Monday, June 25, 2012

The worst thing ever is making it through the work week only to be sick on a Saturday.

no puedo creerlo.  (I cannot believe it)

I am sick.

I had tons of plans for my last days in Spain and now all of them have been cancelled. I cannot leave the couch. I cannot eat. I cannot drink. I cannot talk. Its horrible. (trust me, i cant just not eat becuase it hurts, but my stomach is also a little off.. i wont go into details.)

But, on the bright side i know that the people here care about me. I know for sure that even at my worst these people who i call my family and friends are still there for me. My mom brought me to the doctor, she was there to make sure i was alright after they gave me a shot in my butt (yes, in my butt...i guess they prefer that you cant sit, over the fact that you cant move your arm...?) My host dad was constentally checking on me making sure i didnt need anything, or if i did, he would help me get it. The friends of my host parents, and my uncles and aunts were in the house today, and often came in to keep me company, talk to me, and ensure that i will be better before I have to leave on thursday.

And. I left my phone upstairs the whole day along side my ipod and didnt use the internet, so when i finally looked at everything i had 23 missed calls from my friends asking if i had died, and the ones who knew i was sick, were telling me to get better. I haad 31 facebook notifications and 15 tuenti notifications. Most messages from friends telling me to get better quick so i can leave the house and hang out with them. I love my friends :( I dont want to leave yet :(

Tomorrow I plan on packing (cause I have yet to even begin thinking about that..okay..until now..) and my friends are coming over in the night to watch a movie (something less active, because i cant be all crazy, for fear of getting sick again). then wednesday I hope to be able to do at least SOMETHING with my friends before i go, but i dont even know what. my host mom doesnt want me going out too much and tiring myself out. :( well I will see.

I hope I get better before I have to return home. Im sure my flight will be miserable if im still sick. Are you even allowed to go on a plane sick? hmm...

see you all soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You don’t take a photograph, you make it. - Ansel Adams

Hey. So. I just took this picture yesterday, and put it all together today and it came out wonderful.

This is in the port in malaga. I took it with my photography class during a lesson on Panoramic photography.
To check out more pictures I took at el Torcal the other day, and other pictures I have taken visit: My Photography Page

Friday, June 15, 2012

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

Today was my last official day of school, more or less. I mean I still technicaly have classes this coming week, but they are tests and retakes that I do not need to take, so therefore, I do not have to go. I have to go on tuesday morning to take a dancing test for PE, dancing the salsa with my friend, but that hardly counts.

I looked back to my blog from September after my first day of school (here is my post from my first day of school.), and this is what I wrote, "I think that my first day of school here in Spain has easily been the most difficult and worst day of my life so far."

Even though that day was absolutly terrible, not knowing anyone, not knowing anything, not even being able to communicate effectively, I look back and I learned so much. I look back and I see those kids that helped me that first day, who are now my good friends. The kids who once treated me as the new froreigner, have now accepted me as one of their own, and all who tell me they do not want me to leave.

I have a million offers to stay in peoples houses, hide in peoples closets, etc. so I won´t have to leave, as if the issue was a place to stay. I do not want to leave yet, either. At all. Not even a part of me wants to go home. But even that isnt quite it. Because it isnt really home that I dont want to go to, its here that i dont want to leave. I want them to form together, and be one. Or maybe...just maybe stay a little longer. But I am not ready to leave in the least bit. I have 12 days. And now that school is out, that means ill be out everyday all day.

The last couple weeks I have been going out a ton. To the beach etc. and to that crew regatta for my friend. To save time uploading, you can check out my pictures on my facebook photography page:

Miss everyone! Not sure how many posts I will do from now until I go, becuase today is literally my last day where i have free time and not being smuggled around by all my friends. (I have a genuine fear of being kidnapped by my friends the night before I leave for madrid, they are going to kidnap me so i dont leave...i know they are plotting...)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. -- Alfred North Whitehead

Today I decided to give my host family my thank you gift. I saw that everyone, my mom, my dad, pablo, maria, and theresa were all eating dinner together tonight, and I decided to seize the chance to thank them. I had planned in my head to give them this huge speech about how grateful I am, and how amazing they are, and how i truly could not have had as an amazing year this past year without them.

They have done so much for me and I will be forever grateful. I know that they care about me as a part of the family, one of their own. I know that they would do anything for me if need be. I have come to trust in the Romeros, and they have become a part of me that I will never let go. I know I will return and honestly, I am in denial about leaving in the first place. ( i have had absent minded plots made up in my head about the many different ways i could "accidently miss the bus" to madrid, so then id have to stay longer).

