International Travel

Barcelona Absorption in Week 3

Each day I spend exploring Barcelona, I feel more and more confident about the city.  It’s one of those cities where you can get lost by taking the wrong turn.  But, Barcelona is one of those places where it is GOOD to get lost.  You look up – and all around you is amazing architecture.  Each building is so different from the next, with so much detail in every inch.  There are countless shops and cafes on each block.  It’s a good thing I’m here for 6 months!  The language barrier is still a struggle but I just have to keep on trying.  The people here are truly welcoming and the fact that they try to speak English to you is so nice. Now I need to start trying with Spanish.

Being a teacher is not easy. As the daughter of a teacher, I have seen all the extra work that is put into the job.  Much respect to all those teachers out there! When you become the teacher, your whole perspective changes.  Luckily in 2017, there are TONS of teaching resources available online. The British Council website has become my best friend when it comes to lesson plans. What would I do without technology?

It’s tough to know what level of English these children have.  Some are better at English than others.  Obviously the 13 year olds have more knowledge than the 8 year olds, but even within the same age, the personal level varies.  Catering to these varied age groups is a struggle sometimes.  

Activities go over much better than structured worksheets.  But what activities should we do?  Basically, I’m the “speaking” English teacher.  These students must speak English with me, and that’s pretty much the main objective:  speaking.  Speaking is the level of language learning that is the hardest part. I give these kids a lot of credit because I personally wouldn’t be comfortable speaking with a native English (and only English) teacher.  Some of these children aren’t very comfortable speaking only in English, but you know what, THEY TRY. And that’s all that matters.  This is some good advice for myself.Each day is a new learning experience as a teacher.

In other news, Tuesday October 10 was an interesting day for Catalonia.  The Catalonian President, Carles Puigdemont, promised his voters in favor of independence, that there would be independence.  Tuesday was supposed to be the day it happened.  President Puigdemont took the stage and started talking.  He said he wasn’t going to declare independence anymore.  All of the voters who voted for independence seemed in shock and confused. This whole situation is super confusing to me.  I have the news on, but it’s all in Catalan (and there are no English subtitles on the TV).

I’m taking a mini break from Spain for the weekend and am flying up to Manchester, England. I am super excited to go back to the United Kingdom!  I’ve heard great things about Manchester and look forward to this weekend.  

¡Hasta luego!

 

22471335_10154663957376895_1381447374_n22471623_10154663957091895_1409040579_n22447343_10154663960611895_2145043327_n22446997_10154663960581895_1244786460_n22472500_10154663952216895_2033756493_n

Advertisements
International Travel

Dismayed in Week 2

It’s time to post again, but I don’t even know where to begin.  So much has happened in the world this past week.  I’m finally starting to settle in and understand a new culture, yet I feel so unsettled with everything that’s taking place around me.

Sunday October 1 was quite a day for Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia.  I wish I had more knowledge on the Spanish history because the vote for independence has had a lot to do with the history of Spain.  The majority of Barcelona appears to be in favor of independence.  Furthermore, as you may have seen from the news, the Police Officers tried to stop the illegal voting.  Things got out of hand and over 700 people were injured on Sunday.  Catalonia is claiming to have won independence.  I don’t know what that means for Catalonia or the rest of Spain.  On Tuesday (October 3), there was a strike in Catalonia to protest against the Police violence that took place on Sunday.  Many businesses and schools shut down.  The public transportation also went on strike, leading to a whole shut down of the city.  What a time to be in Spain! I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I guess time will tell.

Part of me wishes I was back home so I could try to help make a difference in our lost country. I probably shouldn’t be wishing that though, as I need to live up my time here. I’m trying not to be consumed with all of this negative news, but it’s hard not to be.  It’s impossible NOT to bring politics into a situation where 59 people were murdered, and over 500 injured.  It saddens me more than anything.  What is with our country and our obsession with guns?  As a country, we MUST start talking with one another to come to an agreement.  We must TRY something.  If it fails, so what?  At least we tried.  You never know what you’re capable of until you try, right?

What we need is for people to realize that life is so precious, and to live everyday like it’s your last.  Because those 59 people who were killed in Las Vegas most likely thought they would wake up the next morning. Each day you wake up, be grateful. Be humble.  Be nice to others. Because you don’t know when it will all come to an end.  Negativity or hate has no place for a happy, positive life.

On a brighter note, things are going well for me in Spain!  I’m exploring the city in my free time, it’s truly a breathtaking place.  The people here are so welcoming and accepting.

I would be sugar coating it if I said I wasn’t struggling. Venturing out on my own in Spain is stepping out of my comfort zone just a bit.  Why is this so hard?  I lived in Scotland for 3 months and that was no problem.  I’m generally not a shy person. But since this language barrier is so big, I’ve noticed myself distancing from people. I’ve only been here 2 weeks and I know it’ll get better in time as I feel more comfortable with Spanish/Catalan.  However, it’s interesting even for me to see this side of myself.  I’m trying to speak Spanish even though I know it’s terrible.  Though, sometimes I just have no idea where to even begin with what I want to say.  Avoiding people is not something I would generally do because I genuinely enjoy talking with people.  However, right now is a personal struggle. I’m trying to learn, one day at a time!

