Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hasta Luego Espana, it has been fun!

As I am “enjoying” my  16 hour commute back to the states I have been reflecting on my past year abroad and all that I have learned.

1)      Make the people you love a priority over anything else. Work will come and go and of course it should be important, but it isn’t your life.  The people in your life is what should matter most.

2)Work in order to live, do not live to work.  After coming back to the states I have seen this difference the most.  We are too concerned about working and not as concerned about living our life and spending it with family and friends.  Take time to do things for yourself such as traveling or even small things such as watching your favorite TV show every week.  We need to find time for ourselves or else we would go crazy.  Jobs will come and go but in the grand scheme of things, you need to make yourself happy.  Find whatever makes you happy and do it!

3)      It doesn’t matter where you are, it is who you are with.  You can be in the most beautiful place in the world but you won’t be happy if you are not with the people that you love.  In any situation it will be nice for a little while maybe a month if you are by yourself but after a while you will start to miss your loved one. 

And in any case it is better to be by yourself than with bad company.  A true Spaniard told me that when I was at the bar on the river enjoying a cup of coffee by myself.  He asked me why I was by myself and I didn’t have an answer for him.  So that’s what he told me, it’s better to be by yourself than being with bad company! So true J

4)      Sometimes as Americans we tend to get stressed out frequently and all we really need to do is have a beer and chill out! Haha Last night I was freaking out about leaving the country and not having everything packed up/ not having my bank account closed/ not having my internet cancelled and all I needed to do was just to relax because in the end, 
everything works out fine.  I realized this past week that I freak out and worry way too much.

5)      I have learned to be more assertive.  Here in Spain they speak the truth and right to the point.  There’s really no beating around the bush.

What I am going to miss about Spain:
v  Maria Luisa Park
v  The Pedalquivir- my favorite bar on the river
v  11am coffee breaks
v  Being able to yell at waiter’s to bring me a beer.  In Spain everything is to the point and informal. In the states we are a lot more polite.  How to order a beer in Spain: “Get me a beer!” How to order a beer in the States:” When you get a chance, can you get me a beer?”
v  The cafelitos!
v  Seeing the abuelitos ( Grandparents) out until 12pm socializing, every night!
v  I love how social Spaniards are, they know the true meaning of fun.  The other day I was going to work at 7:30 in the morning and people were coming home from the night before at the same time.  How in the world do they stay out so late?! No comprendo!

What I’m not going to miss:
          vBeing called “Rubia” ( Blonde girl) like it is my name!
  v  Eating dinner at 9:30 at night
  v  Not having any sense of customer service

Now being back home these are the things I didn’t realize I missed so much:
v  Root Beer
v  Fountain drinks- FREE REFILLS!
v  Going out with gym shorts and a Tshirt on and not being judged
v  Drive through windows
v  Bagels with cream cheese
v  Cold fresh milk!
v  Nice hot showers with water pressure
v  Being able to order water with your meal and not feel like you’re being judged
v  Customer Service
v  French Vanilla coffee from Dunkin Donuts
v  Being able to have a salad with lots of vegetables and ranch dressing
v  Having so many options. For example: The other day I wanted to buy some face wash and the worker spent 15 minutes explaining all of the options of face wash that I had.  In Spain there generally aren’t as many options.  Such as beer, only 1 time, the lovely Cruzcampo.

Just to give you a visual: All of the bright red boxes are the cities that I visited in Spain( Dont get confused with the maroon little circles, I haven't been to all of those places!).  As you can see I visited mostly southern Spain.  If I were to do it over again I would have visited San Sebastian and cities in Galicia and Asutrias.  I heard that those areas are absolutely stunning!

Another visual for you:  All of the countries that I visited while in Europe! These cities consist of: Spain, Ireland, United Kingdon, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Switzerland.

On the last day of class Ali and I ( the other asistant) gave a presentation to all of our classes about our job (what it is like to be an assistant) and all of the cultural differences that we have noticed between Spain and the USA ( There are A LOT of differences!)

This is a picture of me with the third level class: The american looking girl in the front with the white skirt is Ali.  To the right of her, standing up on the end, is Alumdena, the Music teacher, and Felix, my coordinator. I worked with both of them!

This is the second level class, my favorites!  My favorite student was Laura, the young girl sitting down in the front with the blue pants and white shirt.  She was the cutest thing! The little boy in the front in the red shirt ( the one on the left) his name is Javi ( Javier).  He was so smart!  He reminded me of Brian.  Even when Brian came to visit he said that Javi resembled him, weird!  The teacher on the right is Rosa. Even though she drove me crazy just about every week, you still gotta love her!

This next picture is of Pilar, she was one of my favorite teachers! Even through the language barrier she could always make me laugh. This is a cake that one of the students made for my going away party!

 A group of some of the teachers I worked with! From left to right: Ali ( the other assistant), Maria ( on the top, she was a new math teacher that started working about 2 months before i left, i loved her! She is so spunky and always has a smile on her face), Rosa ( I already explained her),  ME!, Almudena ( one of the younger teachers, very nice and knows English very well!), Miguel ( the "Head master" Principal of the school! I didn't get to know him that well because he was always busy with his job and his English wasn't that great, nor was my Spanish, so our conversations never lasted that long. He is very nice and is a good principal as well!)

 My last few days of enjoying Spain:

Sarah and Ana- two of my good friends!

Sarah with our Chicken Kebabs, the ended up not being cooked enough, had to send them back in to the cook!

Whitney and I on her last night in town!
 Trip to Italica to see some Roman ruins!...
View of some of the tiles in Neptunes house
In the Amphiltheatre

The Amphitheatre! Pretty neat!

Whitney being Whitney, acting like a Monkey and climbing on everything!

Last views of the Cathedral

Last views of the Giralda!

View of San Salvador Cathedral from the top of Sarah's roof, it looks face doesn't it?!

Sarah and Whitney 

Sarah and I!

 I am so glad that I decided to come to Spain.  In my opinion, everyone should do something like this in their life.  I have learned so much about not only other people’s cultures but also my own.  Being in other countries you really realize how much you do love certain things about where you are from and you learn to appreciate what you have.  It is so important to know what else is happening in this world besides what is happening just in the States. This was a rewarding experience because I was able to meet so many different people from other countries and within the states as well.  I feel lucky to have been able to do this and I hope that the economy in Spain is able to keep up this program for more years to come! Even though last summer I was very hesitant, unsure, and scared of the year that I had in front of me, I am SO glad that I went through with decision and followed my dream to Spain!

Hasta Luego Espana, te echo de menos! (See you soon spain, I miss you!)