But anyway, so i had this huge speech all planned out in my head. I ran upstairs to get the painting I had bought back before i even came, and i came back downstairs, looked at all of them, said "This is for you guys to say thanks, becuase you have been an amazing host family and.." and I had to stop mid sentence, throw the painting into my host dads hands and sit before I broke into tears. I cant believe i only have 15 days left. I cannot believe it.

I am also going to be baking cookies this weekend with mariely and anca to give to some teachers and other important people in my life who have made my year in spain so much easier and enjoyable. I am dreading saying goodbye to them...

Also, I have bought a spanish flag for all my friends at school to sign, and I had a few of my friends sign it today. I took the flag out to put it in my other bag and I read some of their messages, and again, i started crying. I still have 2 weeks til i actually leave and im already losing it. I dont even want to know what actually leaving is like....

I would also like to send a quick thank you to all those people out there that supported me before I came, be it financially or morally. I really appreciate all that everyone has done for me, and I could not have made this year so special by myself. I am really grateful for everything that I have. I look back on my short 17 years of life, and I cant even believe the luck and fortune I have. I have supporting friends and family (in both America and Spain) and a life I could never have dreamed about. I cannot wait to see what the future has waiting for me.

Thank You.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. Walt Disney

I don´t remember the exact moment I decided I wanted to study abroad. For a lot of my life I have been passionate about traveling. I went to visit my cousins in Indiana, I went to visit my friend in Michigan, I went to camp in Georgia, and I went to Peru. I sought out oppurtunities to travel. I did not wait for my parents to want to travel somewhere, becuase he knows when that may be. I took my dream into my own hands and began.

I decided to come to Spain for the upmost reason of learning Spanish. And that I have accomplished. I have worked all year with the assitance of my host family, my friends, and my teachers. I am often told, "wow, your spanish is really good" by most people I meet, and you cannot even imagine the pride I feel.

I also decided to come to Spain as opposed to south america is so that the possibilty of travel to other countries within my year would be a higher possibility. Although I did not make it to many other countries, I am satisfied with my trip to Switzerland. I have accepted the fact that AFS is not a program for "travel" but a program for education. They send you to a country for you to spend the year in that country and learn about the culture of that country, not every country surrounding it.

The last reason I decided to study abroad was to meet new people, learn about new cultures, and to do something different with my life. I know that the best way to learn is to learn by experience. As I wrote in my last post, I have grown so much and the world through my eyes has now changed. As one of my AFS leaders told me, I now have concern for more than just my own country.  My best friends here in spain have family, and are from France and Romania. I have a boy in my group from Turkey, and a girl from Slovakia. I have other friends here with family in Argentina. When I watch the news and I hear about a natural disaster, or violence somewhere in the world, it means a lot more to me becuase I may have friends there.

When I told people I was going to Spain for a year the too most common reactions were that they either didnt believe me, or they simply asked "why?". Studying abroud in high school in America is not that common. In my opinion, the majority of people in America have this idea that everyone needs to go to school all 12 years, get good grades, then to college, then graduate and get a job. If you dont follow this basic outline, or step out of the saftey zone and do something different, people are convinced it wont work. Or they think it will mess everything up. When I told people I am going abroad a lot of people were worried I was making a mistake. A lot of people were worried that this would mess up my high school transcript, or that colleges won´t like me. One think that i have learned after all this, is the best way to be the best you can be is to go outside your comfort zone.

"A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion."
Chinese Proverb

Coming to Spain has been one of the best desicions I have ever made in my whole life so far. I have made friends for a lifetime, and learned more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you to all those who helped me reach my goal. The first steps of a young dream :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. -Winston Churchill

Four tiny weeks left. But as the quote says, this is only the beginning. While i have been here I have opened so many doors for myself. I have allowed myself to dream even bigger (yeah, can you believe that? me dreaming bigger..). I now think to myself that seriously anything is possible. I now truly believe, that if I want to do something with my life, someway, somehow it is possible. So, although this may be the end to my exchange year in spain, I have so much more life ahead of me to do bigger things, and travel more, and meet more people. This is only the beginning.

I was walking home the other night from my photography class and I was thinking. I have learned so much. Not in school, or even in that sense at all (becuase, well, school just isnt really that important right now for me). But I have learned how to do a ton of things that will be useful for my whole life, things you simply can´t learn in school.

