Monday, September 21, 2009

Life here seems to drift by, and my judgement of time is beginning to fade away. I've been attending Colegio Sant Josep's for about one week now; living in spain for two, and it has probably been the most emotional and physically draining weeks of my life. So much new information and people leads to a buzzing mind that is constantly working. I'm partcipating in Primero Bachillerato - Social so my class load consits of Matematiques, Literatura de Catalan, Religion, Humanities, Filosofia, Catalan Lengua, Ed. Fisica, Economia, Castellana, and Ciencia del Mundo Contemprani. All of my classes are conducted in Catalan which is the regional dialect of Catalunya. It sounds very much like French when spoken but when written resembles Russian or something crazy like that. No offense to Russia. I havent been able to follow much of the work, but afterwards many of the teachers will summarize in Castillan and mostly from there I can manage the huge homework load that I get everynight. I attend a private school and in my personal opinion it's evident in the work load that is assigned...but, then again it takes me about 30 minutes to read one page so I'm not really one to judge. Staying in one class has been a different experience for me as well! It leads to a very close knit group of kids, making it hard for a new person (as myself) to mesh in, but each day is getting better and better! Most of my friends attend the public school in town so I try to spend time with them after Sant Josep's. When I get out at 5pm, which is incredibly late!

This last weekend was our first regional AFS orientation! Hooray for going to beautiful Barcelona. I had really been waiting so long to see the city, but of course we really didnt get to walk around and mainly stayed at our youth hostal. Although! Being the curious, adventure seeking chica that I am -- I dragged Julien and Iva, my train buddies, to walk the city, opposed to waiting in the train station for two hours. Obvious choice right? So thank you, thank you Julien and Iva for trusting in my navigating skills, because I had a great time! The orientation was a lot better then the previous ones, filled with lots of games and more of 'bonding' activities, haha. It's hard to believe I've only known these people for 3 weeks, it feels like years. Sharing this amazing experience together will definitly bring us closer together then anyone else can understand. Hopefully I'm going back this next weekend because there will be a huge fiesta and just getting a small taste of the city is killing me.

A couple days ago my host dad, Ramon and I went to an 'informational' meeting concerning me joining a running team here. As you all probably know my love for running definitly runs deep and although I'm fine with my park runs alone, it would be nice to join a team! So it looks like next monday I will be showing up at the physical center to do some training! Running is definitly not a popular sport here whatsoever. Futbol rules above all. Above work, school, food. My family happens to be DEVOTED team Espanyol fans and I have joined this small but mighty group of people. Barca is the most popular team for sure in Catalunya, and probably all of Spain, so I definitly get some friendly joking about being an Espanyol fan. I've even picked up the spirit by joining in some pick up games here in Tarrega!

So this will be good bye for now...I have a stack of yucky Economia homework to attempt. Key word in the sentance: attempt.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hola! So this will officially be my first post in the beautiful land of Catalunya, Spain. Words can't even begin to describe how blessed I have been with a wonderfully loving and welcoming family, beautiful town to live in and the warmth from everyone I have met in this amazing country I will call my home for a year! After about the longest 32 hours of my life - orientation in NYC, the long flight to Zurich then Madrid and then another orientation in Madrid I finally took the AVE train to Lleida which is about 30min away from Tarrega. The whole train ride my heart was pounding beyond anything before! The thought of finally meeting my family whom I had corresponded with for several months was too much to comprehend; but, when I came up the stairs and I saw everyones smilling face I knew everything would be alright. Tomorrow will officially be the end of my first week which is already so hard to believe! Pilar, my mother, is an English, Catalan and Espanol teacher, so with her help I have already learned some new Catalan phrases! I have loved having a little sister! Sabina has so much compassion for life and so far we have been getting along very well; exchanging hugs every chance we can get. Jaume, my host brother is 15 and that makes it very easy for us to get along. He is extremely animated and funny just like Ramon! I can only say that it has been so nice to be around people who can joke and laugh with...reminds me very much of my family in Alaska! My life here has changed drastically! The Spanish lifestyle from the cuisine, clothing and scheduale is much more different then I had anticipated. Here we will sleep in very late (school even starts at 9am!!) and relax very much till lunch at 2pm. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day so it's very important to have the whole family present. At shool we are alottted 1 1/2 hours to come home and eat before returning to stay untill 5pm. After lunch we usually go visit friends then dinner is about 10pm. The total switch has been hard to get used to, but now that it has almost been a week I'm starting to settle in much better. This weekend is especially special and filled with many festivities because it is Firra Teatro! A very large festival of the arts here in Tarrega. It brings about 15,000 hippies, punks, children, parents - lovers of the arts! The streets are filled with lots of tiendas with jewelry and then tons of acts ranging from a crazy 'always drinking' marching band from Argentina too a puppet shows. I have truly been having the time of my life. So many open minded individuals who just love to celebrate life. Lots of dancing, singing, drinking and merriment! Last night was also my first Spanish party experience. My brother and his friends took me to a huge party in Verdu, which is a town about 10k away from Tarrega. It was a party sponsored by the most popular radio in Spain so the music was very, very good! A huge outdoor tent with a pool, crammed with many many people! It was a great time. Probably one of the best of my life! But I know that this year will be filled with many more...I start school on Monday! Estoy nerviosa! Wish me luck! Mucho amor! Besos