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 b├ęchamel 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)

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