I have mentioned a lot of them throughout the year, as they gradually became a strong skill set. Like my ability to take basically all forms of transportation, how to get around a place I have never been, how to make friends of complete strangers, how to adapt to a whole new lifestyle, etc.

But I realized too, that, man, I am bilingual. I went to visit a friend of mine who is here on a trip with kids from argentina, brazil, ecuador, canada, etc. I got to where he was staying and I started speaking with people from south america in Spanish. It may sound like one of those things like, oh, duh, if they are from south america you´d obviously speak with them in spanish. But it really just hit me how easy it was. I didnt even think. I told them all about how I got a little lost getting there, and how I love Malaga, and everything, without even thinking about how to form my sentences, or having to ask them to repeat (okay...a few times i had no idea what they were saying, but they had a different accent than im used to, and used different words that we dont use in spain). It is just incredible being able to speak with so many more people. And I could tell immediatly, that even though the south american kids could speak in english, they were so relieved when I spoke spanish. They immediatly opened up and talked with me like an old friend, becuase I could speak their language. It is just absolutly incredible.

This past weekend we had an orientation in Torremolinos for AFS. It is our last orientation with the kids from Andalucia before we go to Madrid for the final orientation with everyone, then go back home. We met with the kids who are in Andalucia who are going abroad next year (most are coming to America). It was real neat to meet them and remember how excited we all were around this time last year. We gave them tips about studying abroad, and things to always remember. We also told them all about america and things that we reccomend you do. Along with that we went to the beach, and played tons of fun games. We played this one game called "besos" or "kisses" where each of the guys has a number, and each of the girls has a letter. The kid in the middle calls out a letter and a number, and if the kid in the center is a girl, the boy that was called has to try and kiss the girl in the center before the girl that was called kisses him. Or, if the kid in the middle is a boy, the girl that was called has to try and kiss the boy in the middle before the boy that was called kisses her. It was hilarious. Oh, by the way, its all kisses on the cheeks, obviously.

I also have been to the beach like everyday, so im getting really tan:)

here are some pictures ive been neglecting to put up cause they take too long to load:

Some friends from school

Mariely and me <3 ^^ best friend here

Franco, Anca, and me ^^my other best friends

Pablo Roldan, Franco and me <3

Kids in my class: Almudena, kate, pabloR, franco, keto, anca and me.

Mariely and Fernando^^ more good friends

at the beachh

mariely and fer


mariely and me

mariely and fer

a cool shot i got of kate

another cool shot of kate

My american friends from AFS: Mikeala, me, and Alex

Alex and me (she lives in NY, soooo ill def see her back in america)

me and afs kids: Alex, San (from turkey), julian, noelle, ivana , and Solomon

more AFS

Kids from Andalucia going abroad with AFS next year, and the
current students from elsewhere currently in Andalucia<3

maria, Kate, her host mom Sarah, me and Danai (Julian´s host brother)

Danai, me and Julian

Me, Julian, and Kate

Me at the beach with Mariely

mariely and I made tortelini

Side note, MARIELY is coming to visit me this summer in August :) I cant wait. I am kind of more excited for her to come than I am to go home in the first place...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

“There’s no next time. It’s now or never.” – Celestine Chua

AH. I can´t even fathom how long I have been here, and how little time I have left. 6 weeks and I will be home. I will have to say good bye to my host family and all of my friends here, until I come back and see them again (which who knows when that may be).

I still have school, all the way until the 22 of June, which I am super upset about, becuase then that means that I will only have around 5 days of summer vacation in spain before I come home. Oh well. I take what I can get.

On Wednesday I had a practice day for my photography class. We went out to a beach at 9pm and took pictures until 2am. My pictures came out amazing...but needless to say I was exhausted in school the next day. (and I had a science test...)

School is getting less and less serious. Yesterday we the school took half the day to make "Paella", that classic spanish dish with the yellow rice. Each grade made their own batch of paella and we ate it for lunch, then everyone left early from school to go to the beach. I spent my afternoon at the beach with Mariely, Anca, Kate and Anca´s sister. The waves were HUGE for some reason, like as big as they are in rhode island when we go to misquamicut. They are never that big, but for some reason they were that way yesterday.

Afterward I went to Mariely´s house where we ate a some french dish for dinner and later walked her dogs for about two hours...until like 1am. Gotta love spain.

Today I am not sure what I am going to do, but I do know tomorrow my friends are all coming over to work on our philosophy project that we have hardly started that is due like this week...