International Travel

Week 1 ✓

 

I still cannot believe I’m living in Spain.  These past few mornings I woke up and thought I was back in Wisconsin.

I’m living in a small village just 20 minutes north of Barcelona,  Vilassar De Dalt. Population: 9,000.  It’s surprisingly convenient.  The home I live in is a 3 minute walk away from where I work. Everything is within a 5-7 minute walk.  Though the name of the village Vilassar De Dalt- DALT means TOP, as in a mountain.  So, as you can imagine the roads are a bit up and down.  It can be a workout walking around the town.  Maybe I don’t need a gym membership after all?

I haven’t made it into the city yet, as I arrived to Spain at an interesting time politically speaking.  Catalonia (Barcelona area/ Northeastern Spain) is voting THIS Sunday (October 1) on whether they want to be independent from the rest of Spain or not.  This whole area seems to want to BE independent.  It’s a bit crazy around here. People are outside honking and making noise as I type this. Though, I’m venturing into the city tomorrow so I hope it’s not too chaotic with the protests. I’ll keep you guys updated with the results after the vote on Sunday.

And how’s the English teaching going?  Oh well that’s a good question.  I feel SO completely lost when it comes to teaching.  I have no teaching skills to begin with. I don’t know Spanish. I don’t know Catalan.  I’m clueless.  How do you keep kids (ages 4-15) interested?  How do you discipline the kids when you don’t even know their native language?  If anyone has any tips, let me know 🙂

I’m learning that one of life’s true challenges is figuring out who you are when you are in an unfamiliar place surrounded with people of different cultures and different languages. As an American, we are usually so dependent on other people knowing English.  But now, I’m somewhere where English is not the main language, Spanish is. This really gives a person motivation to learn a new language.

I’m beyond grateful for my Spanish family.  They are so helpful with the language barrier, as well as my fellow teachers Ryan, Marc, and Marta.  They have welcomed me with open arms.  I couldn’t have asked for a better welcoming!

New vocabulary learned after week one include:

  1. Vale –> Okay, good, understood
  2. Mira! –> Look!
  3. Adeu, Adeu  —> Bye, bye

 

Hasta Luego 🙂

22091506_10154633637071895_1590712198_n

International Travel

Across the Atlantic

¡Hola!

It’s been one week since my flight departed from Chicago.  You could say it’s been an eventful week.  First, I stopped in Copenhagen for three nights.  Upon arrival I could hear people speaking multiple different languages.  It’s been 2.5 years since I’ve stepped out of the United States and onto foreign ground.  I felt so ready to take on a new place.

From the airport I collected my luggage and was on my way to the hostel.  I didn’t really know much about where I was going.  I only knew my metro stop, from there I was clueless.  I guess that’s just part of the adventure though, right? I got off at my stop and lugged my 43 pound suitcase up the escalator- or so I tried.  I ended up completely falling over ON the escalator.  Me and my suitcase.  It was miserable, it took a lot of strength to get back up. Off to a good start!

I got myself back together and looked around for a knowledgeable person who might know where my hostel is.  I stumbled upon two men who were eager to show me the way, but first:  beer.  We stopped at a local pub and had a couple drinks.  Talk about jet lag… I could feel it after two! After checking into my hostel, the guys showed me and my hostel roommate around the city.

Within those few days I did so much walking and exploring.  My feet still hurt 4 days later.  But it was so worth it.  The vibe to Copenhagen is just truly amazing.  It feels a bit magical, like out of a movie.  I ran into the friendliest people within the streets, at the bars, within the hostel and even on the metro! I definitely wish to go back in the future.

But now?  Life in Spain begins, as I write this on the balcony of my new home.  I’ve really only seen a tiny bit of the Spanish life and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

United States Travel

13.05.17

Saturday May 13 was a huge day.  After 4 years of college, I am finally done.  Though it hasn’t truly hit me yet, I’m sure it will within the next month or so.

What is life after school?  What is the “real world”?  Do I really have to work a 9-5 job every single day?  I want something more out of life than that.

This blog will uncover my search for something more than your average 9-5 workdays.  In a few weeks I’m heading to Sandusky, Ohio to work at Cedar Point for the summer.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to work at an amusement park.  Though I’ve never worked in the food industry before, I’m looking forward to serving hundreds of people from around the country each day.  Hopefully by the end of it, I’ll have enough money saved up to travel around Europe in the fall.

But before that?  I must reward myself with a trip to Colorado to cross something off my bucket list.  A concert at Red Rocks.  But this isn’t just any ol’ concert, it’s Odesza.  You could say I’m beyond excited for this spiritual experience.

This summer is about to be filled with many adventures and memories.  I cannot wait to see what it brings.  Let’s go Summer 2K17! 🙂