It's been a great 10 days in Spain. Lots of Spanish was spoken. Lots of gelato was eaten. Lots of steps were taken. In fact, we've walked about 60 miles around Barcelona, Madrid and Toledo, and we are exhausted! I think I speak for the group when I say we're sad to leave Spain, but we're looking forward to coming home, sleeping in our own beds, and resting our feet!
19 June 2016
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 12
One final note about my time in Spain in general, not just today: I am reminded of The Catcher In the Rye. I have not been expelled, nor is my elder, more promising brother dead, but I am in a city larger than ones with which I am familiar, spending liberally and living off of a bank account of about $1000. I am also, similarly to Holden Caufield, living in a hotel room. I, though, am not worried, alone, or scared; I am with friends who are a highlight of this trip.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 11
Along the way, a conflict took place, but it does seem that most related tension has dissolved by time of writing. Dan purchased some firecrackers and another student and myself took a photograph by a water fountain. This was followed by a dinner of tomato-based gazpacho-esque soup, beef tikka missala and chocolate ice-cream. This was mostly not Spanish in origin, excepting the soup, or, indeed, truly Indian, given the cow's sacred status in India, leading me to fail to realize that the beef was the main course until it had been taken away. Regardless, dinner held numerous conversations of interest. These were followed by a nosebleed on my part, after we had left the restaurant, a ride on the metro, arriving at the hotel, cleaning up, drafting this post, and, we eventually, going to bed.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 10
In all seriousness, my fellow students and I entered a market that mostly sold fish, went to a supermarket, then la iglesia/St. Anna's church, which was often visited by modernist architect and artist Gaudí, who lived much of his life in Barcelona. We also patronized an ice-cream store, which is a consistent theme of this trip, and then we browsed around stores specializing in apparel, finding little both economical and acceptable. We then met up with Dan and Sra. Wood, the aforementioned tour-leader/instructor of Spanish in the U.S.A.. We all continued to browse until we needed to head to dinner.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 9
After the presentations, everyone wondered around a market. I believe a few seashells were purchased from a man whose name was presumably not Sally. No seashore was present.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 8
Before these presentations, everyone received two foods: crisp bread with tomato, salt and olive oil, in that order, which is a tradition in Barcelona borne of a need to soften old, dry bread, and "The Bomb," which is a fried food with two sauces, one being a somewhat spicy tomato-type sauce, and a mixture of olive oil and garlic.
Somewhat, in my opinion, worthy of mention is that, before meeting the restaurant owner, I visited an automatic teller machine and bought some gelato. In the gelato store, I met two young women from Arizona who were, similarly to my group, studying Spanish abroad.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 7
Even so, the owner of the restaurant was kind and complimented my idea (for his eatery to offer cooking classes to the community, possibly using recipes from his menu, as this could bring a profit, ameliorate the health of the community and increase brand-loyalty, possibly gaining workers in the future who were once children in the class), and my peers were very supportive. My roommate ended up writing a script during our walk to the restaurant and being the last to present. He and everyone else, in my opinion, did fine jobs at their presentations.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 6
We students, Dan And our Spanish instructor from the U.S.A./leader all went to a restaurant to present our ideas to its owner. Due to a nomination from my roommate, I was made to go first. This inspired a possible senior quote for myself: "Usualmente, me gusta hablar delante de otras personas, pero ahorra, yo estoy hablando español." That is to say, "usually, I enjoy speaking in front of other persons, but right now, I am speaking in Spanish." Both are taken from a speech I gave in Spanish class near the end of my sophomore year of high school, the speech originally being delivered in Spanish. It is likely obvious, now, that despite my practice and script, I was very nervous. Indeed, I do believe that of all of us students, my delivery was the worst; the most stilted, stuttery, timid and unnatural. In the end, I read directly off my script, with trouble, due to my poor handwriting.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 5
