This week has been full of adventure! I'm really feeling comfortable at the school and I finally know my way around the building. I'm figuring out the crazy schedule and got to do some fun things with the students!
MondayI worked with a group of 6th grade boys who are advanced in English. I planned some conversational games, which we didn't finish, so I look forward to working with them again next time! It's interesting to note that the students who started learning English in Pre-K (who are now 1st graders) know just as much, and really more, English than the 6th grade students who didn't start learning English until Kindergarten or 1st. Although the older students have been studying it longer, the younger students who were immersed in the language sooner have picked it up much quicker! I wish I had done that with Spanish as a child! Maybe then I wouldn't be fumbling over my words every time I encounter a non-english speaker. Haha.
After school I went with Jessica to L'illa (local mall). I had been wanting to check out some Spanish stores like Zara and Mango. We had fun looking, but managed not to spend anything! Our favorite store was called "Cooked"...the logo was a dead chicken and everything. We thought it was hilarious. If we weren't so cheap, we definitely would have gotten a pair of "Cooked" pants!
That night for dinner I had gazpacho! Yes, the famous chilled vegetable soup....interesting, but good. However, it was hard to get used to cold soup.
I had the pleasure of taking the boys who worked hard and finished early out to an early recess/2nd breakfast. These boys are just so sweet and friendly! They always greet me with a very proper "Hello, Miss Sarah"when they see me. It's so cute! I also love how they still run around and play "futbol" the moment they get outside--even though they all have sandwiches in hand.
After school many of us went to La Sagrada Familia. We toured the Cathedral and saw some of Gaudi's scale models and drawings in the room underneath. It was fascinating for sure! There's just so much to sit and look at in a building that detailed! Afterward I checked out some of the classic souvenir shops located all around La Sagrada Familia. That was interesting for sure...the shop owners are NOT shy and tend to follow you around the store offering suggestions of what you need to bring to your family members back home...how thoughtful, right? ;)
I decided I needed to dedicate a post or at least part of a post to breakfast in Spain. So here it is...my...
Ode to Breakfast.We leave the house around 8:30, so around 8 we are all usually in the kitchen eating together. There's normally some toast, homemade jam from Abuela, a teeny cup of espresso and a little pitcher of warm milk waiting at my seat, and chocolate milk for the kids. This particular morning (like many others) included some Spanish music. They introduced me to a song "Sara" that sings about "dulce (sweet) Sara"(listen here on Youtube) , and of course LaBamba was played. Classic. Around 10:30 at school we all break for second breakfast. The students bring a sandwich or fruit. The teachers are served complementary breakfast in the lounge. There's a coffee/tea bar, fruit, and either sandwiches or croissants. Fridays are usually croissants and chocolate, and with it being a long weekend, Wednesday was like a Friday, so we had croissants! Yum. It's so funny, 10:30 is exactly the time I get hungry every day (in the U.S.), too, so it works out quite well. On Mondays and Fridays, Miss Alex and I get to watch the kids on the playground while we eat. The other days we usually eat with the teachers.
On the way back from school, Cata casually pointed out a Churreria! CHURROS! FINALLY! THE REAL DEAL! I asked if we could stop and she kindly obliged...and helped me order. :) They were fantastic....in a sugary greasy kind of way. Mmm. We watched him make them right in front of us. It was very cool!
Wednesday night we packed up and went to Costa Brava! (about an hour or two north of here)
We stayed in Vilamacolum with Elena's parents in a beautiful restored home from the 12th century!! It was absolutely amazing. If I had known what an incredible place we'd be staying in and what fun adventures were lying ahead, I would have had no worries about my lack of wifi and technology for the next 4 days! ;)
:) Girl beds pushed together for real slumber party style.
Thursdaywe visited Empuries, a lovely coastal village started by the Greeks in the 6th century BC! We saw aqueducts, ruins, gorgeous beaches, apple orchards, and historic homes.
FridayWe visited Palau (and a few other teeny villages along the way). This is where my host family's vacation home is. It's still in the restoration process, but it's got tons of character and is surrounded by a breath-taking countryside. I believe it dates back to the 11th century. We were able to visit with some family members who have a "castle" next door. It was phenomenal! It had a small chapel attached and incredible views from the terraces. It was like nothing I've ever seen.
SaturdayWe went to Cadaques! This coastal village is famous for being the summer home of the surrealist painter, Salvador Dali. It was an old fisherman village, but with it's growing popularity it has become a trendy destination for the nearby Spanish and French populations. It's full of shops and restaurants and is all situated right on the sea. It was stunning! Of course, we had to get gelato.
They also took me up to a lookout point in the Pyrenees Mountains. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done! The Tramuntana (very strong north winds) were in full swing and we all thought we were going to sail off into the sea! It was the kind of wind that you sends tears streaming down your face and makes grown men climb to the top of a rock just to stand up and scream into it. The views of the mountains and sea where incredible. One side of the mountain had calm seas, and the other side had waves crashing against the rocky shores. I just wish there were photos to do it justice...but I'll definitely never forget what I saw! I'm adding it to my mental list of places I want to hike!
That evening I rode back to Barcelona with Elena's sister and spent the night at my apartment.
SundayI went to church and had the pleasure of going out to lunch with some wonderful new friends! We had Chinese (and tons of it!) and then walked around to the mall to get...gelato of course. ;) They were so kind and generous, and I really enjoyed my time with them! I look forward to spending more time together with Lisette and Luis for sure! What a blessing it is to now have friends in another country!
I got back to the apartment around 5, unpacked, grabbed my computer and went to a local cafe and bakery to get some coffee and go through my pictures. Since the coffee was the size of my thumb and the cafe didn't have wifi, I walked around for a while, found another DELICIOUS cafe and treated myself to another coffee (this time with milk to make it last longer...I'm learning here, ok?) and a "cronut"....which appears to be a combination of a donut and a croissant---how brilliant are these guys, huh?? I opted for Dulce de Leche which was just gushing with caramel...it was phenomenal. Definitely going to try out Santa Gloria again! So many yummy looking pastries and the coffee was superb! I came home, skyped JD, went and got an italian sandwich "para llevar" (to go) and came back to finally get this posted!
It's been a long, crazy week...but I am loving it. The trip with my family was definitely just that...a road trip with family. Of course there were moments of mild chaos, but all-in-all I am so, SO grateful that they willingly and eagerly took me along! When else in my life will I get to see these tiny ancient villages in the Spanish countryside?! Whether it was letting me shop all afternoon or driving part of the way down the mountains to let me explore my way down on foot for a bit, they definitely went above and beyond to make sure I saw the best of the Costa Brava/Northeastern Spain area!
Looking forward to another week here! Spain's totally got my heart, but I still can't wait to be back with family. Enjoying these blessings and opportunities while I can, though! God is so good! :)
Hasta luego! I'm going to do better about staying updated this week!