Monday, September 27, 2010

The Bloody Truth

Everything here has its pros and cons in my eyes because it is very difficult not to compare to home.

On Friday night the swim team that I am swimming on had their annual distinctions gala. Yes gala! It was a big deal, we had to get super dressed up and Ana even went and got her hair cut just for the occasion. It was fun in the beginning, being with all the kids that I'm swimming with, but out of the pool. Everyone is really nice and I feel very comfortable around them. The speaking and award giving seemed to go on forever...the boring part considering I didn't understand 90% of what they were saying. However I had to go up and received a "welcome award." Walking up there in front of a hundred plus people, being the "strange foreign girl" with all eyes on me, my heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest. I was able to make it on and off the stage without embarrassing myself too much, despite the loud cheering sounds that came from the sections where all my fellow swimmers were sitting, when my name was called. The diploma that I received made me laugh because it said, basically, we hope you have a long stay on this team. And considering I'm only going to be here for less than 10months, that put a smile upon my face.
                                               Ana is to the right of me in this photo

 me and Andrea, the first day we met she was sooo excited and was practically bursting with excitement.

This past weekend we went to my host family's country house and that was really hard for me, because I was extremely home sick and just needed to talk to my family. Eventually I was able to get Madeline to call me, through Facebook (handy at times) and I talked to everyone in my family. Taking up just about 2hours of my afternoon, and I could have talked many more. Just hearing their voices made me feel better. Yet that only lasted a couple of hours before I wanted to talk to them again. I love you M2H2O!!!
On Sunday a ton of family came over. Brothers and sisters of my host parents, as well as both grandmothers and cousins...many kisses. One of the grandmothers made me feel so comfortable and seems like someone I could talk to. Reminds me of both of my amazing grandmothers. The cousins and everyone else was really nice and open to me being there.

Okay a few last points:

  • I feel as though I have totally lost all of my privacy, because here the house is the moms house, so she comes into our room and organizes my things, or smelled where my clothes are kept and decided that it smelled bad and went and got an aroma stick which is now an overwhelmingly powerful smell...makes me want to mass out everytime. But I can't say anything because it's her house.
  • Spain's version of extreme makeover home edition is way cheesy compared to Ty and America's version, FYI. 
  • While all the cousins were at the country house they were trying to explain to me youtube, and they were spelling it (verbally) and I was like "there is no such word in English." Finally I figured it embarrassing. 
  • I talked at swim practice the coach because he was asking how it compared to Seals, and I told him. He says he loves distance, just my luck. For example we did 8x400's today.
  •  Had my first test today...chemistry, naming and writing formulas...we didn't get to use the periodic table so I'm pretty sure I failed, although some kids got 1's (scale to 1-10) so maybe I won't be the lowest score, unless I get a 0!!
  • U2 is coming to Seville!!!! The concert is on Thursday in the Olympic stadium in Seville, and I just might be able to get tickets, send me your good musical vibes. It seems meant to be.
  • To be continued for days to come...

    p.s. bloody because I have to get blood drawn sometime this week for the team so that they can see if I'm healthy or me!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's Hard Not to Judge

Happy 1/2 Birthday Madeline, I love YOU!!!

Okay, so my first week of school is over with, and I'm not really sure what to think.
 Today in phylosofy we talked about God, and I had a really difficult time wrapping my brain around that one. What does God even have to do with philsophy? And not everyone believes in God so how is that fair to teach about God. Also we have a class I have no idea what it's called but it's like world science and basiclly its about evolution, which is totally different from in the states where your not allowed to teach evolution...I think. It's almost as though there is a right way of thinking and you can't think outside of the box, because the ideas that are being taught are so structured. Sooo I'm not really sure what to do with that, so I just sit there and try and decifer the topic of conversation... I'm doing pretty good, able to get down the basic ideas and concepts of the topic.
In the past few days I have gotten a lot of support from within the school. During English class I am now taking Spanish "class" with my Spanish teacher. Class in quotations because its more of sitting and talking, or writing awnsers to questions. A little bit of everything, and during this time the teacher has a class or like a group of kids that she is supervising, so today a bunch of girls took interest in me and began asking questions and what not.  
I am definetly noticing a difference in my comprehension...a little bit...not really. In class I feel like I am able to understand more, and I am talking with people in my class, which helps out loud Spanish.
Last night I went to my first real fútbol game in Sevilla. It was really fun for the first half, but then it became a bit boring and I was super tired. The game didn't being until 10pm and I wasn't in bed until 1am with morning practice and then school the next day. The staduim was huge and filled with people smoking and eating sunflower seeds... an interesting smell combination.
Tonight there is some big swim team celebration and we have to dress up... and I mean DRESS UP!!!! Ana went and got here hair cut just for the occasion, and I have to wear a strapless dress! I have no idea what tonight is about, but I'm guessing that it's something huge considering all the preperation, etc.

