It truly has been a whirlwind
since have gotten off the plane in Madrid. My life here has changed so much
but, change is good. I remember when I got off the plane and I got my
baggage that I saw my host mom and bother standing at my gate with my name
upside down on a sheet of paper that said Gabi. After that three weeks have
gone by in a flash.
Within the first week of
coming to Spain my family already was getting ready to go to a wedding in
Alicante. This was my first road trip and first wedding in Spain! It took
us five hours to reach Alicante and along the way we saw five castles. I
have had never seen a castle in my life until then. Alicante is a very
beautiful city on the water. It actually looks a lot like Florida because it
is hot and has beaches and tons of Palm trees.
Two weeks later I went to
Avila. It is a town surrounded by castle walls. When you approach the town
you are greeted by walls that are 40 to 50 feet tall. It is a very awesome
sight to behold and then actually going inside the castle, wow, that is a
whole other story. It is one of the most incredible sights to see. I almost
got lost looking at the monumentsÖ Lucky for me Paco(my brother) was
watching out for me.
My first and second days of
school where probably the hardest days I have had to face so far. Let me get
one thing clear so I may give the reader some perspective on why it was so
hard for me the first few days of school. I SPEAK NO SPANISH. Well, then I
didnít know anything, now I speak more of it. But, when teachers are talking
and sometimes yelling at you and you donít know what in Godís name they are
saying it can be quite frustrating. But, at the end of the day being able
to go home is the best thing I usually look forward to after a tough day of
school. Why? Because I love my host family. They give me love a support when
I feel alone and lost. So, that is why it is very important of the exchange
student to form a strong relationship with his or her host family. They are
your new family for better or for worse. One of the most rewarding thing for
me is when I am able to sit down with my mother at lunch and talk to her in
Spanish. She speaks no English. Being able to communicate successfully is
probably the most rewarding thing an exchange student wants and strives for.
I know thatís how I feel. Now that I am able to speak more I have made more
friends and I have grown closer to my family. It is probably the most
gratifying feeling to have know ďHey, I just spoke Spanish and thy actually
Oh, I know this is off topic
but, to those students who are in Florida and are studying AP Chemistry and
Dual Credit Biology and think that those are hard classes. They are nothing.
Try taking those classes in a foreign language you donít understand! But,
after three weeks and day by day classes are getting easier and easier.
Well, that is all for now.
To the left is Tio Joaquin and papa
Mama and Paco
Celebrating Tio Joaquin's Birthday to the very left is my papa.
I have been living here for a little over eight
months now. It is quite hard to even think that time has flown by so fast.
It only feels like I have been here for four months. I can honestly say that
the first three months here in Spain were the hardest months that I have
ever faced in my life. I was as if I was mute and deaf at the same time. I
never knew when someone was talking to me or about me. And the being mute
part well, that just killed me. I love to talk and not being able to express
my feelings or thoughts really stinked. That was in the past now and five
months later my Spanish is much better. A few interesting things I did learn
however is the importance of listing, thinking before you speak, and think
about what you are going to say. Some very important life lessons.
My favorite part of Spain is the food. I am
truly in love with the food. I eat by one rule: Try everything once. This
has worked for me so far. There is only one food that I donít like;
mejillones or mussels. But, other than that I like everything. I have eaten
Rabo de toro/ Bullís tail, Pallea/Rice with seafood , vegetables, or any
type of meat, Oro/ gold, yes I ate gold, it really doesnít taste like
anything however, Conejo/ Rabbit, Todas las partes del cerdo/ All the parts
of the pig including eyes, ears, tongue, brain, and liver. But, I do have a
favorite dish. It is called Pincho Moruno or in English Kebabs. This is a
Moorish dish. Oh, I forgot to say I really like Moorish food too.
There are so many thing that I love about Spain.
I canít possibly list them all. I love the architecture here because it is a
combination of Mediterranean and sometimes Moorish architecture which leads
to some truly impressive buildings. But, more specifically I really like the
Religious architecture. For me that is the most interesting aspect that the
Spanish architecture has to offer. One can tell the evolution of this
country and its religion by its architecture. Cool. Overall there is one
fountain that I truly love it is called The Fallen Angel. It is in the
Retiro Park in Madrid. Another favorite monument is a basilica which is
carved into the side of a mountain. It is 20 minutes outside my hometown.
There is also a cross erected on top which stands more than 450 feet high.
The cross can be seen from the town. But, there is controversy surrounding
this basilica because prisoners of war had constructed this and this is the
tomb of General Franco. My opinion is that not all parts of history can be
full of pride and happiness; there has to be dark times as well. Even though
this is not brightest part of Spanish history, it is still Spanish history
and should be remembered.
Here in Spain the aspect or family and being together is very important. I
really like that but, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. Sometimes.
I think it is because it is a different type of family atmosphere that is
here than I am accustomed. But, often times I need to remind myself the
culture is different. I think also they can be so close is because their
country is small. That can live by all of their family while in the US our
families are all across the country. But, I truly do the family that I am
living with. I have grown quite close to them.
Overall, I am having a beautiful time here. Some
days are rough while most days are easy. Each day my Spanish is getting
better and better. Bueno, Adios y un abrazo fuerte!
Abuelita y yo at Aranjuez, a royal palace
Me at the grave of the Spanish painter, Velazquez
I am learning to play the guitar