Personally, I wrote a full script in Spanish and with imperfect double spacing, that is, in a few cases, I forgot to skip a line. The script was written in the same book in which this post was initially drafted. I also did upwards of ten minutes of rehearsal. My roommate slept during the time allotted to us.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 4
After the end of class, which, noted, is taught mostly in Spanish by a native speaker who speaks relatively little English, I and my fellow students purchased lunch from a sandwich-based establishment called "boldú". It also sells salads, coffee and doughnuts. I purchased a sandwich with tomato, lettuce and fried pork. It was accompanied by a Coca-cola and a doughnut flavored and filled with caramel (Es dulce de Leche en español, y yo creo que es mi sabor favorito). After this, we travelers and our guide, Dan, returned to our hotel rooms to prepare for a business pitch for later in the day. I can only speak for myself and my roommate's actions during this time, as I was only privy to our experiences.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 3
We also, we here being the students, had to, in groups of two, have one person who could see a logo describe it and/or its company in Spanish so that the other person could guess the company's name. I notably failed to recognize the logo for General Electric. I also mistook someone asking me another person's name for them asking said person's place of residence. These mistakes aside, I can mostly understand the instructor at school and non-native Spanish speakers, likely because I have spent sufficient time with her to become familiar with her voice and because they speak more slowly than native speakers, respectively. In the middle of class, there was a break, which I used to purchase a Fanta and a Coca-cola, as well as to play some chess. The game went unfinished, as class resumed before it could be completed.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 2
That all said, sincere salutations, readers. At the time of initial writing, it is Thursday, 6/16/16. As with all weekdays I have thus far experienced in Spain, today began with a wake-up call at 7 A.M., getting dressed, and having a breakfast of croissants, sausages, bacon and sugared apple juice. I also often get a bowl of cereal. Following breakfast, as the routine demands, we (myself, the other students, our teacher, and our tour-leader, Dan), entered a metro in order to reach a school sponsored by EF. The classes' subject matters have varied, but the focus today was on logos, the recognition thereof, very simple international commerce (who buys and sells what items, with each nation only having one or two items in each category), and associating images with categories and ideas, the images being logos and the ideas being their respective companies and what said companies do.
Dirk's post from 6/16/16 - Part 1
"Sincere salutations" es un frase que es en el mundo por una razón, y la razón es yo. Cuando yo estoy en una fotografía yo levanto un mano. Algunas de mis amigas en este viaje crean que este es gracioso, y una de estas personas, Sofía, creó la frase. Ahorra, levantar un mano y decir "sincere salutations" es una manera graciosa a decir "hola."
¡Hola! Hoy llegué en Madrid. Today was another early morning, we headed to the train station to go to Madrid. The ride was 3 hours. We checked in and went to the train station, which has an indoor forest. The event of the day was visiting El Prado, an important art museum. The museum had Goya, El Bosco, Rafael, Velázquez, and many more. There was a large sculpture exhibit, featuring the Venus and Mars, Muses of Cristina, and other Romanesque works. Once we left there, we headed back to the hotel for some free time. During mine, I made a visit to the Reina Sofía museum, where my two favorite artists, Picasso and Dalí, have pieces. While I was there, I saw Guernica, an anti-war mural done by Picasso in 1937, which is my favorite artwork ever. After our free time, we walked around Madrid, saw a statue of Lucifer, and headed to dinner. Dinner consisted of salad, duck, layered cake, and lots of opera singing. Tomorrow is our last day in Spain so we're off to bed early. ¡Buenas noches!
Lunch at El Brillante, famous for their calamari subs. Dirk was the only one brave enough to try it. (I'm allergic.)
Ever since I was a freshman in high school taking Spanish I and saw it in my textbook, I've wanted to see the Atocha station in Madrid. Today I finally saw it!
18 June 2016
Today we woke up early and headed towards Moteserrat. We hiked to multiple overlooks and were able to get amazing pictures of the areas surrounding the mountains. After, we took a campus tour of the FC Barcelona stadium; it was huge. We decided to spend our last night in Barcelona in the heart of town, Las Ramblas. Unfortunately, there was a torrential downpour about 20 minutes after we arrived but we were still able to shop and explore the city for the last time this trip. It was a great way to end the Barcelona portion of this immersion program.