Pictures...I completly forgot to bring my camura to the game yesterday and felt a large pang in my stomach, but Ana took a few with her phone so now it's just figuring out how to get them to my computer. I aploigize because I know you all are dying for pictures, I promise...sometime this weekend.

until next time...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hola from too far Away


I think my title just about sums it up...the good and the bad.

A world wind of many hours has past with too many rollar coasters of emotions. I was shaking when I arrived but luckily a bunch of other students were with me and we were all in the same boat. Meeting my host family was about the sacriest thing I have ever done and probably will ever do. As customary a kiss was exchanged on each side of the cheek...and I sware to goodness gracious I have kissed more guys in the past 48 hours than I have in my entire life...good or bad I'm not really sure.

Soon after arriving and unpacking we went to the families country house about 20mins away. Very cute and almost camp like, but it had more of a Mexican style to it. The house that I am staying in now is about the size of my houses entire 1st floor, if not less. All one floor and very intimate in a way. Once at their country house I promptly fell asleep for over 3hours and could have used a few more. We spent the rest of the day there until about 9:30pm, when we went home and had dinner around 10:30...I like staying up late but not when I have morning practice the next day. Morning practice went well...for me not having swum in way over a month. Practice was from 7-8 and then off to school :( That was definetly the strangest part of my day. At some points I wanted to cry while at others I couldn't help but laugh at myself. I did not understand almost anything, I did a lot of smiling and nodding and if you think chemistry is hard in English try taking it in Spanish...and I took it in English last year!! Okay now add to that Biology, Math, French, Philosophy and others that I don't even remember. I can't help but wonder if it's ever going to get easier, but luckily I'm not blond...however I am tall. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't stand out like a sore thumb and that's a good thing.

Okay, well school sucked no big deal...swim practice on the other!! In the am we trained in a 25m indoor pool and at night in a indoor 50m pool. Everyone was/is super nice, the girls exspecially! Something totally different here is that people are much more open, in the locker room everyone just strips, no big deal. And on deck the girls suits look more like thongs...something I don't think will become one of my "spanish" features. I have to say, even though practice can be hard I'm pretty sure it is going to become the highlight of my day!! The coach, interesting, funny, scary, straight forward. He told me more than once to sit out because my pulse rate was too high and then helped me with my "swing around" arms. But he did say that he is taking it easy on me because I just got here and may be tired, but that after one week no more sitting out. I can deal with that.

I'm having a hard time deciding wether or not I want to be here. I've wanted to just ball my eyes out many, many times but there is really no privacy to do so by myself and I don't want to cry in front if my host family.

Till next time...

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Arrived here Friday morning and have been able to tour around Barcelona! Here are some pictures...

Cool photo of a fountain during our tour at night
view of Barcelona from above
View from Gaudí park
Segrada Família by Gaudí to be done in about 16+ years
Bull ring being converted into a shopping center

Leave for host family tomorrow morning at 4:45am to catch the plane to Sevilla. Currently a little past 12 here at night...remember we are six hours ahead of the USA.
I am both nervous and excited to meet my host family tomorrow. I'm not really sure what to say to them when I first meet them and I'm going to look rediculous dragging my beast of an L.L.Bean bag without wheels!
Wish me luck...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sleepy Travels

I am currently sitting in a youth hostel in the center of Barcelona, Spain! We arrived into Spain after a long tiresome journey.

We left Boston on the 15th at approximately 5pm and arrived in Frankfurt Germany about 6 hours later but with the 6 hour time change it ended up being 12 hours later :) Joy...taking away precious teenage sleep hours. The plane that we went on was a beast. If you think double decker buses are cool wait until you see a double decker plane. Of course we didn't get to go up stairs because that was for first class only, which was a total bummer, and our seats were like every other squished airplane cabin. The rows were 10 across, 4 in the middle and 3 on either side of the plane.

In Frankfurt I got another country in my passport and many blisters and cuts from my clogs that obiously have not be worn enough.
The day that we left on we went to Harvard square in the morning and it was a bit bitter sweet saying goodbye, Quinn if your reading this it made me think about you! It really made me realize how much I actually love New England, but, of course theres a but, Barcelona is beautiful. Many exotic buildings, very colorful and mopeds every where, hundreds parked on the side walks, exspecially outside of the universities.

