Sunday, April 27, 2014

"You're always taking photos!"

The kids tell me this everywhere we go answer is always "Of course I am!! Look at this!!" It's such a beautiful city!

The students are working on a Mother's Day craft at school. So cute. And they gave out trophies for the students who spoke the least amount of Spanish in the classroom that week. It was a loud, adorable ceremony that included epic music via youtube, winning kids standing on a podium of desks and tables, and the rest of the students chanting their names. It was so sweet to see how genuinely excited they were for their friends' accomplishments. :)
Friday I was able to go to Carmen's basketball game and then out to explore downtown with some friends. The city is so alive and lit up all night! We just walked around and of course...found gelato. 

Saturday I met up with Caitlin and her host dad and his son. They took us to Parc Guell and Montjuic! Two AMAZING places! Parc Guell is home to much of Gaudi's work....and it's magical. Like more magical than Disneyworld. Not to mention, the park itself is just beautifully landscaped and so relaxing. The views were wonderful, too. (but boy we had to climb some hills to get there!!)

 The mosaic work is incredible!


                                                      A perfect Red Towel opportunity. ;)

After the park, they invited me over for lunch...which was delicious freshly made pasta and pesto! I was going to head back, but they offered me chocolate....and spanish custard....and Serbian coffee, so by the time I was done, they had already invited me to visit Montjuic with them, as well! They were so kind and helpful!We could see so far from here, and the castle itself was so neat!

Montjuic is a park on a mountain with a giant castle/fort on top. It was originally built in the 1600s but has been restored and maintained through the years.

For the real history lesson, head to this site:

 We took a scenic route home that included gelato, of course. I tried Horchata, too! I got home and got to meet a cousin of my host family who studied some in America. Not only does she speak English, but she was kind enough to share the dinner leftovers with me! ;)

Sunday I was able to go to church and meet lots of fantastic people! They were so kind and friendly. I came home for Elena's homemade lasagna for lunch with the grandparents. It was deeeelicious. And so was the spanish chocolate pudding from scratch. She is a pro in the kitchen...I feel so lucky! :D We relaxed at the house and then went to Carmen's chorus concert. She did great, of course!

  They then took me through a quaint Catalan neighborhood, Poblenou. This area was mostly "dead" until the Olympics came to Barcelona. Now it's very popular! They have revitalized it and the streets are full of people walking, skating and biking. There are gypsies selling gorgeous arts and crafts, restaurants everywhere with outdoor dining lining the streets, and it all ends up at the beach!! So we played volleyball and soccer in the sand and I stuck my feet in the (cold) Mediterranean Sea! It's such a beautiful, deep blue!! We stopped for....GELATO! on the way back and got some scrumptious sandwiches! This shop has been open 102 years!! You know it has to be good.

There's so much to see here and learn here! It's such a fantastic opportunity! And it's really been an amazing thing to live with a family (who were strangers I'd never met just a week ago) and feel so welcome and included. I'm so attached already!

This week is a short week for school because of some holidays. So Wednesday evening or Thursday morning I'm heading north with the family to Costa Brava and some surrounding villages! I'm so excited for that! On the radar for the next few days in the city: shopping, Sagrada Familia, and maybe I'll finally get my hands on some churros!! (my hands are always on gelato instead...maybe the blog needs a name change.)


Thursday, April 24, 2014

My world just got a lot bigger...and smaller.

Well the week is closing out...and what a crazy, wonderful few days it has been! I have been placed in a first grade class of all's as fun and crazy as it sounds! :D
I've realized more and more that though there are big differences between Spain and America, so much is the same. People are people. School is school. 1st graders still lose teeth and can't tie shoes. Little girls still hate and love each other within a span of 15 seconds. Kids still go nuts for candy. Half the time I find myself sitting and thinking "I'm in Spain.....I'm on the other side of the world...I'M IN SPAIN!" and the other half of the time I think "it's the same world, it's not that weird." It's really quite strange sounding, but I don't know how else to explain it! :) While I constantly realize how much bigger the world is than Kentucky and Tennessee, I am also constantly reminded of how connected everyone is! I see people who look like Spanish versions of American people I know! It's the strangest thing. (By the way, the Spanish people are BEAUTIFUL.)

My host family has made me feel so welcome and at home immediately!

