Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Last Day

I can hardly believe we are leaving Barcelona in the morning. I have learned so much about the culture of the region, using my music skills to teach other subjects, and so much more. I can't wait to use my experiences here in my own classroom one day. Here are just a few pictures from my amazing and bittersweet last day in Catalunya.

This is just one of the 4 classes I worked with while at RMSI and I couldn't have loved it more. These kids were the sweetest and it really was amazing how well they responded to being taught in English. Music was really an asset when working with this age group, it became a kind of universal language that we could all enjoy. I got to share so many English songs from my childhood and they even taught me a Spanish song or two :)

This is a bag and book that my students made as a surprise. The book is filled with drawings of me and their favorite things. I have no idea how my cooperating teacher put together this project without my knowledge but it meant so much to me and I know that I will keep this forever as a reminder of my time in Spain with these amazing kids.

Finally, RMSI was kind enough to host a going-away lunch for us and our cooperating teachers at the school, complete with pizza and gifts. This small gesture was so simple but so meaningful. The teachers and administrators here were so welcoming and kind to me and my peers, so it was only fitting for us to all be able to share our last lunch together. My teacher in particular, was absolutely amazing and worked so hard to include me in every aspect of the teaching experience at RMSI. I feel so lucky to have been placed with her and I know that we'll stay in touch for years to come.

As I prepare to leave Barcelona, I can only hope that one day I might be able to return to see all the great friends I've made. For now, I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and family in Kentucky and I know that whatever happens, this experience has helped me become the teacher I want to be. 

Goodbye Barcelona, I'll miss you so much.
Hello Kentucky, we'll see ya soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Park Güell... Finally!

Tomorrow is my last day in Spain and I can hardly believe it's over already. In just three short weeks, I had to squeeze in every ounce of Barcelona I could and I think I did pretty well. Yesterday I saw the last "must-see" place on my list: Park Güell! It did not disappoint...

We some how stumbled around and came in through the back entrance to the park but that allowed us to see some beautiful landscapes we wouldn't have otherwise seen!

Eventually, we found the side of Park Güell that everyone knows, the part that screams Gaudi :)

It's no wonder this place is so famous, it really is incredible how much work and time must have gone into all the beautiful mosaics and artwork.

I'm so incredibly lucky to have been able to see all these beautiful works first hand! Now I only have one more day in Barcelona and then it's off to graduation. Bitter sweet is definitely the right word.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Castle vs Castle

As you may or may not know, I got to travel to Germany this past weekend to see an old friend from high school. While I was there, my friend took me to tour a castle in Heidelberg that was absolutely beautiful. It just so happens that I had just toured another castle in Barcelona so I thought I'd compose this post as a bit of a friendly competition! Let the games begin....

National Pride:

The flag of Catalunya was displayed prominently at the Castell de Montjuic:

The Heidelberg Castle on the other hand had no such display. They did however have this delicious cookie/cake hybrid called the Amerikanr...

Point Barcelona :)

But what about an intimidating prison? Every good castle has one of those! 

The Heidelberg Castle boasted this impressively terrifying structure:

Castell de Montjuic had no prison, thus the point for this round goes to Germany!

Castle Grounds/Garden:

This is a tough category. The Castell de Montjuic had a beautiful walking trail, a mountain top view of the ocean, and gorgeous landscaping.

However, the castle in Heidelberg had incredible natural beauty and a great view of the city:

I think this category is a draw, both castles were so beautiful in different ways in was impossible to compare! 

We'll folks it looks like we have a tie... Which is fine by me :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Latest Adventures

Where to begin??? I finally walked by the beach with my family, wrote and performed a play in English with two of my host siblings, and ate the WORLD'S BEST CHICKEN. Literally. I have never EVER had better chicken. My assessment of this chicken may have been influenced by the amazing, authentic Spanish sangria I shared with my host parents during the dinner but I doubt it. :) I even got to watch the Derby with my host family and we all had a blast rooting for our horses. Here are a few pictures from the past few days, hope you enjoy!

