A Barcelona Weekend

I spent my first weekend in Barcelona with my host family. On Saturday, Iñaki and Guillermo had field hockey games. Iñaki’s game was on Mount Montjuic near the Palace Reial and Olympic Stadium from 1992. Patricia, my host mom, showed me the Olympic Stadium, Sant Jordi Palau (Saint George Palace), and the Palace Reial. Each if them look very different, but very beautiful. Guillermo’s field hockey game was at the Polo Club. In between games, the twins, Jorge and Pablo, took turns chasing me around the house. Later that night I went shopping with Patricia and Alejandra, my host sister, and watched Iron Man (in English) with Guillermo, my host brother, and Nacho, my host dad.

Sunday was full of adventures and Jorge and Pablo’s birthday. My family along with 4 other families with WKU student teachers spent the day together. We started the day by driving to the countryside of Barcelona at the Torres Vineyard. After getting a tour of the vineyard and wine making process, we got to do a little wine tasting. This area of Spain was surrounded by mountains and green spaces, it was gorgeous. Next, we headed to the beach at Sitges on the Mediterranean Sea, which of course was beautiful. We had a picnic on the beach, walked the strip, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Once we arrived back home, family came over to celebrate the twins 4th birthday. I didn’t know much of what was said but I enjoyed the cake.

Yesterday (Monday) the SPED girls and I ventured up to Mount Tibidabo. There is yet another beautiful cathedral and a small amusement park on the top of this mountain. The top of the mountain is also a great place to view the entire city of Barcelona. Once we got back to our neighborhood, we found an ‘American Restaurant’ decorated like a 50’s diner. The food was good and very stereotypical with burgers, fries, and milkshakes.

Also this week, I started a new school schedule. Last week I was only teaching 4th grade science and English, but now I have secondary English too. I have an advanced class of 17 year olds and a low class of 15 year olds. I really enjoy having primary and secondary classes. My primary students are fun because they are young and at the early stages of learning English, but my secondary students are fun because they are fairly fluent in English so We can go more in depth.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the last day of this school week. Thursday is May Day, which is like our Labor Day, so the school is closed on Thursday and Friday. The SPED girls and I are taking advantage of this long weekend by traveling to Italy. We will be spending two nights and a day in Rome and one night and one day in Florence and Venice. This will be an exciting and exhausting weekend!

It’s hard to believe my month in Spain is almost half over.


Tourist Time

Wednesday night I gave my family the gifts I brought them from Indy and WKU. the kids loved everything, so naturally we played with it all night. The next day they took their new gifts to school to show everyone. I also brought my students WKU pins of Big Red and American coins. Each of them immediately put the pins on their shirts or book bags.

Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day I explored some of the city with the SPED girls. We took the metro to La Rambla, which is a very well known street in Barcelona. It has tons of shops and restaurants and leads to the Mediterranean Sea. We walked the whole street, saw the Christopher Columbus monument, walked around the harbor, and ate dinner. We plan on going back to this area again to spend more time.

Today (Friday) the students started asking questions and not being intimidated to speak English to me. I have a great, rambunctious group of 17 9-year-old boys.

The time difference and jet lag are starting to ware off, and I’m getting used to my new schedule. I wake up around 8 and eat breakfast with my family before school at 9. Then at school the students and teachers have a break around 11 to eat another breakfast (sandwich and coffee) and recess. Lunch and another recess is from 1:30-2:45; some people go home during this time. School is out at 4:45-5:00. When we get home from school we have a small snack (pastries), and dinner is around 8:30-9:00. I have been going to bed between 10:30 and 11:00, which is when my host siblings go to bed too.

After school we took the metro to Sagrada Familia. This is a famous cathedral designed by Antonio Gaudi in 1882. It is not complete yet, but they are estimating it will be finished in 2026. Donations fund the building of Sagrada Familia. There is an area close to my house called The Village with a lot of shops and cafés. We had Spanish style pizza at The Village tonight. When I got home from all of this my host dad, Nacho, and oldest brother, Guillermo, were watching the news. The Barcelona soccer coach from last year passed away from brain cancer. He was also one of Nacho’s patients; Nacho is an oncologist for brain, breast, and lung cancer. This is like the passing of any celebrity in the US. The rest of my Friday night will be spent at home with my family, watching the 2nd Hunger Games movie.

One week down, three to go!

I have Arrived

I’m not too sure where to start. The first two days have been fun, exciting, crazy, and exhausting all at the same time. After over 14 hours of traveling, I arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday morning. My host mom, Patricia, helped me get settled in my new home and gave me a mini tour of the city. All the WKU student teachers had a brief orientation and reception at the school later that day. I spent my first night in Spain trying new food at dinner (I liked all of it), getting to know all 5 of my host siblings, Guillermo, Alejandra, Iñaki, Jorge, and Pablo, and catching up on some major sleep.

The School in Spain goes from 9-5 with a long lunch and two recesses. The students use English in science and English class. They also speak Spanish and Catalan in their other classes. The school, Colegio Reial Monestir de Santa Isabel, is a beautiful building and has students from 1-18 years old. I will be teaching 4th grade boys English and science.

Today (Wednesday) I started my first day as a student teacher in Barcelona. Luckily the school is less than a 5 minute walk from my apartment, and my host brothers go there. Today was Saint George day, which is a special day full of celebrations in Barcelona. At school the students made fun crafts, watched plays and dances, got their faces painted, and performed to celebrate. The streets were packed with vendors selling roses and books. It is a tradition that boys give girls a rose and girls give boys a book on this day. My host dad, Nacho, brought a rose home for his wife, daughter, the nanny, and myself. After school I played basketball with Guillermo and Iñaki, Jorge and Pablo danced around the living room with harmonicas, and Alejandra had horseback riding class.

The first two days of this journey are in the books. I’m so excited to get to know my host family and students, live in Barcelona, and travel to Italy and Ireland!