17 June 2016
Hola! Today we started off with our last day of school at EF and followed that with a quick graduation from the program. We got our caps and gowns and were presented with certificates. After, we went to Boldú for lunch which has become our favorite lunch spot. The day moved on quickly as we only had a short down time before having to meet at the Plaça de Catalunya for a scavenger hunt around Las Ramblas and streets all over that area. We met at a café in the end and had churros with chocolate as a reward to out scavenging skills. We soon left the café to go to a Flamenco show where we had early entrance to learn how to dance as a group. The show started shortly after and it was quite a way to embrace their culture for dance. Our front row seats submerged us in the music and dancing and helped us see how different some countries can truly be in certain areas. We went to dinner after and had some good Salchichas con Frijoles, chocolate mousse, then went home to sleep.
I went to La Pedrera, another house designed by Gaudí, today while the students were in class.
16 June 2016
María, the kids' teacher, gave each student this button to wear this week.
While the kids were in class this morning, I checked out Casa Batlló, another one of Gaudí's famous works.
15 June 2016
¡Hola! Today was another very long day that started about the same way. We had breakfast at about 7:30am and then we headed off to school to learn about everyday life for children and adults in Spain. Next we stopped at our favorite place, boldú, for lunch. Lunch was amazing as always, especially the donuts!! Free time was spent exploring and shopping on and along las ramblas. Then we had an amazing time with some kiddos at a summer camp. The kids were SO nice and many of them spoke slower than the adults so they were easier to understand. We had a mid-day lunch with them, then had a very exciting and upbeat recess, next some arts and crafts, and finally some sparklers and pop-its before we were on our way. Dinner was at a business of a very nice lady that welcomed us with a home cooked meal.
¡Hoy fue mi día favorito y estoy emocionada para mañana!
We helped out at an after-school program.
Cada chic@ practica el español con otr@ estudiante más avanzad@. Everyone practices Spanish with a more advanced student.
14 June 2016
Conocimos a Jacobo, un policía.
¡Hola! Today was another early morning wake up for a class at EF. Today's topic was modernist art, and the latter part of class consisted of us going out on the streets and finding examples of it in buildings (nature, ceramic, metal, curved lines). After class, we went to a local sandwich/pastry shop and had lunch. Then we had an art class in a ceramic shop, making boxes with ceramic glass tops, continuing the theme of modernism and Gaudí. Finally, we got to see La Sagrada Familia, the most famous Spanish basilica. Our tour guide, Aída, gave us a thorough explanation of the symbolism and timeline behind the edifice. For dinner, we had pesto pasta, fish, burgers, yogurt, and ice cream. The ride on the metro was very fun, factoring in our lack of sleep and train mixup. ¡Fue un día muy grande pero muy divertido!
I looooooooooooove Sagrada Familia.
Mosaic art class in the style of Gaudí!
13 June 2016
¡Hola! Today we had our first class at EF in the morning, then we went to La Boquería market and walked around for hours. Everyone tried lots of new food. After the market, we spent some time at the hotel then went to a cooking class with some locals and ate the food we made for dinner. ¡La comida fue deliciosa!
Taking their first class with María, their EF teacher!
12 June 2016
Today in Barcelona, we all woke up very early to head to Park Güell. We took a tour with a very nice woman named Aida who spoke very fast Spanish, it was hard to keep up but we ended up learning a lot about Antoni Gaudí. We got to see and take pictures of an amazing view of Barcelona. After the tour, we went to the public beach. Unfortunately, we saw some things we wish we didn't. There were many vendors on the beach, Dirk ended up purchasing a donut that was being carried on top of a man's head. We went to dinner at Citrus and we all chose to get Citrus Huevos, which were fries with egg and ham on top.
Facto divertido: En España, ellos dicen "Patata" cuando sacan una fotografía de otras personas.
Today we went to Park Güell and learned about Antoni Gaudí. This is easily one of my favorite places in Barcelona.
11 June 2016
We arrived in Barcelona, most of us having barely slept on the long plane ride. We hit the ground running, completing a walking tour of Las Ramblas, clocking nearly 8 miles on foot today. We experienced the metro many times, and thanks to our tour director, Dan, we are quickly becoming familiar with Barcelona's streets and transportation.