when they were all together. The school tried to do a little something for us for Thanksgiving. They did a prayer that morning and allowed us to do Thanksgiving lessons with our students. Some of the teachers and other staff members also hung up signs that said Happy Thanksgiving and many people walking by told us Happy Thanksgiving. I thought it was really nice of them since Thanksgiving is only an American holiday. After school I decided to do a little exploring on my own. I took the train to Placa Catalonia, which is like the city center. This is where all the restaurants and shops are . I just walked around and did a little shopping but it was a great experience to get out and do something on my own. After a few hours, I went back to my host family's house. I just spent the rest of the night playing with the kids and had dinner with my family. My host mom also made me a cake and it was delicious. Overall, it wasn't too bad, not being home with my family, and we only have 10 days left on our trip so I know I will see them soon.
SOME PICTURES FROM ROME
THANKSGIVING WITH MY STUDENTS
Well since my last post things have been pretty crazy. This past weekend on Friday 11/13 we were set to fly to Paris for the weekend. We had been planing this trip weeks before we left for Barcelona. I have always dreamed of seeing Paris so this was one of the things I was most excited about. We had the whole trip planned out. We were going to start at the Eiffel Tower Saturday morning and spend the entire day going from place to place. On Friday, we had everything ready. We were checked into the airport ahead of time and had our boarding passes printed out. When we got to the airport we realized that our flight had been delayed. We were supposed to take off at 8:25 but our flight now said that it would be 9:00. At that time, everything was fine. The flight was normal, just like any other flight. However when we landed I heard some passengers ask the flight attendant if they missed their connecting flight, because of the delay, was there a place they could they stay. The flight attendant said she just checked her phone when we landed and heard that there had been a terrorist attack in Paris and told the passengers to make sure they made their flight and to not stay in Paris because it was not safe. We were so confused at the time so we just got off the plane with everyone else so that we could figure something out.
As soon as our phones connected to the Wifi in the airport we started receiving messages from our host families. The messages on my phone were from my host dad and he was saying things like "there has been an attack in Paris, take the first flight back, do not go out to the streets, more than 30 killed." We suddenly started to panic. The airport was practically empty, there were very few people around, and all the doors were shut. We started calling everyone that new we were headed to Paris to let them know we were safe. We stopped someone who worked in the airport and asked them what was happening. They said they didn't know much but told us we would have to stay in the airport for the night. They pointed us in the direction of some hotels in the airport so we could try and get a room. Luckily, there was one available and we were able to sleep there for the night. We learned of the severity of the attack and realized that we needed to get back to Barcelona as soon as possible. When we woke up the next morning we went to get our flights switched over and were back in Barcelona by 5:00 on Saturday.
When we got back to Barcelona we decided we needed to do something fun so we went to visit the Magic Fountain of Montjuic as soon as we landed. We took a taxi from the airport to the fountain. This place was absolutely amazing. There is a huge fountain that shoots water into the air in different ways. They use lights to make the water change colors and everything is set to music. We stayed and watched the show and actually had some fun on the weekend that we thought was ruined. That night I went back to my host family's house. I was greeted at the door with hugs from my host parents who were so worried about me the entire time. They have really made me feel like a part of their family and I think this is the greatest benefit of this program. We are not in Barcelona doing this on our own. We have a family who cares about us and wants to make sure we are safe. If it wasn't for my family here in Barcelona, I would have consider leaving the program and going back to the United States.
On Sunday we decided to not waste the day so we planned to go to this park we had been hearing about. We took the bus to Parc Guell. This park was designed by the famous Antoni Gaudi and was originally supposed to be a neighborhood. It is full of trails where you can hike through the different exhibits created by Gaudi. We also took a tour of his home that is built in the park. When you climb to the top of the Mountain ridge you can see all of Barcelona. It is the most amazing view I have ever seen. We spent the entire day walking around the park and enjoying the exhibits.
This weekend we have a trip planned for Rome, Italy. As of now, we are still planning on going even though we are a little apprehensive. We decided that we don't want to let this tragedy affect the things we have planned for our International Student Teaching experience. We are hoping that everything works out and this trip gives us the experiences we were hoping to fine in Paris.
The only part of Paris we were able to see. This was when we were flying into Paris that night. We had no idea of the horror that was currently happening below us.
These pictures are from the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.
These are from Parc Güell.
My first few days in Barcelona have been very hectic. The plane ride on Monday was a long 10 hours. I arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday at 11:00 am. The WKU representative was waiting for us at the airport and she took us to meet our host families at the school. My family only lives two streets over from the school so my host mom helpd me take my luggage there. She speaks some English and it was pretty easy to communicate with her. We spent a few hours at the house so that I could eat and shower, then went to the school to meet my teacher and my host family's two children. Naora is 8 and Jordi is 11. Their English is pretty good too. Enough that I can carry on a conversation with them and we can understand each other. After meeting everyone we went back to the house and I gave them the gifts I had brought them.
Before leaving from Bowling Green I decided that I wanted to get my host kids and students some books in English. My host mom said they were hard to get in Spain. I went to Half Price Books and was able to go through WKU and get free books for them. I brought an entire suitcase full of books.
Anyway, enough about my day. So things in Barcelona are definitely very different from things in the United States. There were so many things that I had to learn and adjust to. For example, Barcelona is 7 hours ahead of Kentucky. So when I was going to bed, I couldn't sleep because my body thought it was 3:00 not 10:00. It makes your whole day backwards. Meal times are also very different here. The family eats dinner between 9:00 and 10:00 every night. They eat and go straight to bed. I guess this is because they eat 6 small meals a day instead of 3 big meals like we usually do. Interesting, right? I also had to get use to sitting in a room full of people, all talk at once ,and having no idea what they were saying. I realized this is probably why some people who choose to do this program get home sick. It does make you feel kind of uncomfortable but you get use to it pretty quickly. You have to because everyone speaks Spanish all the time. So much so, that it's a big relief when you finally get to talk to someone else who speaks English.
Today was my first full day in Barcelona. It was also my first day at the school. I finally got to meet my students and take a tour of the school. It is huge! I feel like it will take me the entire month to learn how to get around. The school houses pre-school (starting at 2 years old) all the way to 12th grade. The classes are grouped boys on one floor girls on the other. The school is a Catholic private/public school and the students are required to wear uniforms. The students are very different compared to American students. They are very loud and excited. The hallways and classrooms are filled with students trying to talk over each other all at the same time. I don't think it bothers the teachers though. It's definitely not what I am use to in schools in the US. The students at the school are required to learn three languages; English, Spanish, and Catalan. Some how they are able to read, write, and speak all three by around 2nd or 3rd grade. I have 2nd grade girls and my teacher teaches English and art. She also teaches one class or 1st grade boys but only 1 day a week. The students were absolutely ecstatic when they seen me come into the classroom. They knew that I was an American teacher and had all kinds of questions to ask me about where I came from.
The rest of my day was spent at the school. It doesn't get out until 5:00. I basically just watched what the teacher did and walked around to help the students with their work. Overall, I think that I'm going to like it here. I'm sure it will be very hard leave when the month is up.