^^^ Oh you know, just the rooftop pool... ^^^

Some pictures from the best restaurant ever. It looks pretty rough on the outside (...and the inside) but nothing can possibly beat that chicken...

Apparently this place is a hotspot for Barcelona celebrities and there were a thousand pictures on the walls of famous soccer players, chefs, models, etc.

This bread with tomato spread (tomaquétte) is literally served at every meal and I'm really starting to love it :)

Did I mention this is the world's best chicken?

I had a picture of the sangria (which looked as good as it tasted) but I accidentally deleted it :(

One last thing, and this is probably the COOLEST and most important part of this particular blog post. I bought castanets!!! Or castanuelas as they're called in Catalan. My host grandma apparently plays castanets very well and may give me a lesson before I head back to the US!

Tomorrow and Wednesday I have tutoring time with my host siblings and Thursday I'll visit Park Guell before I fly off to Germany for the weekend. What a life!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Four Day Weekend

Most everyone else chose to travel this weekend, but I decided to spend this time in Barna with my host family. Turns out, that was a great decision because I've gotten to see some really great Catalan culture and experience more of beautiful Barcelona! Wednesday night, we went to the Feria de Abril which is a traditional Sevillian festival that involves lots of traditional dancing, called Sevillana. My two host sisters dressed up for the occasion!

Vendors and families set up tents for dancing, eating, and shopping. 

My family had friends who we're hosting a tent so we went there and ate while we watched Sevillana dancers of all ages. Later on, my host mom taught me one of the many Sevillana dances, though thankfully there are no pictures of this as I was pretty terrible. 

The next morning I took my two oldest host siblings to the Barça Museum (for the Fútbol Club de Barcelona) so we could tour and have fun while practicing their English skills. I have never been one for sports, but if I had to like a sport, it would be soccer. And in any case, this museum was very interesting as it really impressed upon me how central this team is to the Catalan identity. 

This was the first trophy on display in the museum, from 1902.

If I didn't know the name Lionel Messi before, I do now. This man is a hero to the Catalan people. He made up about 1/4 of the entire museum. Below is one of his bronzed cleats.

After the Barça museum, I went to lunch with my family at a beautiful restaurant next to a garden and playground. The day ended with a trip to the Fuentes de Montjuic for the lighted fountain show. Can´t wait to see what the rest of the weekend holds...

Sagrada Familia

So I'm about to go on a blogging tangent while I have the energy. First up: La Sagrada Familia. HOLY COW. The architecture was like nothing I've ever seen. It's no wonder this city has an ongoing love affair with all things Gaudi. For anyone unfamiliar with this gorgeous piece of architecture, here's a picture that gives you an idea of the sheer scale and beauty.

It's still under construction and my host dad told me it's been funded entirely by the people (as opposed to the government). It's massive, and if you think the outside is beautiful, just wait till you see the inside. Oh, and that little building with a curvy roof to the right of the Sagrada? That's a school Gaudi built for the workers' children during early construction. 

Here are some more pictures of the outside of the Sagrada Familia. The detail is hugely impressive. 

The inside of the Sagrada Familia is legitimately awe-inspiring. So much so that I will simply let these pictures speak for themselves.

These pictures really don't do it justice, this monument is glorious to say the least. I hope one day I can see it competed, I can't even imagine how incredible it will be. Might be my favorite sight so far!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekend Excursion

Friday after school, I went with my host family to their house in the mountains. The drive was beautiful but the roads made me a little car sick with all the twists and turns. There was no wifi at their mountain house so excuse the long post, it contains everything I did this weekend.

By the time we got there, we had just enough time to unpack, play a quick board game, and eat dinner before bed time. Also, we saw this super cool fox that came straight to the back door while we were playing board games.

Saturday I got to sleep in (hallelujah!) and then we went hiking in a mountain range just north of the cabin (in southern France). It was quite a walk but it was well worth it when we reached the lake and had our picnic lunch.

And if this beautiful hike wasn't enough, the next day, we went on a nature walk and went horseback riding.

It was a great weekend and I'm really glad I chose to spend it with my host family trading songs, playing board games, taking walks, eating delicious food, and playing in the sun. On to the week ahead!