They have 4 beautiful, sweet children. Cata is 11, Carmen is 9, Rafa is 5, and Luis is almost 2. The girls braid my hair and explain everything to me. Rafa is full of energy and is so cute and entertaining. Luis is my little buddy...who I think loves food more than I do. He gives me "besitos" (little kisses) before bed and occasionally asks me to hold hands while he is in the stroller. He's got my heart already. My host mom (Elena) is a fantastic cook, and so is Ana (a sweet girl who helps cook and clean for a few hours a day). Ana is from Bolivia, so she makes Bolivian food sometimes. So far I have loved all the food! We had a spanish favorite for dinner my first night--"croquettes". They were a mix of béchamel and ham, rolled in egg and breadcrumbs and fried...YUM.

The school schedule is very different from America. We begin at 9, have second breakfast, which is a small sandwich at 10:30 (yes, we really have breakfast twice), lunch at 1:30 and don't come back until about 2:45. Then we have a couple hours of school until the students leave at 5...with another sandwich in hand. The day is more spread out, which gives teachers more breaks, students more time to play, options for lunch, and just a more relaxed feel. You would think 5 would seem so late, but it's light out until 8:30 and dinner isn't until 9 anyway.  On our lunch breaks we have explored some nearby streets and found many stores....namely gelato, and chocolate.

Sant Jordi was Wednesday (our first real day). According to the legend, a prince (Sant Jordi) saved a princess from a dragon, his blood turned to roses, and now the boys give girls roses and the girls give boys books on this day. It's a fun day at school similar to our Valentine's day. The kindergarten and preschool students were all dressed as princes, princesses, and dragons. The students made paper roses, colored dragons, and brought the books to school to read and share. It's a huge deal all over the city! My host family took me to the city center for a quick walk just to see how packed it is for the holiday.
 I got a rose from my family, my class, and a paper rose from a student--Fernando.
 We were able to see a little of Gaudi's work and some classic Barcelona landmarks. It was quick, overwhelming, and gorgeous. We plan to return on a day that is less crowded and crazy.

After school today I explored Badalona (on the northeast side of the city). I took the metro across 4 different lines and was able to meet with some mutual friends at a church. It was great! I am glad I have the opportunity to visit other parts of the city, as well.

That's all for now. Good thing I'm a night owl, or this wouldn't get done. ;)
"Miss Sarah" (pronounced Meese Saaahhhhrahhhhh)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

¡Hola y bienvenido a mi blog! 

I'm currently student teaching at Potter Gray Elementary in Bowling Green, KY and LOVING it. However, in just a week I'm boarding a plane to Spain to wrap up my undergrad student teaching in Barcelona! (Shout out to WKU for this opportunity!)
Exciting times over here! :) It will be my first time abroad, and I have no idea what to expect. I have been corresponding with my sweet host family, and I can't wait to meet them! (All SIX of them!)

As you can tell by the title, I am so SO excited to EAT in Spain, as well! I have always wanted to visit Spain, so it's a perfect place to start my new life as a world traveler. ;) (....we'll pick the traveling back up after J.D. survives dental school.)

I have no idea how to mentally prepare for a trip like this, so here's a quick rundown of my top 10 things I am looking forward to:

(in no particular order)

1. The COFFEE. (ok maybe that was intended to be toward the top)
2. Meeting my students!! I am confident I will be learning so much more from them than they will from me.
3. Worshipping with the Christians in Spain :)
4. Seeing the Mediterranean Sea in person! Ahh!
5. The fooooooooooooooooooooood. (That could have a whole list, itself.)
6. Walking places. Driving is so overrated.
7. Checking out GaudĂ­'s architecture. SO cool.
8. Hanging out with my host family! I hope they don't get tired of me, because I want them to take me everywhere! So excited to see the place through the eyes of a local family.
9. Shopping. Because I always like that.
10. The music! I may come back as a flamenco-dancing pro. Look out world.

Ok that's the tip of the iceberg. Any tips for packing only a *few* clothes? I'm terrible at that. I'm excited to share my experiences! I think I'll actually get instagram and vine now. I figure it's a good time to catch up with technology. My goal is to post on here a couple times a week...not sure what my schedule will be like for sure. Prayers and advice appreciated!!

¡Hasta luego!