I've had a bundle full of mixed emotions since I said goodbye on Wednesday. I've had a nervousness in the pit of my stomach for the past three days and finally since we got on the plane its seem to have subsided a bit. Saying goodbye was tough but I was able to pull myself together for the sake of not embarassing myself in front of the other students. To tell you the truth I have already been was the first night!

I'm beginning to get excited about these up coming months full of new experiences. I'm looking forward to learning how to swim sets in spanish :) 

p.s. ignore spelling mistakes because my laptop is now in spainsh mode and thinks every single word is spelled wrong, and I'm to tired to go through carefully...I'm running on about 2hours of sleep since Wednesday night, yikes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reality Hits

It all seems so surreal, packing for 10 months having to think ahead and saying well that has to be on the top of the bag because I will be needing that in Barcelona. BARCELONA! I really couldn't ever imagine that it would actually become a reality, that I would be leaving home...before college of all things and setting out to create my own path in life.
Nothing is ever a reality until you are staring it in the face, saying how in the world did you ever get here, in my life. I feel like I am floating on cloud nine, getting the opportunity to set off and explore a different part of the world. Getting to live in Spain and being able to assimilate into their culture, being able to experience something worlds away from what I have ever been able to envelop in to my being. Yet on the other hand I am wondering how I'm going to get by without the support and love that I receive from my family and friends everyday. I know that I will be receiving the same support and love while abroad it just won't be as knowingly apparent.

I realized something the other day though that has given me a lot of confidence leaving all the people I love. I'm not afraid to leave anyone because I know that they will all be here when I get back and that our relationships and bonds are so great that nothing will tare them apart.

I leave tomorrow for Boston where we have orientation before flying to Barcelona and then to my host family Sunday afternoon.

My host family. The daughter Ana is 16 and one day younger than me and the brother is excited to meet them all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let's Party

Today was filled to the brim with hellos and goodbyes.

We went out to breakfast with our old tutor, it was fantastic to see her considering it has been close to two years. After that the craziness began. I had a going away party that was held here this afternoon. I've never really realized how many people like me and care about me until I have had a party all for myself. I know, sounds a bit selfish, but being a twin I have never once in my life had a party or anything to say the truth just for me. It was eye opening and reassuring to see how many people are supporting me and my huge adventure.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me in one way or another throughout this process and up until this final take off runway. I never really thought it would actually become a reality. Turning my wildest imaginations into experiential situations. Thank you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soak it Up

Why is it that you never really realize what you've got until you leave?!

Tonight was a ladies night out, Madeline, my mom and I along with two of our female neighbors went into Portland to a place called Soakology. We sat on large comfy chairs/sofas while soaking our feet in large warm water baths with different scents of our choosing. I felt very open in a way and multiple emotions coursed through my body. I'm petrified to leave, to be gone for so long, to enter the unknown. Yet in a way I can't wait to mix it up and to experience something like nothing before.

I got an email from my host sister today, Ana. She sent me a picture of her family, I'm going to ask her if she would be alright if I put it up on the blog. We are sharing a room and she asked me if I what top or bottom bunk. Over our past few months having correspondence our emails have become more frequent, detailed and filled with emotion. I'm extremely excited to meet my family and to see how a different family in a completely different country operates.

I'm petrified yet excited to begin a journey into the unknown.  

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Lies Ahead


This is what its all about, me going away, leaving everything I know to begin a creation of me and who I am to become in the future.

The little moments are the things that mean the most to me these days, the insignificant. The ones that are taken for granted every moment of every day. Our family bonding trip has come and gone. As long as a year and yet as short as a second. I feel as though they mean even more to me now, even though they have always been my everything. The trip made me realize how much I appreciate each and everyone of them for both their flaws, their amazing features and personality quarks. Usually spending 5 days in the wilderness with the same 5 people can become trying on ones character, however that was not the case this time around. We all came together and in a way became one. Making it all the more difficult to say goodbye.

I'm going to miss the way we all gang up on Oliver (john john), and the way we are all up for anything, from sailing in canoes (almost capsizing more than once) to sleeping outside under the stars and partaking in sleeping bag wars. The way we make use out of what we have...playing baseball with a driftwood bat and rocks off the shore, drinking our water from our available resources, after purification. And the way we all get excited to go to the beach when a hurricane is hitting the Maine coast. Always the highlight of our falls.

I'm going to miss the always eventful nights out with our two best friends. The ritual yet variation of each time. The reassurance that someone always has my back and will be there for me, but that won't be as helpful 1,000's of miles away.

I feel as though as the days creep by and the date approaches more quickly that it is all a dream, I can't imagine it anymore, myself over there, myself even leaving. It's as if I'm floating not really realizing what is about to come.